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Convocation addresses of the universities of Bombay and Madras online

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upright and conscientious men, was proved in practice to be well
adapted to the transition state of a country where written
authoritative law had been long unknown. But neither did
the British Government rest content with this. Many years
ago under the administration of Lord William Bentinck, to whom
India owes so much, a commencement was made of the gigantic
work of drawing up codes of law and procedure for all India.
The best intellects which England and India could furnish were
engaged for many years on the task. Some of the most important
portions of the Criminal Code and the Procedure Codes have
only within the last few years become law. I can speak from
personal observation of the labour of those employed. Sir Barnes
Peacock and Mr. Harrington, the one in some respects the greatest
English lawyer who ever sat on an Indian Bench, the other vindi-
cating an hereditary title to the fullest knowledge of Indian Law,
are at this moment on their way homeward, worn with labours of
which the preparation of these codes has been the greatest and
the longest continued, and they will, I hope, long be spared to
aid still furiLer in the completion of the great work of so many
of th^ Lbst years of their lives. It has been sometimes supposed
that these codes were intended,, or at least destined, to deprive
you of the advantages which you, in all the Presidency cities of
India, so justly prize, of an administration of Englisi law by


18 University of Bombay.

men trained as our English judges are. I can safely say that
nothing was further from the intention of those who framed and
parsed the codes. 1 believe nothing can be further from the
probable result. The intention certainly was to do at once, and
on system, for India, what has been the aim of our great masters
of law in England for generations past, to embody our law and
practice into written systematic codes, but in every case tho
guiding principles of law and practice were intended to be those
of English law and practice ; and in training our lawyers and
judges the model before our legislators has ever been that body
of lawyers which gives to England a constant succession of
iges of whom every Englishman is so justly proud. Nor can,
riiibt that the desired result will follow in due time. It is no
light task which the English Government set before itself to pro-
vide laws and suitable tribunals to administer them to so many
millions of men ; for you must remember that such tribunals as
the British Government proposes, require not only a judge to
sit on the bench, but a trained bar, and a knowledge of tho
general principles of the law and practice of the tribunals very
widely diFused among the community at large. It is in this
direction thjt we may hope the University will prove here as
valuable as Universities have been in every country in Europe,
as giving that kind of intellectual and moral training without
which the most accurate knowledge of the mere letter of the law
will fail to make a good lawyer in our English sense of tho word.
On the other hand, I believe that, in the profession of the law,
the scholars of this University will find, as do their brethren in
Europe, a most congenial and useful field for their talents im-
proved and stimulated by University training. I hope that
many of them will avail themselves of the aid so liberally offered
them by the benefactors of the University to travel and perfect
themselves in our great practical English schools of law. They
will there be struck, as early travellers from our own country
used to be struck in India, by the spectacle of a whole pcoplo
"among whom the law is paramount. But more than this, they
will find themselves welcomed as members of a brotherhood
which is at once the most liberal in the admission of members,
and the most strict in exacting from them such conduct as ig
consistent with a profession of which law is the exclusive study.

And this brings me to note that, during the past as during

former years, several of the foundations connected
Importance or . , , " TT . . , _. .

foreign travel with the U niversity nave indicated an appreciation

?^d Indian pro- O n the part of the founders of the great advantages

of foreign travel as a part of University education.

1864. Sir H. 3. E. Frere. 10

I believe that in every country whose condition in matters of
education can be likened to that of India in the present day, the
tliirst for foreign travel has ever been one of the peculiarities most
strongly marked in the educated youth, whose intellect is begin-
ning to be stirred by a consciousness that all knowledge is not
comprehended in the teaching of a single master, and that it
cannot be grasped by one who never quits the limits of a hermit's
coll. If you look at the picture drawn by our greatest living
poet of him who, from the earliest ages of classical lore down to
the present time, has stood the type of practical exprience and
wisdom, you will find the insatiable passion for travel as for know-
ledge marked as the one characteristic which age and years could
not obliterate or satisfy. At the time when our present system,
of modern European education was yet in its infancy, no scholar
ever dreamt of aspiring to eminence till he had not only acquired
by reading all the learning within his reach, but had seen the
manners of mary races in the cities wherein they dwelt, and had
exercised his own intellect in personal contact with all that he
could reach of the great and wise in other countries. This passion
for foreign travel has gone on increasing among all the advanc-
ing nations of Europe down to the present day. Among the
uuder-graduates of our own Uuiversities there are few destined
to hold a high place in academical honours who do not habitually
cither travel as far and as often as their means will allow without
serious interruption to their studies, or who look forward to be
enabled to travel as one of the best rewards which can follow
some temporary pause in the labour of learning. I think we see
nround us many reasons for hoping that, in this respect, there
is a movement going on in the awakening intellect of India,
which, in fact, lias marked the dawn of a new era of civilization
in every age of which we have any record. It may be necessary
to wait with patience till the prejudices which prevent the gratifi-
cation of this most natural and wholesome form of education shall
be counted among the things of the past; but it would be an
insult to the intellect of India at this period to suppose that many
years can elapse before men will think with something like
incredulity, that it was ever seriously contemplated to treat as
out-castes men who had sought to improve their minds by foreign
travel. In this as in many other respects the Parsees have shown
thciusclves worthy to load their fellow countrymen; and scores
of your fellow townsmen are now living and laboring in England,
tlrin kin g i u , as they walk the streets on their daily avocations,
knowledge as valuable in its way as aby that they could derive
from books, and quite unattainable by any man who never stirs
from his own native province. I trust that we shall not long be

20 University of Bombay.

able to count travellers of other races by units. Every religious
and domestic objection which ingenuity could raise has now been,
dissipated, and the educated youth of this part of India must bo
well aware, that if they would save themselves from the contempt
of their fellow scholars in every other civilized country of the
universe, they will talk and think of no other obstacle to foreign
travel than such as the benefactions lately made to this University
for the benefit of its poorer scholars are intended to remove.

You have been often reminded that the object of a Univer-
sity would be very imperfectly attained if it did
not ^ n some sense separate its members from tho
general crowd of learners around them, and
stamp them with a character peculiarly its own. This is in
fact a part of the work of every great place of education, and
any one versed in the social peculiarities of Englishmen can tell
with some approach to certainty at which of our great public
schools or Universities any man with whom he associates was
educated. I cannot doubt that here as elsewhere similar results
must follow similar causes, and I would wish in this, as in every
thing else, that you should set the best models before you, and
that you who, in time to come, will be looked on as the founders
of whatever character the University is to bear, should consider
betimes the immense importance of a correct standard in manners
as well as in weightier matters. I would urge this with the
stronger emphasis on all the under-graduates and younger mem-
bers of the University, because the results must come by an
impulse from within. It cannot be impressed, however much ife
may be modified, by action from without. No course of study,
however elevated, no distinction of separate buildings or peculiar
costumes, though all tending to the same end, can avail much,
unless there be among yourselves the spirit to create a standard
for your own guidance in all minor morals, distinct frotn and
higher than that of men who do nob belong to so honoured an
institution, You can hardly doubt what answer I would give to
any question as to what standard I would prescribe. When a
mighty Emperor, who a few short years ago was reckoned one
of the ablest as well as one of the most powerful potentates of
modern Europe, desired to describe his wish to discuss matters
with perfect frankness and confidence, he said he wished to
discuss them" as a gentleman," and he used an English word
to express a character not peculiar to any country or race, but
which his sagacious observation had shown him, plays in Eng-
land a more important part than in any other country in the
world. He had there seen that the character may exist, apart

1865. Sir //. B. E. Frere. 21

from riches, from lineage, or from social rank, from learning or
from talent, without one or other of which it is rarely seen in
other societies. He had observed, too, that it is tlie large
proportion of gentlemen in English society, and among those
who bear rule among the people, which renders possible that
combination of individual liberty with subordination to law
which is the most marked characteristic of English society. It
is this which enables typical representatives of
Most marked almost every influential class to mingle freely in
characteristic of that great assembly which is an epitome of the

English socae- -^ -P, ,. 1*7 -1.1 -i i .

ty. .bnglisn nation. Without visible restraint on any

one beyond what the common good demands, it
allows tho proudest and most fastidious to consult for the com-
mon good, and on equal terms, with those who in other forms
of society it would be almost impossible for them to meet on
common ground. As one who has not had the benefit of a
University education, I may go a step further and tell you that
I believe we owe to our "Universities, and to the professions, and
great public schools which take their tone from the Univer-
sities, the general maintenance of our standard of what is
required of a gentleman, and I trust we may in time look to our
Indian Universities for a similar service in establishing a com-
mon standard of manners and minor morals which shall be
recognized not only by men of diverse professions, ranks and
interests, but by those whom diversity of faith and race would
otherwise keep asunder. I cannot give you a better proof of
the high estimate I have ever had of the capabilities of those
natives of India who are trained at this University, than by
speaking to you as capable of bearing the stamp of " gentleman
and scholar; 5 ' and I earnestly and confidently hope that, as a
rule, it will be borne and deserved by all who claim degrees
the University of Bombay.



Mr. Yice-Chancellor and Gentlemen of the Senate, Before
offering any remark on the proceedings of the past

vear * would wisn to Sa 7 a few words on tlie con "

stitution of our own governing body the Senate.
You are aware that up to the present time there has been no
limit to the number of Fellows save the minimum limit of 26
fixed by the Act of Incorporation. This is far too small a body
if the Fellows are expected to take an active part in the work

22 University of Bombay.

of the University. Many deductions must bo made on account
of absence and pre-occupation ; and the working residue of a
body limited to twenty-six Fellows, which could be present nt
any one time in Bombay, would be very small indeed. On
the other hand, there are obvious disadvantages in throwing
the important work of the University, especially that of exa-
minations, on men who have no special connection with tlio
University. It is a noteworthy fact that at the lirst institu-
tion of the University much difficulty was found in selecting fib
and proper persons to fill the office of Fellows, but now our
difficulty is of the opposite character, and we are forced to select
from among those who would be eligible and useful as Fellows,
and the necessity has become apparent for fixing some maxi-
mum limit to the number of such appointments. Tho present
number on the rolls is 127 Fellows, including those who aro
Fellows ex-ojjicio, but a largo proportion of the whole number is
non-resident in Bombay. There are, or will shortly bo, tea op
twelve vacancies caused by the death or departure of Fellows.
We have thought it well not at present to make any great
addition to the numbers on the present roll. I will brielly state,
for the information of the Senate, the claims which seeni to us to
entitle the gentlemen selected to the high honour.

The Eev. Mr. Beynon is a distinguished Canarcse scholar,
one of the few who is able to assist tin University
Merits of in dealing with that great section of the people of
ed^Feiiows?" 1 * nis presidency who speak the Caiiarese tongue. I
trust he will remember that we can not yet boast of n,
single Canarese graduate. Mr. Coke is a graduate of Cambridge
who has long occupied a prominent and most important post
in the Educational department of this Government, and 1 feel
assured that, whatever his future pursuits in life, he will always
retain a deep interest in the cause of education in this country,
to which many of the best years of his life have been devoted.
Mr. Dhunjeebhoy Framjee Nusservvanjeo lias, as I am assured,
turned his special attention to the study of the ancient languages
of his race. This is a branch of learning in which the University
of Bombay ought to excel every other University in the world,
and I trust the day is not far distant when we may find the Zend
and Pehlevic learning of our great German scholars at least
equalled by that of the Parsees of British India-. Few men
have done more for the cause of education in Guzerat than
Mr. Hope. His claims to a seat in our Senate are so well
known that I will only bid him welcome among us. Mr. Kursou-
dass Madhowdass has, by a long and consistent course of self-

"1865. Sir H. B. E. Frere. 23

sacrifice, inseparably connected his name with the cause of truth,
enlightenment, and civilization in India. I feel assured that
the spirit which has actuated him will give life and vigour to
the action of the University, and to its connection with a most
important section of the Hindoo community, which cannot but
produce important results. We welcome Kerupunt Luximon
as the most eminent of native mathematicians in Western India.
Dr. Munclierjee Byramjee Cola and Rao Shaib Maheputram,
Rooprarn, have both established similar claims to a seat in your
Senate. They have visited the great Universities of Europe,
and have thence brought back something of those Western views
of true learning and mental discipline on which we must act
in this University if we hope to attain that position which
Centuries of well directed labour and study have given to the
Universities of Europe. To Mr. Mahadowrow Govind Ranade I
wouid offer an especial welcome, as the first of, what I trust
will be a long and distinguished roll of Fellows, who will look to
this University as their own mother in learning. The first of our
graduates who has attained the honours of a Master in Arts, he
has Well earned the distinction of being the first indigenous
Fellow (if this University. Captain Sherard Osborn has already
earned for himself a name equally honoured in literature and
in the service of his country as a distinguished Naval officer
and traveller. I feel assured he will not be a passive member
of an institution on which the intellectual development of
Western India so largely depends. There are many gentlemen
here who have witnessed the architectural glories of our groat
Universities in Europe. It is, I believe, a fact which we should
all do well to bear in mind that there is not, so far as I am
aware, to be seen in them a single building of any kind erected
"by the Government. All is the work of private munificence, and
we owe to a similar source the promise that this University will
one da} r possess a hall of its own suitable in every way to such a
body as this University is distined to become. As a founder, a
"benefactor, to whose princely munificence the University already
owes so much, Mr. Premchund Roychund will be regarded by
the Senate as a most worthy addition to the list of Fellows.
Mr. Stedman represents the body of Professors of the Grant
Medical College. Possibly further additions may hereafter be
needed to fill the vacancies caused by the departure of Doctors
Peet, Ballingall, and Coles, whom we have this year lost from
our list of Fellows. The Rev. J. V. S. Taylor is distinguished
for his accurate knowledge of the dialects of Guzerat. I know
of no province in India which affords field for the action of
those powers which will be evoked by this University than

24 University of Bombay.

Guzerat, which combines in so remarkable a degree so much
that remains of the civilization of ancient India and so much of
the promise of the future.

The report which we have just heard read again speaks

of steady, assured progress as compared with

Results ^ of former years. There are two features in it which

tlie Examina- 1 1 1 1 T-I i

tionB. seem to me especially noteworthy. First, there is

the greatly increased area from which matriculated
students have been drawn. Not only is the number of such stu-
dents greater than in former years, but in the enumeration of
more than thirty institutions from which students have been
drawn, I observe the names of many schools from which no stu-
dent has ever before been matriculated. This speaks well for
the extended influence of the University, and for the hold it is
establishing over our schools as the standard of education in this
part of India. The other fact which I would notice is that we
find among the graduates this day, and holding a very honour-
able place among them, the first Sindee scholar who has been
educated at this University. I notice this not merely on account
of the great personal interest I shall ever feel in a province
where so many years of my life were spent, but because it illus-
trates, in a very remarkable degree, the influence which an
institution like this University cannot but exercise over all edu-
cation down to the most elementary. Probably there is no pro-
vince in India where there was, previous to the British rule,
such an entire absence of education of any kind as in Siud.
There were indeed a few traces of the learning of former days.
Philologists investigated the language, and discovered that it
had once held a high place among the most cultivated and copi-
ous dialects of India, and there were yet traces of what in former
days had been famous Seminaries of Persian and Arabic learn-
ing, but all was of the past. There were no public schools to
teach even the very elements of learning. Schools, scholars,
teachers, professors, had alike to be created. It might be said,
and it was said by many most influential educationists, " This is
a case where nothing can be done but to provide elementary
schools schools for primary or popular education, on which in
future generations, may be grafted schools of a higher character,
as colleges." These primary branches of education were not
neglected, but it was decided, and I think most wisely decided,
nofc to rest content with these first steps in education, but to
endeavour to train a few of the most promising scholars to join at
once the higher institutions for national education which have their
seat in this island. We have now the results of this experiment.

1865. Sir H. B. E. Frere. 25

The young Sindee, who has this day taken his degree,
will return to his own house well instructed in
most branches of secular English education, such
as most English gentlemen would desire for their
sons, and we may now ask what will be the influence he will
there be able to exert in the matter of education ? First, as to the
higher classes. To judge of what he may do we must, I think,
as has been often suggested by a learned friend of mine, to whom
this University owes so much, and who, I am sorry to think, is
shortly to leave us we must, I say, look back to the time when the
young scholars of mediaeval Europe visited the courts of the
great princes and nobles who in those days thought
So? lola ' s of it scarcely less glorious to found a college than a
rope. 1 kingdom. The history of that period paints to our

imagination many picturesque scenes in which the
young and travelled scholar who came laden with the riches of
Roman and Grecian learning, displayed his treasures before
princes and peers, ecclesiastics and warriors, and by translation
placed many of the gems of ancient lore within the reach of those
who knew none but the vulgar tongue. May not something of
the same kind await him who in these days will carry to the
court of Rajpoot Chiefs or Pathan Ameers the stores of Western
learning which he has here acquired ? The Moulvie who can
repeat the Koran with half its commentaries by heart, the Shastree
who is a living library of Hindoo literature, men who had long
passed in their own courts as miracles of erudition, may find in
the young scholar who comes fresh from the teaching of Germany
or England more prof ound knowledge of their own sacred books
than they themselves ever dreamed of. He will bring, too, learn-
ing in many branches of science never before heard of in those
regions, all the wonders of physical science, and all the varied
history, philosophy, and literature of the great race who govern
India. And, withal, prince and peasant, priest and warrior, will,
I trust, marvel to find in him that modesty which
HmniHty the they rarely find in the narrow minds which hold
wisdom. P ( a U the knowledge of those who have been used to
style themselves the "learned men " of that con-
tracted circle. The young stranger knows what they have never
learnt, how varied are the aspects, how many-sided the forms,
of truth, how unlimited is the field of possible knowledge, how
little is the sum of all human science and learning when compared
to that which is still unrevealed. All this he has felt, and it
has given him that true humility of spirit which learned and
unlearned alike instinctively feel is the true stamp of wisdom.
But, great as may be the effect of one such scholar upon the


26 University of Bombay.

upper classes, how will it fare with the poor, with those who
can neither read nor write, who seem condemned to perpetual
ignorance, because it is hardly possible for them to hear a
teacher's voice, and the written word is to them sealed by
ignorance of the first elements of learning ? " Would it not

be better," it may be asked, " that all cost and

? sh prima r " P a ^ ns w ^ cn have been spent in equipping this

Education?* 81 one scholar with so many costly gifts had been

divided so as to instruct hundreds of poor pea-
sants in the simple arts of reading and writing ? " I believe
that to such questioners tfye true answer would be that experi-
ence shows that one such scholar accomplished, as I have
supposed, will do more to promote the primary education of all
around him than could possibly be effected by almost any sum
of money simply spent in teaching the illiterate to read and
write. We are too apt to forget that this work of primary edu-
cation is not simply a matter of arithmetical calculation, or of
the expenditure of a given sum of money. Were it so, a single

Online LibraryK Subba RauConvocation addresses of the universities of Bombay and Madras → online text (page 3 of 66)