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Convocation addresses of the universities of Bombay and Madras online

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less and less known regions. A serious study of the insects of
South India would probably result in discoveries of very direct
importance to its inhabitants, and the investigation of the
humbler oceanic life around our coasts has been hardly com-
menced. I trust a great impulse to Natural History will be given
by the recent importation of Mr. Thurston, Mr. Bourne, and Mr.
Henderson. But they and other able Europeans, and scores and
scores of educated natives, will have to work for a couple of
generations, before the Madras University can be said to have
done its dutv in investigating its own special zoological pro-

There is yet no handbook of the insects of South India, and

* We have four persons speaking our two Kolarian languages, Sowrah and
Gradabha, for every one who speaks English.

1886.^. HOH. Mountstuart Elphinttone Grant Duff. 217

sorely is such a handbook wanted. Researches amongst the
lower forms of insect life will probably do much to add to the
comfort of human life, as well as to the wealth of the country.

When Dr. Bidie pointed out that the coffee borer did not

thrive in coffee cultivated under shade, he did what I should

like to see some of you doing. He made the results of the

higher education directly contributory to human well-being.

What is true of the Fauna is true of the Flora.

Most of the phanerogamic plants of the Presidency

are doubtless known to science, but I remember Colonel

Beddome telling me that he thought it quite possible that, even

so near our summer capital as the Sispara forests, there might

still be trees, which had not been examined.

A great many of you will be wanted to take part in the
thorough scientific survey of the Flora of the Presidency, of
which we are laying the foundation in the Botanical Department,
recently established under the admirable guidance of Kew and
of Mr. Lawson, and a great many more will be wanted for the
economic survey, which must bring into notice every fact, con-
cerning the uses of your plants, which the long experience of
your ancestors has (amidst much that is not fact but imagina-
tion) hived carefully up.

When we remember, however, that, below the phanero-
gamic plants, there is another great vegetable world which has
hardly been investigated here at all, and which has quite cer-
tainly secrets of great, not to say portentous, importance to
reveal, especially in relation to disease, you will see how wide a
field is opened to you in this one department of research. Nor
must you forget that for those of you who have no special turn
for original research, there is an honorable career open, in
impa.rting to your countrymen what it concerns them to know,
about the labours of their scientific men. The educated youth
of South India will not even have begun to fulfil his proper
function in this respect, till there are two or three ardent native
naturalists in every corner of the country.

There is no want of aptitude amongst yon for these studies,
so dignified and so repaying in point of happiness. I could
mention the names of several native friends of mine, who shew
a great turn for them, but I do not think they are graduates.

The weakest part of our system of higher education has, up
to this time, been that which is concerned with the science of
observation, but the men I have just mentioned bring into the
Presidency the latest methods and results of the most renowned
schools in Europe.

218 University of Madras.

I doubt not that they will have a pretty tough battle to
fight, before they get iuto the minds of the teachers, to say
nothing of the pupils, that no science, which is not derived from
direct contact with nature, is good for anything. What is
wanted amongst our Indian youth is not a knowledge of what
books or Professors say about natural objects, but what those
natural objects say about themselves. In this, as in many other
departments of life, the function of the middleman always tends
to become disproportionately great. We want to bring your
minds into the closest possible relations with the producers
of impressions, that is to say, with the things, which you
see and touch. No middleman should be employed, when the
first difficulties are surmounted, but your own senses.

The yearly Flower-show in Madras furnishes agreeable evi-
dence that the taste for horticulture, if nob for botany, has taken
some hold amongst the wealthier natives. I trust this taste may
go on spreading, for it is at once an indication of advancing
civilization, and an agency for advancing it further.

I might go on to speak of other sciences and other pursuits,
but I hope I have said enough to show you how many directions
there are, in which our graduates may usefully employ them-
selves, not only may, but must, if South India is to prosper.

It is not by their political machinery that Western countries
have prospered, even where that machinery has been well con-
trived. It has been much more by ten thousand influences,
trade, mining, manufactures, inventions, universities, books,
learned societies, and what not, combining, in one or two excep-
tionally favoured countries, with well-contrived political institu-
tions. Before the knowledge, which we bring you ready-made,
can have its perfect work, your national life must be enriched in
a vast number of ways, of which I am afraid many of you have
not even begun to think. I trust I may succeed in making you
think about them, or some of them, for there is a great amount
for the most educated class in Southern India to do, before they
have got for their country that sort of recognition which they
ought to get, for what is undoubtedly one of the oldest lands in
the universe.

We have in the Madras Presidency very few rocks of even
the secondary formations; for a large part of its surface is
covered by masses of crystalline gneiss, which was looking very
much as it does now, aeons and aeons before the greater part of
England rose from beneath the waves.

And the immense majority of its inhabitants, although they
certainly cannot say that they are as old as the rocks of the

1886. Rt. Hon. Mountstuart Elphinxtone Grant Duff. :>) ?

Nilgiris, would, at least, if they did so, come very much nearer
the mark, than did the great French family, of whom it was
said " noble as the Barrases, old as the rocks of Provence."

It is not only an ancient, but a lovely, land in which the lot
of most of you is cast. There is ha'rdly a district in the Presi-
dency, which does not contain scenery which people in Europe
would go hundreds of miles to see, and of which the globe-trotter,
pursuing his way over "the bare stony wolds of the Deccan,"
and the monotonous plains so common in Northern India, little
dreams. Such a land well deserves that the best efforts of its
inhabitants should be given, first, to make the most of its
resources, and, secondly, to illustrate it by leading therein lives
which may be useful to the world at large.

Let me recapitulate. Some of those, who now enter the
University, should not enter it at all. They can
tiot. recapitular never be useful to themselves, their families, or
their country, except through callings by which
they can early, and speedily, accumulate money. Others should
enter it, pass the Matriculation, and the First in Arts Examina-
tions, but, after that, branch off to some of the more difficult
money-getting pursuits.

There remain the graduates, to whom I have been chiefly
addressing myself, and we have seen together how many employ-
ments there are, amongst which it is desirable that they should
scatter themselves, instead of trusting to the fragile reed of
Government employment.

So much for the lower functions of the University: for
what the Germans well call its " bread-studies/' I have shown
you, however, that above these is a whole range of occupations,
adapted to the leisure hours of the busy men amongst you, and
all the hours of such of you, (a class which will, I trust, increase)
as having this world's goods, need not trouble yourselves with

I have further pointed out that these occupations are of two
kinds : those suited to men whose disposition inclines them to
the active, and those suited to men whose disposition inclines
them to the studious, and contemplative, side of life.

But, beyond, and above, all these functions of the Univer-
sity, there is one far higher and more important still ; that,
namely, it should sow in all its worthier sons the seeds of that
way of looking at life, which has never been so well described,
as it has been by a living writer.

220 University of Madras.

" He was acquiring/' says Mr. Pater, speaking of a Roman
youth, the hero of his surpassingly beautiful book, ' Marius the

" He was acquiring what is ever the chief function of all
higher education to teach, a system of art, viz., of so relieving
the ideal or poetic traits, the elements of distinction in our every-
day life of so exclusively living in them that the unadorned
remainder of it, the mere drift and debris of life, becomes as
though it were not."

It would be a dangerous thing to say this if I were not
addressing those whom I believe to be inspired, even perhaps,
too much inspired, with the Western passion for " getting on,"
albeit they think too much of " getting on" by the poor enough
ladder of Government employment ; but it is necessary to say it
in order to put before you the kernel of my thoughts about the
University. The world's work must be done woe to those by
whom the hard prosaic inevitable side of life is ever neglected;
but I would have each one of you have in your minds a sanctuary,
into which it does not enter.

Till our University is doing all these things, from the lowest
to the highest, I, for one, shall not be satisfied, but I confess
that it is with no small pleasure that I observe how little she has
got to throw away, how little rubbish there is, in her existing

My thoughts go back to the first time that it became my
duty, officially, to address a University. It was just nineteen
years ago, and I was then not Chancellor of the University of
Madras, but Lord Rector of the University of Aberdeen, an
ancient institution, which had been founded, partly in the even-
ing of Catholic Scotland, partly in the stormy morning of her
Protestant Reformation.

Then, as to-day, I directed my speech mainly to point out
what I thought would be improvements, but, in the first case
the whole ground around me was strewn with old-fashioned and
semi-barbarous methods of teaching, the absurdity of which I
had to bring into strong relief.

Here there is nothing of that sort. The machine is an
excellent machine. It will want, doubtless, every few years a
change here, and a change there, but the great improvements
wanted are not in the machine, but rather in the way in which
our people use it.

I calculate that, when I was young, every English boy, who
had enjoyed, or suffered, what was called a first-rate education,

1886. - .5k Hon. Mountstuart Mphwntone Grani Duff. 221

no matter what were his abilities, or his application, lost
five clear years of life, before he entered on his profession,
thanks to the hopeless idiotcy of the system through which we
were all put. I have taken comparatively little interest in Eng-
lish educational questions for some years back, but, from 1861,
when I got the then Government to appoint the first Commis-
sion to enquire into our Public Schools till within a year or two
of my leaving home, I took a very active part in their discussion,
in and out of Parliament. During that time there was a great
deal of improvement ; but still the old follies stood back to back,
and sold their lives dearly.

Here, however, I find little in our system to criticize. It
is filled with the modern spirit, and, whenever a change is
wanted, and is likely to be acceptable to those concerned, a
scratch of the pen does more than years of weary iteration and
reiteration of common sense can do to break through, in the old
country, the cake of custom, let alone to overpower the resistance
of the craftsmen of Ephesus.

And now, gentlemen, I think I have said to you, and, through
you, to the youth of Southern India, all that I had it in my mind
to say. My days in this country are numbered, but I shall
continue to watch with the greatest interest the future of the
Madras University. It has done good service up to this time,
but there has perhaps not been much in its work, very unlike
the work of its sister Universities at Calcutta and Bombay. It
has been mainly an institution for the testing by West Aryans
of the intellectual powers and educational progress of South srn
Brahmins, that is, of persons of pure or mixed East Aryan blood.

All this is highly commendable, and useful. No one has a
greater respect than I have for our Brahmins. Of them that
may be truly said, which was said so well of Pericles :

** He waved the sceptre o'er his kind
By Nature's first great title mind."

They must always occupy a most important place in a
society, presided over by the Aryans of the West, because their
place is indicated by their possession of a large share of those
intellectual powers, in virtue of which the West Aryan himself
holds paramount sway.

But to have a University merely to do what, in these E ail-
way days, Bombay could do almost as well, would be a ratber
humble ambition. What must ever differentiate this University
from all other Universities is, that it is placed in the midst of a
huge Dravidian population.

222 University of Madras.

We can make a pretty good guess as to what the East
Aryan can do, when he has had " all the chances." We can
hardly make a guess as to what the Dravidian may do. Yery
likely he will never be able to do work as good as that of the
East Aryan, but it is almost certain that the best he does will
be different in kind.



Gentlemen, His Excellency the Chancellor having asked
me to deliver the nsual address to you on this occasion, I obey
as a matter of dnty and deference. I feel all the more gratified
because the duty has been confided to me by no less a personage
than the Governor of the Presidency, whom we have all so
cordially welcomed, and who has already inspired all classes of
the people with the confidence that his rule will be just, gener-
ous, and beneficent to the utmost of his power and opportunities.
As an old friend of the people of Madras, it is a peculiar
pleasure to me to stand in this position. I will not affect any
extraordinary diffidence in the performance of the duty with
which I am charged, for I am much your senior in years, and,
therefore, in experience.

Gentlemen, I warmly congratulate you on the Academic
honours you have won, won after long and anxious toil, not
unfrequently amid unknown difficulties, pressure, and privations.
The University to which you belong will watch your future with
affectionate interest. May your careers be long, happy and

Let me warn you that the world you are about to enter is
by no means as smooth and beautiful as the pencil
^A. timely warn- Q | y OU t n an( j hope may have pain ted it to your
imagination. In reality, it is full of divergences,
difficulties, disappointments and dangers. After your entrance
into it, it will not be long before you begin to realise the full
meaning of what is called " the Battle of Life." You will find
a ceaseless strife going on everywhere in pursuit of food, fortune
or fame. The persons engaged are innumerable, the arms
employed are of infinite diversity. You will have to make way
amid dust and darkness ; you will have to wade through know-
ledge and ignorance of all degrees; through prejudices and
passions and errors and even vices difficult of enumeration.
False lights will often misguide you ; powerful temptations will
lure you; unexpected obstacles will stop you; new problems

1887. Rajah Sir T. Madava Row. 223

will perplex you. Envy, jealousy, pride and causeless anti-
pathies will assail you. But it is hoped that the knowledge
and virtue which have been imparted to you heretofore, and
which you will strengthen hereafter by self -education, will con-
duct you safely and successfully through the world before you.

Gentlemen, your education is not finished. It would be a
great error on your part to suppose that as you
Your ednca- have got your degrees your education is finished.
finished 18 Your general education has come to an end ; but

self-education must now begin and go on through
all life. Clearly understand what you have gained so far,
and do not over-estimate the advantages you have acquired.
You have been taught certain large facts ; in other words, you
have been put in possession of a certain amount of knowledge ;
you have been taught how to learn, so as to enable you to in-
crease your knowledge. Your reasoning or judging powers
have been developed to a certain extent. Your mind has been
trained or disciplined so as to be a useful instrument in the
future. You have been provided with moral principles, by
observance of which your conduct in life may be useful and
perfectly honourable. In a short time you will find out for your-
selves that your gains heretofore are insufficient as to quantity
and imperfect as to quality. If you do not realise this, you will
come to a standstill. Your stock of knowledge must be greatly
increased. The faculties of your mind must be further strength-
emed and improved by well-directed exercise. All this will re-
quire labour and application. But these should not be grudged
if you are ambitious of successful and honourable careers.

A great deal has to be done in life and life is short. The
way in which time is spent makes a great difference
Value time ^ the merits and success of men. Exercise, rest
wid^spen i ^^ recrea fci oll are necessary to health of mind
and body. You will be quite right to devote time
for these purposes. You will be wrong not to do so. Do not
waste your time in excessive sleep, in idleness, in frivolities, in
aimless or useless conversation. Do not divert too much time
to objects which are not relevant to the cardinal aims of your
life. Consider well before you devote any considerable share of
your time to the study of ancient or foreign languages of no
great practical use to you. Your studies ought to have a useful
bearing on your plan of life. At least they should not diverge
far from the same. If you are to be a Tahsildar, do not divert
too much of your time to Chemistry. If you are going to
be a Vakil in Court, do not dissipate your time on Spherical

224 University of Madras-

Trigonometry or Conic Sections. You will have to do more
with, the sections of Codes than of Cones ! If you are to take
up the medical profession, do not bestow too much of your
time on Astronomy. Remember that much waste of time is
entailed by frequent changes in your plan of life. Unless
you have affluence and leisure, do not lay out too much of
your time on mere ornamental accomplishments or in the
reading of novels or other works of fiction. When you give
your time, give it so as to obtain a fair return of pleasure or
profit for yourself or for the community. Do not waste time
in pursuits for which you have no natural aptitude. Do not
waste time in undertakings which are impossible of accomplish-
ment ,or nearly so. I hardly like natives of India lavishly
devoting time to excel in the composition of English or other
foreign poetry. Considering that ideas are more important than
words, do not spend too much time in the cultivation of mere
literary graces. Do not squander time or brain-power in barren
controversies or speculations, such as too many Pundits are
fond of. If you want to acquire knowledge, acquire it as it is.
Do not needlessly trouble yourself about its long past history.
The lessons or deductions of history are far more worth time and
study than the long dry details of historical events. A few
select newspapers, local and general, you must, by all means,
read regularly, in order to know current history. But avoid
needless multiplicity and avoid the rubbish which is too often
produced by impoverished incompetence.

This is an important principle. Get a general idea of all
fields of knowledge. But you must study closely
thingof every- an ^ specially the particular field in which you are
thing and every- most interested. Plenty of books and advice are
thing S me " available for this purpose. Beware of a loose or
superficial knowledge of subjects connected with
your professional work. I am far from inculcating a strictly
utilitarian principle in the choice of the fields of knowledge for
your cultivation. All I urge is that you should take a rough
survey of those fields, and select such as would yield you ade-
quate pleasure or profit. Some fields may have to be rejected,
because you lack the requisite aptitude ; others, because you
have not the requisite means or leisure ; others again, because
you have no opportunities to practically use the particular kind
of knowledge. Be sure, gentlemen, no one will rejoice more
than myself to see multitudes of graduates throughout India
taking up multitudes of fields of knowledge and cultivating them
with diligence, enthusiasm, and success. You have only to

1887. Rajah Sir T. Madava Row. 225

remember that intellectual concentration is more fruitful than
intellectual dissipation. I strongly deprecate what may be
called intellectual vagrancy.

As you are on the threshold of the world, it is important
that you should have a clear idea of the principal
Aims of life. objects you are to achieve or try to achieve. First,
you are to secure for yourself material and moral
happiness ; secondly, you are to secure the same for all others
to the utmost of your power. The means to be employed for
these ends may be summarised in two words, Knowledge and-
Virtue. These you have acquired to a certain extent as certified
by your degrees. Increase them by diligent and well-directed
self-education. Promote them among the people to the utmost
of your ability. Descending from these generalities, I might expa-
tiate for days on details touching the various relations of life.
But time being limited, I will lay before you a few specific hints
roughly and rapidly. Do not expect anything new, learned or bril-
liant in these hints, or even so much as natural or logical order.
1 shall be satisfied if you, gentlemen, find in some of them practi-
cal truths of any little service to you in the careers before you.

I need not tell you, gentlemen, that the invaluable blessing
H alth ^ health, is at the foundation of all happiness.

Thoroughly learn the conditions on which health
depends, and resolutely practise those virtues which preserve it.
Promote public health and sanitation by private instruction, by
advice and by example. A great deal might be quietly done in
this direction with the result of more health and less disease,
more happiness and less misery. Any exhortation on the subject
of health may seem unnecessary, But we often come across
instances in which the inestimable blessing of health is sacrificed
in the too eager pursuit of inadequate objects. Knowledge
regarding health should be acquired early in youth, rather than
when health has been lost or begins to decline. Do not trust
your health to ignorant quacks. The longer and the more happily
you live, the better will you fulfil the objects of the education
imparted to you.

A healthy young man will soon find material wants pressing
. for satisfaction. He will have to select some pro-

fession or business in view to his livelihood. This
necessity is early felt in India, and must not be long put off.
The question is " how should you earn at least the minimum
required for your maintenance." This should engage your
earnest attention, because you will not find it satisfactory or
honourable to live long on the industry of others. Do not take

226 University of Madras.

up any business at random or by chance. You should carefully
think over the matter and consult friends competent to advise
you. Do not be over-ambitious or aim beyond your reach.
Immoderate wishes often end in disappointment causing
depression or discontent. Select such a career as you may have
a clear liking for. Select that career for which you are fitted
or for which you may soon fit yourself. Having carefully made
a selection, resolutely adhere to it. Concentrate all your atten
tion on it, so as to master its requirements. Master both the

Online LibraryK Subba RauConvocation addresses of the universities of Bombay and Madras → online text (page 55 of 66)