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Convocation addresses of the universities of Bombay and Madras online

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note that since the Local Fund and Municipal Boards were
organized in this Presidency, those bodies have done much for
aiding primary education. I also find that higher education is

1882. The Honorable Mr. Justice Muthusami Iyer. 161

already assisting primary education, first .by supplying a cheap
agency competent to take up the management of primary schools,
and next by producing men who start primary schools as a pro-
fession. I would ask you and all the educated men in this
country to revive in villages the old healthy spirit according to
which the school-master, supported by each village, was a part
of the ancient village organisation, and to encourage, as your
means and opportunities permit, the application of a larger share
of the private wealth of the country in the interests of edu-

Whilst on the subject of national education, I would say a

word in connection with female education. You
cation"* 16 EdU " are P ecu li ar ly fitted for organizing and developing

the system of home-teaching in this Presidency.
Without it the education of the women of this country cannot
be sufficiently liberal, for, from one cause or another girls are
withdrawn from schools a little too soon. All of you should
endeavour to secure the benefit of home-teaching to such young
women as may come under your protection and guardianship,
and I have no doubt that the prejudice against it will wear away
in the same manner in which it was worn away in relation to
girls receiving any education at all. During that anxious inter-
val of time which must exist between the commencement of pro-
gress, and the introduction of practical reforms, it is no small
gain for men whose views are liberal and who are anxious to do
something for their country, to be sustained and encouraged by

enlightened home-influences. After the close of
Europe!" 1 * ^ vour college career, you should travel at least

through India and acquire some practical know-
ledge of the country in which you live and of the various peoples
that inhabit it. I would advise those of you who can afford to
pay a visit to Europe to do so and add to your knowledge the
benefit of that social education which residence in civilized
countries for a time, with a view to self -improvement, is likely
to ensure. While I urge you to further progress, let me advise
you not to merit the reproach that the knowledge of Indian
students is only book-knowledge, and that their observation
does not extend beyond the precincts of their village or town or

Graduates in Arts,

You will find soon, if you do not already know, that the time in
which you live is the transitional period, or what I have already
characterized as the anxious interval in the history of progress.

162 University of Madras.

How long it will continue, and which of you will come to
the front, is more than I can say, but I may
Revival ? J r - state that it is incumbent on you all at such a time
ture. to a id the diffusion of knowledge and the revival

of literature which must precede the inauguration
of lasting reform in every progressive society. Your duty in
this direction consists in paying special attention to the develop-
ment of the vernacular prose literature, and in infusing into it
the elements of modern culture, and in presenting to the public
through the medium of the vernacular the mechanism and the
advantages of a progressive social system as contrasted with an
imperfect social structure which confines progress within pre-
scribed limits. In the later stages of the history of the vernacular
literature in this country, it was corrupted by a desire for writing
verses and by a preference to a style which the learned alone could
understand ; and the inevitable result was the partial exclusion of
the middle classes from the light and the benefit of such knowledge
as existed in the country. It is therefore a source of particular
gratification to me to find that, during the last ten years, there
have issued from the Press about 800 original works and 400
translations besides 3,500 re-publications of old authors. These
figures show something like literary activity, and I would ask
you to co-operate with those who are already in the field and add
to the number of really original publications and useful trans-
lations, and to see that you gain a step in advance every year in
the development and enrichment of the vernacular literature. I
would ask you to remember at this very early stage of your
career in life that the usefulness to your country of the liberal
education you have received consists not in writing bad manuals
in English, but in writing good vernacular books on the models
furnished by English authors. Whilst on this subject I must
allude to a matter which has not hitherto attracted the attention
it deserves. The study of Sanscrit and the revival of Sanscrit
literature are of importance to you, not simply because Sanscrit
is your classical language, but also because it contains the key to
the history, the philosophy and the principles which lie behind and
sustain the outer forms and visible signs of your social and family
life. Whatever has hitherto been done towards the revival of
Sanscrit learning, has been done principally in Europe, and not in
this country. But as you examine the structure of Sanscrit as a
language, its capacity for brevity and expansion, the facilities it
affords for translating new notions into idioms suited to the country,
and the classic modes in which it has been handled by such men as
Valmeeki, Kalidas and Bhava Buti and others, you will cease to
ridicule the tradition which speaks of it as the language of theGrods,

1882. The Honorable Mr. Justice Muthusami Iyer. 163

Again, social progress is, and must be, if I may so call it,
a continuous development. The development in
Social tfee past offers to you a rich inheritance, though
it is also attended with peculiar dangers. In the
great mass of general principles underlying the social system
in this country, and many of which are the products of exigen-
cies felt in archaic and other stirring times of which we can
now have but an imperfect notion, there will assuredly be a
mixture of error which may operate on men's minds with the
traditional power of immemorial prescription, and may, from
the very reverence due to their age, easily obtain dominion over
you. It would be folly either to abandon from indolence or
self-complacency the advantage of your position and to build up
an entirely new social system even if it were possible to do so, or to
accept what is as the best that can be had on the authority of pre-
scription. To avoid the danger it is necessary to examine anew
the whole body of what has descended to you from the past, and
to question and trace each element to its origin. The proper
spirit in which such work should be undertaken, is, to borrow
from a philosophic jurist, one of intellectual freedom, of inde-
pendence of all authority, but this sense of freedom should not
degenerate into arrogant dogmatism, but should be tempered
by that feeling of humility which would result from an unbiased
contemplation of your limited individual powers. Thus, gentle-
men, the revision of the labors of the past, in order to gradually
eliminate what is unsuited to the requirements of modern culture
and appropriate what is suited to them as your permanent posses-
sion, is necessary to enable you to deal with the great problems of
social life which will confront you before India is regenerated. In
calling your attention to the revival of Sanscrit literature and
philosophy in connexion with progress, I desire that you should
recognise it as a means whereby you may improve the vernacular
literature, and I may say -that until this work of revision is taken
in hand by the graduates of the University, and until the results of
their research and criticism are presented to the reading public
through the vernacular medium, it would be premature to talk of
regenerated India or of carryingthe people with you when you sug-
gest changes for the improvement of your social system, To such
of you as may have a predilection for natural and physical science,
I have to say a word. It is a general complaint in the country that
the knowledge which you pick up at school is neither augmented
nor even kept up, and that it is scarcely used in furthering the ad-
vancement of the people. The only reason lean imagine for this
comparative neglect is, that it is, perhaps, not found to be directly
instrumental in securing success in tke professions which you

164 University of Madras.

ordinarily choose. But depend upon it, gentlemen, a diffusion of
this branch of knowledge is not only a powerful and effective
means of correcting error, but will also materially add to the
wealth of the country.

Great manufacturing industries have yet to come into
existence in Southern India, and as a people,
Hindus have done little or nothing towards the
application of science to the improvement of agri-
culture and of the productiveness of the soil. There are again
other resources of the country which require to be developed,
and which, wherever they are partially developed, are not
developed with the aid of indigenous capital or skill. Gentlemen,
there is a singular apathy in this respect ; and nothing that is
worth mentioning has been done during the last 30 years that
the system of liberal education has been in existence. I for one
should rejoice if you would bear this in mind when you select your
profession, and if those among you who may come to own landed
property or possess capital, would utilize science so as to augment
your own wealth and open the way to new industrial enterprize and
new sources of wealth to the country. Even those whose
pursuits may be chiefly literary, may aid progress by translating
into the languages of the people practical treatises on natural
science, a*nd thereby enabling their countrymen to study nature
as she is, without seeing a monster dragon in eclipses, or signs
of approaching national calamities in meteors, comets and earth-
quakes .

Graduates in Medicine,

The profession you elect to follow is second to none in
its dignity or in its usefulness to the people, and as, in this country,
it is not so crowded as other professions are, it is also likely
to prove lucrative. Your professional knowledge and skill will,
on the one hand, enable you to drive quacks out of practice,
whilst your knowledge of the habits of the people and your
sympathy with them will secure you, on the other, a cordial
reception in native homes. There is no other profession in
which professional skill is so readily and generally appreciated
and professional service so gratefully remembered. There is an
impression in certain quarters of Hindu society that the medicinal
properties of Indian plants are not either fully studied or utilized
in the treatment of Hindu patients, and you will, perhaps, do
well to refute this impression by a careful study of Indian Botany,
and, if necessary, also of indigenous treatises in Sanscrit, on
medicine, and I am sure that your labours in this direction, if
any, will meet with substantial reward.

1882. The Honorable Mr. Justice Muthusami Iyer. 165

Graduates in Civil Engineering,

The profession to which you belong is of considerable impor-
tance to an agricultural community like the Hindus. Though I
cannot speak to you with any pretension to authority on matters
professional, still I may be allowed to say that there are several
districts in this Presidency which owe their prosperity to im-
portant irrigation works and to their maintenance in good repair.
Let those works which you may construct be cheap and durable,
and try, as far as your opportunities allow, to suggest schemes for
developing the resources of the country ; and to check pecula-
tion and fraud. Let me entreat you not to despise, in the exer-
cise of your profession, whatever is good and beautiful in the
ancient architecture of the country. Remember that you repre-
sent a profession which presents to the public view the triumphs
which Art gains over Nature, and which often strike the imagina-
tion and excite admiration, and that your career in life should,
therefore, some time or other, leave a mark on your country
worthy of the profession to which you belong.

Graduates in Law,

The profession which yon have chosen is one of the
most honorable, but at the same time you should not forget
that it is a profession crowded with men of merit, that competi-
tion is very keen and professional success difficult to secure
without years of close application to study, and a careful
cultivation of the habit of speaking with simplicity, readiness
and precision. You should remember, if you desire
* r * se * professional eminence, that law is both
a science and an art, and that your success, whether
at the bar or on the bench, will depend on the clearness with
which you understand the principles of the science, and on the
readiness with which you will pass through a complicated mass
of facts, in the midst of animated and often eloquent addresses,
taking in as it were by intuition each fact, referring it to its
appropriate principle, and estimating its legal value within a
given time. The study of law, it has been well said, is in its
higher sense, the study of the philosophy of social life. The art
you have to practise is one of the noblest ; its object is the pro-
tection of human interest in all the relations of life, and the
methods by which rules of decision are deduced must satisfy at
once the requirements of legal science and of sub-
stantial justice. In the practice of this art, you
should also remember that you owe special obliga-
tions to the cause of truth and justicer Those of you who may
enter the bar ought never to forget that the knowledge you

1&6 University of Madras.

acquire by virtue of your relation to your clients is their exclusive
property, and should never be used for unworthy ends. In
identifying yourselves with your clients for purposes of advocacy,
you should never lose sight of the fact, even in the heat of
debate and amidst the prospect of defeat, that you belong to an
honourable profession, and that you should never say or do aught
that is inconsistent with its dignity. Try always to prevent
fraud upon justice, and steadily keep in view what one of your
own ancient Law-givers has said. The Court of Justice, says
Manu, is a sacred temple, the Judges presiding over it are,
though men, humble instruments in the hands of an unseen
deity who influences their judgments in the interests of truth,
and those who enter this holy edifice with unholy thoughts or
desecrate it with unworthy actions, are traitors to their God and

country. Those of you who may rise to the Bench
th^Judge^ should recollect that the power you may be called

upon to exercise in the name of your Sovereign is,
according to another of your ancestors, a power divine. You
should never be hasty or impulsive, and thereby shut out even the
faintest ray of light from forensic discussion. You shoald never

heed any appeal to your passion or frailty, and never
Divine power. -,-, A j p ,1-11

allow your attention to stray irom the legal points of
a case either amidst violent declamation or pathetic appeals, and
always see before you pronounce your decision that the responsi-
bility rests not with you individually, but either with the Law-
giver or with the science of jurisprudence. You
^Sfcudy of Hindu g^^ not continue to learn Hindu Law, as is
usually the case> solely from English translations.
Sanscrit manuscripts are fast dying out in the country, and you
should hasten to compare, criticise and publish critical editions of
your Smrities, Upasmrities, and Digests, and so much of your cere-
monial law as is necessary to their elucidation. Some of you
should also publish treatises on the relations of life and on their
aims and scope as recognized at different periods, carefully
noting the successive changes due to new social necessities, and
thus compile an authentic history of the past as supplied by
legal literature. Before the bar becomes a power in India,, you
will have to divide yourselves into two classes of labourers, and
bring into existence two schools of thought, the historic and the
critical school. I must also note that the Native bar, as it exists
at present, is without an organization and therefore, without
much power for good. The time has come for the formation of
a Vakil's association which may, in the course of
time, take up a position analogous to the Inns of
Court in England, and thereby bring the whole

1882. The Honorable Mr. Justice Muthusami Iyer. 167

body of legal practitioners in the country under wholesome pro-
fessional control. This association should always stand forward
as a public body ever ready and competent to aid the legislature
with its opinion and advice, and the administration of justice by
throwing light on the usages of the people. It should always
endeavour to guard and preserve the supremacy of law in the
country, and realize the fact that the empire of law is the key-
stone of liberty, of intellectual and material wealth, and of what-
ever is dear and precious to man in this life- To those of you
who may enter the Government service, I shall say a word.
You must remember that you should learn to obey before you
aspire to command. You must go through a considerable amount
of what you may call drudgery, for no one who has not some
time or other given attention to details is fit to lay down with
any pretension to authority, general rules bearing on the adminis-
tration of the country. It is your good fortune that you
live under a Government which offers several brilliant prizes to
those of you who may prove themselves capable of sustaining
great responsibilities and in the extended sphere of usefulness
which is year after year being widened by our Gracious Sovereign,
you may have to work side by side with men of English culture
who combine in them whatever is great and good in English
society, literature and philosophy. If you will only rise equal
to the occasion, and add to culture persevering industry and a
constant desire to learn and improve, I may say that you will
find that there is nothing in this life which is beyond the reach
of cultivated intelligence, well-directed industry and honest
devotion to duty. I must now conclude. This day marks an
epoch in your life, for, it is the day from which you are to enter
bhe battle of life, and your conduct is to be guided and controlled
by your own judgment and conscience. It is also the day from
which you are to compete with men before Judges who will
value your worth not by your good intentions or abortive
efforts, but by the actual results of your work and conduct in
life in relation to the requirements of your profession and country.
The prizes you have to seek consist no longer in books, medals
and scholarships, but consist in the gains and honors of literary
and professional merit, in the pleasures of an enlightened home;
in the rewards of a virtuous and an honorable career in life, and,
above all, in the distinction and fame which await those who
seek to raise the level of their country in intellectual and moral
advancement. How far you will be able to look back to this
day in the evening of life with satisfaction and pride, will depend
on yourselves and on the way in which you will work and conduct
yourselves, and on the aims and ends by which you will direct

168 University of Madras.

and sustain your energies. Remember through life your teachers
to whom you owe so much. Let your thought and action be

always guided by a profound feeling of loyalty to
loyalty 112 our gracious Sovereign and to the British nation to

whom you owe a debt of gratitude, which you can
never adequately repay. Look to the past and compare it with
the present, and say to what else you owe, if not to the British
rule, the era of peace, of progress, of freedom and of material
prosperity which has set in. Gentlemen, as surely as I stand
here, the day will come, though you and I may not live to see it,
when some one in this country will tell his grateful countrymen
in prose or verse how the two branches of the Aryan race once
dwelt together in their ancient Caspian home, how they separated,
how centuries of separation enstranged them from each other,
how each in its turn aided civilization, how they again met in
India under God's Providence, in what stirring words of Royal
love and wisdom the Mission of England in India, viz., that she
would not only rule India well but also raise her in civilization,
was announced, what alternations of hope and fear chequered
the path of progress, how the grandest of all spectacles, and the
noblest of all triumphs, that of one nation raising another in
civilization, was eventually realized and achieved by England in
India. Meanwhile, gentlemen, toil on. Rely on yourselves for
success in life. Let constant industry, honest devotion to duty,
simplicity of character, and unflinching integrity of conduct
and a modest estimate of your worth be your ladder to eminence.
Take care, whether you are rich or poor, whether you are fortunate
or otherwise, that you are always gentlemen, and remember for
the sake of your own happiness both in prosperity and adversity
that it is mind that makes ' ' a Heaven of hell and a hell of
Do notdena- Heaven," Never denationalize yourselves, never
tionalize your- blush to own that you are Hindus, and never barter

the influence which you possess among your coun-
trymen and which you may exercise for their good, for the petty
vanities of dress or taste. Remember what an eminent English
statesman once said, ' Before all things and above all things I
am an English gentleman." Be gentlemen, in the sense in
which the great statesman used the word, and take with you as
words of farewell the following advice of the greatest of English
poets :

" Love thyself last : cherish those hearts that hate thee 5
Corruption wins not more than honesty;
Still in thy right hand carry gentle peace,
To silence envious tongues ; be just and fear not ;
Let all the ends thou aimst at be thy country's,
Thy God's and truth's.

1883. Tlit Honorable D. F. Carmichael 1C9



Gentlemen, Graduates of 1883, I now rise to discharge the
duty, which the Right Hon'ble the Chancellor has entrusted to
me, of delivering the annual address, in this the last year of my
service amongst a people I have known so long and have (if you
will believe me) loved so well. With the exception of two dis-
tinguished educational officers, who still labor in our midst, and
who were created fellows by the Act of Incorporation in 1857,
I am, I think, the oldest member of this University now in India.
In the year following the Incorporation Act, there was, so far as
I recollect, no addition made to the Senate; in 1859, or four and
twenty years ago, I was the last of five appointed to it by
Sir Charles Trevelyan, whom I had the honor of serving as his
Private Secretary.

I am to exhort you, gentlemen, " to conduct yourselves
suitably unto the position, to which by the degrees conferred
upon you, you have attained." Can I doubt that you will do so ?

The knowledge you have acquired during long years of
study, has called into daily exercise your perse-
verance, your watchfulness, and self-control. These
habits must have excluded a host of follies and
vices. In the morning of life, when the blandishments of passion
take the reason prisoner, these habits, I persuade myself, have
sustained and invigorated your mind, have imparted a freshness
and a healthful tone to its enjoyments and fitted it for the more
arduous purposes of your work in the world.

And, my young friends, the knowledge you have gained is
to be prized not only for the qualities and serene pleasures which
it directly tends to excite, but also for the material blessings
which it confers upon society. Look back to the days of the
old system of education, under which the students of British India
were delivered up to the Moulvi and the Pandit, and you will
admit that it is possible for knowledge, when wisdom has not
guided her impulses, and false systems have arrested her progress,
to damp the ardour of invention, to repress the nobler energies
of the understanding, and to result in moral apathy and a stag-
nant civilisation.

Let me tell you how education in India was emancipated.
How Educa- I* is now exactly seventy years ago that Parliament

Online LibraryK Subba RauConvocation addresses of the universities of Bombay and Madras → online text (page 49 of 66)