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Convocation addresses of the universities of Bombay and Madras online

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1880. Duke of Buckingham and Chandos. 143

events of the present, and the prospects of the future. In such
men are found strong and decided convictions, but it is among
such that we must look for those whose counsels should guide
Governments and direct and influence the people. Does then
the present education of this Presidency tend to produce such
men ? I have no doubt in answering this question in the affirma-
tive and to say that although there is no doubt much of the
mere showy and superficial sort of learning easily recognizable,
pretentious in style, unsound in argument, ever displaying
carefully-culled phrases, gathered from the pages of a glossar}^
not by study of the author; frequently misused from utter
ignorance of the context, although there are many such yet there
are also a large proportion of sound and well-taught men doing
honor to the Presidency from which they have sprung and to
its University. The most powerful influence of an University
on learning and knowledge must ever be an in-
The influence direct rather than a direct influence : depending

i^reYt^rathe? on ^ e va ^ ue attacne< i ^7 tne country and the
than e direct! people to the stamp of its degrees, by a careful
maintenance of its standards of test of admission,
at a point obtainable with certainty by reasonable ability
combined with fair diligence in study. It doubtless exercises a
direct influence, sifting out the idler and the dunce and fixing
a standard below which at least the affiliated and other schools
must not fall if they would maintain their usefulness and
character and retain their pupils. But in the maintenance of
the standards of admission and of degrees, it is upon the atten-
tion and ability of the Examiners in their different duties no
less than upon the ability of its professorial teaching that the
University depends, and thus the care displayed in their selec-
tion will ever be a mainspring of the direct influence which the
University exercises on the education of the Presidency, If the
standards are allowed to fluctuate uncertainly a depreciated
value will attach to the examinations, and the influence for good
will be more or less lessened.

What are the prospects for its graduates ? Many an able

man, trained to weigh facts dispassionately and

Prospects for a ble to maintain his opinion in argument, will be

yradnates, needed to aid Government with advice and counsel.

For essential as it may be for the good, for the safety of the

people that executive power be wielded with promptness and

decision at times even perhaps with dictatorial power, restrained

only by the restraints of the law and the powerful influence of

the country's voice, so will it be yearly more and more essential



144 University of Madras.



that for its advancing legislation Government shall gather to
its councils, in increasing numbers, men who can worthily repre-
sent and stoutly advocate the interests and the wants of the
people. For such duties are needed men, who have studied the
history, not only of their own country, but of the nations of the
world ; who have weighed the various causes which have made
Governments to fall and nations to prosper or decay and who
have traced in the annals of the past the dangers to be feared
either from encroaching despotism or unbridled liberty. In the
faculty of law there is apparently no need to dwell upon the

nature of the prospect, for the ranks of the law

seem to swell rapidly, even perhaps too rapidly,
for the good of the people, but there are open to the graduates
of the law the honorable position of judges of the various courts,
and thus distinctions are perhaps more readily attainable in
. that faculty. In the faculty of medicine the

me> demand is rapidly overtaking the supply. The
services of good men for Local Dispensaries, now numbering
170 in our 20 districts, are every day more appreciated in
the districts. Hospital accommodation, which is already being
supplemented in several places by special subscriptions with
accommodation congenial to the customs of caste privacy, must
be increased. The old-fashioned village doctors must give way
before the higher education, the skill and trained ability of the
graduate ; while as hospitals and dispensaries develop the
opportunities of medicine and surgical instruction will increase ;
and that skill which can only result from the experiences of
constant practice will increase also the benefits of an educated
and skilful treatment in alleviating pain and mitigating diseases
being more widely spread will bring sufferers in increasing
numbers for relief, demand additional dispensaries and addi-
tional officers, and thus open a wide field for the student in
medicine. In the faculty of Civil Engineering, I confess I have

been surprised that so small a number compara-
in Engineer- ^ively appear for degrees therein. In a country

where from its climate and its circumstances, engi-
neering knowledge is essential to the management with profit
and safety of almost every farm where the one problem of the cul-
tivator is how to economise, and how best to utilise the essential
fertilising element of water ; to confine the streams to supply the
tanks, to arrest and detain the maximum quantity of the periodi-
cal floods., and only allow a minimum to pass away to the ocean
at the same time guarding against disastrous flood damage,
there is a field for engineering science hardly elsewhere to be
found. The science of irrigation should be almost indeed the



1880. Duke of Buckingham and Chandos. 145

monopoly of the Indian races. But while I point to the conduct
of irrigation, and to hydraulic engineering as one prominent field
for the Indian engineer, yet it is by no means the only one. The
line which separates architecture from Civil Engineering is but
indistinctly drawn. Indeed, in all structural work the combined
skill of both branches is essential to perfection. Without a
considerable amount of engineering knowledge the architect
will find himself in constant difficulty, while a shapelessness
and absence of all grace in the outlines will mark the works of
an engineer devoid of architectural skill and taste. Well, now

in India, new buildings of various sorts from
tare* Arcl " tec " palatial residences and courts to the humbler

buildings of an elementary school,, or Tahsildar's
cutcherry are constantly needed. How is it that we have to
seek designs from European architects ? Not because the Indian
races by nature, are deficient in taste or skill ; we have but to
turn to the relics of the past, to the works of the latest age, for
a contradiction to such a suggestion. Whether we look at the now
unearthed relics of Buddhist architecture at Arnaravati, at the
beautiful monoliths now adorning the esplanade of Pondicherry,
at the pillared halls of Chelembram, Srirungum and Tripatty, the
highly finished sculpture of the ruined temples of Humpi,
the grotesque phantasies of the Southern Indian carver as
exemplified in the still advancing aisles of the Madura temples,
with their vast and massive structures and granite roofs or the
almost ruined halls of Thirumal Naick's palace, now being I trust
secured from destruction. In all we see works vast in conception,
beautiful in outline, graceful in execution. From such models
at hand for instruction, architects should spring forth who
should hold their own in competition certainly for any Indian
buildings. Architects are not taught in a day, the more reason
for commencing study therein. The recent changes in the
Public Works offices, the placing of local fund expenditure
under the officers of the local fund boards, opens to you a large
field of future employment, and to my mind a more healthy field
for the development of the ability of professional men, than the
cramped field of ordinary duty in a public service. The most
efficient engineers of England who have made her railways, her
canals, her harbours, have earned their character, their position
in private employment and been trained in youth in hard
struggles for their daily bread. The harbours growing under
our eyes in this very port are under the guidance and on the
design of engineers trained equally in private work and selected
for their experience in marine work. The chances of independ-
ent employ are now opening to you, and as you rise there
19



146 University of Madras.

should develop a healthy rivalry, not in magnitude of works or
in expenditure, but in their substantial nature, aptness of
design, and economy of cost. Such should ere long produce
efficient engineers, and although as in the most advanced Euro-
pean countries, special talent or special experience will be ever
sought for some great works in which a false step cannot be
risked, yet all ordinary work should fall to the people of the
country and may, I believe, do so with efficiency and economy
if they only seek to qualify for the duty.

Now I come to the duties which you owe to the University
DutiesofGra- an( l to the State. First. To the University which
duates to the has fostered your education and stamped you with
to 1 the I ^tS and ^ e mark ^ learning, you owe every support that
you can give. From the graduates must hereafter
be sought members of the Senate of the future. To some of
you therefore must in time be entrusted the guidance of Univer-
sity matters, in fact the maintenance of its influence. Recollect
then this feature in your studies, ever bear in mind that every-
thing which tends to exalt the status, to increase the influence
of the University, increases also the value of the degrees, you
have yourselves this day obtained. To society, to the State
you owe the duty of making the best use of your acquired
knowledge, and of the various positions in which your degrees
may place you. For the doctor to heal the sick, the lawyer to
win his client's case, the engineer to bring to a successful end the
work entrusted to him, no doubt may seem plain andsimple duties,
but each in your several faculties will find other and important
duties to be performed before you can really say with truth that
you have given to the State the best use of your talents, and
each will find that he may and will frequently be required by his
duty to act at variance with that which may seem his apparent
interest. The doctor's duty in a fever-stricken village is not
merely to cure disease in a stricken patient. He has a higher
duty yet which will bring no pecuniary reward, to prevent the
healthy from being stricken, to seek out, to remove or to eradi-
cate the causes of disease, and take as much or greater pride in
the continued health and good sanitary condition of his station
or village as in the number of his cures. His preventive duties
are due to the State as well his curative duty to his patients.
Then if we turn to the young lawyer struggling through with
difficulties to attain a practice. Let him remember while his
duty to his client to argue the case entrusted to him to the best
of his ability and to do his utmost to win his cause, yet his duty
to the State and to society requires that he shall set himself



1881. The Honorable Sir Charles Turner. 147

steadily against any thing approaching to corruption, to repel
false evidence or evidence which he believes to be false although
rendered on his own side; remember that his calling, his duty,
is to procure justice not to foster litigation. The engineer must
remember that if his work be brought to a successful issue, a
part only of his duty to his employer is thereby performed. If
in carrying out that work he has allowed waste or overlooked
peculation he has failed in a most important duty. A careless
estimate, lax supervision by the engineer are as direct frauds
upon the employer as false accounts or the abstraction of money.

I have now pointed out some of your duties. I have pointed
out to you the class of men that the country needs statesmen,
judges, physicians and engineers. Have we them now ? Yes ;
while I have held the post of Governor when statesmen or judges
have been needed they have been ready to my hand. And in
Hon'ble Sashia nominating theHon'ble Sashia Sastri to the Council
Sastri, Hon'ble of the Viceroy, in placing the Hon'ble Mr. Justice
Mr. Justice Mu- Muthusawmy Iyer on the Bench of our own High

thusawmy Iyer, n . J J ... P -i ?

Mr. Runganada Uourt, and in adding, as 1 nope in a tew days to do,
Sastri. th e name of another learned roan, Mr. Ranganadha

Sastri, who has this day completed a long and honourable service,
to our own Legislative Council, I know that I have advanced them
to no honor which was not well deserved or to a post which would
not be well filled. Such are the men of whom we shall hereafter
need many more keep them in your minds as studies for your
emulation. This vast globe on which we live is rolling through
space with all its human freight bearing us all from the days that
are, to the days that are to be aye, carrying us all alike whatever
our creed, whatever our race, from the world that is to the mys-
teries of the world that is to come. We cannot delay its revo-
lution or stay its progress, but we can take measures to ensure
that ever as needed there shall be men fit and trained for every
station, a ready supply of sound-thinking, right-minded and
learned men, whose councils shall strengthen Government with
that strength which the concurring support of the people can
alone give and shall guide legislation for the people's welfare.



TWENTY-FOURTH CONVOCATION.

(BY THE HON. SIR CHARLES A. TURNER, KT., C.I.B.)

" Gentlemen, The statutes of the University prescribe that
the ceremony of admission to Degrees shall conclude with an



148 University of Madras.

address to the newly admitted graduates, inviting them to con-
duct themselves suitably to the position they have attained. It
is the pleasure of His Excellency the Chancellor to depute that
duty on this occasion to me. Seeing that you have served
faithfully an apprenticeship to this guild of learning, and now
present yourselves for a public recognition of your merits, it may
appear incongruous that you should not be allowed to depart
without words of advice or warning, The incongruity disappears
when you call to mind it is a condition of admission to member-
ship in this guild, that the candidate should not only produce
proof of his diligence in the past, but undertake obligations as

to his conduct in the future. You have pledged

Tlie f ow?*~ yourselves in your life and conversation to con-

ates? duct as becomes members of the University : to

the utmost of your opportunity and ability to
support the cause of morality and sound learning : to uphold
and advance social order and the well-being of your fellow-men.
These obligations are not the less binding on your consciences,
because they are ratified by no oath, nor will their infraction be
devoid of consequences to you. A University degree is not to
be regarded as a mere certificate that the graduate has under-
gone a certain course of instruction, or has acquired a certain
amount of knowledge; it is an assurance he has undertaken
responsibilities to society which will accord or refuse him dis-
tinction in proportion to the fidelity with which his obligations
have been observed ; not even a barren honor will any one of
you derive from the ceremony of to-day, if his life is undistin-
guished by the conscientious performance of those duties which
the education imparted under the auspices of this University
was designed at once to inculcate and enable him to discharge.
In an address recently delivered to the University of Calcutta,

the Vice-Chancellor, Mr. Justice Wilson, has dis-
The value of p Ose( j o f the erroneous notion that a system of

LducatiOH. r J

education is to be valued only in proportion to its
pecuniary results. "The true value of education/ 3 said he,
" consists not in the wordly profit it may enable you to make, but
in this, that it awakens the love of truth as a motive of action,
that it stimulates and gratifies the desire for knowledge : that
it calls into activity the dormant powers of the mind ; trains and
strengthens them by exercise ; teaches you to know the relative
strength and value of your several faculties, and to subordinate all
to the control of your judgment ; that it accustoms you to observe
and to reason, and so to know good from evil, the true from the
false, and thus leaves you stronger, wiser and better men than it
found you." In the Southern as in the Northern Presidency, the



1881. The Honorable Sir Charles Turner. 149

schoolmaster may, I fear, sometimes complain that his lot is cast

' Among a people of children
Who thronged me in their cities
And asked, not wisdom,
Bat charms to charm with,
Bat spells to matter.'

Yet another objection is taken. The instruction imparted

A class of under the auspices of Universities not being cer-

discontented tainly productive of pecuniary results, there will

be created a class of discontented men who will

abuse their education to subvert social order. It cannot be

denied there have been men educated probably in our schools,

whose writings suggest,

' Yon taaght one language, and the profit on't
Is, I know how to cnrse.'

But if our education, as is asserted by the Vice-Chancellor of
Calcutta, and as it certainly should do, makes men stronger,
wiser, and better than it found them, the men who give a sem-
blance of foundation for the objection are, such as they are, not
in consequence of but in spite of the education they have
received. The Government of British India, conscious of the
integrity of its motives, and impatient of no honest criticism
of its measures, has gained far more than it has risked in edu-
cating the intelligence of the country to take an interest in, and
apprehend its measures. There are, in every Pre-
sidency, professional exponents of native opinion,
and gentlemen of independent position, who, in
virtue of the education they have received, are enabled to
render substantial assistance to the Government. May they long

' survive

To frustrate prophecies, and raze out
Rotten opinion.'

If the sole end of education were the intellectual benefit of
Expenditure ^ ne individual student, and still less if it were his
on higher edu- pecuniary benefit, the Government would have no
cation justified, justification for expending on higher education a
larger sum than would be necessary to produce each year the
small supply of trained men required to fill vacancies in the
several departments of the public service. The justification for
the present expenditure by the State on such education is to be
found not in any pretension on the part of the State to provide
a remunerative career, or an intellectual training, for a select
few of its subjects, but in the avowed purpose, by giving, as far
as it can do, a thorough education to the few, to benefit, influence,
and elevate through the instrumentality of the educated few
those, whom higher education cannot reach. The pledges which



150 University of Madras.

have been demanded of you range themselves under two cate-
gories, according as they bind you to duties to yourselves, and
duties to others, and they are conformable to the aim of the
State in the foundation of this and of other kindred institutions.
To secure to yourselves the intellectual benefit resulting from
education, you must necessarily cultivate many faculties which
serve the larger purpose of rendering you useful citizens, and
The first im- enabling you to benefit your fellow-men. Although
pulse of a Stu- I know that the first impulse of many a student,

when he has completed the educational test, for
which lie proposes to offer himself, is to say as Prospero said,

' Deeper than did ever plummet sound
I'll drown my books.'

I also know that, when the thirst for knowledge has been
excited, and the irksomeness of compulsory study withdrawn,
there are few who do not feel,

' He that made us with such large discourse
Looking before and after, gave us not
That capacity and god-like reason
To fust in us unused.'

It is not, I believe, a rare experience that the student applies
himself more diligently to study after he has completed the course
for his degree, than he did before, and if I did not fear you
might find some difficulty in mastering the peculiarity of his
diction, I should recommend you to give some of your leisure to
the study of the writings of a great man, who has lately passed
Thomaa Car- to ^ is resfc * ^ is somewhat difficult to assign to
lyle and his Thomas Carlyle his just place in literature. He
was an idealistic philosopher, but it is said his
philosophy does not admit of systematic exposition, and I
believe it to have been imperfect, because he did not fully accept
the only possible solution of the phenomena he observed. He
was a poet deeply touched with the beautiful in nature, but
using this power and sense only to illustrate and enforce his
philosophy. He was a minute investigator of the facts of history,
but wanting the impartial judgment of a true historian. Pre-
eminently he was a moralist, he employed his vast and varied
gifts of thought and expression, his humour, irony and pathos
to inculcate truths he felt to be eternal, and insist on the prac-
tice of virtues of which it seemed to him the nation needed
urgently to be reminded. It is an often mooted question how
far great men are formed by the age in which they live, and
how far they form their age. They cannot be insensible to the
influences which surround their youths ; and those influences,
if of a national character, must be operating at the same time



1881. The Honorable Sir Charles Turner. 151

on thousands. The minds of men are moved unconsciously by
the events around them, and the more sympathetic minds are
the readiest to formulate their thought. At last the thought
finds utterance, and the first to give it voice is hailed as the
founder of a new philosophy. His teachings receive the imme-
diate assent of those who are pre-disposed tor their acceptance,
and supported by the apparent logic of facts, convince others
who had theretofore reached only the stage of speculation. The

philosopher is recognised as a power. In Carlyle's
of youth and middle age, the nation was passing

through a period of profound change. It was
his mission to convince his fellow-countrymen, neither through
a blind conservatism to prop up institutions which had survived
their utility, nor, through an unreasoning radicalism to deny
principles surviving the institutions by which at one time they
had been truly expressed. Truth and justice are eternal verities ;
in the long run, these will triumph not only over all that is
mittedly opposed to them, but over all that enjoys authority as
admere counterfeit of them. Government is but a means to an
end and even the most absolute form of Government is to be
approved,if for the timebeing,it alone can secure truth and justice.
There is a brotherhood among men and it is a universal duty to
recognise it ; but this does not imply an equality in the faculties
with which each man is endowed that he may co-operate for the
good of all. The equality which in fact subsists is the equal
dignity of all honest labour. ' All true work/ wrote Carlyle, ( is
sacred ; in all true work, were it but hand labour, there is some-
thing of divineness. Labour wide as the earth has its summit
in heaven/ And again : ' There is a perennial nobleness and
even sacredness in work ; were he ever so benighted, forgetful
of his high calling, there is always hope in a man that actually
and earnestly works/ To do his work well, the self in man must
be annihilated. And when the work is done, ay, and done nobly,
the worker is not to look for his reward here. ' The wages of
every noble work do yet lie in heaven or else nowhere/ The true
worker will not necessarily be rewarded with happiness, for what
is our 'whim of happiness ?' ' By certain valuations and averages
of our own striking, we come upon some sort of average terrestrial
lot : this we fancy belongs to us by nature and of indefeasible
right. Simple payment of our wages, our deserts, requires
neither thanks nor complaint ; only such surplus as there may
be, do we account happiness; any defect is misery. Now, con-
sider that ve have the valuation of our own merits ourselves,
and what a [hind of self-conceit there is in each of us, do you
wonder that fche balance should so often dip the wrong way,



152 University of Madras.

and many a blockhead cry, See there was ever worthy gentle-



Online LibraryK Subba RauConvocation addresses of the universities of Bombay and Madras → online text (page 47 of 66)