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Convocation addresses of the universities of Bombay and Madras online

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on us as a Board of Examiners, to perform also some of the
higher functions of a University by refusing our degrees to any
candidates, however intellectually qualified they may be, who
have not been subject, for regulated periods, to the wholesome
influences of college life. We have hoped that, in this way, by
coming into intimate association, in their daily walk, with men
of learning and of character, they would grow in knowledge
and in wisdom also. Considerations of this kind certainly
had weight with us when we lately extended the course of
study for the B.A. Degree from 3 years to 4 years. It was
thought to be a distinct advantage, to be set against any
additional expense that might fall on undergraduates or any
other possible inconvenience, that they should remain for the
lengthened period of 4 years under the influence of academical
associations and surroundings. So far as in us lies, therefore,
we endeavour to minimize any possible defects of our system,
and to fit our graduates as efficiently as may be for the work
that may be before them. Such being our resolute endeavour,
the " charge " which is addressed from this
The parting chair to every graduate on whom a degree is

word of the -, ,, * / . , -, , -, . , . ,. n

University. conterred, that he should, in nis lite and con-
versation show himself worthy of the same, is
no idle, meaningless formula. It is an earnest, anxious exhor-
tation, delivered under a sense of the solemnity of the occasion.
It is the parting word of the University to the youth who
has equipped himself for the battle of life under her guidance.
It tells him to be a " hero in the strife," and never, by idle
word or corrupt conduct, to bring dishonour on himself and
his country. If we wish to set forth the teaching of this

262 University of Bombay.

charge more fully, we might well borrow the language, used
1800 years ago by one of the greatest teachers of mankind,
and say to our graduates: ''Whatsoever things are true,
whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, what-
soever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever
things are of good report, if there be any virtue or any praise
think of those things." The graduate who bravely and in all
humility responds to such an exhortation is not likely in his life
and conversation to show himself unworthy of his degree.

Taking this view then of the importance of
Curriculum? th0 our Degrees, we may congratulate ourselves that

in the past year we were able to give final
effect to our deliberations regarding the course of study for
the B,A. Degree by adopting formal regulations for the inter-
mediate Examination and the Final Examination for that
degree. These regulations have now received the sanction of
Government ; and it remains for us now to watch and super-
vise the working of them. I, for my part, have no doubt that
our action in this matter will be shown by the results to have
been wise. We may hope for a similar justification also of our
new scheme for the Law Course, which is now in full opera-
tion. . As soon as we became conscious of the defects in the
system which has been superseded, we took measures for cor-
recting them. We determined to give the LL.B. Degree, which
is a qualification for admission to the Judicial service, only to
students who had undergone a properly graduated course of
study, extending over 3 years, two of which are to be undergone
after they have taken the Degree of B.A. or B.Sc. By such
improved legal training, carried out under the supervision of
capable teachers, we may reasonably hope that our graduates in
Law will be, not good lawyers only, but educated gentlemen as
well. During the past year, we have altered the Regulations
for the diploma in Agriculture so far as they relate to the
examination in Veterinary Science. Perhaps it is sufficient to
remark with reference to this alteration,, which has not yet been
sanctioned by the Government, that it was considered necessary
by a Committee of experts, and was recommended by so high an
authority as the late Mr, Steel, Principal of the Veterinary
College and Hospital. Though we may find solid ground of
satisfaction in respect of such measures as I have now adverted
to, we must not in our retrospect overlook such events as have
brought us disappointment in the past year. There are at least
Revised scheme two &uc ^ evente. Perhaps the failure of the Syn-
for the Matricu. dicate to induce the Senate to adopt a revised

scheme for tha Matriculation Examination may

1892. The HonorableMr. Justice Jlirdwood. 263

have caused little distress to the Senate ; but it was certainly
a disappointment to the Syndicate, for the scheme was the result
of the deliberations of a very strong Committee of Education-
ists whose proposals it was impossible for the Syndicate to dis-
regard. The Committee contained 4 representatives of the
Syndicate : Mr. Justice Telang, the Rev. F. Dreckman, Brigade-
Surgeon Wellington Gray, and Mr. Starling. Two of these
gentlemen represented also the colleges, which were further
represented by the Rev. Dr. Mackichan and Mr. Oxenham.
The High Schools were represented by Mr. Modak and Mr, D.
N. Wadia. Now I am not going to refer at all to the merits
of the scheme proposed by the Committee. This is not the
right time for me to do so. The whole question excited unusual
interest, and was very vigorously discussed both in the Senate
and in the public journals. The final discussion took place at
the meeting of the Senate, held in December last. That meeting
was, by a vote of the Senate, dissolved and the subject, therefore,
in the language of our Bye-laws, was "dropped"; and we are
still watching over its prostrate form, in the full consciousness
that the existing scheme of the Matriculation Examination is
considered to be defective, not only by the Educationists whom I
have just named, but was pronounced by our late Vice-Chancellor,
Dr, Wordsworth, to be an examination which " fulfils, by general
consent, most imperfectly the one function for which it exists." I
can only myself express the fervent hope that the question of re-
modelling it will again be brought before the University by the
heads of colleges, to whom it must be a matter of vital importance
that their undergraduates should come to them with such train-
ing as fits them to understand and to derive benefit from college
lectures. There can be no question that the decision of the

Government of India, with reference to the Uni-
8it T *Bill mV6r ~ ^ ers ity Bill, has caused very general and profound

disappointment to the members of the Senate.
A year ago, we were very hopeful as to the effect of a unanimous
representation of our views in regard to the Bill ; and we have,
at all events, been so far fortunate that we have now secured
the substantial adherence of the Bombay Government to our
views. But the Government of India has unmistakeably told
us that it is not yet prepared to legislate in the sense desired by
us. It does not appear that any further representation we could
make would be of any avail, for all the reasons why we desire the
Bill are already before the Government of India. As those rea-
sons are strong and weighty, we must hope that in time they will
prevail; perhaps also, after a time, we may ourselves see our
way to moving again in this matter. But till then we can at least

264 University of Bombay.

take advantage of the offer of the Government to give the pri-
vilege of electing two Fellows annually to a constituency
composed of Masters of Arts and the holders of equivalent
degrees. Such a privilege is enjoyed by the Calcutta University,
and though it falls grievously short of our wishes and hopes, it
is not quite without value. In the current year, it will enable

the new constituency which the Government will
lows!* constitute to supplement the recently Gazetted list

of Fellows, which is a shorter list than was Ga-
zetted either in 1889 or 1890, and a much shorter list, unhappily,
than that of casualties by death and retirement which we have
had to deplore during the past year. About 11 or 12 of our
European Fellows have left India, the greater part of them
probably with no intention of returning. Among these we
find the names of Brigade- Surgeon Lyon, Mr. Justice Scott,
and the Rev. R. A. Squires. The list of casualties by death
is larger still, and includes the honoured names of Mr, Shan-
taram Narayen, who died while holding office as Syndic in Law,
Rao Saheb Mahipatram Rupram, Mr. Raghunath Narayen Khote,
Mr. Serjeant Atkinson, Mr. J. Flynn, Sir Henry Morland, who
died while holding office as a member of the Board of Accounts,
Mr. Rehatsek, the Rev. Dr. Narayen Sheshadri, Dr. Temperley
Gray, Raja Sir Tan j ore Madhavrao, the Rev. F. X. Fibus, Rao
Bahadur Mahadev Wasudev Brave, and Mr. Ganesh Ramachan-
dra Birloskar, who became a member of the Senate only two
years ago. The mere recital of these names reminds us most
sorrowfully of the services rendered to the University in the past,
and in some cases up to within a few weeks ago, by friends who
have now passed away, to our abiding loss. Before I bring this
The finances address to a close I should like to refer, and I will
of the Univer- do so very briefly, to a matter which is becoming
Blty - daily of increasing importance. It is the subject of

the finances of the University. You are well aware that we have
never yet been able to carry on the work of the University with-
out the aid of a subsidy from the Government. The fees which
we take from candidates at the several examinations do not suffice
for the adequate remuneration of the examiners and our other
expenses. We are at present receiving from the Government an
annual grant of Rs. 15,000, for our general expenses, and a spe-
cial grant, in the Public Works Department, of Rs. 2,000, for the
maintenance of the Garden. Now I am sure that it is your earnest
desire that this Univerity should be a self-supporting institution,
just as the Universities at Calcutta and Madras are self-support-
ing. The most obvious way of securing that end is to revise the
scale of examination fees and to levy a small annual tax on mem-

1892. The Honorable Mr. Justice Birdwood. 265

bers of the Senate. Both these methods of increasing our income
have indeed been proposed by a special Committee appointed by
the Syndicate, during the past year. The Committee has presented
a report which deals thoroughly and in detail with the subject.
But the Syndicate has not yet made any recommendations to the
Senate, as the subject is one of those in respect of which pro-
posals may be expected from Mr. Phirozesha Mehta's Committee,
which was appointed some time ago for the purpose of dealing
with the present system of appointing examiners and conducting
examinations, and it was thought advisable by the Syndicate to
await the proposals of that Committee before submitting any
recommendations of its own. The question is one which must be
dealt with in the current year, for we have no assurance that tha
Government grant will be continued to us much longer. We
ought, without much more delay, to devise ways and means for
placing the general fee fund of the University, established under
the Act of Incorporation, on a proper footing. The task before
us will be lightened if men of wealth, who wish to help the cause
of education in this Presidency, will only remember that at the
present moment an Endowment Fund, for meeting the general
expenses of the University, is likely to be more useful than
any addition to the endowment list of scholarships and prizes.


On the evening of 24th March 1892, when the members of
the University assembled to show their appreciation of the long
and distinguished public services of the Hon. Sir Raymond
West, C.S., M.A,, LL.D., F.R.A.G.S., K.C.I. E., by conferring on him the
Honorary Degree of Doctor in the Faculty of Law,

The Hon. Mr. Justice Birdwood said :

My Lord Chancellor and Gentlemen of the Senate, The
duty imposed upon me this evening is one which gives me much
satisfaction to discharge. We are met together to give effect to
the recommendation of the Syndicate, which has been supported
by the unanimous vote of the Senate, and confirmed by your
Excellency, that the Honorary Degree of Doctor in the Faculty
of Law be conferred by the University on Sir Raymond West
on the ground that he is by reason of his eminent position and
attainments a fit and proper person to receive such a degree.
The power to confer honorary degrees given us by Act I of
1884 has only twice been exercised by us. In December 1884,
an eminent Statesman, the Marquis of Ripon, became associated
with us by admission to this degree on his retirement from the

266 University of Bombay.

Viceroy alty of India. After an interval of six years we confer-
red it on Dr. William Wordsworth who though he had never
sought great things for himself, and never attained to high official
honours, had yet by force of character and conspicuous merits as
a scholar and educationist, attained, by universal consent, to that
eminence of position which is contemplated by the Legislature
as one of the grounds which may justify the degree. To-day
we wish to bestow this degree, to which we attach such rare
value on one who holds high office as a member of the Bombay
Government. But it is not on that account that we wish to honor
him. His official rank is but an accident of his real position.
In a few weeks it will pass away ; but when it is gone, he will
still retain that eminence which entitles him to recognition by
the University as a fit recipient of the honorary degree ; for it is
an eminence which he has reached by a life-time's devotion to
public duty, in the interests of the people of this Presidency and
especially of the cause of education as represented by the work
of the University. As your Excellency will presently address the
Senate, it is not necessary that I should take up your time with
any elaborate attempt to set forth the history of Sir Raymond
West's public services. Still I should wish, on such an occasion,
to refer to some of the considerations which weighed with the
Syndicate When it brought before the Senate the recommendation
which has met with such early approval. In the
The distin- nrs fc place then, it was impossible for the Syndicate
oTsir B^West! r for the Senate or indeed for the people of this
City and of the Presidency, to be insensible to the
powerful and pervading influence which was exercised by Sir Ray-
mond West throughout the long period of fifteen years during
which lie occupied the position of a Judge o'f the High Court. It
was felt by all classes of the community that he was not merely a
strong and sagacious Judge who brought a profound knowledge of
legal principles and a cultured mind to the disposal of the judicial
business of the country lie was more than that. He was a true
friend of the people who sought their welfare and their advance-
ment ; and lost no opportunity of improving by all possible means,
the general administration of justice throughout the Presidency,
whether by careful supervision of the procedure of all Subordi-
nate Courts, or by devising effective methods for securing a due
supply of competent Judges of all grades for the Mof ussil Bench,
or by raising the status of the learned body of Pleaders through-
out the country, without whose aid, honestly and efficiently
rendered, the administration of justice must always be grievously
hindered. His efforts in these directions will bear fruit long
after he has left these shores; while lasting evidence of his

1892. The Honorable Mr. Justice Birdwood. 26?

judicial capacity will bo found in the volumes, extending over a
long series of years which contain the reports of many learned
judgments delivered by him with authority from the Bench.
But while his time was so occupied with the duties more closely
connected with his judicial office, he was able to undertake a
work of great magnitude in collaboration with Dr. George
Buhler, which will always establish his claim to rank as one
of the highest authorities in this land or anywhere on Hindoo
Law. The merits of that work have been borne ample testi-
mony to by eminent scholars and lawyers. It was the result
of years of patient labour and investigation ; and if ever the
time comes for codifying the Hindoo Law,, as it now exists, the
digest of Sir Eaymond West and Dr. Buhler will certainly form
the most important basis for such codification. But it is in con-
nection with our own University that we shall most readily
appreciate the advantages which have accrued from the resi-
dence of Sir Eaymond West in our midst, and we can never
forget the years when he was identified intimately with us in all
our undertakings ; whether as an examiner at the higher exami-
nations or as a Syndic in Arts or Law for six years or as a Dean
in the Faculty of Arts or as Vice-Chancellor for seven years.
During all this lengthened period he was no idle holder of office.
He was a living power inspiring and guiding our deliberations
and always lending aid when needed in the development of cm-
plans. He imparted strength to our institutions and strove with
all his might, to raise this University to a position of independ-
ence., and to make it something more than a mere board of
examiners. He wished to make it a living, growing organism
in vital union with its affiliated colleges and exercising a whole-
some influence on the life and conduct of all its members.
Though, we know that he failed to secure the acceptance by the
Senate of all his views, as embodied in the University Bill, which
we owe to him but which is, unhappily at this moment, in a
state of suspended animation still we can never be unmindful
of the great love he bore to this University, and of his able,
conscientious, and long continued service on her behalf. In now
conferring an honorary degree on Sir Raymond, we are recog-
nising merit which has been recognised in a similar way already
by two older institutions than our own, and I would confidently
express the hope that the honour we are conferring will not be
less highly valued by him than the degrees he has received
from the University of Edinburgh and the Queen's University in
Ireland. It is now my duty, my Lord Chancellor, on behalf of
the Senate, to present Sir Raymond West to your Excellency,
and to ask you in the presence of this assembly, to meet our

268 University of Bombay.

wishes by conferring on him the Degree of Doctor in the Faculty
of Law on account of his great and distinguished merit.

His Excellency Lord Harris then addressed the Senate
in the following terms :

Mr. Yice-Chancellor and Gentlemen of the Senate, We are
assembled for the third time to confer this honorary degree
on one of India's most distinguished public servants, and curi-
ously enough for the third time in your career, Sir Raymond
West, you receive the honorary degree of LL.D., and I
venture to say that what the University f Edinburgh and
the Queen's University of Ireland have thought themselves
honored in doing to one who, however connected with those
great institutions, has been far more closely connected with
Bombay, this University need have no reluctance in repeating.

I would that this chair had held some one who from
A resume or , -, IYt . , . , ,

Sir Eaymond long personal or official acquaintance with you could
West's Indian have now in addressing this assembly, put in those
light touches of events and characteristic traits
which brighten up any picture of a life well-spent. None could
enter upon the pleasurable task more readily than I ; but neces-
sarily I must depend on records rather than personal experience.
Looking back over the thirty-five years that have elapsed since
the day when Ireland supplied to the service of India another of
the many brilliant servants of John Company Bahadur whom she
has sent, it must seem strange to you to compare the baptism of
blood and tumult which so soon followed your entry into the ser-
vice with the peace and order which you leave behind on your
retirement. Although the terrible experience of other parts of
India were happily not extended to the Southern Mahratta country
there must nevertheless have been need for the utmost care and
watchfulness on those yourself amongst the number on whom
rested the conduct of affairs : and I doubt not that you, much as you
may value the Mutiny Medal which you hold, value not less highly
the experience which you gained in the confidential work entrust-
ed to you by Mr. Seton Karr, and in the charge of the North
Belgaum district which you held. You found India racked with
those pains which internal disorder must bring, trade distraught,
and the employment of labour paralysed, and you leave Bombay
studding the horizon with factory chimneys, sure signs of a
long period of rest from intrigue, of confidence in trade, of the
investment of capital and of the full employment of labour.
But if at first the sword was placed in your hand it was
not long before the toga, whether from inclination or the needs
of the judicial branch, displaced it, and this change must

1892. Lord Harris. 269

hsivo been largely assisted by the intimate acquaintance you
acquired, by assiduous study, and by availing yourself of the
opportunities you had, with the Canarese language. It was no
doubt through your knowledge of it, and consequently from
being able to communicate freely with witnesses in Court, and
with the people out of Court that you won the high regard in
the Southern Division, which is such a compliment to your-
self, and that you were able to effect the complete and bene-
ficial reorganization of the judicial system there, which sub-
sequently was adopted as a model for the Bombay judicial
establishments. Before that task was accomplished, however,
you had been paving the way for the assumption of greater
responsibilities with the knowledge of affairs gained by work
in the offices of Under- Secretary to Government and of the
Registrar of the High Court ; and it was, I believe, during this
latter period that you edited the Bombay Code of Regulations
and Acts ; and with the aid of Professor Buhler brought out at
intervals the Digests of the Hindoo Law of Inheritance, of Parti-
tion, and of Adoption now accepted as a standard authority on
the several subjects. But the Presidency proper was not alone
to benefit by your aid. Your service in Sind enabled you to
simplify and place on a comprehensive footing the judicial orders
that had been issued at various times. Whilst at Simla as a
member of the Indian Law Commission you were mainly re-
sponsible for the report which heralded the introduction of the
Transfer of Property Act, the Trust Act, Easement Act, and the
Negotiable Instruments Act. Neither have the benefits of your
wise counsel been confined to the field of jurisprudence ; for your
home in England can show material proof of the gratitude of the
contributors to the Civil Service Fund for your labours in their
behalf. Neither have your services been confined to India and the
British Empire, for in 1885, at actual pecuniary loss to yourself,
you accepted the deputation to Egypt as Procureur General. It
is no bad compliment to yourself to say that if your proposals
then for a reform of criminal- law were in advance of the concep-
tions of those responsible for the administration of Egypt, it has
not taken long for official opinion there to catch up yours ; for
I understand that another distinguished Bombay Judge is gener-
ally following in the lines you laid down. It is hardly for me to
pass an opinion on your work as one of H. M. J s Judges of the
High Court : ample testimony to the firmness, impartiality, legal
knowledge, and uprightness which you displayed there is to be
found in the public records of the time in question, and in the
fact of your selection as a Member of Council. It is not unlikely
that of all your literary work, that which you lay most store by

University of Bombay.

are those volumes of the Bombay High Court Reports : and the
Bombay series of the Indian Law Keports, which, whilst they
have added so much to your renown, have been of such immense
use to all judicial officers. Sir Eaymond West, behind that
mysterious curtain, which is supposed to, but does so slightly,
veil the confidential proceedings of G-overnment, it would not be
proper to intrude : but the public would be sure, without one
word from those who have served with you, from their knowledge

Online LibraryK Subba RauConvocation addresses of the universities of Bombay and Madras → online text (page 30 of 66)