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Convocation addresses of the universities of Bombay and Madras online

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who ascend carefully and cautiously. A real student does not
wander into the bypaths of self-sufficiency in which he is met
by no obstacles. It is only by constant research and inquiry
that he can lead himself and others. He will shun contact with
the fanciful catch- words which are fashionable and welcome to
the uneducated. In this case supply should always be of a
higher quality than demand. The student must be in advance
of his generation, in order to earn a title to its gratitude. To
be a University man is a distinction only if the University man
is a man of high character and of intellectual independence.

I deplore that among our undergraduates and graduates we
have so few sons of Native Chiefs. Whatever may
be the cause, it is a matter which I deeply regret.
My relations with all the Chiefs with whom I have
29



226 University of Bombay.

official dealings are so cordial that they will understand that I
appeal to them as a friend, when I urge them to give the best
education in their power to their sons and daughters. Some of
them are setting a bright example. The highest representatives
of Indian nobility should not rely on the privileges of birth alone.
First among their countrymen they should also be first among
them in the pursuit of knowledge. Their duties are manifold,
and they cannot be discharged properly unless they themselves
rise to the highest level- To my friend H. H. the Thakore
Saheb of Bhavnagar, G.C.S.I., great credit is due for the found-
ation of the Samaldas College. Other Chiefs have sent or are
intending to send their sons to England, and if the higher
education of their sons is the main object, and is steadily kept in
view, the risks they run from many causes during their sojourn
in Europe may be overcome. But in too many cases the
education at the English Universities is out of their reach,
and then the Chiefs should utilise the opportunities which are
near at hand. If a separate College with a full University
course is needed for the aristocracy they should take steps
to start one. I confess that I am partial to the Scottish
system, which does not admit of dividing lines in Educa-
tional institutions which are not the natural result of brain
power, and I think that all aristocracies are the better for a com-
mon struggle with those whose studies must be taken up in
good earnest. In India the peculiar condition of society may
require separation, but nothing can possibly be said in favour
of an uneducated class of rulers.

Indian Universities have not only to keep up a high in-
tellectual ideal, they have also to give to the country men of
character, men with backbone, who are incapable of deviating
from the paths of rectitude. The final aim of all Universities is
to get as near the truth as they can. Access to truth is only
open to those who are themselves absolutely truthful, impartial,
and fearless of consequences. Eational in thought, they are
rational in speech. Universities aim above all things at sobriety
of thought and speech.

With Epictetus Universities teach,

" From righteous acts let nought thy mind dissuade,
Of vulgar censures be thou ne'er afraid ;
Pursue the task which justice doth decree ;
E'en tho' the crowd think different from thee."

The highest compliment ever paid in a language which is
happily chary of compliments is : <( You are a gentleman." And



1890. Rev. D. Mackichan. 227

it moans that a man can be implicitly trusted. Indian Univer-
sities should take as their motto " altiora peto," and I should
translate it : Indian Universities train Indian gentlemen.



TWENTY-NINTH CONVOCATION.

(BY REV. D. MACKICHAN, M.A., D.D.)

Mr. Chancellor and Gentlemen of the Senate, The academic
year of which this Convocation marks the close has been one of
exceptional activity. This is apparent not merely from the
number of University meetings which have been held during
the past year, as stated in the annual report to which you have
listened, but still more from the nature of the subjects which
have engaged the deliberations of the Senate. A generation
has passed since this University was called into existence. It
has seen more than thirty years of continuous development, and
it is natural that now, in the manhood of its growing life, it
should address itself to those important problems which this
development has called forth and with which this growing
strength has made it in some measure fit to grapple. The
University has sought to review its position in relation to
almost every department of the varied learning over which it
presides : it has been occupied with the recasting of the old and
in some measure also with the devising of the new. It is
therefore a matter of special regret to us all that on this im-
portant occasion we miss from the chair at this stage of our
proceedings our academic Chancellor, whose address from this
place at our last Convocation on the University ideal did so
much to enlarge the horizon of our intellectual aims and whose
further counsels would now have a special value for the sustain-
ing and direction of the impulse which he has awakened.
The accumulating work of the closing days of his high office
deprives us of this privilege ; but neither his absence from this
University nor his absence from India will deprive us of our
share in that influence which has made itself so deeply felt in
every part of the educational life of this Presidency. Under
circumstances so disadvantageous it devolves upon me to
address you. The task which I shall now attempt is the
humbler one of endeavouring to place before you, gentlemen of
the Senate, some views regarding our present position and some
suggestions with reference to our future development which
come not from without but from within the system which
we are now called upon to review. I shall speak to you
simply as one who has been in contact, more or less intimate,



228 University of Bombay.

throughout a number of years with the work which is done
under the shadow of this University and with the youth who
are proud to call it their alma mater. But before I proceed to
this my special task there are two duties which it falls to me to
discharge.

One of these is to call your attention to the wide gaps that
death has made in our ranks since we last assem-
bled in Convocation. The Ka"o Saheb Yishvanath
Narayan Mandlik who was so long one of the
chief ornaments of the Senate, has passed away amid the
regrets of the whole community. We miss to-day the intellectual
presence which has often lent dignity to these assemblages
and strength and character to our academic debates. Himself
a man of learning and a patron of learning, he has left to the
students of this University the example of a life devoted
to the pursuit of higher aims than mere worldly success,
of high intellectual gifts consecrated to the advancement of
true learning. And this example was rendered all the more
valuable by the simple life in which it was embodied, and
the independence of character which sustained it. Straight-
forwardness and simplicity, honesty and energy of purpose,
always manifest even to those who differed most widely
from him these were some of the outstanding features of the
life to which as a University we this day pay tribute, And
we miss not less the genial form of the late Mr. Justice
Nanabhai Haridas. His life moved along very different lines
from that of the distinguished Rao Saheb, and the example
which it offers to the youth of our University presents different
features. It is an outstanding illustration of the results of
persevering devotion to duty. Without external advantages
our honoured friend rose through force of character and
faithfulness of work step by step to one of the highest posi-
tions in the service of his country ; and to many a young
man in this hall, starting with high hope upon a similar
career and face to face with like difficulties, his example cannot
fail to be inspiring. Mr. Justice Nanabhai was latterly a pro-
minent figure in your debates, and while most of us stood upon
opposite ground none could but admire the unfailing good
nature with which he maintained the unequal conflict ; while
the quiet humour which played beneath excluded every element
of bitterness from the keenest opposition. In the death of
Mr. Mahadeva Moreshvar Kunte we have lost one of the first
graduates of this University. His residence during the last
years of his life in another city prevented him from taking that



1890. Rev. D. Mackichan. 229

prominent part in the business of the University for which his
educational experience so well fitted him, but all of us who knew
him will remember the keen, almost restless, intellectual activity
by which he was distinguished, and which made him eminent
amongst the eminent graduates sent forth by this University
during the first years of its existence. The name of Archbishop
Porter, so recently removed from among us, is another which will
at once occur to you when you think of the losses which this
University has sustained. Although the period of his association
with you was so brief, by his frequent attendance at your
meetings and the active interest which he manifested in the
academical questions which occupied the Senate, he gave proof
of that unwearied devotion to public duty by which he was dis-
tinguished, and of his desire to contribute to this University the
matured fruits of an educational experience won during a life-
long acquaintance with academic work in. other lands.

We turn now to notice the new benefactions which the year
has brought, and to express our gratitude to the
toons' Benefac " generous donors who have placed the University
under new obligations. We cannot expect that
every year will be able to rival the year 1888, which in
respect of large and numerous gifts was, indeed, an annus
mirabilis in our history. The gifts announced at last Convoca-
tion, some of which were, however, offered to the University in
previous years, amounted to more than a la"kh of rupees. The
new endowments to which it falls to me now to acknowledge
amount to Rs. 50,000. With two exceptions they have for
their object the promotion of medical education amongst women
of India. Foremost amongst these stands the gift of Mr.
P. H. Cama, the munificent founder of the Women's Hospital
which bears his name. Mr. Cama has placed at the disposal
of the University the sum of Ks. 25,000, for the purpose of
assisting native ladies, especially those of his own community,
to a medical education in connection with the University. The
scholarship which the University has been asked to found is a
most appropriate sequel to Mr. Cama's gift of a hospital to the
city. In expressing our acknowledgments to him we recognise
not only the munificence which has prompted so liberal a gift,
but also the wisdom which has been shown in the choice of so
excellent an object. To provide the means of raising a succession
of trained lady-physicians from among the women of his country,
and thus to diffuse the tender ministries of healing amidst them,
is an act of far-reaching benevolence, a fit companion to that
other with which his name will ever remain honourably asso-



230 University of Bombay.

ciated. TheBai ShirinbaiEatanshaParakh Scholarship is another
endowment of the same class, and intended to further the same
object. Mr. Ratansha Ardeshir Parakh, by his gift of Rs. 6,000,
has furnished another proof of the hold which the cause of
medical education for women has taken of the sympathies of the
liberal-hearted men of India, and has rendered most substantial
help to the object which he has so much at heart. From these
donations we may learn that the career which they are intended
to open up to the ladies of the Parsi community is one which is
held in highest honour by their people, and indications are not
wanting to encourage the hope that these ladies will be as ready
to avail themselves of their great opportunity as the large-
hearted leaders of their community have been to furnish the
means for providing it. The name of Sir Dinsha Manekji Petit
comes before us again in the offer of the secretaries of the enter-
tainment fund raised in his honour to add to the above endow-
ments for female medical education another of the value of
Rs. 6,500. In thus associating Sir Dinsha Manekji Petit with the
University and with this department of its work, they have added
new honour to a name already identified with schemes of large
benevolence intended for the relief of suffering and the advance-
ment of medical science. These are illustrations of the manner
in which the great national movement headed by the Countess
of Dufferin in India and by Lady Reay in our own Western Pre-
sidency, has touched the hearts of the people, and nowhere more
deeply than here, where the foundations were so early laid, and
where the work has been so efficiently performed. The Lady
Reay Gold Medal and Scholarship founded by Mr. Harkissondas
Narotamdas is a most appropriate memorial of the wise and de-
voted labours of the lady, who is so soon to leave our shores, in a
cause which owes so much of its success to her energetic and
unceasing effort ; and it has been a source of very special grati-
fication to us all that we have seen the presentation of the first
Lady Reay G-old Medal to Miss Walke, the first lady medical
graduate of this University. Another gift which we have to
acknowledge on this occasion is that of a sum of about Rs. 2,000,
presented by the Fawcett Memorial Committee for the purchase
of books dealing with political science. The name of Fawcett is
fitly held in highest veneration by multitudes in this country and
by none is it more sincerely honoured than by the students of
our Indian Universities. We may feel assured that the Fawcett
Collection will be prized and used by many of our students and
graduates whom Fawcett' s writings have introduced to the study
of a favourite science. There is another announcement which I
have to make in connection with this list of gifts, and I make it



1890. Rev. D. MacMchan. 231

by reading a letter which has just reached us and which runs as
follows : ' Satara High School, 23rd January 1890. To the
Registrar of the University of Bombay. Sir, I beg to offer to
the University the sum of Rs. ] 0,000 for the encouragement of
advanced studies and original research in Practical and Industrial
Chemistry. The interest that may annually accrue on the sum
is to be used for the purpose indicated. The encouragement
may be in the form of a scholarship tenable for one or more years
or that of honorarium. Only M.A/s and B.Sc.'s should be eligible.
If the Syndicate decide to accept my offer I shall communicate
to you a few more details not inconsistent with the particulars
stated above and make arrangements to place the sum in your
hands. Yours truly, MAHADEVA V. KANE, acting headmaster.'
I need scarcely say that this offer coming from one of our own
graduates and intended to encourage original research in an im-
portant branch of scientific investigation, is one of the most
gratifying which I have had the pleasure of announcing. The
gift of Rs. 10,000 for the endowment of a lectureship in connec-
tion with the Grant Medical College cannot be classed amongst the
b eh ef actions to this University ; but its object is so closely related
to the work of the University, and the name of the donor, Dr.
Vandyke Carter, is held in such high honour among us, that it is
most fitting that our appreciation of this generous gift to the cause
of science by one of whose reputation Bombay is justly proud,
should be publicly acknowledged on this occasion. The bene-
factions which from year to year continue to enrich our Univer-
sity are all designed to reward and encourage the deserving
student. It is to be hoped that this stream of benevolence will
continue to flow on in ever-increasing volume.

There is still room for scholarships of every kind. As a
guide, not only to students, but also to intending
Benefactors, a conspectus of these prizes stands in
the Calendar of the University. But the need of
another form of endowment is beginning to be felt, and I think it
my duty to point out to the liberal friends of University education
the almost entire absence of lectureships or special means of
instruction in connection with the University. I think I am
interpreting the mind, not only of a large body of our students,
but also of the leading representatives of one of our most impor-
tant Faculties, when I place before you the endowment of Chairs
in law as a University object to which such private liberality
may most fitly be directed. I take the opportunity to refer to
this now, because the subject of the revision of the law curriculum
is one which has engaged much of our attention during the past



232 University of Bombay.

year. The old system was too much a tacit recognition of the
idea that while for a course in Arts, Engineering or Medicine,
regular and systematic teaching was necessary, for the attainment
of proficiency in Law the mere keeping of terms, supplemented
mainly by private reading, was a sufficient discipline. The new
curriculum which has passed the Senate has sought to repudiate
this idea, and to make the work of the Law School a reality by
placing under the instruction of its Professors a body of young
men who shall be bond fide students of legal science. But it has
become obvious to all who have given attention to the subject
that the reconstruction of the means of teaching is as necessary
as the turning of nominal into real students. For this purpose
a Professoriate which shall have time to devote to the training
of these students is indispensable, a Law College which shall be
a centre of academic life to the body of its students, as the Col-
leges in the other faculties are to theirs. One can understand,
perhaps, why any apparent extension of the average period of
study is regarded in some quarters with apprehension, if it is
looked upon as only introducing a time-qualification, but if the
re-arrangement of the studies of our students of law means their
introduction to a course of instruction under Professors who will
be in a position to discharge towards them the duties of a full
Professoriate, I should expect to find the change hailed with
enthusiasm by all who are worthy of the name of students, and
who have any ambition to attain to scientific knowledge in their
chosen study. It is not my special function, as it was that of
my distinguished predecessor in this office, to speak as the
representative of the learned profession, but I should fail of my
duty to the University and its students if I did not place in the
forefront of our academic wants the need of which I have spoken.
We are justly proud of the eminent lawyers who have been reared
in this University. As a University we welcome to the high
position to which he has been raised the Honourable Mr. Justice
Telang, a brilliant example of what our Indian countrymen are
able to achieve in the field of law, and recognising the special
aptitudes which have been displayed by the students and gradu-
ates of this University in this department of academic study, we
may well predict a time of high achievement for those who will be
privileged to enjoy the fuller opportunities which I trust a not
distant future has in store for them.

The year that now closes has witnessed some new beginnings
to which I desire to call your attention, gentlemen,
Some new because they will require your watchful and! foster-
ing care. The University School Final Examina-



1890, Eev. D. Mackichan. 233

tion is in its infancy, and while it is impossible to predict the
course of its future growth it is interesting to note such indica-
tions as it has already given of its fitness to accomplish the end
contemplated in its institution. Already 145 candidates out of
more than 500 have passed this examination, and the number of
candidates for Matriculation has shown a corresponding diminu-
tion. I have made inquiries regarding the attainments of those
who have selected this course, and find that it has attracted from
the older examination not the weak and hopeless, but many of
marked ability. The standard of examination has not been
lowered. On the contrary, by our selection of experienced
examiners and by the standard which we have fixed, we have made
it clear that this is not to be regarded as an inferior examination,
but one in which a high attainment is to be demanded. It has so
far answered our first expectations that it has supplied a proper
terminus to the scholastic course of a number of our youths,
whose circumstances might have rendered the further career to
which the Matriculation Examination might have allured them
one of perhaps hopeless struggle with overpowering difficulty.
Far be it from me to ward off from a career of self-denying study
those who feel within them an impulse which stirs them to such
noble effort. The Universities of my own country are a perpetual
witness to the existence of this impulse in many of the noble
poor ; but it behoves us to see that we do not by influences,
which are independent of the existence of any such impulse,
produce a state of things which may prove injurious to the com-
munity as a whole, and detrimental to the interests of that
higher education of which we are the custodians. The danger to
which I allude has been felt in other lands, and in more ancient
seats of learning, notably in Germany, where the problem of
adjusting the position of the Realschulen with reference to the
Gyinnasien arose in great measure from a consciousness of the
same difficulty which we have sought to meet by these tentative
reforms which have already, in some limited degree at least, ful-
filled their promise. And now we must look for the fulfilment of
another expectation. The change referred to was undertaken in
the interests not only of those who had another than an academical
future before them, but also of those who were destined for a
University career. The conviction has been growing that a
University education cannot be turned to advantage by all who
arrive at that standard of education, which was wont to be de-
termined by the Matriculation Examination, and that if the door
of exit from the school was also the door of admission to the Uni-
versity, many might be misled into paths which they could never
follow with advantage or success. It has also been accepted
30



234 University of Bombay.

as a true principle in education that culture is more advanced
when a smaller number are furnished with the highest means of
training, than when it is shared by an excessive number, who
necessarily lower the level of collective achievement, because the
highest training cannot be placed within the reach of all. This
University and its Colleges have never prided themselves on
numbers, but they have been rightly jealous of the quality
of their results. And now that a generation has passed we may
well ask whether this has resulted in any advance in the standard
of attainment ? It is not uncommon to hear it said in some
quarters that there has been little advance, perhaps rather a
retrogression. Now I for one have very little sympathy with
the vague complaints of the laudator temporis acti in relation to
the development of our higher education. It is easy to point to
those distinguished men who were the first alumni of our Univer-
sity, and placing beside them the average results of our own day
to deduce the conclusion that our progress has been incon-
siderable. But it is forgotten by those who make the comparison
that the time of which they speak was the beginning of an
intellectual awakening which attracted only the choicer spirits,
while the impulse which moved them has now a wider sweep and
acts upon a larger mass. If we would institute a just comparison
we should compare the elite of the many who now crowd the class
rooms of our Colleges with those who were the pioneers of the
new movement. If the comparison be thus fairly made, I believe
we may justly claim that the standard of attainment possible in
this University has risen with the general progress, and that a
deeper and broader culture is now offered to the alumni of our
University, deeper and broader because it rests upon the achieve-
ments of their predecessors in the same high pursuit. Still there
can be little doubt that the student of a byegone day enjoyed
advantages which are less common now. He was more in con-
tact with men who formed the characters and moulded the lives
of their pupils. His acquaintance with the life and thought of



Online LibraryK Subba RauConvocation addresses of the universities of Bombay and Madras → online text (page 26 of 66)