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Colleges and. graduates to this University. This school has
already achieved a great success. In the month of September,
through the agency of leading Mussalman gentlemen, subscrip-
tions amounting to Us. 40,000 were raised by their friends for the
establishment of this school ; Government most gladly supple-
mented the amount raised by a regular subsidy ; and already
the school contains 370 students. I have to remark that in the
report this year it is stated that for the first time there has been
no addition to the endowments of the University ; but I am
glad to say that within the last few days there has been a
scholarship founded by Mr. Jairazbhoy Peerbhoy, a Mussalman
gentleman of this city, for Mussalman candidates obtaining the
greatest number of marks in the Matriculation Examination,
enabling them to prosecute their studies for at least one year
in Bombay, or to proceed to England for that purpose.

Well, gentlemen, this is a beginning ; let us hope that it
will soon bear great fruits.

The next point which I desire to notice is the little progress

which has been made in the scientific branch of

of Science 8 ^ 7 ^ e s ^ u ^ es qualifying for the Bachelor of Science

degree. I find that for the first examination for

that degree only two candidates presented themselves this

year, and those were from the Elphinstone College. I am

glad to say both passed. But if we consider what class of

teaching this scientific degree is intended to encourage, I

think we may well hope that greater advantage will be taken



128 University of Bombay.

of it ; and greater encouragement given to it by the public.
I know how great an interest in these examinations my
honoured predecessor took ; I know how much he impresses upon
you the great advantage the community would derive by the
promotion of a knowledge of scientific subjects, and I would
venture on this occasion to say a few words to supplement what
he has said in earlier times, and impress it still more earnestly
on your attention. What does the study of science mean ? Well,
it means that in the operations of life in which we seek to turn
to account the gifts of Divine Providence, we should be guided
by the skill which rises out of knowledge, rather than by
haphazard work or groping in the dark. It is not that we should
work upon theory rather than common-sense and practice, but
it means that we should ground our theory and practice upon
ascertained laws. It means that instead of going on blindly in
the path that our fathers trod, or adopting one invention or
another at haphazard, we should from our practical knowledge
comprehend them and judge of their right application. It
means that we should turn to good account not only the
talents that are given us, but the liberal gifts of Providence
by which we are surrounded. In days past, when this great
country was separated from the rest of the world by a waste of
waters, communications were slow, and when it was dependent
upon itself and its people for its supplies of manufactured
material, rude and simple inventions might suffice to utilize the
products of the land. I do not for a moment forget the great
knowledge of the science of beauty possessed by many of the
inhabitants of the country, and marvellous perfection to which
certain arts were carried ; but I mean in the prosecution of the
industries which form the main staples of this country the arts
were rude and simple, and are not calculated to compete in the
present day with tine science and inventions of the world. The
wonderful development of steam, which has rendered the sea not
a barrier but a bridge to connect one land with another, has
borne in upon us the manufactures of other countries to which
all the inventions of science have been applied, so that they are
produced with marvellous cheapness, and compete, nay, almost
exclude, the simple manufactures of our people. Well, what is
the moral, what is the policy to be followed under circumstances
to which that is but one illustration ? Not, surely, that we
should tax the people of the country to maintain their industries
in their own rude, extensive, and therefore expensive, form, but
that we should bring and apply to the industries of the country
the science which has cheapened production and produced pros-
perity elsewhere. The Natives of this country are surely not






1881. Sir James Fergusson. 129

less capable of learning, their intellects are not less subtle,
their ability to acquire knowledge not less keen than those of
their brethren in the West. Sure I am that if they embraced
the advantages of modern inventions they would compete
successfully with the manufactures of any part of the world.
It is in the right application the prudent application of inven-
tion which are sufficiently numerous, that scientific education
will be most profitably directed. And this is but one illustra-
tion of the benefits to be derived from a study of science,,
because there is, as you know well, in the study of the laws of
gravitation, in the right estimation of the powers by which we
are surrounded, in the knowledge of the component parts of the
soil, in the improvement of agriculture, and in the knowledge of
chemistry, botany , and so forth, abundant exercise for inventive
genius and scientific success, which cannot fail to be profitable
if we only rightly turn our attention to these subjects. Again,
the science of astronomy will do much to wipe away the super-
stition which the best of the Natives of this country deplore as
much as we do, to teach the people that the heavenly bodies
move in a wonderful way indeed, but do not exercise malign
influences on man's existence. In trying to do away with super-
stition we do not want to interfere with any man's religion, but
simply fco teach those truths which we are all seeking.

You can profit by many branches of education, because in
our colleges we have been aided and equipped by funds liberally
given by beneficent persons, scholarships and fellowships are
endowed, and professors are paid, partially indeed by the State,
but in the largest proportion by private benefactions. I find in
the Elphinstone College, which, I suppose, occupies the most
prominent place amongst ou* colleges, there are eight well-paid
professors of art and other branches, but for physical science
there is but one, and he is not paid so highly as the others.
Well, that shows that the sinews of war are wanted ; and backing
up, as I do most earnestly, the appeal not made for the first
time, believe that we shall not have to appeal in vain. I notice
also in the report that an increasing number of students are
coming up for examination from the Provincial Colleges.

Now, gentlemen, it is not to-day, when I am still at the
commencement of my term of office, that I should
attempt to express matured opinions upon the edu-
cation of this Presidency, the education conducted
under the 'auspices of this University ; but the time will come,
I hope, when I shall render myself better acquainted with every
part of the Presidency. You can readily understand that the

17



130 University of Bombay.

months which have passed since my arrival have been crowded
with business, and occupied in gaining information of every
kiud, so that hardly upon any point can I attempt to speak with
authority, for I am still a learner ; but I assure you I am not
supine or insensible to the great responsibilities involved,
especially in the spread of education. We have done much,
but we have still more to do, and problems are arising every
day which require the earnest attention of the wisest to solve,
if the future is to be turned to good account, and if we do
our bounden duty by the people of India. But relying upon
the Providence which has so greatly blessed British influence
here, which has given such a wonderful impulse to the country,
and promoted the best interests of the people in this last half
century at least, we may look forward hopefully to the results
of this and kindred institutions in raising the character and
aims of the people, and in equipping many for the work of life,
of whose knowledge, of whose aspiration we need not be jealous,
but in whose love of country we should find our best ally.



TWENTY-FIRST CONVOCATION.

(By MR. JUSTICE (NOW SIR) R. WEST.) .

Gentlemen of the Senate, It was the intention of His
Excellency the Governor to preside at this Convocation as Chan-
cellor of the University, You know too well the calamitous
events which have devolved on me a function which I can but
very imperfectly perform. We miss to-day and every day a
gracious presence which diffused a benign and kindly influence
wherever it appeared. I feel that I but express the universal
sympathy when I give these few words of sorrowing commemora-
tion to a loss which has been felt as a personal misfortune in
each household of our community and must for long cast a shade
of sadness over every public ceremony. Amongst the labours of
the year the chief undoubtedly is the general re-casting of the
Bye-laws of the University. In this work the Senate at large
has taken its full share. It bears its share of the responsibility.
The Bye-laws will, I trust, ere long be sanctioned by the
Government, and then it will be your part, gentlemen, first
by a careful study of the Bye-laws, and then by a wise and
consistent administration of them, to make the Senate a pattern
of what a deliberative body should be courteous, candid,
fair in argument, tolerant, business-like, free from cant, and
free from faction. The swift succession of events must bring
many important questions before you. I shall probably have



1882. Mr. Justice Went. 131

no voice in their decision, but I shall feel some pride when 1
find that they are discussed and disposed of to the honour
of the University under rules for the framing of which 1 have
myself in a measure to answer. The other principal events
of the academical year have been brought before us in the report
just read by the Registrar. The number of candidates for
the higher instruction continues as large as could be expected ;
the number of failures to pass the examinations is greater
than can be desirable. Many youths I believe stand for the
Matriculation Examination just, as they say, to " try their
luck," but this endeavour to get through examinations on the
lowest possible terms cannot but exercise a rather demoralizing
influence. In the interests of the University and of sound
scholarship we must hope that a somewhat stricter discrimina-
tion will gradually be used by school-masters in giving their
pupils the qualifying certificates. The defects I have noticed are
most conspicuous in the case of the private schools. The number
of candidates from these schools steadily increases, which is in
itself a very gratifying fact; but the proportion of passes is
miserably low, showing how great room there is for improve-
ment in the matter and the method of their teaching.

It is perhaps due in no small measure to the system to which
I have adverted that so many students fail in the
dJn>oys. Ut further examinations requisite for obtaining their
degrees. In the Previous Examination this year
only about one-fourth of the candidates passed, and even from
an institution like the Deccan College, only fourteen candidates
out of seventy were successful. In the First Examination for
the B.A. degree the results were more satisfactory, but still less
than half the candidates passed. In the Second Examination
for this degree the successful candidates were about two-sevenths
of the whole, a small proportion I cannot but think, consider-
ing the known ability and zeal of the Professors in the several
colleges. The truth seems to be partly that preliminary train-
ing is defective, and partly that youths of inferior abilities, who
are not likely ever to be successful students, are not weeded out
with sufficiently rigorous kindness. The aptitude for scholar-
ship is not universal, and disappointment must often result from
setting naturally dull boys to tasks which call for at least an
average measure of intellectual acuteness.

In the professional examinations, or at least in those for
Medicine and Engineering, the proportion of successful candi-
dates has been much larger. The teaching must be deemed
highly effective, and the students having a well-defined and



132 University of Bombay.

limited course set before them, achieve it remarkably well. Native
society must gain largely by the accessions of accomplished pro-
fessional men whom it now annually receives from this and the
sister institutions. The supply is in such cases likely to create
or increase the want, and there is an almost unlimited field open-
ing before those especially who adopt the medical profession,
as old prejudices fade away, and sufferers relieved from pain
spread confidence in the science which has restored them.

You have heard, gentlemen, I am sure, with pleasure of
the recognition by the University of the College at Baroda. It
is thus not only at Poona or Ahmedabad within our own terri-
tories, but at places like Kolhapur and Baroda, that the Univer-
sity makes its presence felt, and determines the general scheme
of instruction. Great results must in the end follow from this
wide diffusion of the means of advanced education. The system
is as yet in its infancy, but it is while young that an institution,
like a human being, receives most readily a permanent impress
of disposition and tendency. We must rejoice, therefore, that
the college at Baroda has secured the services of men of real
distinction in attainments and character. In Gujarat, as much
as anywhere, we find the precocity, receptiveness, and mobility
of the Hindu mind. Able and high-minded teachers may mould
such materials to noble uses. On us it devolves to aid them and
all similarly situated by our sympathy and our discipline. The
responsibilities of the University in this respect are daily grow-
ing; but the faculties have hitherto known well where good
workers were to be found, and the Syndicate, filled as it has been,
will, I doubt not, deal successfully with every task that is thrown
upon it, so far at any rate as University arrangements can suffice
for the exigencies to which time must inevitably give birth.

The limitation by which candidates for Matriculation were
formerly required to be sixteen years of age has in
tlie P ast y ear ^en abolished. There are, no doubt,
some branches of study for which a certain matu-
rity apart from mere cleverness or scholarship is desirable. On
this account different views may be taken of the expediency, in
the abstract, of the change that has been made ; but its practical
justification lies in the fact that the old rule could not be main-
tained without a risk, or even certainty, of evasions which placed
the really conscientious candidates at a disadvantage. The
examination for Matriculation is of a kind that will generally
exclude boys who are unprepared to benefit by a College course ;
and the example of some of the most eminent Englishmen shows
that no harm, to say the least, arises in most cases from a reason-



1882. Mr. Justice West. 133

.able indulgence to precocity. A year too soon at college is
better than a year too long at school , and the choice rests virtu-
ally between these alternatives. Of the candidates under sixteen
who have this year presented themselves, it is to be observed
that a much larger than the average proportion have passed the
examination.

While the path of the diligent student has thus been made
Bombay's smoother and instruction has been placed at his
stream of gen- door, the positive encouragements held out to him
have once more been increased. Not a year has
passed since this University began to work, but some generous
gift has added to its resources. The hall in which we are assem-
bled admirable in all respects save its acoustic properties ; the
neighbouring library with its noble tower soon now to be fur-
nished with its clock and peal of bells and an increasing group
of scholarships and other prizes all these are testimonies to the
interest felt in learning by the community of Western India, and
. of its confidence in the system of this University. This year
Mr. Varjivandas Madhavdas comes forward with a gift of
Rs. 5,000 to endow a scholarship to be held by a student pro-
ceeding from the first to the second examination for the degree
of Bachelor of Arts. The donor desires that the scholarship may
bear his name, and I know no more truly respectable mode by
which a wealthy man can bring the correlation of forces into play
in turning riches into fame, than by gaining a commemoration,
and a blessing every year in this noble hall for his aid to the
cause of enlightenment and progress. You will join me therefore,
gentlemen, in a hearty acknowledgment of the bounty of Mr.
Varjivandas Madhavdas. You will by-and-bye give effect to his
intentions, and you will share my hope that the stream of gen-
erosity by which we have so Jargely benefited will continue to
flow in undiminished volume in the years to come. Our library
has this year been enriched by the collection made in honour of
our late Vice-Chancellor. Its capacious shelves, however, still
afford room for many other volumes, and if generosity is any-
where seeking an outlet or a worthy purpose at this moment, I
venture to suggest that one may be found in adding to the
treasures from which generation after generation of ardent
scholars will, we may hope, draw instruction and encouragement.

The number of students who have succeeded in obtaining
degrees this year in Arts and Law is rather smaller

of tte T Univer S t ^ ian usual - ^ e cre ^^ i s a ^ tne greater to those

pity system/ w ^ have passed the ordeal, while those who have

been sent back to study for another year, will



University of Bombay.



probably one day bless the necessity to which they have toa
bend, in going through a further course of tuition. Without
drawing invidious comparisons I will say that I think there are
special advantages in the system of teaching which the Bombay
University enforces. The student must not only prepare himself
for examinations, but he must attend stated courses of lectures
in approved institutions. This implies residence in the neigh-
bourhood, and a severance in many instances from embarrassing
associates and associations, enabling him to devote his mind with
more complete abandonment to the work set before it and to
distinctly academical influences. He is subjected to a prolonged
intellectual discipline and learns to bend his mind to the task
which duty imposes, whether the inclination be present or not,
and with patient attention to those minute details which are most
irksome, but the mastery of which is essential to thorough and
substantial scholarship either in literature or in science. Such
a course of training seems to me to have great advantages over
any system of mere examinations. The student does not merely
cram ; the examination is but an incident in^his course. He abides
with his learning, takes in its influence in every mood, and at
an impressionable age is imbued with the best thoughts of the
greatest men under the guidance of teachers who have steeped
their own minds in the same sacred springs. This goes to make
a manly character as well as a strong and versatile intellect ; and
I am proud to observe how generally institutions connected with
this University have turned out men of a type combining some
of the best characteristics of the West and of the East,

The paucity of candidates for science-teaching and for de-
grees in science was noticed by our Chancellor last year. The
system of teaching is less organized, the teaching staff is less
fully manned than in the older departments. There is some
uncertainty, too, both as to the prospects of a degree and as to
the prospects of finding employment for the graduate. What the
University as such could do it has, as you have heard, been doing.
B. Scs. who have in qualifying for that degree passed in such a
subject as Chemistry, Botany or Zoology are exempted from it
in the examination in Medicine when they seek the degree of
M.D. The degree of B.Sc. has been made a gateway to the
profession of the law as well as of medicine and engineering.
We hope that with these practical advantages attending it the
science course will soon be followed by numbers proportionate
at least to the means of teaching. The questions are still some-
times put and to the students and their friends they are of
momentous importance of what really is science-teaching, and



1882. M r. Justice West. 185

what part it can play in the liberal education which is the proper

object of a University. But when we say " liberal,"

Definition of apart, at any rate, of the right answer is suggested

cation 6 . 1 * by ^ ne interrogation. A liberal education, as a

great science-teacher has said, aims at " the mak-
ing of men ; " it is not to be " diverted into a process of manu-
facturing human tools wonderfully adroit in the exercise of some
technical industry, but good for nothing else." It must equally
in the sphere of science as of literature enlarge the mind, give
it an organizing power and a philosophic habit by which each
new acquirement is measured in relation to the whole, and made
to take its place in a system. It must give a love of knowledge
for its own sake, and the loftiness and independence of character

which extensive knowledge should produce. But

Advantages more especially a truly scientific culture furnishes

culture". " the mind not only with a mastery of the main

facts of outward nature and a readiness to conform
to her laws and so turn them to human uses, but with a method
of inquiry, a mode of facing the facts of the universe which
cannot be acquired in any other way so well. The science
student duly disciplined takes all nature for his province. To
his trained perceptions there is nothing common or unclean, no
creature is unworthy of investigation by a man which has been
deemed worthy of existence by God. He sees as others cannot
see the prevalence of law amongst the infinite variety of pheno-
mena, and evolution working to its ends in ordered ' harmony
through millions of years. The mind thus trained is borne with-
out an effort along the main current of progressive thought.
It has a rich store of ideas in which to bathe each new problem
in manifold lights ; and as the various activities of the human
mind are intimately connected, sciences repay to literature in its
analysis the debt of inspiration by which its own infant energies
were first awakened to consciousness and exercise.

I cannot justify these observations by their novelty. The
Le min not same things have been said before and with all the
a mere source requisite effects. The worth and dignity of scien-
of P elf - tific pursuits in not in itself any longer a subject

of controversy. My purpose has been rather to call the attention
of my younger hearers to the spirit in which those of them who
are choosing a career based on science ought to prepare for it and
to pursue it. It should not be looked on as a mere source of pelf.
Their best energies should not be solely concentrated on what
pays best. Gain and getting on are not to be disdained ; the
effort to win them calls forth in many men resources of energy



136 University of Bombay.

and skill and patience which improve their moral being all through
life ; it brings men, too, into contact with actual, inexorable facts,
and so adds effectively to their knowledge of the world in which
they are placed and of their own relations to it. But what I wish
to insist on is this, that no man of science should allow his pursuits
and aims to descend to the level of mere unmitigated money-
getting; still less, if possible, should he be satisfied with a rule-
of-thumb performance of mere journey-work. In the practice of
his profession, if he has one, he should preserve a habit of refer-
ring details to general principles and of testing principles by
details. He should establish link after link of connexion between
those ideas which lie at the basis of his own craft, or his own line
of investigation, and the general mass and movement of human
thought. Thus from technical accomplishment he may advance
to a true philosophy of his subject, and add his contribution to
the final adjustment of human thoughts and human life to the
realities of things.

A contrast very dishonouring to science and to studies
such as this University favours is sometimes drawn



Online LibraryK Subba RauConvocation addresses of the universities of Bombay and Madras → online text (page 15 of 66)