K Subba Rau.

Convocation addresses of the universities of Bombay and Madras online

. (page 4 of 66)
Online LibraryK Subba RauConvocation addresses of the universities of Bombay and Madras → online text (page 4 of 66)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

decree of any Parliamentary grant would solve the question of
popular education, and banish ignorance of at least the ele-
ments of learning for ever, but we know that it is not, and
never can be so. We know how for years every civilized country
in the Western world has laboured, not wholly in vain, but with
at best imperfect success, to give to the mass of the people the
first elements of education. It is not the want of money, but
the want of human hearts and heads capable of applying that
money intelligently to the work of teaching, which so long has
kept, and will keep so large a proportion of the poorer class in
every country unable to write or read. Let us consider where
in England or in Germany would popular education be were it
not for those who have themselves been educated at a Univer-
sity, or at schools which take their tone from the University ?
The landlords, the clergy of all denominations, the schoolmasters,
the authors and editors, these classes are surely not unimportant
agents in spreading primary or popular education. No man of
refined education can stand unmoved by the spectacle of a people
wholly in darkness. Unless he sat himself up within a barrier of
entirely selfish enjoyment he must go forth and act the part of a
teacher, and he will teach with an intelligent power a thousand-
fold greater than can be applied by him who, however zealous
in the cause, has himself no more than a perfect knowledge of
the bare elements of learning. These are the reasons why it
seems to me that it is a very superficial view of the effects of this
University education to suppose that it is in any way antagonistic
to the great cause of primary education. On the contrary, I

1866. Sir H. B. . Frere. 27

believe that such an education as this University would seal
with its approval is the most powerful of levers to move the great
mass of popular ignorance, and that every graduate going forth
from this University will, in one way or another, prove a valuable
recruit in that army of teachers which is needed to act effectu-
ally on the millions in this country who are still destitute of the
first elements of knowledge.



Mr. Vice-Chancellor, and Gentlemen of the Senate, 1
believe we may congratulate the University that the time has
now come when it is no longer necessary for any one speaking
from this chair to discuss points of merely speculative and theo-
retical interest, since tJ^e actual working of the University
and the practical details of its management afford ample grounds
for consideration at the great meeting of the University when
we count up our gains and losses of the bygone year, and review
the past wjth the practical determination that the result shall
influence our action for the future.

There appears from the report which has just been read by
the Registrar, to have been a moderate, steady, and
Number of satisfactory amount of progress achieved during
Matriculates. ^he year. There has been an increase in the number
of students matriculated. There were 282 candi-
dates, of whom 111 passed this year, against 241 candidates, of
whom 109 passed last year. In this respect, the only notice-
able feature is the great increase this year in the number passed
for Matriculation by the Poona High School and the Free
General Assembly's Institution, and the large number of Insti-
tutions which have lately sent one or more successful candidates.
This is satisfactory progress when we remember how lately the
Elphinstone College and School were almost the only Institutions
which educated up to the Matriculation standard.

I am especially glad to welcome two distinguished students
of the University as the first to take the degree
Bachelors of ^ Bachelor of Laws. I on a former occasion re-
Law, f erred to the great value of the strict and regular
study of theoretical law to the educated youth of
India, and of the great practical importance to the country of a
body of students who should add a sound theoretical knowledge

28 University of Bombay.

of law to a good general education. I trust the time is not far
distant when Government and those who have the task of testing
the claims of candidates for admission to the native Bar, and
of selecting Judges to sit on the native Bench, will be able to
substitute the University stamp of merit and qualification for
the present imperfect departmental tests and examinations.

I am also glad to see the Bhugwandass Purshotumdass San-
skrit scholarship awarded to a worthy candidate.
Sanskrit,Per- I trust the day is not far distant when we shall find
sian and Assy- the Parsees of this University devoting to the
nan Literature. g t u dy o f their ancient and sacred languages some
such attention as their learned Hindu brethren
devote to Sanskrit. The two fields of study have much in com-
mon, and though we may not hope to recover from the lost
treasures of ancient Persian and Assyrian literature anything
approaching in quantity or value to the stores of Sanskrit learn-
ing, yet there is enough to be done, to fire the ambition of
scholars who trace the history of their race and faith back to
the early days of Persia and Assyria.

In speaking of the year's progress I used advisedly the

words " moderate and satisfactory ; " but I would

Alleged de- not have it supposed because I use no stronger

fects in the terms that I doubted the progress being quite as

University sys- . n . . . ,-!

tem. great and rapid as is consistent with permanence

and healthy growth. Whatever doubt may for-
merly have been felt on the subject, it is now beyond question that
this University has taken deep root among the institutions of
Western India, that the rising generation of educated natives
is deeply impressed with an enthusiastic desire to obtain the
benefits of University education and the honours which the
University can bestow ; and our danger is now, not that the Uni-
versity should languish as an exotic unfitted for this soil and
climate, but that its too luxuriant growth should make too
rapid a display of flowers and leaves while it fails to bring much
valuable fruit to perfection. I believe that for some time to
come, our main difficulty will be to maintain the high standard
of University learning, and to discourage all attempts, by lower-
ing that general standard, to increase immediate and apparent
results without corresponding security for the completeness of
the work done. And this brings me to notice a discussion in
which we have all lately taken an interest regarding the Uni-
versity standards as applied to Oriental learning. It was maintain-
ed with great ability by one of our most valued Fellows, of whose
claim for respect on account of his great and varied learning

1866. Sir H. B. E. Frere. 29

we cannot speak too highly, that there was something defec-
tive in our University system, because we did not educate San-
skrit scholars up to the standards of the old Shastris; and some
fear was expressed of a supposed intention to substitute a com-
paratively easy classical language like Latin for the venerable
mother of Indian tongues.

The answer to the first objection is that, in the words

which I have heard used by our learned Vice-
Primary ob- Chancellor, the object of this University, as in Eng-
iersity.^ land, is to establish a standard for the education

of men not as mere means of teaching savants.
I trust that the two objects are not entirely incompatible. I
look to this University as a great means of arresting the lamen-
table decline in the knowledge of the ancient languages of India,
and I trust that there are pupils of this University who will rival
the profound learning of Shastris of old; but let us ever remem-
ber our primary object is to educate men, men fitted for every
walk of life in which high education is needed, complete as far
as the University can make them in every moral and intellectual
faculty and not to produce prodigies of learning in one particu-
lar branch, the especial cultivation of which renders them
necessarily defective in general adaptation to the business of the

world. So with the study of Latin. No one, I
Latin versus hope, would ever dream of comparing it as a Ian-
Sanskrit, guage in completeness, in copiousness, or in all

that constitutes the perfection of language, with
Sanskrit; but while there is a large majority of Indian youths
to whom the study of Sanskrit is natural as the classical
language of their country and mother tongue, there are many
for whom it has no special fitness, compared with a language like
Latin, which has for centuries been the classic language of all
the great nations of Europe. There are, I trust, many students
in this University who will find in the study of Latin all the
benefit that has been experienced by the great students of Europe
for the last eighteen centuries ; but it is no part of our object
to purchase this benefit by the sacrifice of aught that is fairly
due to Sanskrit.

In reviewing our losses and our gains during the past year,

there is nothing of more permanent interest than

Fluctuations the fluctuations of the governing body of Fellows.

bodyof FeUowf. I fc ^ a necessity of our position that every year

should give us cause to note the loss of several

who at our previous meetings were active and matured members of

the University, some removed by death, some by the inevitable

3D University of Bombay.

fluctuations of the public service, or by change of residence.
We have sometimes the pleasure, as in the case of my honoured
colleague, to welcome back to the body of resident and active
Fellows, those who had taken a prominent share in the labours of
the University in its earlier years, and who, while absent from
among us, have borne an honourable and distinguished share in
the Government of sister institutions in other parts of India.
And, in all cases, we have done our best to supply by fresh
additions to the number of Fellows our losses during the past
twelve months ; and by adding the names of discreet and learned
men, fitted by their ability, learning and influence to give weight
to the deliberations and action of the Senate, we have hoped to
make up, as far as possible, for the injuries inflicted on us by
time. But there are some losses which we cannot hope to replace.
The report which the Registrar has read alludes in fitting terms
to the loss of our late Vice-Chancellor (Mr. Kinloch Forbes),
and he could have no more fitting eulogy than the sorrow thus

expressed, of the Senate over wjnch he presided ;

Mr. Kinloch "but I may be pardoned if I point the late Mr. Kinloch

love of justice. 8 Forbes out to , those of my own countrymen who

desire to aid in the great work of the University,
as a bright example of what they have it in their power to do.
It was not his intellectual ability, great as that was, nor his
learning and accomplishments, though we know them to have
been profound and varied ; but it was the innate English love of
justice which, with such singular modesty, was his great
characteristic, which gave him such a hold on the sympathy of
all with whom he came in contact, and which was the true secret
of his power. There is another name which we miss from this
year's roll of Fellows, and which we could ill spare. I have
elsewhere had opportunities of expressing the obligations of
Government to the late Mr. Jugonnath Sunkersett in his general
character as a public citizen, and I would now but allude to his
loss as one of the earliest, ablest and most consistent promoters
of native education in this Presidency, and one whom I would

hold up to my young native friends as an excel-
exampie 6 of ^a. l en ^ example of what an educated Hindu gentleman
Hindu gentle- in the present day may achieve always cautiously

and wisely progressive, liberal as well as conserva-
tive, careful of the wants and wishies of his own community,
yet never unmindful of the good of the community at large. I
feel certain, Sir, that even without the appropriate movement
to his memory which the Registrar'streport records, the name of
such a man will not easily pass fromuour remembrance.

1867. Sir Alexander Grant, Bart. 31



HONOURABLE SIR, Before this Convocation, the last at which
your Excellency will preside, is dissolved, we, the Fellows of
the University of Bombay, crave permission to approach your
Excellency with an expression of our heartfelt gratitude for the
many benefits, which as our Chancellor and as head of the
Government of Bombay,you have conferred upon this University ;
and of our great regret that your connection with us in these
capacities is now so soon to terminate.

Nearly five years ago it was your Excellency's first public
act on arriving here as Governor of Bombay, to preside in this
place and to award the first Degrees which were given by this

Not only at our first, but at all subsequent, Convocations,
your Excellency has done us the honour of presiding. Every
student who has hitherto been deemed by this University worthy
of a Degree, whether in Arts, in Law, or in Medicine, has
received that Degree, accompanied by appropriate and impres-
sive wotfds, from the hands of the Governor of the Presidency.
And annually in your place as Chancellor, your Excellency has
never failed to address us on topics connected with our progress
and policy. Your Excellency's speeches, delivered on these
occasions, are preserved in our Calendars, and we trust that they
may ever be referred to by our successors, as containing some of the
most important principles by which their course may be guided.

The part thus taken by your Excellency in our proceedings
has given this University a peculiar prestige as neither of the
Universities of Calcutta or of Madras has been similarly distin-
guished by its respective Chancellor.

While acknowledging the benefits of the lively interest
which your Excellency, as our academical head, has thus shown
in our welfare, we beg also to thank you for the equally valu-
able forbearance which, as head of the Political Government,
you have exhibited towards us.

A University like ours occupies necessarily a delicate position.
Its members are all appointed by the Government ;
The delicate it derives all its current resources from the Impe-
' **" rial Treasury; and its acts are all subject to veto
from the local administration. Under such

32 University of Bombay.

circumstances, especially in India where it is often felt that all
else except the Government is uncertain and fluctuating there
cannot but be a tendency for a University to lose caste, as it
were, and to come to be regarded as a mere office or department
of the State. What is to be apprehended from this tendency is
not only a loss of dignity to the University itself, but also a
loss of the highest kind of efficiency in its working.

For, the mission of a University in a country like this,

is nothing else than to create an intellectual and

f^tii Tj* 8 - 8 * 011 ^^ sou l amon g tne people ; and there can be no

gity. c question whether this mission is likely best to be

fulfilled by persons feeling themselves nominated

merely to carry out the views of a Government, or by the free

and enthusiastic action of men feeling responsible to themselves

for the good or bad success of the University.

It is under jealous and centralizing administrations, that
a University like ours tends to lose its liberty.
Liberal senti- Butyour Excellency's administration has ever been
Chancellor. characterized by the most large and liberal senti-
ments. And these sentiments you have especially
manifested towards us. You have increased our academical
body by the admission to it of persons from almost all sections of
the community. You have accorded personal sympathy and
public sanction to our acts. You have encouraged us to settle
in our own assemblies all questions falling within our province.

For this faith and trust in us, we beg, Sir, especially to
High stand- thank you. Knowing the interest you have felt in
ard of scholar- our welfare and success, we can well imagine the
possibility of doubts arising in your Excellency's
mind as to that policy of strict and severe examinations which
we have always adhered to, and by which we have kept down
the number of our Matriculations and Degrees to a small frac-
tion of those exhibited by the sister Universities of Calcutta and
Madras. But if such doubts have arisen, your Excellency has
never given expression to them. On the contrary, you have
again and again approved our course, and have seemed fully to
share our belief, that our work if slowly advancing, has a solid
foundation ; and that it is of more importance to create a high
standard of scholarship in this country, than to multiply, ever so
much, the number of persons possessing nominal distinctions at
the hands of a University.

While leaving our Examination standards, as an academical
matter, to be settled academically, your Excellency has never

1867. Sir 77. B. E. Frere. 33

failed in your political capacity to give high recognition to the
value of all the Degrees and honours conferred

Recognition ^y ] 10 University. By bestowing many personal
of University J ,. * J * , B .

men. distinctions on our graduates, by opening to them

generally appointments in the Kevenue Service, and
by assigning to them rank with the Sirdars of the Presidency,
your Excellency's Government has held out the most efficacious
encouragement to perseverance in academical studies.

The period of your Excellency's administration is nearly
co-eval with that of the public existence of this
Results pb- University. During that period the number of oar
fhe n rfgimeo?l? graduates has risen from 8 to 70, that of our
H.B.E. Frere. under-graduates from 106 to about 500. The num-
ber of our Fellows has been increased from 36 to
175. During the same period, by the munificence of eminent
citizens, three noble college buildings for affiliated Institutions
have been commenced and are now nearly finished; two splendid
donations have been received for the erection of a University
Hall and Library, which we hope shortly to see rising on the
Esplanade; six endowments in the form of Scholarships and
Prizes have been entrusted to us ; and handsome gifts in the
shape of a University Seal and Mace have been received. With
the history of all these things the memory of your Excellency's
administration will remain associated. And, as the noble-minded
Lord Elphinstone was regarded as the founder of this Univer-
sity, so we shall take the liberty to regard your Excellency as
our Second Founder. Lord Elphinstone's Arms were incorpo-
rated with those which we bear, and we will now ask your
Excellency to permit your bust, (to be provided at the expense
of the existing Fellows and Graduates) to be placed in our
future University Hall, surmounted by a shield bearing your
Excellency's Arms, in perpetual token of our grateful apprecia-
tion of your rule.

In conclusion, we respectfully bid your Excellency farewell,
and wish you a long and happy life, in that high sphere to which
you ars now going, and where we feel sure you will continue to
watch over the welfare of the University of Bombay, as being
the part not least interesting to you of this Empire of India.

G. C.S.I., then replied as follows :

Mr. Vice-Chancellor and Gentlemen of the Senate, I feel
it very difficult to find words to express the deep and heartfelt

34 University of Bombay.

gratification with which. I have listened to the address which
you have just read, following upon the Registrar's Report of the
steady and most satisfactory progress which has been observable
in the proceedings of this University during the past as in
every preceding year since its foundation. I cannot but feel
that you have estimated the share I have personally had in pro-
moting the success of the University more favourably than I
deserve, but I prize that estimate because I feel assured that
the favourable view you have taken of what I have done while
Governor of this Presidency is founded not on mere personal
partiality, but on sympathy with the great objects we all of us
have had in view.

I have endeavoured ever since I came to this Government
to promote, as far as lay in my power, the efficiency

Independence g^ independence of this University, because I
of the Umver- n , . ... . . f j} , ,

sity. bekeve that it contains the germ of some of the

most valuable gifts which England could bestow
upon India. You have spoken of the " forbearance " which, as
head of the "Political Government," 'I have exhibited towards
the University, and you do me no more than justice in inferring
that what you term " forbearance" has not been the result of
lukewarmness or indifference but of a clear conviction that the
Political Government of this country could hardly commit a
greater mistake than by attempting to convert the University
into a " mere office or department of the State." I have ever
felt most strongly the importance of those truths which you
have so well expressed in your address that any loss of dignity
or independence in the University involves also a loss of the
highest kind of efficiency. During all the years that I have
passed in this country I have felt a continually deepening con-
viction that, whatever absolute power may do to impress any
particular image on the material with which it works, it cannot
create any principle of life in institutions or communities, and
that the vital force which lives, and grows, and has the germ
of further life and further growth, can only result from true
natural organization, and is infinitely more potent and valuable
than any dead image which external power can impress. It

has been the object of this Government to draw to

The valuable the Senate of this University all the independent

gtoJate 8 ( thought and educated ability which is within our

reach, and we firmly believe that no man worthy
to be a Fellow of this University would consent to serve as a
mere nominee of Government, bound in any way to prefer the
behests of that Government} to the dictates of his own conscience

1867. Sir H. B. E Frere. 35

or independent convictions. It is a noteworthy circumstance
that this University stands almost alono among the great institu-
tions of this country, as managed by the unbought exertions of
those who direct its action ; and we of the Government attach a
double value to whatever it does, because the progress it achieves
affords an excellent practical refutation of the doctrine that no
good or useful service to the State can be expected unless
directly paid for in money or money's worth. We have a strong
conviction that here, as in every part of the world, men will
serve their fellowmen truly and laboriously for honour, for love,
and for conscience sake, and we thank you for teaching this
among other truths that great service may be done the State
though it be not paid for in money. Under these circumstances,
Sir, I and my colleagues in this Government have
forbearance! ^ e ^ ^ na ^ ^ forbearance on the part of Government
is sometimes needful, still oftener is forbearance
called for on the part of the Senate when the habits and lan-
guage of the Government may seem to imply a desire to dictate
which in reality does not exist. Generous trust and forbearance
on both sides are needed to insure life and growth in the joint
work. You have alluded to the jealousy which centralizing and
absolute Governments naturally feel as regards any independent
institutions, the main object of which is the cultivation of free
thought. I would say a very few words on the reasons why we
believe that the Government of British India need entertain no
such fear. In almost every other parallel case that we know of
it has been more or less the object of the governing
Policy of other nation to treat a dependency like British India as

governing na- -, i i -i i i i> ,t

tions. a conquered possession, to be administered tor the

benefit direct or indirect of the governing power,

and, in proportion as this spirit animates the action of the

Government so will it have good reason to dread the independent

growth of institutions like this. But England has A as I need not

remind you, no such purpose, and need have no such fear. From

the day when the sudden brilliancy of the achievements of her

sons in this distant country first startled the Parliament and

Online LibraryK Subba RauConvocation addresses of the universities of Bombay and Madras → online text (page 4 of 66)