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Convocation addresses of the universities of Bombay and Madras online

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ble. If Oxford and Cambridge, after the great advances they
have made during the last half century, still find they must
further increase their borders and reform their systems, to meet
the requirements of the times, we must not think our infant
University can remain as it is. So fully alive is the Syndicate to
this fact, that it has appointed a Committee of its most experi-
enced members to consider and report on these subjects, and I
doubt not Taut the results of their deliberations will be highly
beneficial, not only to the University, but to the cause of edu-
cation generally in the Presidency.

And now, having reviewed the past year's proceedings, I

will, in conclusion, say a few words to the graduates

Attain per- and under-graduates of the University. Gentlemen,

fection in some T , . . -, , r .

one subject. I nave pn previous occasions warned you that your
real education only commences when your Colle-
giate course ends. It is after that has closed that it depends
on yourselves whether you will make any true use of the educa-
tional benefits you have received or not. There must be much
which you have to acquire for the purpose of your examina-
tions, which remains, as it were, undigested, and which to
become of any real use must be absorbed in your intellectual
system. Doubtless with many this latter process cannot take
place owing to the mind being overcrowded, and so assimilation
is impossible. My advice to you is, do not attempt too many
things ; settle on one definite object for your future study, and
strive to perfect yourselves in it as far as possible. I fear, from

82 University of Bombay*

what I see, that the old saying, " a little learning is a dangerous
thing " is not sufficiently borne in mind. Too many young men
seem to think that when once they can put B.A, or even F.A.
after their names, they are equal to discuss almost any subject,
and to criticize and censure any authority, be it the Government
of the country or the local head of the village. A smattering of
many subjects can only be useful when there is one great fixed
object of life, round which such scintillations of knowledge may
sparkle, and to which they may perhaps add lustre ; but a mere
smattering of many subjects without such support can only mislead
and deceive the possessor, and render him weak if not despicable
in the eyes of all true men. Study you must if you wish to become
men. Let me commend to your careful perusal the speech
of the new Lord Rector of the University of Edinburgh, so full
of sound advice to all students, and in which there is one caution
which seems to me so peculiarly appropriate to the mass of the
educated youth in this country, that 1 feel I cannot do better
than conclude these observations with it. Lord Derby's words
are : " There is nothing more common among those who have
read a little and thought a little than the union of strong con-
victions with very narrow intelligence ; and next to the absence
of conviction altogether, there is no mental condition that is
socially less desirable or politically more dangerous/'



Gentlemen of the Senate, I have been quite unexpectedly
called on to preside over the present Convocation. His Excellency
the Chancellor had expressed his intention of so doing, but the
press of work which the sad scarcity in the Deccan and Southern
Mahratta country has thrown upon him, added to the hasty visit
of the Governor of Madras, with whom he has had to confer,
has rendered it at the last moment impossible for His Excellency
to take the chair on the present occasion. I will read a letter to
my address which I received on {Saturday evening from the
Chancellor, announcing his inability to attend, and at the same
time communicating to the Semite his good wishes for the pros-
perity of the University ;

"PARELL, 13/7t January 1877.

"My dear Mr. Vice-Chancellor, I am sure you will fed that
I would not lightly, for many reasons, make the ivque.-t 1 am.
about to do. But I must assure you that from the time of my
leaving Bombay for Delhi up to the present moment, I really

1877. Honorable 'James' Gibbs.

Lave been, and am still too much occupied to give sufficient atten-
tion to the approaching Convocation of the University at which
you had kindly suggested that I should preside. I should be
very sorry to think, after quitting Bombay, that I had discharged
this duty in an imperfect and unsatisfactory manner, such as
would have afforded the members of the University just ground
of complaint, and subjected me to well-merited censure. 1 do
not hesitate, therefore, to ask you to do me the favour of pre-
siding, as Vice-Chancellor, at this Convocation, and to offer
my excuses to the members of the University. They at least
must be gainers by the exchange. You have always taken so
lively an interest in all its operations, and are so thoroughly con-
versant with all their details that a review of them coming from
you must be in all respects more interesting and instructive than
any statement of the views of one who will soon cease to possess
the means of affording useful support to an institution of which
he trusts the importance and influence for good may steadily
increase to the full satisfaction of those who, like yourself,
are at all times ready to use their best efforts for its welfare.

" Yours ever truly,

I personally may perhaps be permitted to testify to the
great amount of labour which His Excellency has
taken "P on nim self since September last, when it
appeared clear to this Government that we had
to face a most severe calamity. Sir Philip Wodehouse set
himself from the first to direct all the movements, and to arrange
all the details. How well he has done this may be understood
from the very warm commendation he received from the lips of
the Viceroy at Delhi, while the fullest approbation, I am happy
to state, of his judgment and ability in this important crisis has
been received from the Home Government, judgment and ability
which have hitherto prevented the disastrous results which
might otherwise have ensued; for be it remembered that to
scarcity of food from failure of the usual monsoon, was added
scarcity of water, and scarcity of fodder, each tending greatly to
increase the distress pervading nine of the largest districts of
the Presidency. All these difficulties have met with the utmost
attention, and we trust that the results will prove that the
Governor's forethought and energy will, under Providence,
reduce the distress of the people and their concomitant loss of
health and property to the smallest amount. To have to arrange
for such an important crisis, added to the fact that all this
additional labour is thrown on him at the close of his Governor-

University of Bombay.

ship, will, I feel sure, be accepted as a just ground of excuse by
the Senate for the absence of the Chancellor to-day.

The report which has just been read by the Registrar
refers very shortly to several very important matters which
have engaged the attention o the Syndicate during the past
year. When presiding in this place last January I mentioned
that the Syndicate was not only aware that changes must be
made, but had appointed a Committee for the purpose of con-
sidering all the questions which had been started in connection
with the management of the examinations. This Committee was
presided over by Mr. Justice West, than whom it would have
been difficult to find a gentleman who, from his experience in
educational matters and from the great interest' he has always
taken in the affairs of the University, was more capable of leading
the discussions to a practical result. The Committee considered
all the suggestions which had been made to the Syndicate, in-
cluding tho&e put forward by Mr. Jacob, and finally laid down
26 separate questions for discussion, of which 18 resulted in modi-
fications being made in the present system, while as regards the
remaining 8 it was decided to make no change. The deliberations
of this Committee lasted from January to April, during which
they held 10 meetings ; and their report, after having had those
points on which the advice of the Faculties was required, sub-
mitted to them, was finally discussed by the Syndicate who,
after obtaining the consent of the Senate on the matters which
by the statutes required your decision, adopted nearly all the
proposals made. Before alluding to these in greater detail, I
must draw your attention to the great labour and thoughtful care
exhibited by the Committee, and for which our best thanks are
eminently due ; it forms another instance of the " unboughfc
exertions of those who direct the action of the University"; to
which Sir Bartle Frere alluded in his Convocation address in
1867, and of which he said, " Government attach a double value
to whatever it does, because the progress it achieves affords an
excellent practical refutation of the doctrine that no good or
useful service to the State can be expected unless directly paid
for in money or money's worth/' The principal changes consist
in having the Pass qualification for Matriculation, viz., the Eng-
lish paper, sent to the educational centres, so that the students
who do not wish to come to Bombay unless they pass this test,
may be saved the expense and trouble of a long journey. It is
an experiment of which time alone can prove the worth ; but I
venture to think that if successful it must end in a further
extension of the principle which will eventually include the

1877. ITonorullr J>IIPS Gills. 85

entire examination in English being carried out at centres. The
abolition of the viva voce in the second language is also another
modification, the effect of which will have to be carefully
watched. The change is decidedly an economical one as regards
the cost of the examinations, and it is the opinion of the majority
of those consulted that it will do no harm, as the results of the
two papers will be a sufficient test. No one can, I think,
question the wisdom of the modification in the M.A, Examination,
which is strictly in accordance with the well-known maxim
" Poeta nascitur non fit." The double qualification in medicine
and surgery which the University has always required for its
degree is now more clearly defined in the change approved of
from L.M. to L.M. and S. The alterations to be made in the
future lists of successful candidates at the various examinations
will tend to distinguish more clearly the personal merits of each
student. The above are the principal modifications which have
been determined on a consideration of the report of Mr. Justice
West's Committee. They are experimental, tentative as all our
rules must be for some years to come; but they will, I trust,
be beneficial to the students and tend to uphold the status that
this University wishes should be attained by all the recipients
of its honours. I have not had time to dissect the returns of
this year's examinations and compare them with those of pre-
vious years ; but with regard to the results of the Matriculation
and the surmised cause for the falling off which has appeared
in some of the newspapers, I would state that three out of the
four Examiners in English are the same as those who examined
last year, when an exceptionally large number passed ; and that,
so far as the Syndicate is concerned, it strives as much as pos-
sible to keep the same persons as Examiners from year to year.
Changes are always occurring from one cause or another which
necessitates the appointment of fresh Examiners ; but on refer-
ring to the past years, I find that from 1872-73 to 1874-75, that
is, for three years, the same gentlemen examined in English at
the Matriculation, with one single exception, viz., Mr. Best suc-
ceeding Mr. Wordsworth, who had gone on leave. Changes in
appointments necessitated a new arrangement in 1875-76 which
has held good in the present year, with the exception of
Mr. Peterson taking Mr. Oxenham j s place, owing to that gentle-
man having joined the Deccan College. I think that those, there-
fore, who wish to find reasons for such an unfortunate result as
has occurred this year, must look beyond the mere change of
Examiners. The subject of endowments again receives pro-
minent notice in the report. This University has from its com-
mencement overstepped its sisters under this heading. At

University of Bombay.

Calcutta I believe the number is 5, of which the largest was
the gift of a Bombay merchant the donor of our noble
library and clock-tower; Madras 8; while we now possess
28, three of which have been added during the year under review.
Two of these the Merwanjee Framjee Panday and the Kahandas
Muncharam Scholarships are attached to the Civil Engineering
College, which opens a road for the study of a science which
will be of the greatest importance in developing the industry
of the country. As an instance of this, I would mention that
the late Munguldass Nathoobhoy Travelling Fellow took the
advantage of his residence in England to perfect his studies in
Civil Engineering, especially in that branch which applies to the
mechanism of spinning mills, and has since his return been
appointed to the independent charge of a large mill at Surat.
We have now been in possession of this splendid hall for some
years. I trust before another Convocation to find that the
library is in our hands and our collection of books, including
the principal portion of Dr. Wilson's library and that of the
Law Classes, deposited on its shelves, while the flow of time will
be marked by the harmonious music of the joy-bells in the
Rajabai Tower. I may here mention that the subscription for the
Bust of the late Dr. Wilson has been nearly filled up, and we hope
shortly to send the commission for it home. Our late Chancellor,
Sir Seymour Fitzgerald, concluded his last address with the words
" Floreat Academia" Sir Philip Wodehouse to-day, though
absent, echoes the same wish. Ere we meet again, a new Governor
will have come to this Presidency, and a new Chancellor will
preside over the University, one who has been my friend for
many years, with whom I studied at College, and whose brilliant
career every member of his service has watched with admira-
tion ; and I feel sure from his training under the great Arnold,
and from the high classical attainments which enabled him to
carry away from the Haileybury of old the numerous medals
and prizes which he did, that he will, while he rules over this
Presidency, ever extend a fostering hand to this our University.
May we not then look forward to the future without doubt that
the wish of our late and departing Chancellors may not only prove
true, but that each successive year will give us greater cause for

exclaiming " Floreat Academia"


Mr. Vice- Chancellor and Members of the Senate of the
University of Bombay, Yon will, I am sure, prefer that the

1878. Sir Richard Temple. 87

observations, which occur to me as suitable on this occasion,
should be addressed to those who are objects of our solicitude,
namely, the graduates and under-graduates of the University,
and through them to the Native public throughout this Presi-
dency, who are interested in the progress of education. Though
speaking now as Chancellor, I cannot divest myself of my
capacity of Governor, and my colleagues in the Government
Lave been consulted as to the principles to which your considera-
tion is now to be invited.

You, then, graduates and under-graduates, and all our
System of Native fellow-subjects of Western India whom my
state educa- words may reach, I would ask you to consider our
system of State education as a whole. You may
have sometimes heard in some quarters an advocacy of efforts by
Government on behalf of primary or elementary education for the
masses of the people, in apparent opposition to high education
for a limited number ; and, again, of high or superior education
for the few, irrespective of lower education, in the hope that
they, once enlightened, will scatter the light among the nation,
just as the rays of the rising sun must first touch the tops of
the mountains, and rest there for a while before they can pene-
trate to the dark valleys below.

The Government of Bombay, however, does not fix its
regards exclusively on either one side or the other. We desire
to foster all kinds of education alike ; whether high, or elemen-
tary, or intermediate, encouraging each kind according to its
needs. Though we long for the day when the people will
undertake the task of national instruction by private resources
and private organization, subject only to a general control by the
State, still, we see that at present in Western India this task has
to be performed mainly by the State, and we consider ourselves
answerable for holding the balance between the claims of the
several branches of education. We cannot say that any one of
them is more important than the others ; all are conducive to
the good of the people. Nor can any one be treated separately
from the others. They are co-operative one with the other, and
are almost inter-dependent. If the nation under our charge be
regarded in its corporate existence, we shall find that primary
education supplies material for secondary education; that
advancement of secondary or intermediate education reflects
back energy upon primary education ; that secondary education
leads up to high education, which, again, elevates the tone of
everything below it, and supplies the fittest instruments for all
other sorts of instruction.

88 University of Bombay.

National education in its totality may be likened to the
beautiful structure in wliicli we are now assembled. Primary
education is as the plinth with the foundation broad and deep ;
secondary education is as the superstructure with its walls and
pillars ; high education is as the roof with the domes and towers.
No part of the structure can be injured or neglected without
affecting the safety, or the usefulness, or the beauty of the whole.
And as the architects have bestowed care on all parts alike, so
is the Government bound to attend equally and simultaneously
to the three departments of education high, elementary, or inter-
mediate, preferring none to the others, but meeting even-handed
measure to all.

Our first duty is to determine the curriculum, the standard
or standards, for each of these branches, in conformity with
the wants of the several sections of Native society affected by
each. In order that this maybe well done, discriminative know-
ledge of the people, and sympathetic appreciation of their condi-
tion and prospects, are absolutely necessary.

Fortunately we can, by the method known as payment by
results, induce both masters and scholars to follow whatever
standards may be prescribed. If the master be a salaried ser-
vant of the State, he receives more or less remuneration accord-
ing as more or fewer scholars pass examinations according to the
standard. If private schools apply for grants-in-aid from the
State, the aid is allowed, more or less, according as the scholars
pass the examination.

Another method of ensuring, on the part of the scholars,
adherence to the standards, is the granting of scholarships.
For each class of schools, scholarships can be offered for open
competition among the scholars at examinations to be held annu-
ally according to the standard. The scholarship is, of course,
a stipend ; the holder virtually obtains a free education ; he
is the honourable possessor, not from patronage or favouritism,
but from victory over his fellows in the contest of mind with
mind. Consequently, all the active-minded boys work for
proficiency according to that standard, in the hope of winning
the scholarship, and the master has every inducement to teach
them accordingly. Thus the .grant of scholarships is not a mere
act of charity or of grace, but is an engine for compelling by
the force of emulation the observance of standards.

So the method of scholarships by competition stimulates the
spontaneous efforts of the good scholars ; the method of payment
by results ensures attention on the part of the masters to the
scholars of moderate or indifferent ability, so that the best

1878. Sir Richard Temple. 89

average possible may be preserved. And thus the State pro-
motes the welfare of the weak scholars as well as that of the

The moral power thus wielded by the State rivets on us a
responsibility for seeing that the several standards are the most
appropriate that can be devised.

You, doubtless, bear in mind that primary education is
conducted in the vernacular languages only ; secondary or middle
education partly in the vernacular and partly in English ; supe-
rior education mainly in English, partly also in the classical lan-
guages of the East.

Now., primary education in its humblest form cannot be too
low or too simple. Indeed, its first characteristic
cation"** 7 EdU " B ^ ou ^ k e adaptability to the poorest persons and
to the rudest minds. Its object is to ultimately
embrace all the boys and girls of the lower classes throughout
the country the farm labourers, the small artisans, the
village servants. It cannot, alas, attain so great an object
within this generation of living men. Meanwhile, it strives
to gather into its fold as many hundreds of thousands as it
can. It already reckons 210,000 pupils ; but even that number
forms a small part only of the children of a school-going age
in this Presidency, and leaves a sadly vast residue of children
growing up in ignorance. Its system should, therefore, in the
first instance, be as cheap, its standard as easy as possible, con-
sisting of a little reading and writing and some elementary
arithmetic. When it takes root and grows, then a somewhat
better standard may be cautiously introduced, just enough to
enable the children to move happily in the lowly sphere to
which their destiny confines them, and no more. These poor
children have but a short time during their tender age, say
from their fifth to their thirteenth year, within which must be
learnt what they are ever to learn from books, before the in-
evitable day when they must go forth to the field, to the grazing
ground, to the road, to the workshop, to help their parents in
the daily toil. With but too many of them, also, the time that
can be devoted to learning, is even less than this. Still, if this
much of time be obtained, within it there can be taught some-
thing more than elementary reading, writing, and arithmetic ;
something of morality, so that these children, often belonging to
the lowest castes in the social scale, may be instructed to speak
truth, to love virtue, to despise falseness ; something of the vege-
table kingdom which rewards plenteously those who labour con-
scientiously ; something of those wonders which Nature reveals to

90 University of Bombay,

the perception of all those who are trained to perceive ; some-
thing of the universe, of the orbs which rule the day and night,
and of the stars which have from the most primeval periods
attracted the gaze of man in his most savage state. If any of
these peasant boys be gifted with genius, he will, I hope, be able
while in a primary school to win a scholarship tenable in a middle
school, and there again win a scholarship tenable in a superior
institntion, ascending the educational ladder step by step. Thus
ability and industry wheresoever found, even in the lowest social
state, will have their chances.

But if this teaching is to be given within so short a space
of time to young children of lowly capacity, there must be good
schoolmasters, men much better than any that can ordinarily
be found in the villages of India ; men specially trained in
>edagogy, that is, the art of imparting Vnowledge to the young.
The best salary which can be allowed is small : therefore we
jiust obtain the utmost qualification which can be obtained for
scanty remuneration. Again, as the children have their being
among rough, ignorant people, it is important that in school
they should come in contact with masters possessing some traits
of culture and refinement. For all these reasons it is necessary
for the State to undertake the training and supervision of the
village schoolmaster, and to see that they all possess certificates
of competent qualification. The village schoolmaster represented
an ancient institution, but he was dull and unlettered. Now-a-

Online LibraryK Subba RauConvocation addresses of the universities of Bombay and Madras → online text (page 10 of 66)