K Subba Rau.

Convocation addresses of the universities of Bombay and Madras online

. (page 14 of 66)
Online LibraryK Subba RauConvocation addresses of the universities of Bombay and Madras → online text (page 14 of 66)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


philosophy, have imbibed our ideas, are faithful to us, and
bear towards our nation that heartfelt allegiance which men may
feel without at all relinquishing their own nationality. We
believe that the education imparted by us to the Natives, so far
from leading them towards disaffection, has, happily, the very
opposite effect. We do not disguise from ourselves that in a
community like that of Western India, composed of so many
diverse elements, there may be, indeed must be, some whose
thoughts are misguided, and that although the masses in all
ranks, high and humble, are thoroughly well-affected, there are
some who feel wrongly and think amiss. But those few, who are
thus ill-disposed, do not become so by reason of their English
education ; their ill-disposition springs from causes with which
such education has neither concern nor connexion ; and the educa-
tion must mitigate, if it cannot remove, their discontent. With
the great majority, however, education has the result of confirm-
ing in them that loyalty which the general tenour of British
administration is calculated to inspire. And the higher the edu-
cation, the more certain is this result. At all events, we have
solemnly undertaken to educate the Natives in all the Western
learning and philosophy which have helped to raise England to
her height among the nations of the earth. We anticipate
nothing but the most favourable consequences politically from
such education. But be the consequences what they may, we
shall, I trust, persevere in that educational policy which, being
liberal and enlightened, is prescribed to us by the dictates of our
duty as trustees for the people of India.



1880. Sir Richard Temple. 119

The second topic relates to instruction in natural and physical
science. Our object is to obtain for this a larger
P^ ace ^ nan heretofore in our educational system.
The study of thephysical sciences isnow recognised
in all countries as an integral part of the national education, and
the recognition is everywhere assuming forms more and more
tangible and definite. Besides its general value which is felt in all
countries, this study has in India a special value. It qualifies our
Native youth for professions in which they have hitherto had little
or no place. It diverts from the older professions, namely the law
and the public service, some of those surplus students who would
otherwise overcrowd those professions. It displays before the
Natives not only new ranges of thought, but also fresh methods
of thinking. It initiates the Natives from their early youth in
those sciences, the successful pursuit of which distinguishes the
Western civilization of modern times. It applies the whole
force of education to the promotion of that material progress, in
which India has so much way to make up, before she can come
abreast of the more advanced nations. It tends to correct some
of the mental faults which are admitted to exist in the Native
mind, while educing and developing many of its best qualities
and faculties. It affords a far better gymnasium for the
general training of the mind than has been heretofore supposed
by many. We observe with thankfulness that the Natives are
awaking to a consciousness of the importance of this study. As
this University is the lawfully constituted controller of the
higher education, is the acknowledged leader of independent
opinion regarding intellectual progress, and is the embodi-
ment of enlightened ideas, we felt that the recognition of the
study must spring from the University and must culminate in
the granting of Degrees in Science. We remember that
education is generally sought for by the student as a means of
rising in a profession, and that if his profession is to be science,
he must make use of the five years of his collegiate course for
this purpose, that spring season of his mind when the faculties
are most elastic and the memory most receptive a season to
be enjoyed while it lasts, for to him it will never return ! The
influence even of the University would not, indeed, cause such
degrees to be largely sought, unless the graduates of science
found scope in after-life for the due employment of their scien-
tific knowledge. But such scope is widening, constantly :
scientific pursuits are expanding together with the material
progress of the country. That progress will itself be sustained
and invigorated by the existence of a growing class of Natives
educated in science. Such Natives, too, are wanted to supply



120 Uni.L'ernity of Bombay .

the teaching power in the science for our various educational
institutions. Therefore, as foreshadowed in my last address to
Convocation, I formally laid the matter before the Syndicate in
September 1878, with my proposal that such Degrees in Science
should be conferred.

After full consideration of details both in the Syndicate and
in the Senate, this University has adopted a scheme for grant-
ing Degrees in Science, which scheme was promulgated in April
last (1879), and takes effect during the current year, 1880. In
preparing the scheme, the Syndicate availed itself of the experi-
ence gained by the rules and practice of the London University.
According to this scheme, the student after matriculating at
the Bombay University, undergoing an examination which pi % oves
him to have been grounded in general education, and passing
through the First Arts course to further qualify himself in such
education will be able to devote himself to science if he aspire
to obtain a degree therein. With this view he will enter upon
a preliminary course of general scientific study, so that he may
have a foundation consisting of that knowledge which trains the
mind for thereafter acquiring any particular science which may
be selected the course consisting of mathematics and natural
philosophy, inorganic chemistry, experimental physics, and bio-
logy. After that he will devote himself to the particular sciences
in which his Degrees is to be taken and these must be at least
two in number, that is, a Graduate in Science must be qualified
in at least two branches of science, qualification in one science
only not being deemed sufficient, in which respect it is essential
that our practice should conform with that of the Universities
in Europe. Nor will this condition prove unduly burdensome
to a Native student, because adequate proficiency in a scienee
cannot be acquired without a knowledge of at least one of the
sciences allied to it, and because he can so select his two sciences,
that knowledge in the one shall help his studies in the other.
For instance, if he looks to botany as his future speciality, he
may take up chemistry as his second science ; if to zoology, he
may take up physiology ; if to physics, he may take up chemistry ;
if to physical geography, he may take up experimental physics ;
and so on. In addition to the two sciences as above explained,
he must pass an examination either in pure mathematics or mixed
mathematics, which latter are much allied to several of the
sciences ; or if he does not take up mathematics, he mast take
up a third science which will form a group with any of the two
sciences above mentioned.

We know that the Government will perform its part by



1880. Sir Richard Temple. 121

providing the necessary teaching power in the colleges. We
hope also that as wealth shall again accumulate in Western
India, many munificent Natives will emulate the examples set
by the last generation of Natives at Bombay,, whose benefac-
tions to education we now witness around us, and will in this
generation endow professorships of science in our colleges. If
any patriotic Native, blessed with abundant means, and having
himself risen in life by his own capacity, shall be moved by a
desire to enable his countrymen to raise themselves by that
scientific knowledge the usefulness of which is especially patent
to practical men, let him give something of his well-earned
substance to permanently provide teachers of science. The
education in arts has heretofore been sustained principally by
Government and partly by private contributions. We hope that
the wealthy Natives will similarly assist the Government in
defraying the cost of education in science.

When in 1878 I proposed to the University that Degrees
in Science should be conferred, it was contemplated that a
separate Faculty of Natural and Physical Science should be
established. The Syndicate, however, preferred that education
in science should form, part of the charge of the Faculty of
Arts, and that an additional Syndic for science should be
appointed. To this the Senate assented, and we all are indebted
to the Arts members of the Syndicate, gentlemen eminent in
humanistic learning, for their co-operation in preparing and
passing the scheme for Degrees in Science. This decision is in
its nature provisional, and as such is accepted, I trust, by many
gentlemen of the several scientific professions, who are most use-
ful members of the Senate. But if the scheme succeeds and
grows in importance, the Science members of the Senate will
doubtless desire a separate Faculty of their own. I earnestly
hope that the success may be so considerable as hereafter to
justify the creation of such a Faculty.

Meanwhile, although instruction in science is very far from
occupying the great position which we hope it will one day
occupy in our public instruction, still we are constantly advanc-
ing in that direction. Viewing its intrinsic importance, we
might well desire that the advance was faster than it is. But
much apathy, and even some prejudices, have to be overcome.
And the advance is slow even in some countries more civilized
than India. Therefore, the lovers of Science may await without
discouragement the irresistible march of events.

Nevertheless, something however insignificant, as com-
pared with the greatness of the need is being accomplished,

16



122 University of Bombay.

During the two years which have elapsed since I last addressed the
Improvements Convocation, the two previously existing institutions
introduced. relating to the applied sciences, namely, Medicine
and Civil Engineering the Engineering College at Poona, with
its workshops forming a technical school, and the Grant Medical
College at Bombay have been fostered and improved, and have
been recognized by the University as qualified to send up candi-
dates for the new Science Degree. Several lesser institutions have
been brought into existence. Two new medical schools have been
established one at Poona for the Deccan, one at Ahmedabad
for Gujarat. The importance of hygiene and sanitary science
has been pressed on the attention of both teachers and students.
"We have encouraged medical education, not only because
medicine is a rising profession which, with the progress of
sanitation, may attain indefinite development, but also because
medical men, in order to qualify themselves for their own profes-
sion, have to learn much of some of those very sciences which we
desire to impart largely to the Natives. A school of scientific
forestry has been opened at Poona in connexion with a Botanic
Garden, which garden has been formed out of the old garden
established for the culture of medicinal herbs. A commence-
ment has been made of what we hope will one day become a
system of national education in scientific agriculture. Several
school classes have been opened in different parts of the
country, and a class has been successfully added to the Engi-
neering College at Poona for superior instruction in agricultural
practice. The College has been empowered by Government to
grant certificates of proficiency to those who pass an exami-
nation after going through the higher agricultural course. It
was at first proposed that this University should confer degrees
in agriculture; but after some consideration the Syndicate
decided not to include it in our scheme of degrees, deeming that
under the circumstances the College certificates will suffice.
The Poona Engineering College is, indeed, becoming a College
of Science, inasmuch as engineering, geology, chemistry, botany,
forestry, agriculture, are more or less taught there. A chair
of biology has been established in the Elphinstone College.
Some steps have been taken to develop the zoological section of
the Victoria Museum in connexion with what is the nucleus of a
zoological garden adjoining the Museum. The Technical School
of Art at Bombay has been maintained and encouraged.

The third topic relates to instruction in moral philosophy or

Instruction in ethics, or the science of human duty. Though

Ethics. necessarily precluded from adverting to religion, I



1880. Sir Richard Temple. 123

neither forget, nor expect you to forget, that it is impossible to
teach human duty, comprising the relations between man and man,
without also teaching something at least of man's duty towards
God. No doubt, one of the effects of really good teaching in arts,
s;iy in the branches of history or literature, must be to inculcate
always incidentally, and often directly, much of the general duty
of man. G-ood teaching of physical science also must, as I believe,
enlarge the ideas, and elevate the sentiments, of man in respect of
God, and must impress upon him at least some part of his duty
towards his Creator. But such teaching cannot furnish him with
instruction in his duty towards his fellows, an instruction needed
by all students alike, whether they belong to the department of
arts or of science- Again, there are, as we believe, abstract prin-
ciples and moral truths wholly independent of, and immeasurably
above, the material universe in which we live. No doubt, these
are incidentally inculcated by the teaching in arts- But the incul-
cation of moral truth by teaching in physical science is not pos-
sible. Nevertheless ethical instruction is specially requisite for the
student of science, in order to prevent his imagining that there
is nothing beyond the conceptions with which he is familiar, how-
ever lofty and wide these may be. Moral philosophy, then,
comprises a knowledge which is necessary to all students in
all departments of education, which they must bring with them
to all their studies, and which they ought to retain in their
inmost hearts and minds throughout their lives. Therefore, it
ought not, in my judgment, to be left to incidental or indirect
teaching, but ought to be taught systematically in all our
institutions from the highest to the ; humblest. Nevertheless,
in Western India it is taught indirectly rather than directly ;
it is not systematically and specifically prescribed ; as one subject
among many, it is made optional rather than obligatory. If
this be a great defect, as I believe it is, then the remedy can
be applied only by this University. If the existence of the
defect be satisfactorily shown to the Senate, then I am sure
that the members of that governing body will feel the re-
sponsibility which devolves on them. Indeed, the University
did in former times indicate moral philosophy as an optional
subject for students after their entrance into the Univer-
sity, and therein commanded the cordial assent and the loyal
adherence of the students. From various causes this honoured
practice has, during recent years, been intermitted. If the
Senate shall see fit not only to resuscitate, but also to enlarge
and enforce it, that is, to render it obligatory rather than
optional, their action will approve itself to the conscience of
the Natives. For the action of the University determines the



124 University of Bombay

teaching in the colleges and high schools, and the example of
these superior institutions is sure to be followed by the middle
class institutions, and ultimately even by the primary schools,
until, at length, we have a complete system of national instruc-
tion in ethics adapted to the degrees of intelligence and capacity
as found in the different grades of students. To found, to
elaborate, to establish such a system should, I think, be a subject
of ambition and of anxiety to this University and to all engaged
in the work of public instruction. The Natives will certainly be
the willing subjects of such teaching. Moral philosophy is a
theme on which the sages, lawgivers, and philosophers of the
Hindus, have dilated from the earliest times, and which has
engaged the reverential thoughts, and attracted the affectionate
regards, of the best men amongst the Natives for many genera-
tions, though the aberration of the practice of most people from
its maxims has been as frequent and patent in the Indian nation
as in any nation. I apprehend that many thoughtful Natives,
while thankfully acknowledging all that has been done in this
direction by the public instruction under British rule, do yet
lament that a more systematic effort is not made to unfold and
evolve before the minds of the young those eternal principles of
right and wrong, which serve as beacons for the due conduct of
life, and which ought specially to be included in an educational
system that necessarily excludes religious teaching. With the
majority of the Natives, such a systematization of ethical teaching
would augment the popularity of our national education. It
would elevate and crown the moral edifice already founded by
the effects of our liberal education, by the discipline of our
institutions, and by the personal example of our teachers.

I have already urged this most important matter on the
consideration of the Syndicate, who, finding some difficulty at
present in effecting the requisite alteration of the educational
course, intimate that they will take an early opportunity of
bestowing their renewed and careful consideration on the matter.

Lastly, I would remind you of the stimulus afforded to high

education by the recently promulgated rules for

The^Covenant- the admission of Natives to the Covenanted Civil

vice^ Service. Though the admission may operate very

slowly, yet the fact of even a few being admitted,

will animate the educated classes with hopefulness, and will

display to their gaze a goal which, though distant perhaps,

is yet shining. The merits of Natives in the judicial and legal

profession have long been acknowledged ; while their aptitude

for the higher branches of the executive and administrative



1881. Sir James Fergusson. 125

professions lias been doubted. All things being duly weighed,
I should consider the success of Natives as civil administrators
to be the truest test of that combined mental and moral training
which our education seeks to give.

In conclusion, permit me to express my satisfaction at
meeting the Fellows of the University in Senate
assembled. More than two years ago I found a
Senate consisting of men notable for learning, or
for science, or for social influence, or for public services. As
vacancies frequently occur by reason of the shifting and chang-
ing of society in this Presidency, it has devolved on me to
nominate many Fellows, and in every nomination I have striven
to strengthen the Senate by adding to its body men of proved
capacity in arts or in science. To this Senate I now confidently
commend the observance of the principles which have been
presented to their consideration. We should be considerate
in not overburdening the students, remembering how few years
there are for education and how heavy is the weight upon those
who have to learn through the medium of a language not their
own. The art of teaching should be cultivated, so that the
labours of the students may be simplified, and that knowledge
may be presented, not in a dull and uninteresting form, hard
for the memory to retain, but in a vivid and striking light that
pierces, penetrates, and fills the mind. The field of education
should be -restricted, so that its culture may be deep, rather than
that it should be extended with culture of lesser depth. Our
general instruction should strive to arm the student with those
mental resources that may render him victorious in any special
arena he may enter. Let us, as an University, proceed in the
van of that beneficent movement with which natural science is
stirring mankind, and v\*hich, if directed aright in India, will
raise the Natives to an economic and social status unparalleled
even in grandest records of their antique civilization. And to
all our other instruction in whatever branch let us be mindful
to add that moral culture which shall impress on every youth his
duty towards God and towards his neighbour.



TWENTIETH CONVOCATION.

(By SIE JAMES FERGUSSON, BABT., K.C.M.G., D.C.L.)

Mr. Vice-Chancellor and Gentlemen of the Senate, I
cannot preside on this occasion my first opportunity since
assuming the Government of this Presidency in the place filled



126 University of Bombay.

by so many eminent predecessors, without expressing my
earnest desire that, in so far as my influence extends, this Uni-
versity may not suffer from any deficiencies of mine. It is now
just twelve years since I, a traveller passing through Bombay,
took part as a spectator in the interesting ceremony of laying
the foundation-stone of this splendid hall. That stone was laid
by the Earl of Mayo, who was a most revered friend of mine,
and whose untimely end is fresh in our recollections. I also
met here on that occasion the respected Vice-Chancellor,
Dr. Wilson, who bears a household name in Bombay, and many
others whose careers are now closed and whose places inexorable
fate has rendered vacant for others. On such an occasion as
this we cannot help calling to mind those who have founded and
maintained this institution ; and we must hope that, by the aid
of kind Providence, we may be enabled rightly to perform the
important duties devolving upon us. I am glad, indeed, to know
that since that day twelve years ago which marks a point just
half-way from the foundation of the University to the present
time it has so largely developed and prospered. I am glad to
see so many young men obtaining the degrees which have jast
been conferred, because it shows that so many of our youth prize
that hall-mark if I may so term it of the quality of their education
which this University bestows. I have heard how earnestly our
youths are availing themselves of the educational advantages
extended to them, and I earnestly hope that the young men whom
we see to-day obtaining the honoured prizes of a degree in this
University, may find in it the beginning of a long and useful
career. It has been one of the recent duties of the Government
to add to the roll of Fellows nineteen other names. Let me say
that my colleagues and myself have selected those names with
no regard to race or creed, but with sole reference to educational
eminence and their services in the cause of education, which I
think alone should entitle citizens to that distinction.

Now, gentlemen, I cannot but pause for a few moments
to note one or two features in the report just read,
of which strike me as remarkable. In the first place,
in noting the results of Matriculation Examina-
tion, I find that only about one-third of the candidates who
presented themselves were successful in passing. Well, I
believe that that rather marks the high standard required by
this University than the insufficient preparation which these
candidates have received ; and I am glad to observe by
reading the curriculum laid down for each class that a really
high standard is required by this University. But I think,



1881. Sir James Ferguson. 127

and must remark, that the University does well so to main-
tain its standard, because it will incite the educational institu-
tions affiliated to the University to neglect no means to prepare
their candidates, so that in future a larger number may
pass. At the First Examination in Arts out of 150 candidates,
one-half passed; in the " Previous " or Preliminary Examination,
two-fifths, and for the degree of Bachelor of Arts one-third
passed successfully. I have some further remarks to make on
this part of the programme. In the first place I regret to
observe that so few of the Mussalman community have appeared
in these examinations. I think it is much to be deplored that
members of a community which has undoubtedly in previous ages
produced many learned men should not be so prominent as their
fellow-subjects here in taking advantage of the modern education
provided so freely for them. I know that the leading members
of that community are sensitive and sensible of this defect, and
I am glad to say that an effort has been made to establish a
school, which, I trust, will send many pupils in future to our



Online LibraryK Subba RauConvocation addresses of the universities of Bombay and Madras → online text (page 14 of 66)