This is one of the consequences of Anna's ( Maharshi Karve) work, probably never discussed. It was a routine for the senior and the ones who held the most pivotal positions in our country under British rule, to address gatherings in Briton and explain the situation in the countries they were serving in. It was also customary to make appeals for the help of Missionary work.
In one of the addresses Mr. Rechard Temple ( at London, organized by Baptist Missionary Society, who held the important portfolios like being a member of the finance committee and the foreign secretary) in 1883, made an appeal to the ladies, educated and sensible, to help girls' education in India. He stated that thousands(!) of schools were opened in India for the spread of female education in India, for which the administration ought to command the sympathies of every lady. But he explained that it was really difficult to get 'school-mistresses', the reason being prejudices in Indian society.
The girls were then married at an early age, as a result, there was a large number of widows ( many of them were child widows) in the society. It used to be turned into leading a very miserable life, having no hope or occupation to support themselves. For these widows, the career of school- mistress was according to him, an honorable option. He had considered the widows in the families of middle and wealthy classes. He thought enlightenment ( conversion) should be spread among the upper classes. This he thought, could not be carried out by administrators. He urged women of England, as they were perfectly qualified for such a delicate task, to undertake it. Undoubtedly, it was to be followed by the propagation of Christianity.
Anna established the Hingane Stree Shikshan Sanstha in 1896. He had witnessed the plight of widows and thought that educating them would make them capable of leading a respectable life. He opened schools for girls and to find a way out of the challenge of preparing good and dedicated lady teachers, he established the training colleges for women 100 years ago. When I came across the address by Mr. Temple, realized that our women ( widows) were saved from the threat of conversion. They could live a life of self-esteem and did not have to be a burden on the family or society. The data of the Sanstha clearly makes the picture clear. Most of the women who were trained in both the D Ed colleges, did work in the Sanstha schools or the schools of their native places or anywhere in Maharashtra and led the movement of women's education from the front. Fortunately, he lived 60 years after the establishment of Sanstha. It was certainly not a smooth sail. He had to face strong resistance from our society, his widow's remarriage too added to his difficulties. But he preferred to tread diligently on the path with great conviction and confidence.
At the same time, they all had an opportunity to be independent and were saved from being converted too. Anna's work in a way, proved to be of great value, though no one mentioned this aspect of his work.
We need to understand this dimension of his sustained endeavor of 60 years. His work might have motivated many across the country and attracted attention to women's education which could silently save our society. It was in a way, on the agenda of British rulers to take advantage of their sufferings and make this class hate and blame Hindu society for their miserable state of life. As they did in the case of the famine-affected area and converted a large number of people. Now probably we need to see this design and be indebted to great visionaries like Anna.
( Reading the book by Arun Shourie on missionaries in India Continuities, Changes, and Dilemmas compelled me to view Anna's work in this direction. The book has the original address printed.)