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Convocation addresses of the universities of Bombay and Madras online

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department of human thought. It is thus that great statesmen,
great poets and great philosophers have attained their eminence.

In a University like ours, whose characteristic feature is
its system of examinations, there is a danger, which such of you
as adopt the profession of teaching should guard against, of
subordinating learning to education. The teacher naturally
directs every effort to secure the success of his pupils at the
University examinations, and in training them for their battle
with the examiner is in danger of sacrificing high learning and
original research, and of leading the student to regard success
in an examination as the chief aim of study. You will en-
deavour to correct these tendencies, to lead the student to value
culture for its own sake as well as for what it brings, to despise
mere position in University lists in comparison with his higher
interests, and to look beyond the glittering and evanescent
honours of a College, career to the requirements of after-life.

When the higher education is still in its infancy, we can

When can we scarcely look among you for the highest learning

look for original or for original research. But when your ranks

research. are num bered by thousands, instead of hundreds,



1875. Jtfr. Geo. Thorn. 107

when the endowments of the University, largely increased by
private munificence, are given in part to help the successful
graduate to cultivate his favorite branch of knowledge, when the
University itself is more of what every University should be
"A. School of Universal Learning" where the student finds a
teacher in every department of knowledge, then we may look,
and look not in vain for a contingent from India to the intellec-
tual benefactors of humanity.

We cannot, gentlemen, accept the view " that most of you
are likely to find University distinction a disadvantage rather
than an advantage in after-life." You cannot, of course, all expect
to get situations under Government or rise to high worldly posi-
tion. But what then ? " I am certain," said the great Spinoza,
" that the good of human life cannot lie in the possession of
things which for one man to possess is for the rest to lose, but
rather in things which we can all possess alike, and where one
man's wealth promotes his neighbour's/' In almost every part
of the immense field of human labour, from the obscure corner
in which toils the manual craftsman to the arena of the enlight-
ened statesman, the highly educated man has incalculable
advantages. The outlets for his ambition are numerous and are
ever increasing. The immense machinery requisite for the pur-
poses of primary education in Southern India must be provided
by the University. Without the higher education the lower
becomes impossible.

Gentlemen, on you and such as you depends the future of
India. In the bustle of professional life you may
Strive to be have little time or opportunity to give much
Ii7iitened d pa- thought to the higher concerns of humauity. But
triots. use your time well, and each of you without step-

ping out of his way to do so will find it in his power
to increase in some degree the stock of human happiness and
wisdom. Tke extent of the good you can accomplish will depend
on your acquaintance with the momentous social changes ever
going on around you, on your familiarity with the thoughts of
the leading minds of the age, but mainly on your own energy of
character. Never forget that your own work, however humble,
forms a real part of that present from which the future is evolved.
It will assuredly be your own fault if you fail to be recognized
as centres of moral and intellectual life ; as men who under all
circumstances will stand up for what is right and true ; as true
and enlightened patriots who will not uphold the institutions of
their country ; right or wrong, but will develop to the uttermost



108 University of Madras.

what is good, eradicate what is bad, and borrow from abroad
advantages which are not to be had at home.

" Self reverence, self knowledge, self control
These three alone lead life to sovereign power
Yet not for power (power of herself
Would come uncalled for), but to live by law,
Acting the law we live by without fear ;
And, because right is right, to follow right
Were wisdom in the scorn of consequence."



NINETEENTH CONVOCATION.

(By THE HONORABLE ME. JUSTICE INNES.)

Gentlemen, By desire of His Grace our Chancellor, and in
his name and on behalf of the Fellows of the University in general,
I have the pleasure of congratulating you on the honours you
have won, and of expressing our hope that your future career
will not be without a rich fulfilment of so fair a promise. You
have, as it were, entered a quiet haven at the close of a success-
ful but anxious voyage. The troubles and difficulties of it you
can now look back upon with a calm indifference, added to a not
unworthy pride that you should have so completely overcome
them. Believe me that we have sympathized with you in your
long labours, and experience, in common with all who value
education, a heartfelt delight in being thus able to congratulate
you. While some of your body will no doubt enter upon a fresh
academical course, with a view to further honours, others of you
will probably at once enroll yourselves in some honourable pro-
fession. But whatever your future may be, you this day enter
upon an independent career ; and remember that the manner in
which you comport yourselves will affect the estimation in which
the teaching of this University will be regarded.

By illustrating in yor lives the advantages of the higher
education you have the opportunity afforded you
a^ains^h/ iTr ^ Tem vu*g, or at least diminishing, the prejudices
education. lg which in some quarters, unfortunately, it still
encounters. Many of the grounds for condemning
it have in the course of years been shown to be devoid of founda-
tion ; but it has been admitted to be open to criticism in some
respects. Thus one who has had great experience in tuition,
and whose opinion would on other grounds, always claim respect-
ful attention, has said, " I believe it is true, looking to the great
body of our students, that while there is plenty of industry, there
is too little thought." He traced this defect in some measure
to the amount of time devoted to teaching, which left the students



1876. Honorable Mr. Justice tunes. 109

little leisure for considering the parts of a subject in their several
relations to each other and to the whole, and digesting and
assimilating what they had learnt. This defect is probably not
peculiar to the teaching of the graduates of this University.
After a good deal of labour spent in the mere reception of know-
ledge, there is a very natural shrinking from the further mental
task of taking that thorough survey of the subject which is
suggested as necessary to the proper comprehension of it ; and
the requisite habit of mind is not very readily acquired. The
study of Physical Science now made compulsory for the Matricula-
tion, and which I hope will henceforward be more generally pur-
sued in the University course, is calculated I think, though indi-
rectly, to supply this defect in some degree, as it must tend to
arouse and stimulate the mental faculties, and endow with reflec-
tive activity minds which are now only too content with a mere
passive reception of what they are taught.

I look upon the study of Physical Science as very important
on account of the mental discipline which it neces-
sical U Science y " sitates. It entails steadfast labour and accurate
observation, and the development of the perceptive
faculties is one of its most prominent results. But what is its
most distinguishing feature as a study, is that it is based on
freedom of thought and opinion ; and insists upon verifyiug all
its conclusions by original research. It may indeed be said that
this is necessary for the foil and complete prosecution of every
branch of learning, though not perhaps for elementary studies,
and that Physical Science offers therefore after all no such excep-
tional advantages as those attributed to it. But in fact, very
few pursue their studies in other branches of science to the point
at which original research requires to be resorted to, and the
superiority that Physical Science claims in this respect is that
from the very first rudiments of the study it allows you to take
nothing on trust. You stand at once face to face with the
forces of nature. Every step taken must be verified, and fami-
liarity with its secrets is closed except to immediate contact and
experiment. It is to Physical Science that we owe the greatest
triumphs of man over inanimate nature ; and to it is mainly due
the vast expansion which civilization has attained in the last
hundred years. It has been successfully applied to the advance-
ment of innumerable industries, and has especially opened to us
a better knowledge of our mineral resources and of the means of
multiplying the earth's productive powers.

To Physical Science is also due the faculty which we now
possess of the rapid transmission of thought, which makes no



110 University of Madras.



account of distance, and which has linked together into one vast
market the farthest-severed trade centres of the world. This
power is every day tending to a widespread diffusion among the
masses of the fruits of the earth and the products of industry,
and therewith to the increase of the general welfare of mankind.
The bonds of human brotherhood are drawn closer by daily and
hourly intercourse. Misunderstandings become less frequent ;
differences are more easily composed. There appears to be no
limit to the possible conquests of Physical Science. Nor does it
seem presumptuous to hope that it may yet disclose to us a
method of compelling the atmosphere to do our bidding and to
disgorge those stores of fertilizing moisture which it often
pennriously withholds from a thirsty soil, and a famine-stricken
people ; and even of controlling atmospheric disturbances in their
most violent and destructive forms.

But great as are the advantages which do and may arise
out of the study of Physical Science, I do not wish
Importance of to undervalue the other branches of learning which
guage to Indians! vou have pursued, which are no less a desirable
part of a liberal education, and no less important
to the purpose of fitting you for taking your place in the great
world of men, and exercising the unfailing influence of minds
better and more highly instructed than the generality. You
have so mastered the English tongue that you can use it as a
clear and graceful interpreter of thought, and if by further study
you so assimilate it as to make it part of your nature, you will
find that it will serve to create and animate thought as well as
to interpret it. English opens to you a treasury of literature
which no other nation can offer, and with it the entire philosophy
of the Western world. The currents of European and of Indian
thought are essentially conflicting, and by reason of your educa-
tion you are, as it were, tossed about by the contending forces
of these two opposing currents. But you are in a better posi-
tion than your English brethren for observing, the extent to
which the measures of the English Government are accepted
and become naturalized on the soil of India; and your capability
of estimating the advantages of European civilization necessarily
surpasses that of your uneducated fellow-countrymen. This
your position in relation to the Rulers and the great body
of your fellow-subjects imposes upon you an honourable burden
as citizens of a great community. For it points to a duty in
you to afford your Rulers information and tender them advice,
whenever a proposed legislative or political course, though
prospectively beneficial, would be attended with too great a



1876. Honorable Mr. Justice Innes. Ill

disturbance of the public mind to admit of its being safely
followed ; and also to soften prejudices and allay apprehensions
with respect to measures, which, emanating from a foreign race,
by whom they are often conceived from a widely different
standpoint to that of your fellow-countrymen, may well be
regarded by the latter with a certain amount of honest though
ill-founded suspicion.

In an education which ranges over a variety of subjects,



Representa- constitutional government will not unuatu-

tivw Govern- rally have received some attention from you; and
miMit in India. your study of it will enable yon to exercise a bene-
ficial influence upon a class of your countrymen, who condemn
the system of government in India and demand that India should
enjoy the freedom of England. Now your reading will enable
you to comprehend that freedom in the sense in which it is so
used is, for the most part, a set of results which in England have
been brought about by the gradual efforts of several generations.
Of some of the most important of these results you are already
in the fullest enjoyment, as Equality before the Law, Liberty of
Speech, Liberty of the Press. There is no country in Europe
whose condition in these respects is in advance of that of India.
But no nation can impose upon another a fully matured system
of Representative Government. To be effective, it should be the
fruit and outcome of a tendency, natural or acquired, by which
the individuals of a nation identify themselves with surrounding
'interests and willingly take part in the duties and burdens of
local affairs. Such institutions are not indigenous in this country.
But if there is one more over-mastering determination of the
national mind in England than any other, it is that everyone of
her dependencies shall, as far as is consistent with good and
orderly government, be placed in a position to enjoy the freedom
she herself enjoys. The national determination finds expression
in periodical movements. History shows that at certain intervals
decided steps in advance are taken, always in the direction
of improved government. What has from time to time been
done in India is this. First of all provision was made for the
collection of revenue, not for the purpose of putting the hard-
earned gains of the poor into the coffers of the. wealthy and
great, but to provide the means of guaranteeing the security
of property, and for the purposes of orderly administration.
Extortion, violation of the liberty of the person, and oppression
of every kind had, by generations of misrule, come to be
regarded as the normal exercise of authority. Slavery and
various cruel and murderous practices existed in many parts of



112 University of Madras.

the country as institutions sanctioned by human and divine
laws. General and equal laws have been enacted by the British
Government, the habit of official tyranny has to a great extent
been extinguished, inhuman practices have been repressed.
Slavery is no longer recognized by law, and though in the
relations between the agricultural labourers and their employers
in some parts of the country, the spirit of it may still be seen
at work, it survives no longer as an institution. A system- of
education, with the Universities to guide it in their several
Presidencies, has been initiated with a successful effect upon
the administration of the territory under the British Govern-
ment, and of not a few of the Native Principalities. . The
national mind is also being brought into familiar contact with
a class of ideas which may facilitate the eventual introduction
of further constitutional measures. Juries, Municipalities, the
management of local affairs, Honorary Magistracies, and seats
in the Legislative Council are all means to this end. It is
rather a process of naturalizing than mere sowing, and your
rulers are no doubt compelled to proceed cautiously on a path
which may abound with pitfalls, a path to which history affords
no guide, and which the light of political science fails to
irradiate. A constitution is most efficacious, when, like branch
from trunk, or like fruit from tree, it issues from the natural or
acquired " tendencies, the general belief and the collective con-
sciousness of the people." To obtain a hold on the popular
mind the growth of the fundamental institutions must be slow
and gradual. Those who are impatient for changes of a more
crucial and obvious character, should not forget what has been
already effected. While bearing in mind the advance in social
order and well-being which they have themselves witnessed in
their own day, they should not lose sight of the condition of
anarchy into which the country had fallen when first the Eng-
lish took upon themselves the functions of Government.

It may be well to consider what that condition was. From
the commencement of the sixteenth century we
Goadition in see the process of absorption of the less by the
found Indfi aU more powerful G-overnments in a gradual but con-
stant state of progression. In the North, the
Afghan dynasty succumbed to the Mogul. The territory of
the Bahmani dynasty of the Deccan became apportioned between
three States, of which the Mogul was the acknowledged superior.
To the allied armies of these three States fell the celebrated
Hindu Kingdom of Vijiyanagar. In the middle of the seven-
teent 1 century Sivaji commenced his course of organized robbery,



1876. Honorable Mr. Justice Innes. 113

and his race divided for a while with the Mogul the competition
for India. At what was practically the fall of his dynasty in
1760 and the wreck of the aspiration of the Mahrattas for a
Hindu empire, there remained, except Tanjore and the ancient
kingdoms of Travancore and Cochin, no independent sovereign
but the Mogul. For Orissa had been absorbed by the Mogul
armies late in the seventeenth century, and Mysore was being
ground under the heel of Hyder, who himself avoided assuming
the position of royalty. The Mogul was sovereign of India
from the Himalayas to Cape Comorin ; but the best energies of
the dynasty had long been spent, and when strength was put
forth at the seat of Government, the extreme boundaries of the
empire, if they felt it at all, were sensible of but a feeble vibra-
tion. The imbecility of the Government let loose the license of
the Governors of Provinces, and the country was patrolled from
end to end by bands of pitiless marauders. As Macaulay said in
one of his speeches, " The people were ground down to the
dust by the oppressor without, and the oppressor within ; by the
robber from whom the Nawab was unable to protect them ; by
the Nawab who took whatever the robber had left to them. All
the evils of despotism and all the evils of anarchy pressed at
once on that miserable race. They knew nothing of Govern-
ment but its exactions. Desolation was in their imperial cities,
and famine along the banks of their broad and redundant rivers.
It seemed that a few years would suffice to efface all traces of
the opulence and civilization of an earlier age."

It was at this juncture that the English entered upon that

career which has resulted in the union of most of

Look at that the numerous peoples of this vast empire under one

picture and on a j i /* TH

this. strong and orderly Government, rour genera-

tions have passed away since then, and I believe
that the tales of the lawlessness and misery of the preceding
period are beginning to live but faintly in oral tradition. But
in all its appalling features History still hands it down to us.
The picture is fore-shortened, indeed by the perspective of time,
but still conveys to imagination a sufficiently expressive contrast
between those days and the present. The system which the
English Government is cautiously pursuing may eventually
disclose a considerable aptitude for local self-government which,
duly fostered, may lead in time to the fullest development of
representative institutions. But what that sagacious Historian,
Mill, when examined before the Committee of the House of
Commons in 1832 thought then " utterly out of the question/'
can scarcely even after the lapse of 44 years be very near at
15



114 University of Madras.

hand. Now the Government is in this position, that while it is
not possible for it to withhold from the young a knowledge of
the principles of free Government, it may for a long period be
incapable of bestowing in its completeness what the students of
history find held up to such well-founded admiration.

To you who have enjoyed the advantages of the higher
education, the State may well look to disseminate
Responsibili- j us ^ views on these matters, and to make it clear
ates. that if slowly, yet surely, England will impart to

her great dependency of which she is so justly
proud, all that measure of freedom which is compatible with
orderly Government. And your education will not be in vain if
you employ the knowledge you have acquired in dispelling the
suspicion and jealousy which ignorance upon this subject may
engender ; and so add strength to that Government which alone
is capable of preserving to you the security of person and pro-
perty. Now, gentlemen, the University has stamped you with
its approval, has testified to your qualifications, and sends you
forth as its representatives of this year to the many millions of
India. You have solemnly promised to comport yourselves as
becomes members of this University. See that you do so. The
honor of the University is committed to your keeping. See that
your life and conduct reflect those high principles, that lofty
tone of thought, which the instruction you have received is
designed to engender ; and show that your education consists
not merely in the acquirement of a certain limited amount of
knowledge which may be useful in procuring a means of livelihood
or may recommend itself by an intellectual display, but is an
active principle bent on further conquests and ever seeking to
enlarge the boundaries of the domain of science. And this not
solely ' for the gain it gets ' ; still less ' for the praise it brings, or
the wonder it inspires ' ; but ( for the relief of man's estate '
the promotion of the welfare of our common humanity. Surely,
gentlemen, you have an admirable field for your exertions,
whether they lie in legislation, in disentangling and illustrating
the mazes of the law ; in administering justice ; in taking part
in the executive government ; in clothing the parched landscape
with a network of fertilizing and wealth-gathering agencies ; or
in that noble profession which addresses itself to the relief of
physical suffering. To all of you I would say in conclusion work
well and earnestly in your several professions. Much that is
attractive and absorbing will be found in every vocation by an
earnest worker. And it is a mistake to suppose that it is not given
to the men of this day to engage in heroic contests and take part



1877. Colonel R. M. Macdonald. 115

in venturous toils such as enchant us in ancient story. The
Present the living Present abounds in opportunities for heroic
self-sacrifice such as a demi-god might envy, and you will find
ready at hand much work that is alike arduous and honorable ;
much of chaos that still waits to be reduced to order ; many an
Augean stable that still calls for no unworthy hands to cleanse it.

But time presses. Your work is waiting for

A fresh de- ,_ r . ~ , jp

tachment of the you. You go forth as a fresh detachment of the
army of human arm y of human progress in India, and we wish

progress. V, n

you God-speed.

TWENTIETH CONVOCATION.

(BY COLONEL E. M. MACDONALD.)

Gentlemen, The Statutes of this University require that
an address shall be made to the newly-admitted graduates by a
member of the Senate, and this duty has, on this occasion, been
entrusted to me by His Grace the Chancellor. In his name, and in
the name of the Senate, I congratulate you on the success which
has crowned your long labours. A few of you have reached
the goal of your studies, so far as University examinations are
concerned. Others, although Bachelors of Arts, have still
before you the higher, but rarely sought, degree of Master, as
well as the various degrees which this University confers in the
Faculties of Law, Medicine and Civil Engineering. But every
student knows that all that he has learned of any subject
forms but a small portion of the whole, and that Litera-
ture and Science are Alpine regions, in which the
Knowledge's horizon extends as the pilgrim ascends. What-

Alpme regions. , J .

ever department of knowledge you may have
selected, or may hereafter select, you will find a lifetime too



Online LibraryK Subba RauConvocation addresses of the universities of Bombay and Madras → online text (page 43 of 66)