We have spoken much of buildings and courses of study, but little of the girls themselves. Who are they? Where do they come from? Why are they here? What are their future plans?
They are girls of many shades of belief, from many classes of society. The great majority are, of course, Protestant Christians, representing the work of almost every Mission Board to be found in South India. There are a few Roman Catholics, and about an equal number of members of the indigenous Syrian Christian community. Nine are Hindus, including one Brahman. They come from the remotest corners of the Madras Presidency, and some from even beyond its borders.
Why did they come? There are some who frankly admit that their entrance into Medical School was due solely to the influence of parents and relatives, and that their present vital interest in what they are doing dates back not to any childhood desire for the doctor's profession, but only to the stimulating experiences of the school itself. Others tell of a life-long wish for what the school has made possible; still others of "sudden conversion" to medicine, brought about by a realization of need, or in one case to the chance advice of a school friend. Two speak of the appalling need of their own home villages, where no medical help for women has ever been known. Some of the students have expressed their reasons in their own words:—
"Once I had a severe attack of influenza and was taken to the General Hospital, Madras. I have heard people say that nurses and doctors are not good to the patients. But, contrary to my idea, the English and Eurasian nurses there were very good and kind to me, more than I expected. I used to see the students of the Medical College of Madras paying visits to all the patients, some of whom were waiting for mornings when they should meet their medical friends. I saw all the work that they did. The nurses were very busy helping patients and, whatever trouble the patients gave, they never got cross with them. They used to sing to some of them at night, give toys to little ones and thus coax every one to make them take medicine. I admired the kindness and goodness that all the medical workers with whom I came in contact possessed. As medical work began to interest me, I used to read magazines about medical work. Again, when I once went to Karimnagar, I saw ever so many children and women, uncared for and not being loved by high caste people. I wanted to help Indians very much. All these things made me join the Medical School.
"My father's desire was that one of his daughters should study medicine and work in the hospital where he worked for twenty years, and so in order to fulfill his desire I made up my mind to learn medicine.
"Now my father is dead and the hospital in which he had worked is closed, for there is no one to take his place. So all are very glad to see that I am learning medicine. There are many men doctors in Ceylon, but very few lady doctors and I think that God has given me a good opportunity to work for Him.
"For a long time I did not know much about the sufferings of my country women without proper aid of medical women. One day I happened to attend a meeting held by some Indian ladies and one European. They spoke about the great need of women doctors in India and all about the sufferings of my sisters. One fact struck me more than anything else. It was about an untrained mid-wife who treated a woman very cruelly, but ignorantly. From that time I made up my mind to study medicine with the aim of becoming a loving doctor. My wish is now that all the women doctors should be real Christian doctors with real love and sympathizing hearts for the patients.
"When I told my parents that I wanted to study medicine, they and my relatives objected and scolded me, for they were afraid that I would not marry if I would study medicine. In India they think meanly of a person, especially a girl, who is not married at the proper age. I want now to show my people that it is not mean to remain unmarried. This is my second aim which came from the first."
The following is written by a Hindu student:—
"Before entering into the subject, I should like to write a few words about myself. I am the first member of our community to attain English education. Almost all my relatives (I talk only about the female members of our community) have learnt only to write and read our mother language Telugu.
"When I entered the high school course I had a poor ambition to study medicine. I do not know whether it was due to the influence of my brother-in-law who is a doctor, or whether it was due to our environments. Near our house was a small hospital. It was doing excellent work for the last five years. Now unfortunately the hospital has been closed for want of stock and good doctors. From that hospital I learnt many things. I was very intimate with the doctors. I admired the work they were doing.
"My father had a faithful friend. He was a Brahman. He realized from his own experience the want of lady doctors. He had a daughter, his only child, and she died for want of proper medical aid. Whenever my father's friend used to see me he used to ask my father to send me to the Medical College, for he was quite interested in me, like my own father. After all, as soon as I passed the School Final Examination, it was decided that I should take up medicine, but at that time my mother raised many an objection, saying the caste rules forbid it. I left the idea with no hope of renewing it and joined the Arts College. I studied one year in the College. Then luckily for me my father and his friend tried for a scholarship.
"Luckily again, it was granted by the Travancore Government.
"I am not going to close before I tell a few words of my short experience in the College. As soon as I came here I thought I wouldn't be able to learn all the things I saw here. I looked upon everything with strange eyes and everything seemed strange to me, too. But, as the days passed, I liked all that was going on in the College. The study—I now long to hear more of it and study it. Now everything is going on well with me and I hope to realize my ambition with the grace of the Almighty, for the 'thoughts of wise men are Heaven-gleams.'"
You ask, what of the future? What will these young doctors bring to India's need? How much will they do? Might one dare to prophesy that in years to come they will at least in their own localities make stories like the following impossible?
A woman still young, though mother of seven living children, is carried into the maternity ward of the Woman's Hospital. At the hands of the ignorant mid-wife she has suffered maltreatment whose details cannot be put into print, followed by a journey in a springless cart over miles of rutted country road. She is laid upon the operating table with the blessed aid of anaesthetics at hand; there is still time to save the baby. But what of the mother? Only one more case of "too late." Pulseless, yet perfectly conscious, she hears the permission given to the relatives to take her home, and knows all too well what those words mean. The Hospital has saved her baby; her it cannot save. Clinging to the doctor's hand she cries:
"Oh, Amma, I am frightened. Why do you send me away? I must live. My little children,—this is the eighth. I don't care for myself, but I must live for them. Who will care for them if I am gone? Oh, let me live!"
And the doctor could only answer, "Too late."
On that road where the doctor passes by, one day she saw a beautiful boy of one year, "the only son of his mother." The eyelids were shut and swollen. "His history?" the doctor asks. Ordinary country sore eyes that someway refused to get well; a journey through dust and heat to a distant shrine of healing; numberless circlings of the temple according to orthodox Hindu rites; then a return home to order from the village jeweller two solid silver eyeballs as offerings to the deity of the shrine. Weeks are consumed by these doings, for in sickness as in health the East moves slowly. Meantime the eyes are growing more swollen, more painful. At last someone speaks of the weekly visit of the doctor on the Gudiyattam Road.
The doctor picked up the baby, pushed back the swollen eyelids, and washed away the masses of pus, only to find both eyeballs utterly destroyed. One more to be added to the army of India's blind! One more case of "too late"! One more atom in the mass of India's unnecessary, preventable suffering,—that suffering which moved to compassion the heart of the Christ. How many more weary generations must pass before we, His followers, make such incidents impossible? How many before Indian women with pitying eyes and tender hands shall have carried the gift of healing, the better gift of the health that outstrips disease, through the roads and villages of India?
The existence of the Medical School has been made possible by the gifts of American women. Its continued existence and future growth depend upon the same source. Gifts in this case mean not only money, but life. Where are those American students who are to provide the future doctors and nurses not only to "carry on" this school as it exists, but to build it up into a great future? It is to the girls now in high school and college that the challenge of the future comes. Among the conflicting cries of the street and market place, comes the clear call of Him whom we acknowledge as Master of life, re-iterating the simple words at the Lake of Galilee, "What is that to thee? Follow thou me."
Rupert Brooke has sung of the summons of the World War that cleansed the heart from many pettinesses. His words apply equally well to this service of human need which has been called "war's moral equivalent."
"Now, God be thanked, Who has matched us with His hour, And caught our youth, and wakened us from sleeping, With hand made sure, clear eye, and sharpened power, To turn, as swimmers into cleanness leaping, Glad from a world grown old and cold and weary."
AN EXAMPLE OF CHRISTIAN TREATMENT
Volumes might be written on the atrocities and absurdities of wizards, quack doctors, and the hideous usages of native midwifery. The ministry of Christian physicians comes as a revelation to the tortured victims.
The scene is a ward in a Christian Hospital for women in South India. The patients in adjacent beds, convalescents, converse together.
"What's the matter with you?" says Bed No. 1 contentedly. "My husband became angry with me, because the meal wasn't ready when he came home and he cut my face. The Doctor Miss Sahib has mended me, she has done what my own mother would not do." Said another in reply to the question, "The cow horned my arm, but until I got pneumonia I couldn't stop milking or making bread for the father of my children, even if it was broken. The hospital is my Mabap (mother-father)."
"What care would you get at home?" chimed in another who had been burning up with fever. "Oh! I would be out in the deserted part of the woman's quarters. It would be a wonderful thing if any one would pass me a cup of water," she replied. From another bed, a young wife of sixteen spoke of having been ill with abscesses. "One broiling day," she said, "I had fainted with thirst. The midwives had neglected me all through the night, and, thinking I was dying, they threw me from the cord-bed to the floor, and dragged me down the steep stone staircase to the lowest cellar where I was lying, next to the evil-smelling dust-bin, ready for removal by the carriers of the dead, when the Doctor Miss Sahib found me and brought me here. She is my mother and I am her child."
An old woman in Bed No. 4 exhorts the patients around her to trust the mission workers. "I was against them once," she tells them, "but now I know what love means. Caste? What is caste? I believe in the goodness they show. That is their caste."
Words profoundly wise!
On the slope of the desolate river among the tall grasses I asked her, "Maiden, where do you go shading your lamp with your mantle? My house is all dark and lonesome,—lend me your light!" She raised her dark eyes for a moment and looked at my face through the dusk. "I have come to the river," she said, "to float my lamp on the stream when the daylight wanes in the west." I stood alone among tall grasses and watched the timid flame of her lamp uselessly drifting in the tide.
In the silence of the gathering night I asked her, "Maiden, your lights are all lit—then where do you go with your lamp? My house is all dark and lonesome,—lend me your light." She raised her dark eyes on my face and stood for a moment doubtful. "I have come," she said at last, "to dedicate my lamp to the sky." I stood and watched her light uselessly burning in the void.
In the moonless gloom of midnight I asked her, "Maiden, what is your quest holding the lamp near your heart? My house is all dark and lonesome,—lend me your light." She stopped for a minute and thought and gazed at my face in the dark. "I have brought my light," she said, "to join the carnival of lamps." I stood and watched her little lamp uselessly lost among lights.
WOMEN WHO DO THINGS
India has boasted certain eminent women whom America knows well. Ramabai with her work for widows is a household word in American homes and colleges; President Harrison's sentences of appreciation emphasized the distinction that already belonged to Lilavati Singh; Chandra Lela's search for God has passed into literature. The Sorabji sisters are known in the worlds of law, education, and medicine.
But these names are not the only ones that India has to offer. In the streets of her great cities where two civilizations clash; in sleepy, old-world towns where men and women, born under the shade of temple towers and decaying palaces, are awakening to think new thoughts; in isolated villages where life still harks back to pre-historic days—against all these backgrounds you may find the Christian educated woman of New India measuring her untried strength against the powers of age-old tradition.
In this chapter I would tell you of a few such women whom I have met. They are not the only ones; they may not be even pre-eminent. Many who knew India well would match them with lists from other localities and in other lines of service.
These five are all college women. One had but two years in a Mission College whose course of study went no further; one carries an American degree; three are graduates of a Government College for men. All go back to the pioneer days before Madras Women's Christian College and Vellore Medical School saw the light, and when Isabella Thoburn's college department was small; all five bear proudly the name of Christian; through five different professions they are giving to the world of India their own expression of what Christianity has meant to them.
Home Making and Church Work.
Throughout India there exists a group of women workers, widely scattered, largely unknown to one another, in the public eye unhonored and unsung, yet performing tasks of great significance. Wherever an Indian Church raises its tower to the sky, there working beside the pastor you will find the pastor's wife.
Sometimes she lives in the heart of the Hindu town; sometimes in a village, in the primitive surroundings of a mass-movement community. Eminent among such is Mrs. Azariah, wife of the first Indian bishop, and with him at the head of the Tinnevelly Missionary Society at Dornakal. There, in the heart of the Deccan, among primitive Telugu outcastes, is this remarkable group of Indian missionaries, supported by Indian funds, winning these lowly people through the gospel of future salvation and of present betterment.
It was on a Sunday morning that I slipped into the communion service at Dornakal. The little church, built from Indian gifts with no aid from the West, is simplicity itself. The roof thatched with millet stalks, the low-hanging palmyra rafters hung with purple everlastings, the earth-floor covered with bamboo matting, all proclaimed that here was a church built and adorned by the hands of its worshippers. The Bishop in his vestments dispensed the sacrament from the simple altar. Even the Episcopal service had been so adapted to Indian conditions that instead of the sound of the expected chants one heard the Te Deum and the Venite set to the strains of Telugu lyrics. The audience, largely of teachers, theological students, and schoolboys and girls, sat on the clean floor space. One saw and listened with appreciation and reverence, finding here a beginning and prophecy of what the Christianized fraction of India will do for its motherland.
It was against this background that I came to know Mrs. Azariah. In the bungalow, as the Bishop's wife, she presides with dignity over a household where rules of plain living and high thinking prevail. She dispenses hospitality to the many European guests who come to see the activities of this experimental mission station, and packs the Bishop off well provided with food and traveling comforts for his long and numerous journeys. The one little son left at home is his mother's constant companion and shows that his training has not been neglected for the multitude of outside duties. One longs to see the house when the five older children turn homeward from school and college, and fill the bungalow with the fun of their shared experiences. Mercy, the eldest daughter, is one of the first Indian women students to venture on the new commercial course offered by the Young Women's Christian Association with the purpose of fitting herself to be her father's secretary. In a few months she will be bringing the traditions of the Women's Christian College of Madras, where she spent two previous years, to share with the Dornakal community.
But, though wife and mother and home maker, Mrs. Azariah's interests extend far beyond the confines of her family. She is president of the Madras Mothers' Union, and editor of the little magazine that travels to the homes of Tamil and Telugu Christian women, their only substitute for the "Ladies' Home Journal" and "Modern Priscilla." She is also the teacher of the women's class, made up of the wives of the theological students. A Tamil woman in a Telugu country, she, too, must have known a little of the linguistic woes of the foreign missionary. Those days, however, are long past, and she now teaches her daily classes in fluent and easy Telugu. There are also weekly trips to nearby hamlets, where the women-students are guided by her into the ways of adapting the Christian's good news to the comprehension of the plain village woman, whose interests are bounded by her house, her children, her goats, and her patch of millet.
Such a village we visited that same Sunday, when toward evening the Bishop, Mrs. Azariah, and I set out to walk around the Dornakal domain. We saw the gardens and farm from which the boys supply the whole school family with grain and fresh vegetables; we looked up to the grazing grounds and saw the herd of draught bullocks coming into the home sheds from their Sunday rest in pasture. I was told about the other activities which I should see on the working day to follow—spinning and weaving and sewing, cooking and carpentry and writing and reading—a simple Christian communism in which the boys farm and weave for the girls, and the girls cook and sew for the boys, and all live together a life that is leading up to homes of the future.
It was after all that that we saw the village. On the edge of the Mission property we came to the small group of huts, wattled from tree branches and clay, inhabited by Indian gypsy folk, just settling from nomadism into agricultural life. So primitive are they still, that lamp light is taboo among them, and the introduction of a kerosene lantern would force them to tear down those attempts at house architecture and move on to a fresh site, safe from the perils of civilization. It is among such primitive folk that Mrs. Azariah and her students carry their message. Herself a college woman, what experiment in sociology could be more thrilling than her contact with such a remnant of the primitive folk of the early world?
Mother, home-maker, editor, teacher, evangelist, with quiet unconsciousness and utter simplicity she is building her corner of Christian India.
"To-morrow is the day of the Annual Fair and I am so busy with arrangements that I had no time even to answer the note you sent me yesterday." No, this was not said in New York or Boston, but in Madras; and the speaker was not an American woman, but Mrs. Paul Appasamy, the All-India Women's Secretary of the National Missionary Society.
It was at luncheon time that I found Mrs. Appasamy at home, and persuaded her by shortening her meal a bit to find time to sit down with me a few minutes and tell me of some of the opportunities that Madras offers to an Indian Christian woman with a desire for service.
For such service Mrs. Appasamy has unusual qualifications. The fifth woman to enter the Presidency College of Madras, she was one of those early pioneers of woman's education, of whom we have spoken with admiring appreciation. Two years of association with Pandita Ramabai in her great work at Poona added practical experience and a familiarity with organization. Some years after her marriage to Mr. Appasamy, a barrister-at-law in Madras, came the opportunity for a year of foreign travel, divided between England and America. Such experiences could not fail to give a widened outlook, and, when Mrs. Appasamy returned to make her home in Madras, she soon found that not even with four children to look after, could her interests be confined to the walls of her own home.
American girls might be interested to know how wide a range of activities Indian life affords—how far the Western genius for organization and committee-life has invaded the East. Here is a partial list of Mrs. Appasamy's affiliations:
Member of Council and Executive for the Women's Christian College.
Vice President of the Madras Y.W.C.A.
Member of the Hostel Committee of the Y.W.C.A.
Member of the Vernacular Council of the Y.W.C.A.
Women's Secretary for All India of the National Missionary Society.
Supervisor of a Social Service Committee for Madras.
President of the Christian Service Union.
Of all her activities, Mrs. Appasamy's connection with the National Missionary Society is perhaps the most interesting. The "N.M.S.," as it is familiarly called, is a cause very near to the hearts of most Indian Christians. The work in Dornakal represents the effort of Tinnevelly Tamil Christians for the evangelization of one section of the Telugu country. The N.M.S. is a co-ordinated enterprise, taking in the contributions of all parts of Christian India and applying them to seven fields in seven different sections of India's great expanse. The first is denominational and intensive; the second interdenominational and extensive. India has room for both and for many more of each. Both are built upon the principle of Indian initiative and employ Indian workers paid by Indian money.
In the early days of the N.M.S., its missionaries were all men, assisted perhaps by their wives, who with household cares could give only limited service. Later came the idea that here was a field for Indian women. At the last convention, the question of women's contribution and women's work was definitely raised, and Mrs. Appasamy took upon herself the burden of travel and appeal. Already she has organized contributing branches among the women of India's principal cities and is now anticipating a trip to distant Burmah for the same purpose. Rupees 8,000—about $2,300.00—lie in the treasury as the first year's response, much of it given in contributions of a few cents each from women in deep poverty, to whom such gifts are literally the "widow's mite."
The spending of the money is already planned. In the far north in a Punjabi village a house is now a building and its occupant is chosen. Miss Sirkar, a graduate now teaching in Kinnaird College, Lahore, has determined to leave her life within college walls, to move into the little house in the isolated village, and there on one third of her present salary to devote her trained abilities to the solution of rural problems. It is a new venture for an unmarried woman. It requires not only the gift of a dedicated life, but also the courage of an adventurous spirit. Elementary school teaching, social service, elementary medical help—these are some of the "jobs" that face this new missionary to her own people.
But, to return to Mrs. Appasamy, she not only organizes other people for work, but in the depressed communities of Madras herself carries on the tasks of social uplift. As supervisor of a Social Service organization, she has the charge of the work carried on in fifteen outcaste villages. With the aid of several co-workers frequent visits are made. Night schools are held for adults who must work during the hours of daylight, but who gather at night around the light of a smoky kerosene lantern to struggle with the intricacies of the Tamil alphabet. Ignorant women, naturally fearful of ulterior motives, are befriended, until trust takes the place of suspicion. The sick are induced to go to hospitals; learners are prepared for baptism; during epidemics the dead are buried. During the great strike in the cotton mills, financial aid was given. Hull House, Chicago, or a Madras Pariah Cheri—the stage setting shifts, but the fundamental problems of ignorance and poverty and disease are the same the world around. The same also is the spirit for service, whether it shines through the life of Jane Addams or of Mrs. Appasamy.
With the "Blue Triangle."
The autumn of 1906 saw the advent of the first Indian student at Mt. Holyoke College. Those were the days when Oriental students were still rare and the entrance of Dora Maya Das among seven hundred American college girls was a sensation to them as well as an event to her.
It is a far cry from the wide-spreading plains of the Punjab with their burning heats of summer to the cosy greenness of the Connecticut valley—a far cry in more senses than geographical distance. Dora had grown up in a truly Indian home, as one of thirteen children, her father a new convert to Christianity, her mother a second generation Christian. The Maya Das family were in close contact with a little circle of American missionaries. An American child was Dora's playmate and "intimate friend." In the absence of any nearby school, an American woman was her teacher, who opened for her the door of English reading, that door that has led so many Oriental students into a large country. Later came the desire for college education. To an application to enter among the men students of Forman Christian College at Lahore came the principal's reply that she might do so if she could persuade two other girls to join her. The two were sought for and found, and these three pioneers of women's education in the Punjab entered classes which no woman had invaded before.
Then came the suggestion of an American college, and Dora started off on a voyage of discovery that must have been epoch-making in her life. It is, as I have said, a far cry from Lahore to South Hadley. It means not only physical acclimatization, but far more delicate adjustments of the mind and spirit. Many a missionary, going back and forth at intervals of five or seven years, could tell you of the periods of strain and stress that those migrations bring. How much more for a girl still in her teens! New conventions, new liberties, new reserves—it was young David going forth in Saul's untried armor. Of spiritual loneliness too, she could tell much, for to the Eastern girl, always untrammelled in her expression of religious emotion, our Western restraint is an incomprehensible thing. "I was lonely," says Miss Maya Das, "and then after a time I reacted to my environment and put on a reserve that was even greater than theirs."
So six years passed—one at Northfield, four at Mt. Holyoke, and one at the Y.W.C.A. Training School in New York. Girls of that generation at Mt. Holyoke will not forget their Indian fellow student who "starred" in Shakespearian roles and brought a new Oriental atmosphere to the pages of the college magazine. Six years, and then the return to India, and another period of adjustment scarcely less difficult than the first. That was in 1910, and the years since have seen Miss Maya Das in various capacities. First as lecturer, and then as acting principal of Kinnaird College at Lahore, she passed on to girls of her own Province something of Mt. Holyoke's gifts to her. Now in Calcutta, she is Associate National Secretary of the Y.W.C.A.
It was in Calcutta that I met Miss Maya Das, and that she left me with two outstanding impressions. The first is that of force and initiative unusual in an Indian woman. How much of this is due to her American education, how much to her far-northern home and ancestry, is difficult to say. Whatever the cause, one feels in her resource and executive ability. In that city of purdah women, she moves about with the freedom and dignity of a European and is received with respect and affection.
The second characteristic which strikes one is the fact that Miss Maya Das has remained Indian. One can name various Indian men and some women who have become so denationalized by foreign education that "home" is to them the land beyond the water, and understanding of their own people has lessened to the vanishing point. That Miss Maya Das is still essentially Indian is shown by such outward token as that of dropping her first name, which is English, and choosing to be known by her Indian name of Mohini, and also by adherence to distinctively Indian dress, even to the embroidered Panjabi slippers. What matters more is the inward habit of mind of which these are mere external expressions.
In a recent interview with Mr. Gandhi, Miss Maya Das told him that as a Christian she could not subscribe to the Non-Co-operation Movement, because of the racial hate and bitterness that it engenders; yet just because she was a Christian she could stand for all constructive movements for India in economic and social betterment. One of Mr. Gandhi's slogans is "a spinning wheel in every home," that India may revive its ancient arts and crafts and no longer be clothed by the machine looms of a distant country. Miss Maya Das told him that she had even anticipated him in this movement, for she and other Christian women of advanced education are following a regular course in spinning and weaving, with the purpose of passing on this skill through the Rural Department of the Y.W.C.A.
Another pet scheme of Miss Maya Das is the newly formed Social Service League of Calcutta. Into its membership has lately come the niece of a Chairman of the All-India Congress, deciding that the constructive forces of social reform are better to follow than the destructive programme of Non-Co-operation. Miss Maya Das longs to turn her abounding energy into efforts toward purdah parties and lectures for the shut-in women of the higher classes, believing that in this way the Association can both bring new interests into narrow lives, and can also gain the help and financial support of these bored women of wealth toward work among the poor.
One of Miss Maya Das's interests is a month's summer school for rural workers, a prolonged Indian Silver Bay, held at a temperature of 112 in the shade, during the month of May when all schools and colleges are closed for the hot weather vacation. Last year women came to it from distant places, women who had never been from home before, who had never seen a "movie," who had never entered a rowboat or an automobile. Miss Maya Das's stereopticon lectures carried these women in imagination to war scenes where women helped, to Hampton Institute, to Japan, and suggested practical ways of assisting in tuberculosis campaigns and child welfare. After four weeks of social enjoyment and Christian teaching they returned again to their scattered branches with the curtain total of their results from 88 in Newark to 355 in Madras.
What is Dr. Vera Singhe doing about it? With her two medical assistants, her corps of nurses, and the increasing number of health visitors whom she herself has trained, she has been able to reduce the death rate among the babies in her care during 1920 from the city rate of 280 for that year to 231.
But enough of statistics. More enlightening than printed reports is a visit to the Triplicane Health Centre, where in the midst of a congested district work is actually going on. We shall find no up-to-date building with modern equipment, but a middle-class Hindu house, adapted as well as may be to its new purpose. Among its obvious drawbacks, there is the one advantage, that patients feel themselves at home and realize that what the doctor does in those familiar surroundings they can carry over to their own home life.
Our visit happens to be on a Thursday afternoon, which is Mothers' Day. Thirty or more have gathered for an hour of sewing. It is interesting to see mothers of families taking their first lessons in hemming and overcasting, and creating for the first time with their own hands the garments for which they have always been dependent on the bazaar tailor. For these women have never been to school—their faces bear that shut-in look of the illiterate, a look impossible to define, but just as impossible to mistake when once it has been recognized. With the mothers are a group of girls of ten or twelve, who are learning sewing at an earlier age, when fingers are more pliant and less like to thumbs. Then there are the babies, too—most of them health-centre babies, who come for milk, for medicine, for weighing, over a familiar and oft-traveled road. Fond mothers exhibit them with pride to the doctor, and there is much comparison of offspring, much chatter, and much general sociability.
Back of the dispensary is the milk room, where in an adapted and Indianized apparatus, due to the doctor's ingenuity, the milk supply is pasteurized each day, and given out only to babies whose mothers are positively unable to nurse them, and are too poor to buy.
Of some of the difficulties encountered Dr. Vera Singhe will tell in her own words:
"The work of the midwife is carried out in the filthiest parts of the city among the lowest of the city's population, both day and night, in sun and rain ... A patient whose 'address' was registered at the Triplicane Centre was searched for by a nurse on duty in the locality of the 'address' given, and could not be found. Much disappointed, the nurse was returning to the centre, when to her bewilderment she found that her patient had been delivered in a broken cart."
Of some of the actual cases where mothers have been attended by untrained barber women, the details are too revolting to publish. Imagine the worst you can, and then be sure that your imagination has altogether missed the mark.
Of the reaction upon ignorance and superstition Dr. Vera Singhe says, "In Triplicane dispensary as many as sixty cords around waists and arms and variously shaped and sized pieces of leather which had been tied in much trust and confidence to an innocent sufferer with the hope of obtaining recovery have been in a single day removed by the mothers themselves on seeing that our treatment was more effective than the talisman."
Weighing, feeding, bathing, prevention of disease, simple remedies—knowledge of all these goes out from the health centres to the unsanitary homes of crowded city streets. So far one woman's influence penetrates.
In a Hospital.
It was on a train journey up-country from Madras, some twelve years ago, that I first met Dr. Paru. She and I shared the long seat of the small second-class compartment, and in that close neighborliness I soon fell to wondering. From her dress I knew her to be a Hindu, yet her jewels were few and inconspicuous. She was most evidently of good family, yet she was traveling unattended.
Presently we fell into some casual talk, the inconsequent remarks common to chance acquaintance the world over. More intimate conversation followed, and before the end of the short journey together, I knew who Miss Paru was. The oldest daughter of a liberal Hindu lawyer on the Malabar Coast, she was performing the astounding feat of taking a medical course at the Men's Government College in Madras, while systematically breaking her caste by living at the Y.W.C.A. I almost gasped with astonishment. "But what do your relatives say?" I asked. "Oh," she replied, "my father is the head of his family and an influential man in our town. He does as he pleases and no one dares to object."
That was twelve years ago. Yesterday for the second time I met my traveling companion of long ago. She is now Dr. Paru, assistant to Dr. Kugler in the big Guntur Women's Hospital, with its hundred beds, managing alone its daily dispensary list of one hundred and fifty patients, and performing unaided such difficult major operations as a Caesarean section for a Brahman woman, of whom Dr. Kugler says, "The patient had made many visits to Hindu shrines, but the desire of her life, her child, was the result of an operation in a Mission Hospital. In our Hospital her living child was placed in her arms as a result of an operation performed by a Christian doctor."
How did Dr. Paru, the Hindu medical student, develop into Dr. Paru, the Christian physician? I asked her and she told me, and her answers were a series of pictures as vivid as her own personality.
First, there was Paru in her West Coast Home, among the cocoanut palms and pepper vines of Malabar where the mountains come down to meet the sea and the sea greets the mountains in abundant rains. Over that Western sea once came the strange craft of Vasco di Gama, herald of a new race of invaders from the unknown West. Over the same sea to-day come men of many tongues and races, and Arab and African Negroes jostle by still in the bazaars of West Coast towns. Such was the setting of Paru's home. During her childhood days certain visitors came to its door, Bible women with parts of the New Testament for sale, little paper-bound Gospels with covers of bright blue and red. The contents meant nothing to Paru then, but the colors were attractive, and for their sake she and her sister, childlike, bought, and after buying, because they were schoolgirls and the art of reading was new to them, read.
The best girls' school in that Malabar town was a Roman Catholic convent. It was there that Paru's education was given to her, and it was there that prayer, even in its cruder forms, entered into her experience. Religious teaching was not compulsory for non-Christian pupils, but, when the sisters and their Christian following gathered each morning for prayers, the doors were not shut and among other onlookers came Paru, morning after morning, drawn partly by curiosity, partly by a sense of being left out. Never in all her years in that school did the Hindu child join in the Christian service, but at home, when father and mother were not about, she gathered her sister and younger brothers into a corner and taught them in childish words to tell their wants and hopes and fears to the Father in Heaven.
The lawyer-father was the abiding influence in the daughter's growth of mind and soul. A liberal Hindu he would have been called. In reality, he was one of that unreckoned number, the Nicodemuses of India, who come to Jesus by night, who render Him unspoken homage, but never open confession. A man of broad religious interests, he read the Hindu Gita, the Koran, and the Gospels; and among them all the words of Jesus held pre-eminence in his love and in his life. When in later years he found his daughter puzzling over Bible commentaries to clear up some question of faith, he asked impatiently, "Why do you bother with those books? Read the words of Jesus in the Gospels and act accordingly. That is enough." Father and daughter were wonderful comrades. In all the years of separation when, as student and doctor, Paru was held on the opposite side of India, long weekly letters went back and forth, and events and thoughts were shared. When the hour of decision came, and the girl ventured into untried paths where the father could not follow, there were separation and misunderstanding for a time, but that time was short. The home visits were soon resumed and the Christian daughter was once more free to share home and meals with her Hindu family. And when one day the father said, "If a person feels a certain thing to be his duty, he should do it, whatever the cost," Paru rejoiced, for she knew that her forgiveness was sealed.
Dr. Paru's entrance into the world of medicine was due to her father's wish rather than her own. He was of that rare type of social reformer who acts more than he speaks. Believing that eventually his daughter would marry, he felt that as a doctor from her own home she could carry relief and healing into her small neighborhood. Paru, to please her father, went into the long grind of medical college, conquered her aversion for the dissecting table, and "made good." What does he think, one wonders, as, looking upon her to-day with the clearer vision of the life beyond, he sees the beloved daughter, thoughts of home and husband and children put aside, but with her name a household word among the women of a thousand homes. Ask her what she thinks of medicine as a woman's profession and her answer will leave no doubt whether she believes it worth while.
Actual decision for Christ was a thing of slow growth, its roots far back in memories of bright-covered Gospels and convent prayers, fruit of open confession maturing only during her years of service at Guntur. Life in the Madras Y.W.C.A. had much to do with it. There were Indian Christian girls, fellow students. "No," said Dr. Paru, "they didn't talk much about it; they had Christian ideals and tried to live them." There was a secretary, too, who entered into her life as a friend. "Paru," she said at last, "you are neither one thing nor the other. If you aren't going to be a Christian, go back and be a Hindu. At least, be something." At Guntur there were the experiences of Christian service and fellowship. Finally, there were words spoken at a Christian meeting, "words that seemed meant for me"; and then the great step was taken, and Dr. Paru entered into the liberty that has made her free to appear outwardly what she long had been at heart.
Such are a few of those Indian women whom one delights to honor. They broke through walls of custom and tradition and forced their way into the open places of life. Few they are and widely scattered, yet their influence is past telling.
To-day Lucknow, Madras, and Vellore are sending out each year their quota of educated women, ready to find their place in the world's work. It gives one pause, and the desire to look into the future—and dream. Ten years hence, twenty, fifty, one hundred! What can the dreamer and the prophet foretell? When those whom we now count by fives and tens are multiplied by the hundred, what will it mean for the future of India and the world? What of the gladness of America through whose hand, outstretched to share, there has come the release of these latent powers of India's womanhood?
But what of the powers not released? What of the "mute, inglorious" company of those who have had no chance to become articulate? There among the road-menders, going back and forth all day with a basket of crushed stone upon her head, toils a girl in whose hand God has hidden the cunning of the surgeon. No one suspects her powers, she least of all, and that undeveloped skill will die with her, undiscovered and unapplied. "To what purpose is this waste?"
Into your railway carriage comes the young wife of a rajah. Hidden by a canopy of crimson silk, she makes her aristocratic entrance concealed from the common gaze. Her life is spent within curtains. Yet she is the descendant of a Mughal ancestor who carried off and wedded a Rajput maiden. In her blood is the daring of Padmini, the executive power of Nur Jahan. With mind trained and exercised, she would be the administrative head of a woman's college. Again,—"To what purpose is this waste?"
Who dares to compute the sum total of lives wasted among the millions of India's women because undiscovered? Will American girls grudge their gifts to help in the discovery? Will American girls grudge the investment of their lives?
Only like souls I see the folk thereunder, Bound who should conquer, slaves who should be kings, Hearing their one hope with an empty wonder, Sadly contented with a show of things. Then with a rush the intolerable craving Shivers throughout me like a trumpet call; Oh, to save these! To perish for their saving, Die for their life, be offered for them all.
Achievements of Christianity, of women,
Alliance, an international,
America, students continue studies in,
American women, gifts of, to Medical School,
Appasamy, Mrs. Paul,
Archaeology, revelations of,
Aryan invades India, the,
Azariah, Mrs.; magazine edited by,
Blue Triangle, with the,
Brooke, Rupert, quoted,
Butler, Mrs. William,
Calcutta, Social Service League of,
Caste and pride of race, broken by Dr. Paru,
Character, training women in, and college education,
Child widows and education,
Children's Home prevents disease, beggary, and crime,
Chinnappa, Mrs. See Singhe, Dr. Vera.
Christ, call of, must be heard to redeem the women of India; demonstration of uplifting influence of, demands college education, transforming power through; power, revelations of,
Christ's gift of education,
Christian education, Hindu or,
Christian ideals, distribution of, demands college education,
Christian unity in education,
Christian women and need of India,
Christian workers, training, demands college education,
Christianity, achievements of; Dr. Paru a convert to,
Church work and home making,
Churches should practice internationalism,
Civilization, dawn of, of Anglo-Saxon recent,
Co-education in India, discussed by students,
College, why go to? teachers for high schools, doctors for hospitals, leadership, motherhood; co-education,
College education and future of India; for Indian girls justified,
College girls, missionary service one of the greatest fields for,
College woman, the, and India,
College women, pioneer services of,
Colleges, Indian, best for undergraduates; must be made truly Christian to redeem India; should practice internationalism,
Co-operation of missions,
Cosmopolitan atmosphere of Lal Bagh,
Crime prevented by Children's Home,
Death rates of infants,
Debt and dowry system,
Dissecting room at Vellore,
Doctor, when the, passes; where no, passes,
Doctors for hospitals,
Dowry, married without,
Drama at Madras Christian College,
East, gifts of, to West; to West, adjustments required for change from,
Education, gift of Christ; proved that Indian girls can receive; of Indian girl; for girls; Hindu or Christian; an instrument to break down seclusion of the zenanas; college, and leadership; college, and motherhood; and early marriage; and child widows; and world peace; "triangular alliance" in; Christian unity in; college, for Indian girls justified; missions can not long meet demand for; Christian, Indian men testify to value of, See School.
Educated classes of India, to meet needs of, demands college education,
England, students continue studies in,
English, conquest of, the big job at high school,
Examination papers of students,
Fellowship, American, at Lal Bagh,
"Flivver," an Indian,
Folk-lore, woman in; woman heroine of,
Ford, the, in a new capacity,
Future of India demands college education,
Future? what of.
Gandhi, Mr., and Miss Maya Das.
Garden of hid treasure the.
Girl, Indian, to-day; uneducated; marriage of; life of; school life of; religion of; why go to college?; Girl students at Vellore Medical School; who they are; why they came; their future.
Girls, proved that Indian, can be educated; education of; high school, where they come from; what they study; Indian, college education for, justified.
God alone will not redeem India; in nature; transforming world through Christ.
Goreh, Ellen Lakshmi, quoted.
Government. See Student government.
Graduate from Madras Christian College, letter from.
Guntur Women's Hospital.
Heal, sent forth to.
High school, at; where girls are from; studies; conquest of English; life of girls; athletics; basket ball; dramatics; Harischandra; student government; co-operative housekeeping; religion of girls; religion made practical; outlets for religious emotion; teachers for.
Hindu or Christian education.
Hindu lawyer prefers Gospels to sacred books of India.
Hinduism, actualities of, unprintable; and Christianity; to Christianity, Dr. Paru a convert from.
Home life and college women.
Home making and church work.
Homemakers, training, demands college education.
Hospital, in a.
Hospital wards at Vellore.
Hospitals, doctors for.
Houses at Vellore.
Idol, wives of the.
"In the Secret of His Presence."
India, poetry of, felt to be insincere; no place for redemption of woman in the religions of; need of, can only be met by educated Indian Christian women; silent revolution has begun in; God alone will not redeem; future of, demands college education; the Aryan invades; Muhammadans invade; co-education in; superstition in; and the college woman; medical needs of, and supply of women physicians,
Indian conditions, worship adapted to,
Infants, death rates of,
Isabella Thoburn College, beginnings of, See Lal Bagh.
International alliance, an,
Internationalism, let churches and colleges practice,
Kipling quoted; cited,
Lal Bagh; cosmopolitan atmosphere; scholarship; American fellowship; first fellow; social questions; co-education discussed; early marriage and child widows; purdah discussed; social services; cleanliness inculcated; religious instruction by students; medical instruction by students; reading taught by students; sewing; purdah park suggested; social service during vacation; social service and strikes; visiting the poor and sick; what alumnae records show, See Isabella Thoburn College.
Lamp and the sunflower,
Languages at Madras Christian College,
Leadership forced upon educated Indian girls; training native, demands college education; and college education,.
Legal profession for women,
Licentiate in teaching,
Life of Indian girl,
"Lighted to lighten,"
Literary and Debating Societies,
Literature; magazine edited by Mrs. Azariah,
Madras Christian College, letter from student at; "triangular alliance; inter-missionary; nine languages represented; sunflower and the lamp; campus of; student organizations; student government; athletic teams; Literary and Debating Societies; Star Club; Natural History Club; Art Club; Dramatic and Musical Societies; History Club; Y.W.C.A.; social service; applied psychology; The Sunflower; superstitions; the college woman and India; teaching; legal profession; politics; home life; what one reformer achieved; dowry system; college education for women justified; letter from graduate; extract from journal of teacher in; students continue studies in England and America; licentiates in teaching; examination papers; student body of; "conscience clause,"; effort to aid cause of nationalism; social service by students; students of, love Shakespeare; drama at; students collect fund for science building,
Madras Corporation Child Welfare Scheme,
Madras Mothers' Union,
McDougall, Miss Eleanor
Magazine edited by Mrs. Azariah,
Manu, laws of,
Marriage of Indian girl,
Marriage, early, and education, See Child marriage; Dowry system.
Maya Das, Dora; and Mr. Gandhi,
Medical instruction by students,
Medical needs of India and supply of women physicians,
Medical School, Vellore. See Vellore Medical School.
Medical treatment, ignorant; superstition in,
Mid-wife, work of a,
Mission boards, fourteen, support Madras Christian College,
Missions, criticism of; can not long meet demand for education,
Missionary service one of greatest fields for college girls,
"Moral equivalent of war,"
Morality and religion unrelated,
Motherhood and college education,
Mt. Holyoke College and Mary Lyon; first Indian student at,
Muhammadans invade India,
Multiplication, problem in,
Naidu, Mrs. Sarojini,
Nala and Damayanti,
Natural History Club,
Nature, God in,
National life of India, training women for, demands college education,
National Missionary Society,
Nationalism, effort to aid cause of,
Nur Jahan, "the light of the world,"
Nurses' Home of Vellore Medical School,
Obstetrics, makeshift manikin for teaching,
"Once upon a time,"
Opportunities for service,
Organizations of students,
Palm trees, school under,
Parker, Mrs. Edwin W.,
Paru, Dr.; breaks caste; father of, prefers Gospels to sacred books of India,
Peace. See World peace.
Physicians, women. See Women physicians.
Pioneer services of college women,
Poem by Rabindranath Tagore,
Poetry of India,
Politics, training women for, demands college education, women in,
Poor, visiting the,
Prostitution, religious, protected,
Purdah, origin of; discussed,
Purdah parks suggested,
Pushpam and her work as a reformer,
Race, pride of, and caste,
Rama and Sita,
Reading taught by students,
Redemption of woman, no place for, in religions of India
Reformer, one, and what she achieved,
Religion, the Indian girl's, and morality unrelated, made practical,
Religions of India, no place for redemption of woman in the,
Religious education, aim of,
Religious emotion, outlets for,
Religious instruction by students,
Revolution, silent, Roads, metalled, in India, Rukkubai
Salvation, yearning for, of souls, Myers,
Scholarship at Lal Bagh,
School, at; Hindu or Christian; under palm trees, See Education
School life of Indian girl,
Science building, students collect fund for,
Scudder, Dr. Ida
Sent forth to heal,
Servants of India Society,
Serveth, among you as He that,
Service, great field for, for college girls; public,
Sewing taught by students; lessons in,
Shakespeare loved by students,
Sick, visiting the,
Singhe, Dr. Vera, quoted,
Site, new, of Vellore Medical College,
Social life, moralizing, demands college education,
Social questions discussed by students,
Social services of Lal Bagh students; during vacation; and strikes, at Madras; by students of Madras Christian College; in outcaste villages,
Social Service League of Calcutta,
Solidarity of the world,
Song of the Women, The, quoted,
Stone age, remains of,
Strikes and social service,
Student body of Madras Christian College, at Vellore Medical School. See Girl students.
Students, examination papers of; collect fund for science building,
Summer school for rural workers,
Sunflower and the lamp,
Sunflower, The, college magazine,
Superstition in India,; in medical treatment,
Tagore, Rabindranath, poem by,
Talisman, reliance upon,
Teachers for high schools,
Teaching as occupation, licentiate in,
Telugu outcastes, missionary work among,
Temples, vile things connected with,
Thillayampalam, first fellow from Isabella Thoburn College,
Tinnevelly Missionary Society,
To-day, yesterday and,
Traditions of womanhood,
Trail, the long, a-winding,
Treasure, the garden of hid,
Triplicane Health Centre, 144.
Union Missionary Medical School for Women, Vellore. See Vellore Medical School.
Vacation, social service during,
Veil, use of,
Vellore Medical School, needs of; modest start of; scholarship at; Licensed Medical Practitioner; visit to; housing shortage at; corpses— and children; dissecting room; early rising; Schell Hospital; the Ford in a new capacity; Nurses' Home; makeshift manikin; new site; who the students are; why the students came; future of the students; medical needs of India; ignorant medical treatment; gifts of American women to,
Villages, outcaste, social service in,
Visiting the poor and sick,
"War, moral equivalent of,"
Waste? to what purpose,
West, gifts of East to,
Wives of the idol
Woman, redemption of, no place for, in the religions of India; in folk-lore; heroine of folk-love; and laws of Manu, See Girl.
Woman's Christian College, Madras. See Madras Christian College.
Woman's Foreign Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church,
Womanhood, traditions of,
Women, Indian, are asserting their rights; gifts of American, and Vellore Medical School; who do things,
Women physicians, pre-medical training of, demands college education; efforts to increase number of; supply of, and India's medical needs,
World, solidarity of,
World peace and education,
Worship adapted to Indian conditions,
Yesterday and to-day,
Young Women's Christian Association of Madras College,
Zenanas, opening of, through education,