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Convocation addresses of the universities of Bombay and Madras online

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to obtain advantages for yourselves to push yourselves forward
in the general struggle. A habit of introspection will enable you
to perceive wherein you have deviated, and help you to keep in
the prescribed course.

It is unlikely, even if it be desirable, that you should be
indifferent as to the political and social results of
Offer sound public measures submitted for general considera-
G^remm^nfc and tion - Jt is not onl y tne desire but also the interest
the people. of the Government that the people should be well

governed, and that they should be contented, happy
and prosperous. This is also your interest and your wish, and the
Government is therefore entitled to rely upon the assistance
and co-operation of all enlightened men, and especially of such
as have received a high educational training, in its efforts to
promote good administration. All the best efforts of all classes
are needed to render the resources of the country sufficient for
the expanding wants of the population, to prevent the recurrence
of famine, to mitigate the rigours of epidemics, to conserve
the public health, and to promote civilizing influences. Your
duty will be, whenever fitting opportunity offers, to give honest
and sound advice, so far as your knowledge and observation
enable you to do, to the Government as well as to your fellow-
countrymen. It is important on the one hand, that the Govern-
ment should be informed of the wants and feelings of the
people, and, on the other, that the intentions of the Government
should be fairly and truthfully represented to the governed. In
dealing with political questions there is always the danger of
being misled by words and phrases and of allowing them to
exercise an undue influence. You should endeavour to get at
the root and substance of the matter in controversy
from time to time> End eavour, to use the words
of an eminent living writer, {( to think straight and
see clear/'" and, having formed your opinion after a careful exer-
cise of your judgment, abide by that opinion until you see
reason to change it.

1885. The Honorable P. J Sullivan. 189

Kecent legislation has conferred large powers upon local
bodies. If these powers are exercised in an en-
lightened spirit the problem of Local Self-Govern-
ment will be, in a great measure, settled, but the
difficulties in the way are so numerous and formidable that
nothing short of the strenuous and zealous exertions of the
intelligent and wealthy classes of the community, acting in concert
for the public welfare, will render Local Government an imme-
diate success. If the duties now entrusted to Municipal and
District Boards are performed in a satisfactory way, doubtless
other and larger powers will be added, and the governing
authorities will be left at liberty to devote more attention than
they can now do to other departments of administration. In the
development of education the Local Boards have taken a warm
and increasing interest. There were in the year 1883-84 about
106,000 pupils receiving education in schools maintained in Muni-
cipalities in this Presidency, and about 342,000 pupils under
Local Fund Boards.

There are three questions which at present excite consider-
able attention in the Hindu community in this
P art f India, namely, the education of females,
the education of the poorer classes, and the re-
marriage of widows. Female education has, in recent years,
made noteworthy progress in this Presidency, and
Pemal* Bdn- something has been done towards educating the
poor. There is no difference of opinion, I believe,
as to the expediency of these reforms, and what is henceforth
wanted is more energetic action. The number of Hindu girls who
attended the various Schools in the Madras Presidency for the
year 1883-84 was, in round numbers, 47,000 ; of these 31,000 were
Hindus and nearly 2,000 Mahometans. Upon the re-marriage
question there are strong differences of opinion ;
widows!** 8 f tnere is tne party of reform which is desirous of
removing all impediments, social and legal, to the
marriage of widows ; and there is the party of resistance, which
is opposed to change and adheres to the old ways. It is esti-
mated that upwards of twenty millions of human beings are
directly concerned in the settlement of the marriage question.
They are now, by the pressure of prevailing opinion and usage,
doomed to an ungenial, if not an ascetic existence, from which
many Hindus would wish to save them. The party of reform
includes many of the most, distinguished Native gentlemen in
the Presidency ; a large if not preponderating proportion of the
educated class support it, and some of the most eminent of

190 University of Madras.

graduates of this University have placed themselves at the head
of the movement for reform. The matter is undergoing discus-
sion and examination and time, which finally determines the
result of examinations and discussions, seems to have already
taken part with the innovators. Many other questions will, no
doubt, engage your attention from time to time as you advance
in life. If you take the part which, from your
education and antecedents, may be expected, you
will have numerous opportunities of rendering
valuable services to your countrymen, many of whom will be
glad to be guided by your counsel and example. A group of
earnest, educated, high-minded men working in union for the
advancement of the people and enforcing upon all classes pru-
dence, thrift, uprightness and fair dealing in the conduct of
their affairs, would exercise an influence for good upon the
people beyond what is possible, I believe, in most other countries
by like means. Some of you will probably, in the course of
time, attain to positions of power and influence ; as your power
extends so will your responsibilities. If your lives are pure
and your aims lofty, you will find not only admirers but
imitators ; and you will thus contribute to raise the general
standard of morality and civilization. Such of you as may not
be destined to keep pace with your contemporaries in the race
for distinction will nevertheless be called upon to discharge
honourable and useful functions, and a good example set by you
is not likely to be disregarded. Some of you will probably
devote yourselves to the education of youth, an occupation
which demands the highest qualifications and the successful
exercise of which will be attended with feelings of satisfaction
and pleasure exceeding those to be derived from most other
callings. Many of your predecessors, past graduates of this
University, have, I believe, amply fulfilled the expectations
which had been formed respecting them. The improvements in
the social, economical and political condition of the people which
have taken place during the last twenty years may, to some
extent at least, be traced to their labours. Some of them have
given much time, sometimes snatched from professional and
official work, to the discharge of Municipal and other local
duties, and a still greater number have taken a creditable part
in social movements designed to promote the general happiness.
Many of them have, directly and indirectly, contributed to the
formation of a public opinion which is, on the wtole, directed
to moderate, wise and wholesome purposes. But a vast deal
remains to be done to improve the condition of the people. To
accomplish this, railways and other means of communication will

1886. Rt. Eon. Mountstuart Elphinstone Grant Du/. 191

have to be made anl extended, irrigation works constructed,
agricultmral and manufacturing products stimulated, and faci-
lities provided for exporting the produce of the country. All
efforts in this direction will, I doubt not, have your sympathy
and support.

Whatever your future lot may be, do not be unmindful that
The reputa- the reputation of the University, no less than your
tion of the Uni- own and that of your relatives and friends, is involved
in your behaviour. Be careful to do nothing tend-
ing to tarnish that reputation or to lower the good name which
you have hitherto maintained. It is not in the ordinary course
of events likely that you can all attain to eminence or distinction,
but it is within the power of all of you to be useful, faithful
and trustworthy in your respective callings in life.



Ladies and Gentlemen, My first duty is to congratulate
upon their degrees those students who have just been admitted
tc them, and to express a hope that they will keep the promises
which they have this day made.

My second duty is, in accordance with custom, to address
some observations to them and to this assembly.
InaiaL. E<3 a I have, however, a very great deal to say. It is
the only opportunity I have had, or shall have,
before I bid farewell to India, of directly addressing a class
which, although at present far from numerous, only 46 out of a
million* in the population of this, the most educated of the
Presidencies, is growing, and ought steadily to grow, in impor-
tance, a class which nothing but mistakes on its own part,
aided by amentia and dementia in some other quarters, can pre-
vent being an instrument of infinite good to Southern India.

Having then a very great deal to say, I cannot possibly put
it into the brief limits of an address, to which even the most
indulgent of you could listen on a hot March afternoon.

I will accordingly merely read a paragraph or two for form's
sake, and let my reflections find their way to you, not by the ear,
but by the eye.

* 38 out of a million of the population if we add Mysore and Travancore,
from which States we draw a great number of our graduates.

192 University of Madras.

And first I would ask,

Now that you have got your degrees, what do you propose
to do?

Some of you will go into the service of Government. The
service of Government is a very creditable calling,
Service Public and we to whom the administration is at present
confided have given practical proofs of our desire
to see the number of graduates in the service of Government con-
siderably increased.

Still, Government employment can only absorb a very limited
number of you. Few things are more disastrous for a country,
and few more flagitious in a Government, than to create places
wholesale, to meet the wishes of aspirants to an income.

But some of you will say ' some places already existing but
virtually closed to natives, will be opened to them. ' Undoubt-
edly they will. The policy as to that was laid down by your,
and my, masters long ago. We hear much childish chatter in
favour of going faster, and not less unwise, though happily,
fewer, utterances in favour of going more slowy in that direction,
but all such have not the slightest effect upon the progress of
events. The thoughtful opinions of thoughtful men who have
studied the subject, and whose characters guarantee their good
faith, are and always will be treated very differently as you
may have gathered from the Viceroy's speech at the Pierthe
other day.

The main object of the Indian, as of every other civilized
Government, must be to get for the country which it governs
the best possible administration at the cheapest rate. To that
object all minor considerations, such as questions of race or
colour, must be subordinated.

But the problem in this country is an infinitely difficult one,
and we have got a very little way towards solving
^ when we have merely made general allegations
to the effect that native labour is cheaper than
European, or that many more natives are fitted to take some con-
siderable part in the Government than was the case thirty years
a^o, nor do we get a bit further by declaiming about the excel-
lent work which the old Haileybury Civil Service, and the new
Competitive Civil Service have done for this country. We must
have many more good natives in office, and we must have a far
higher average of statesmanlike acquirement than we have ever
yet had in the Covenanted Civil Service, though we may very
possibly a good deal dimmish its numbers. But if you want

1886. ~Rt. Hon. Mountstuart Elphinstone Grant Duff. 193

men of mature, trained, ability, and of a much higher order of
merit than the very fair average of merit we have got, what
you want must be paid for, and it is a costly article. These,
and a thousand other considerations, which cross each other, and
complicate the problem, will have to engage the anxious atten-
tion, first of the joint Committee of the Lords and Commons,
secondly of the Executive and Legislative authorities in England
and in India.

We may assume, however, quite safely that more appoint-
ments, and, especially, more of the better appointments will be
gradually opened to natives, but, after all, the number of good
appointments in this country or continent is, and will continue
to be, surprisingly few. The overwhelming majority of appoint-
ments under Government is already in the possession of natives,
and I do not think the rapid infiltration of natives, even into
the Civil Service, has yet attracted sufficiently the attention of
the public. If you deduct from the small balance of offices prac-
tically closed to natives those which must belong to Europeans,
not in virtue of their being the descendants of conquerors, but
in virtue of that education of ages, which has made the Aryan of
the West what he is, the number of new appointments to be
opened will be as nothing to those, who will desire to occupy
them. I know there are people who say "No doubt for the
time, every race in India including the Aryans of the East,
requires the guidance of the Aryans of the West, but a day will
soon come when that will not be so." I think the best answer I
ever knew made to that statement, was made by a very remarka-
ble man, himself a native of India, and belonging to one of
your most ancient religions, who observed to me : " I often hear
talk of that kind among my countrymen, but when I remark
how short are the strides in advance, which are made by the
East, compared to those which are made simultaneously by the
West, I am reminded of the man who said : f In two years I
shall be as old as my elder brother !' '

Even, however, if this were not so, if one could see
dimly on the horizon a time when India could obtain almost any
of its present advantages, without importing into its administra-
tion a large proportion of trained ability from Europe, the
numbers of those of you who could find valuable Government
situations would be not very enormous.

It will be interesting to observe what proportion of the
appointments vacated by the Aryans of the West, passes into
the hands of the Aryans of the East, and what proportion falls
to the natives of the country properly so-called men whose

194 University of Madras.

ancestors were here, as it would seem, before tlie two branches
of the Aryan race parted on the highlands of Central Asia.

Before I pass from the subject of Government employment,
I should like to observe that there is a branch of
writing Hand " the lower education, in which you, gentlemen, who
represent the higher education are not quite so
proficient as could be desired. One of your Examiners lately
informed me that, out of ninety-three papers recently sent up to
him, ninety would have been rejected at South Kensington, as
being too badly written. To candidates for Government employ-
ment, this is a matter of life and death. We don't want men in
our offices, however good their degrees may be, who do not write
large, clear, legible hands. In England, ever since the days of
Lord Palmerston, this accomplishment has been considered one
of first-rate importance in our public offices, and it is mere
common sense that it should be so considered.

But what is to become of the unsuccessful candidates for
Government employment ? Education will absorb a respectable,
and an ever-increasing, contingent, while the Bar will also
absorb a good many.

Many of you seem to have a quite peculiar turn for law, and,
as law in this country tends to conform itself always more and
more, not only to written reason, but to intelligibly expressed
written reason, the greater becomes its educative power over the
community. The calm pressure of our Codes will do, I think,
much for India, which saints and sages have failed to do. " Quid
leges sine vnoribus ? " said the Latin poet, but there is a sense in
which the converse is true : " Quid mores sine legibus ?"

I should like to see many more of you turn your attention
to civil engineering, and, especially, as I think my
_ Civil Engineer- pre( iecessor, the Duke of Buckingham, advised
you, to hydraulic engineering. If ever there was
a region of the world, in which it was expedient to manage to
perfection the supply of that element, which pardons no mistakes,
it is the Presidency of Madras, and the adjoining Province of
Mysore. I have heard it estimated by one entitled to speak with
authority, that there are some ninety thousand tanks in Southern
India, and, as we know well here, a tank in this country often
means what a lake does in the language of the West. We have
tanks, which recall the Virgilian phrase :

" Fluctibns et fremitu assurgens, Benace, marine."

That seems strange to Englishmen who have not visited India,
and who, remembering a saying of Lord Beaconsfield's, think of

1886. Rt. Hon. Mountstuart ElpKimtone Grant Duff. 195

a tank as a little reservoir to supply a cottage with drinking
water !

Then it is impossible to urge too strongly the claims upon
The Medical vou ^ ^ ne Medical sciences, and of the Medical
(sciences and the art. When Surgeon-General Furnell spoke wise
>J .Miii-iil art. words on that subject in this place eight years ago,
there was not a single Brahmin practising Medicine in Southern
India. It is gratifying to know that there are now seven, of
whom three are graduates, while four have passed their examina-
tions, so that a beginning has been made; but we want the
present numbers multiplied over and over again. We ought
indeed to have many hundred trained men, and women, doctors,
in this Presidency. That however is a " Counsel of perfection."
It may well be that the times are not ripe for adding very
'hugely to our highly trained Medical practitioners ', but a class
is wanted imperatively wanted of men and women, who have
a certain tincture of European science, and who, accepting the
methods of the Vythians, wherever they are sensible, and even
wherever they are harmless, should push them aside only when
they are distinctly and obviously mischievous. Who but you
can, if you do not furnish, at least promote, the creation of this
most useful band of intermediaries, and who has a right to
advise you so to do, if not the grandson of the author of the
Materia Indica ?

Sanitas sanitatum, omnia sanitas, the admirable saying two
hundred years ago of Menage to Balzac, would, if it were taken
to heart, do more good to India, aye, and to England, than half
the winged words, which the most distinguished orators have
uttered in our days.

There are a thousand ways in which your co-operation
might aid the Government to do things which no
Government can do by itself. The annual mor-
tality in this Presidency, for example, from fever
alone, is very considerably over two hundred thousand. It
distances the mortality from cholera, even in the worst cholera

Well, a great many of these lives could be quite certainly

The virtue of save d by the use of the cinchona alkaloids, and

cinchona alka- what is more, a prodigious number of other lives,

which are not absolutely destroyed by fever, might

be made much happier and more useful, if only you would devote

yourselves, when occasion serves, to spreading a knowledge of

the virtues of the cinchona alkaloids amongst your less educated

196 University of Madras.

neighbours. The Government will soon be in a position to
furnish the most admirable febrifuge at a fabulously cheap rate,
but who is to persuade the people ? Who but you ?

Then there is conservancy and its kindred practices. There
are numbers of you who understand why we Euro-
tion. ag6 samta ~ peans are so anxious to improve the town and
village sanitation of India, but improvement walks
with lagging feet, for want of non-official missionaries of sanita-
tion, up and down the land. What greater benefit could its most
educated class confer, than to spread the elementary principles of
sound views on these questions which are vital in more senses
than one ?

But to return to my inquiry What is to become of those
of you, who do not get employment under Government ? Well,
there is agriculture.

I am glad to see many indirect results of the expenditure
A riculture ^ ^aidapet beginning to show themselves ; but
I should like to see a much larger portion of
the educated intelligence of South India directed towards the
land, and engaged in what is, alike from its historical asso-
ciations and from the nature of things, one of the most dignified
of all occupations, far more dignified, for example, than all
but the higher grades of scriptory labour. Speaking the other
day at Shiyali, I said : " I am particularly glad to have made
to-day the acquaintance of Mr. Krishnasawmy Mudaliyar, with
whose name and good work I have long been familiar. I only
wish we had two or three such men in every taluk in the
Madras Presidency."

How then do we stand ? There is Government employ -
" A vast num. men fc, Education, the Bar, Civil Engineering, the
her of other Medical profession, Agriculture. All these are
callings." admirable things; but a country in which its

educated class does not devote itself to a vast number of other
callings, is quite unfit to keep its place abreast of other countries.
It is with a view partly to draw into the stream of progress
classes not now reached by almost any of our educational agen-
cies, and partly to direct into profitable channels a considerable
amount of activity and intelligence, which now strains forward
to a University degree, and finds it, when acquired, the barrenest
of barren honours, that my honorable colleagues and I have set
on foot the large scheme of technical and industrial education,
which has lately been brought before the notice of the South
Indian public.

1886. Rt. Hon. Mounistuarl ElpUnstone Grant Duff. 197

Putting aside the sciences and their various sub-divisions,
upon which there will be examinations as a
catiou' 11Cal EdU matter of course, there will be examinations
on such practical subjects as earth- work, road-
work and railway work, bridge-making, drawing, painting
and design, modelling, wood, and copper-plate, engraving
and etching, carriage-building, boot, and shoe-making, jeweller's
work, tobacco-manufacturing, dress-making, lace-making, bread-
making, and a great variety of other subjects. For every
one of these sixty-six, or thereabouts in all, a most careful
syllabus, explaining what has to be studied and how to study it,
has been drawn up by experienced persons, the greatest care
being taken that both the theory and practice of each subject
shall be mastered. In the cookery examination, for example, not
only will a knowledge of the theory be fully tested by written
papers, and viva voce, but the candidate will be obliged to prepare,
cook, dish-up, and serve, a complete dinner for four persons, under
the immediate supervision of the Examiners. In instituting these
examinations, we have not been thinking of the extension of
knowledge and the enlargement of the mind. That belongs to the
University. We have been thinking of science viewed in its
application to manufactures and industries. We do not want,
however, to go to the other extreme, and to train up mere rule-
of- thumb workers. We desire that every art, however humble,
shall be exercised in due subordination to the particular science,
or sciences, within whose domain it falls. Certificates of various
kinds, diplomas, prizes and scholarships will be assigned to the
successful candidates in the various examinations, according to
the rules laid down in the official notification.

It is to be hoped that the students of all the higher branches
such as applied mechanics, chemistry, geology, mineralogy,
forestry will possess that amount of general education which
is implied by passing at least the Matriculation Examination of
this University, not to say the First in Arts, but a great many
youths whom nature never meant for University studies, will, it
is hoped, turn aside from a road that can lead to nothing but

Online LibraryK Subba RauConvocation addresses of the universities of Bombay and Madras → online text (page 52 of 66)