K Subba Rau.

Convocation addresses of the universities of Bombay and Madras online

. (page 62 of 66)
Online LibraryK Subba RauConvocation addresses of the universities of Bombay and Madras → online text (page 62 of 66)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


science, and art, is a reproach to educated men. And think,
gentlemen, how much you yourselves lose in being deprived of
the sympathetic companionship of your wives and sisters. The
intellectual pursuits which have occupied your time during these
past years being entirely foreign to them, they cannot share with
yon that supreme satisfaction which the victories of the intellect
bestow, nor can they help you to bear the trials and disappoint-
ments that attend the steps of the seeker after knowledge.

And what about your children ? If you wish your women to
be something more than the physical mothers of
And what your children, you must see to it that they are edu-
drea fc ? y Ur C1U " cated. The influence of the mother's character on
her children during- infancy is admitted by every-
body. Yet how few realize what that means ! How can an



1891,- Dr. Duncan. 281



illiterate, uncultivated, perhaps infantile mother watch over the
opening faculties of her child and mould its character for good ?
One cannot trust to maternal instinct and common sense alone in
such an important matter. Maternal instinct is a sorry substi-
tute for intelligent judgment, and common sense is very uncom-
mon in an uncultivated mind. There is no more reason why the
moulding of the characters of the young should be entrusted to
the instinct and common sense of uneducated people, than there
is for entrusting any other human pursuit to such guidance.
There are, on the contrary, very powerful reasons why the
first years of life should be placed under the most highly
trained intelligence, the experiences of these years being those
that exert the most lasting influence for good or evil in after-
life.

And reflect, gentlemen, on the future of your society ? Un-
less you earnestly, and manfully, and successfully
Eeflect pnthe grapple with this question of female education, there

future of your r , r i . .-IT i j AT_

society. can be no lasting social development, and in the

absence of development there must come decay. If
hereditary transmission be true at all, it applies to mind as well
as to body. We may not yet have discovered, we may never
discover, the intermediate links in the chain of causation by which
the intellectual and moral qualities of parents are transmitted to
their children. The fact is, nevertheless, indisputable. And if
there be any truth in the belief that intellectual endowments
take more after the mother than after the father, the question
becomes all the more serious. The child of parents possessing
well-developed bodies and minds begins life with faculties and
capacities, which, in proper conditions and in due course, grow
up to the maturity of manhood or womanhood. Not so with the
offspring of a mother whose faculties are infantile and undevel-
oped. The mental development of the child is speedily arrested,
the faculties retaining to the last thfe inherent weakness of their
maternal source a weakness which will prevent them from ever
growing unto a vigorous maturity. Do men gather grapes of
thorns, or figs of thistles ? Can the plenitude of intellectual and
moral power be reaped as an inheritance from a mother, perhaps
a child-mother whose faculties have lain dormant, or, if at all
roused to activity, have been arrested in their development almost
at the outset ? For the sake of posterity, therefore, I entreat
you to do what you can to remove one of the greatest blots on
your social system.

Let me not be misunderstood. Do not imagine that I mean
86



282 University of Madras.



to point the moral that may be drawn from the appearance

amongst you of four representatives of the gentler

Indian S< Lady sex - ^ or tne second time in the history of the

L. M. s. of the University a lady has been admitted to the degree

^" 11



the of Licentiate in Medicine and Surgery, and for the
first Lady gra- first time ladies have been admitted to the degrees
eiMaL^Arti?*" ^ Bachelor of Medicine and Master in Surgery and
Bachelor of A.rts. It is most meet that a modern
University like this should open its doors to the one sex as well
as to the other ; so that women, who possess the means and the
mental endowments, may receive the highest education, both
general and professional. But I do not advocate that all your
women should be educated up to this high standard. I do not
ask that in every household there shall be a blue-stocking;
though amid the manifold interests of the complex society of the
nineteenth century, even the blue-stocking may find her appropri-
ate sphere and function. The cause which I earnestly commend to
your sympathy and co-operation is the bringing about of such
modifications in your social customs as shall render it possible for
young women to obtain an amount of education sufficient to call
into exercise and harmonious development those faculties and
capacities which in their present condition lie dormant, or reach
only a dwarfed and stunted growth. Their well-being and your
own well-being, the well-being of your children and future growth
of your society, depend on the manner in which you perform this
primary duty of educated men.

The solution of this momentous question is, I grant, beset
l with difficulties, and it is not for me to say how
of India P must they are to be overcome. In this matter, gentle-
work ^ ut their men, the people of India must work out their
own salvation. Do not, however, too readily acqui-
esce in the conclusion that the problem is absolutely insolu-
ble, or that it cannot be solved within any measurable period
of time. Was the settlement of any great social question ever
arrived at by means of a policy of despair and non possumus ?
Let me remind you that several of the essential conditions of
success are at present in your midst. If earnest and zealous
men are needed to keep the question continually before the pub-
lic, have you not amongst you many with the fervour of Dev/an
Bahadur Kaghunatha Rao ? If far-seeing statesmanlike views
are required, have you not men endowed with the wide political
sagacity of the venerable Raja Sir T. Madhava Rau ? Are you
afraid lest the good cause should make shipwreck at the outset
by the intemperate advocacy of those whose zeal is apt to carry



1891. Dr. Duncan. 283



them beyond the bounds of prudence and legality ? This diffi-
culty can surely be met and overcome by a society which pos-
sesses men with the judicial acumen and calmness of the
Honorable Mr. Justice Muttuswami Aiyar. If you wish the
movement to be under the aegis of the highest academic culture
of your Alma Mater, and to be presented to the public with all
the charms of literary grace, have you not in men like Rai
Bahadur Ranganatha Mudaliyar the embodiment of all that is
best in the culture of the East and the West ? If within the
Senate of your University there are men with so many of the
diverse and necessary qualifications for carrying to a successful
issue a great social reformation, may you not assume that
throughout the land there are many such, waiting merely for
you to say : " Come over and help us " ? The main thing re-
quired is to make you feel in its full force the urgency of the
question. Need I repeat that we are not dealing with a matter
of a little more or a little less of benefit to a small section of the
community, but with the removal of an evil which is eating out
the very vitals of your society ?

I have endeavoured, ladies and gentlemen, to the best of
my ability, to point out to you some of the ways in which you
will best fulfil the promises you have made to promote the
cause of morality and sound learning and the well-being of your
fellow-men. The responsibility laid upon you is heavy, and I
have not sought to lighten it. Let the good name of your Uni-
versity be one of your most cherished possessions. Except as
affiliated to that world-wide University, which embraces all the
schools that, through the ages, have kept alive the sacred flame
of knowledge, your Alma Mater cannot boast of a hoary anti-
quity. But, though the traditions you have to maintain may
not claim the sanction of centuries, yet, young as they are, they
deserve to be held in reverence. To cherish the lofty tradi-
tions of a long bye-gone past is a worthy task ; your task is a
worthier one. For it devolves on you to formulate the prin-
ciples and to work out the practices that will become in due
course the traditions of future generations* Let it be your
earnest endeavour so to conduct yourselves that those traditions
shall in the years to come tend to the highest good of this
ancient land. Your University while laying upon you grave
responsibilities, does not demand impossible achievements. You
are not called upon to forego your own private advancement,
nor the well-being of those with whom you are connected by
ties of kindred. In common with your less favoured fellow-
countrymen you will engage in the ordinary duties of life, pur-



284 University of Madras.



suing the same ends as other men. In each and all of those duties
let it appear that you are guided by those qualities of mind and
heart which genuine culture imparts. To some of you more than to
others there will come a large measure of what is called success in
life. But to all of you, if you abide by the promises you have made
to-day, there will come, whatever else may fail, the sweet con-
sciousness that you have striven with all the strength that was in
you to live up to a high ideal. Go forth now to your allotted
walks in life, clear in intelligence, resolute in purpose, pure in
heart; carrying with you the inspiriting and sustaining thought
that you have this day been admitted as citizens of no mean
city as citizens of that catholic Universitas, or republic of
letters, which knows no distinctions of race or creed, and on the
burgess-roll of which are inscribed in undying fame the names
of the wisest and the best of every age and clime.



THIRTY-FIFTH CONVOCATION.

(BY H. B. GRIGG, ESQ., M.A., C.I.B.)

Mr. Chancellor, I rise by your appointment to exhort the
newly made graduates to conduct themselves suitably in the
position to which they have attained by means of the degrees
conferred upon them, Sir, by your hand.

But, gentlemen, before I proceed to touch on matters, the
Fellows who consideration of which will form the substance of
died during the my remarks this evening, it is, I think, well to
invite you, to recall for a few minutes the names
of those Fellows of this University who have passed away during
the year which ends to-day. They laboured loyally and honour-
ably for many years either in the administration of public affairs,
or in the pursuit of knowledge, or in the dissemination of higher
moral religious and political ideas : and one and all in furtherance
of the best interests and happiness of the people of this country.
Two of them, Sir Thomas Py croft and Sir Madava Eau, made
for themselves names, as administrators, which will live in the
annals of Madras. The former appears in the Act of Incorpora-
tion, among the first Felloes of this University, and on him in
his capacity of Chief Secretary and subsequently as Member of
Council, must have devolved a considerable share in the organ-
isation of public instruction in this Presidency. As an adminis-
trator, Madras has seldom, if ever, had his equal : and his
unwearied industry, his high sense of responsibility and his
s of niiud have helped to produce these virtues in all



1892. Mr. E. B. Grigg. 285



branches of the Service of which he was one of the highest
ornaments. Mr. Maltby had placed the administration of the
ancient States of Travancore and Cochin on a basis calculated to
ensure solid progress in every branch of public life. His policy
would however have proved for a time at least comparatively
barren of good results had it not been grasped by the powerful
and cultivated mind of Sir Madhava Rao, the most capable
Hindu administrator of modern days. He organised the admin-
istration of Travancore, and later that of Baroda, on lines which
combined many of the political and administrative ideas of
Europe with those of an oriental country, and shewed to the
Eulers of this Empire that to an Indian administrator may
safely be entrusted a portion of the fateful task of re-casting the
administrative and political machinery of Native States, so that
law may take the place of arbitrary power and the public weal
be substituted for the advantage of the favoured classes. In
Mr. Pogson the University has lost an Astronomer whose name
will always be famous as the discoverer of several asteroids, as a
patient and untiring worker in the fields of astral observation
and as a faithful and discerning recorder of astronomical facts.
Gentlemen, I would that his example might inspire some of you
to make the study of the heavens the study of your lives and
that Madras may yet have the honor of giving to India the first
scientific astronomer, a native of the land, as it has already
given to her the best Statesman of recent days. In Bishop
Caldwell and Doctor Hay the country has lost two ripe Dravidian
scholars, and two men who led noble lives lives worthy of
imitation. They showed to you that the true religious spirit is
not egotistic and narrow, but altruistic and catholic. The work that
these enlightened men have done for the modern Tamil and Telugu
literatures is not their least claim to your gratitude, for they
with other men of their school, European and Native, have done
for these languages, probably more than their natural custodians.
In Mr. Hanna the University mourns a scientific engineer whose
eounsel was of great value in the recent movements in the
direction of improved engineering and industrial education, and
this country a public-spirited citizen. Whilst in Dr. Mohideen
Sheriff we have lost an experienced student of Medicine who
did good work in bringing to light what was worthy of record
in the indigenous systems of Medicine and in helping his co-
religionists to understand that modern scientific Medicine is the
true development of that art of healing, which their forefathers
have the undying honour of having been the first to cultivate ;
for though crude :md in its infancy, it was still in a manner
scientific. It is also my sad duty to commemorate two Fellows,



286 University of Madras.

Rai Bahadur S. Ramaswami Mudalliar and the Rev. W. T.
Satthianadhan, who have gone from amongst us in the last few
weeks. The former was a distinguished student of this Univer-
sity, and a helpful counsellor in its affairs. He was a warm but
judicious and moderate advocate of political progress, and thus
afforded an excellent model to you of how you can conduct your-
selves loyally and yet independently in public matters. Mr.
Satthianadhan, who was among the first students to matriculate
in this University, has left to the Native Christians of Madras a
beautiful example of simplicity of life, of pastoral efficiency and
of devotion ; and he has shown to you that a change in faith
does not involve the abandonment of what is best in your native
traditions and feelings. Gentlemen, I have asked you to com-
memorate these worthies because I feel that it is as true of
corporations as of individuals that " he who lacks time to mourn,
lacks time to mend " that

" Where sorrow's held intrusive and turned out
There wisdom will not enter nor true power
Nor aught that dignifies humanity."

We reject one means towards leading worthy lives as
members of this great corporation if we fail to meditate upon
our honoured dead. Would that in this grand hall we had
fitting memorials on canvas and in marble of those who being
members of the University did yeoman's work in their day for
the people, more especially in that branch of national life of
which this University is the highest expression and exponent
that thus the immortal dead might live again

" In minds made better by their presence, live

" In pulses stirred to generosity,

" In deeds of daring rectitude, in scorn

" For miserable aims that end in self,

Gentlemen, having reminded you of the dead whose memory
does you honour, I would now briefly trace to you the history of
the University to which you have just been admitted as members.

You have promised to conduct yourselves in your daily
life and conversation " as becomes members of the same," and I
would have you learn to feel an honourable pride in being such,
recognising the potentialities of the organisation to which you
henceforth belong, and understanding your duty in connection
with the progress of your country through educational means.

This University is but new. It has no antiquity to endow
it with a wealth of venerable associations" dear and

Ashortsketcn . ,. . . , . , . , ,, ,

of tbe history gracious associations which, might mellow what

of the Univer- j s young and crude blending with it that which is

beautiful and good in the past. Its life does not



1892. Mr. H. B. Grigg. 287

extent 6*w? ^ven five and thirty years, the Act of Incorporation
with which it began having only been passed on the 8th
September 1857. The throe first Universities of India, those of
Madras, Bombay and Calcutta, were the immediate outcome of
the Educational despatch of 1 854. But the educational condi-
tions of India which that great state paper sought to regulate
were due to the labours of many eminent men, statesmen,
lawyers, missionaries ; and of others, natives of the soil, such as
Raja Ram Mohun Roy, who had been quickened by the first
breath of the dawn of Western knowledge in India. All decisive
changes in the world take place in the intellect. These men saw
that the literature of India, beautiful and varied as it was in the
earlier periods of its growth, had been reduced to sterility and
decay by the idea-strangling and cast-iron systems of control elabo-
rated by commentators and grammarians of a later age. They
saw that the ancient educational systems of the country were
powerless to work a change in the Indian peoples towards a
higher life, and towards material well-being, and they strenu-
ously fought for the introduction of a system of education under
which the free thoughts and noble " intents of the heart " of the
peoples of the West might be conveyed on scientific methods to
these Eastern peoples : seeking thus also to re-invigorate and
restore to their proper place in the mind-building of the people
tfyeir ancient poetry, vedic, epic and dramatic, their books of
law and the philosophical speculations of their sages. That
conflict was waged and won. But it lasted through nearly two
generations of men and, though partially decided in 1835, it did
not end until the issue of Lord Halifax's despatch. Then came
the last year of the East India Company's rule the year 1857
the most terrible year in the annals of our Empire in the
East. You may remember how in 1574, the people of Holland,
on the raising of the siege of Ley den, nothing daunted by the
horrors of a life and death struggle with the Spaniard, preferred
the promotion of knowledge and the education of their children
to their own present advantage, and founded in that city a Uni-
versity, the first in the Netherlands, in the time of their direst
need. But, gentlemen, the act of your rulers was nobler by
far for they, when the mutiny was at the flood, with a splen-
did faith in their divine right to regenerate the people of India
and to rule them that they might regenerate them, with an
exalted charity and an unexampled liberality, founded, not for
their own sons, but for the benefit of the very people whose
soldiery were waging a cruel rebellion against them, not one
University but three. It has well been called our annus tristis,
but, gentlemen, not tristis only but mirdhilis, to be gratefully



288 University of Madras.

admired, I trust, by succeeding generations of enlightened men,
the graduates of our Universities.

Now, gentlemen, what is this University which they
founded ? The first thing which strikes me in
Uidversity ^ ^T^g 1 * answer this query for you is that its found-
ers avoided the question as to whether an Univer-
sity has simply to do with preparing its students by a liberal and
humanistic education to become right-thinking men able to take
clear views in regard to the daily problems of life which they
will have to solve, or also with the imparting of professional
knowledge. Nor do they seem to have touched the question
whether an University, which has not within it the potentialities
of becoming a local habitation for a permanent congregation of
learned men, can ever concentrate within it the educational side
of a people's life- Their thoughts seem not to have wandered
back to the ancient Universities of Paris or Bologna, or to Oxford
or Cambridge, or even to Universities of the German type ; but
they took for their model, an University, that of London, which
confined itself, Medicine excepted, to the modest work of pre-
scribing courses of study, for its students, and of effectively
testing such students. They departed from that model in only
one important matter to which I am about to refer, viz., the
restricting of the study of Matriculated students to affiliated
colleges. Their ends were essentially practical. They sought
to form not a centre of instruction for all, but a centre for testing
the instruction of all, and by this system of public examina-
tions, to give " full development to the highest course of educa-
tion to which the Natives of India, or of any other country, can
aspire," and besides, by the division of University degrees and
distinctions into different branches, to direct " the exertions of
highly educated men to the studies which are necessary to
success in the various active professions of life/' and thus to
diffuse useful knowledge, and to confer upon the Natives of
India e{ vast moral and material blessings. " Thus the practical
ends in view in establishing the University are clear. But there
are two matters in connection with it to which I would invite
your attention. The first concerns the development of the
organization of the University ; the second, the supplementing by
subsequent self -culture the courses of study which it encourages.
I do this because I feel that you should think of these things
and of how you can help to establish and settle your University
system on lines which will better promote good and useful
learning, and secure for its graduates as great an influence
in the educational development of South India, as public



1892. Mr. H. B. Grigg. 289

expediency permits, making good your claim to the franchise
in the republic of Letters and Science by continued study,
and helping to maintain a high standard of culture among those
who constitute the academic class in the country. Now, gentle-
men, it seems to me but sound policy that gradually this Univer-
sity should seek to gather within it at Madras a congregation of
learned and scientific men as the centre of its corporate life.
Without such a heart I do not believe that the body can ever
become the centre of light and knowledge, and without such a
centre I cannot believe that scientific thought will ever be estab-
lished on a true basis in this country. The University must be
more than an abstraction, it must be a body of living men. Now,
how can this end be attained in a natural process of evolution,
and how can you help in that process ? I have drawn your atten-
tion to the fact that this University, differing from that of
London, requires its students to have passed through affiliated
colleges ; but so far it has not provided that they, in their life
as graduates, shall continue, in communion with their colleges.
Now it is in and through the college that I believe this congre-
gation of learned and scientific men, may best be obtained. I
would therefore exhort you to keep through life close to the
college from which you obtained your degree. If you will do this,
I doubt not means will be found in due course to enable you to
become incorporate with your college, and with the University
through it. Thus the practical solution partly depends upon
yourselves.

In the ancient English Universities the college forms the

basis of the University system. At Oxford the

Ancient Eng- administration practically vests in " the Conerega-

hsn Umversi- , i i , IT ,1 & * r-i

ties. tion" which consists of all the great officers of the

University, the Heads of Colleges, the Professors,
other important functionaries, and resident Masters of Arts,
whilst the final legislative power rests with " the house of Con-



Online LibraryK Subba RauConvocation addresses of the universities of Bombay and Madras → online text (page 62 of 66)