K Subba Rau.

Convocation addresses of the universities of Bombay and Madras online

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belong, if you would spread abroad some rays from your own
lamp of knowledge do not fail to gain such a command over your
Vernacular that what you write may be read and understood.

So far I have spoken only of Language and Literature. 1
fiave brought these subjects into such special prominence,
because I feel that in them "is hid what may be called the
wisdom of life, the rich store of experience of human nature and
of conduct," and that unless you acquire this wisdom of life,
absorb into your nature the mental and moral conditions which
have rendered progress possible, you cannot reap the full benefit



1892. 4fr. H. B. Griyy.



of specialising in any branch of scientific knowledge., for know-
ledge

" is the second, not the first,
A higher hand must make her mild,
If all be not in vain ; and guide
Her footsteps, moving side by side
With wisdom, like the younger child."

The ground-work of all higher education must be the study
of the noblest thoughts and of the noblest exem-
P lars ^ mankind. But no society can advance
unless it has in every branch of scientific know-
ledge an adequate number of persons possessing such knowledge.
Now the branches of knowledge, which at present are necessary,
so far as higher education is concerned, seem to me fairly well
represented by the various branches of study in this University,
It is true that the necessities of the people are as yet simple, in
that nine-tenths of the population live by agriculture, on a small
scale. The people, moreover, are generally simple in their
habits, have little desire for the conveniences of a more highly
civilised life, and seem to care little for accumulating wealth
except on the old beaten paths. In such a society no doubt the
first demand is for good men to regulate its public affairs. For
such men it seems to me that Mathematics and History are the
most important. Mathematics will fit them to deal logically
and unerringly with all great social, revenue and industrial
questions, the solution of which depends so greatly on their
power of collecting accurate statistics and of applying to them
the strictest methods of mathematical reasoning. I have only
to refer you to the absence of data on which the Government
can deal safely with such questions as Agricultural Economies,
and Life Insurance, to illustrate my meaning. And yet how
few graduates of this University posiess any thorough knowledge
of Mathematics. Only about five hundred graduates now living
have specialised in it, and few of them have shown great ability.
With such a supply how can the work of the country be per-
fectly done. Again, as regards History. It has only been
studied in adequate breadth and depth and as an important
Branch of Science during the last decade. Yet who can deal
satisfactorily with finance, legislation, economics, commerce,
politics, who has not studied History. Only about two hundred
graduates of Madras have specialised therein, or have any-
thing better than a smattering of historical knowledge. History,
however, is the most generally attractive of all studies,
and one which you can pursue in after-life, with success, if
during your University course you have grasped what are
the true ends of historical study and the right method of



300 University of Madras.



pursuing them. Of all branches of study after Letters/ this
is that which is most necessary for a public man, more espe-
cially for those who are connected with the public Press.
But besides such men your country needs more and more for its
development, men possessed of a sound knowledge of Physical
and Natural Science, partly in the r61e of teachers, partly as

actual workers in industrial activities. They are
Sctn?eSlmlM- re q uired as teachers to give the mind of the people
tries. a more inquiring turn, a greater interest in Nature

and its Laws, and some knowledge of the natural
resources of their country. The industrial enterprise of Euro-
peans may raise local interest and attract labour and capital, but
it is only when the mind of the people is set in a new direction
by the general spread of scientific knowledge that much result
can be attained. Why is it that with but one or two solitary
exceptions, which but prove the rule, every enterprise for devel-
oping the wealth of the country comes from Europeans ? The
reply generally is the Natives are too poor, they have no capital
for great or novel enterprises. There is truth in this, but it is
not the whole truth, because your capitalists, as a rule, do nothing.
The new energy of a people does not require great enterprises
to test it. It may be shown as well in small things as in great ;
in the making of a brass- vessel, in the planting of a hedge, in
the digging of a well, or in the introduction of a new seed or of a
new plant. If intelligence and a love of progress are there a
poor people can do much. The history of the world has shewn
how poor and isolated peoples have risen high in the scale of
peoples when fired by such a spirit. It is through an education,
which teaches the child to use its hand, its eyes, its reason as well
as its memory alone, that such a change can be wrought in the
mental attitude and in the habits of a people. But you need the
actual workers also, especially in the higher industries, for it
will not do simply to teach. There is some reason to think that
this decade may show a marked advance especially in the devel-
opment of the mineral wealth of the country ; and if you have
not practical workers of your own people in the scientific depart-
ments of such industries -their place must needs be taken by
Europeans. You must push in and secure your place, or make a
place for yourselves. But what is the course you usually pursue ?
You take to Law or to the Public Service, instead of seeking out
a road, painful though it be, which will in the long run make
you of as real service to the country. Men can in a way create
their own destiny. The conditions of industrial life in Southern
India require all the vitalizing power that you are able to afford.
Prove yourselves true friends of your people, and furnish this



1892. Mr. H. B. Grigg. 301

power, although it may seem temporarily against your interests.
Scientific knowledge is good, in itself, but it must have its own
practical end, or it cannot flourish. A science cannot flourish in
a country unless it has its corresponding art activity therein.
The science of chemistry can make no permanent home for itself
in Southern India, if there is no opening for it as an applied art.
At present such activities hardly exist. You must help to create
them.

Thus far to you, Graduates in Arts. To you, Graduates in
Law, in Medicine and in Teaching, I will say but few words.
Graduates in Law, the danger, which will chiefly beset you in
applying the knowledge you have acquired to the active work
of your profession is that of gradually ignoring the principles on
which a sound system of Law is based. To avoid this you must
remain always students of Law as the science of gradually per-
fecting the social relations of mankind. You must ever bear in

mind what is the end of all Law, " the harmony of

The end of Law the world." Even in y our daily practice remem-

of the^orld!^ ber that Law is the great schoolmaster which leads

a people to perfection that, whether you have to
administer the Law, or to assist those who come within its opera-
tions, one of your duties is to endeavour so far as in you lies, that
Law be the friend and not the enemy of man that liberty be not
sacrificed to order, though order be " heaven's first law." Law em-
bodies the energies of social -life. By its operation the old civiliza-
tion of India is giving way to the new, not so much as the result
of the written laws of your legislators, as by the new ideas and
new sympathies of those who administer justice, and of those
who are directly or indirectly connected with that administration.
How great then is the necessity that you, who will be in a way
leaders in your profession, should by continued reading and
studying of the best masters, fit yourselves for this beneficent
work. Your preparation for this work, useful though it has no
doubt been, has, I need hardly tell you, fallen far short of what
a perfect system of law instruction demands. Medicine and
Engineering and the Arts had independently organised institu-
tions fitted to prepare their students for their life's work, whilst
such an organization in Law is only now being created for you.
Ere long, in your Law College, future students will find the
means of a legal education sufficient to place the Law graduates
of Madras on an equal footing with any lawyers in the world.
Whilst you will find by attending special courses of lectures
hereafter the means of aiding you in that after study of Law
which is so essential to the beneficent exercise of your profession.



362 University of Madras.



Gentlemen, I am sanguine enough to think that this College will
yet perform a beneficent work for your people in
lege W providing not only for Law students proper, but

for public servants generally, and also for citizens
engaged in the ordinary avocations of life, opportunities for the
study of Law and of social regulations and customs, as yet
afforded by no institution in the Empire. It must also, I consider,
become a society of Lawyers. An institution of this kind will
help to maintain your noble profession in a thoroughly healthy
condition. The courts as the final authority in matters of
discipline may do much, but I am persuaded that you, Lawyers,
must feel yourselves to be members of a society having its own
sanctions, before you will in any true sense be members of a
profession. Workers in one branch of activity must thus be
linked together or society must suffer.

To you, Graduates in Medicine, I say remember that you
Adrioe to b e l n g to a great profession by virtue of the vow
Graduates in you made this evening. You have no Medical
Practitioners' Act in this country to bind you
together, no legal sanctions peculiar to your profession. It there-
fore is all the more necessary that you should make that vow a
bond of honour as strong as the Freemason's oath. The progress
of your profession in this country depends in great measure
upon your so holding together. Those of you who may enter
the Medical Service will have its regulations to guide you but
an increasing number of the Medical Graduates of Madras will
have no such support. Therefore in your calling voluntary
obligations must take the place of legal. You will not, I trust,
have only to look to a distinguished name, and to the monetary
rewards which justly follow on such a reputation, but I trust
that as time goes on the Schools of Medicine and the Hospitals
of this city will afford you the opportunities of gaming public
recognition for your work. The progress of scientific Medicine
in this country cannot for ever depend upon work done through
the Government, or Local Medical Services. It must, as in any
other great department of life, depend partly upon private effort,
that is, on the work of private practitioners. I have in my
capacity of Director of Public Instruction, tried in a small way
to bring such men forward, but as things now stand the oppor-
tunities are so few that they can have but little effect. I can
only hope that the time may come when to such may be afforded
the means of doing good and useful work in public institutions
for the public. The change is beset with many difficulties, but
it must coine in time if those among you who take to private



1892. Mr. E. B. Qrigg. 303

practice prove to the Government and to your brethren of the
Service that you are worthy of such confidence.

Graduates in Engineering. Your course has been, especially
Advice to Gra- on ^ e practical side, superior to that of most of
duates in Engi- those who preceded you. You have thus been
neering. enabled to begin your life's work on a vantage

ground, and through your work in the field and in the workshop
you have been able to test your real aptitude for your profession
and, if you have discovered this aptitude your profession will, I
doubt not, become the passion of your lives. There are few
vocations which call forth this passionate devotion like that
of Engineering, a bridge, a tower, an engine, becomes per-
sonified, an object of almost personal affection. I can well
remember with what a sad heart, as of one parting from a
loved child, Mr. Brassington, the designer of the noble
edifice that is now rising to the north of the Fort, said
farewell to that work but just begun, and I would that he may
yet see its domes and minarets standing out as they now do
against the rich glory of your evening skies. If you are to
succeed in your profession you must not only continue the
study of engineering and architectural literature, and of draw-
ings of the noblest engineering and architectural work, but you
must cultivate this enthusiastic and passionate feeling which
will give you eyes to see, and a brain to imagine things, which
would never strike across the brain of the uninspired engineer.
To be a great engineer or a great architect you must have a
powerful imagination, and that quality can be cultivated like
any other of our mental gifts ; you must have the power " to
body forth the forms of things unknown" and then only can you
by your pencil, and by your trowel give to these <( airy nothings
a local habitation and a name." But remember these things
only come to those who work with the hand as well as with the
brain. This new feeling of the necessity of cultivating the
working side of your profession is, I rejoice to think, beginning
to extend to classes which have hitherto stood aloof ; witness
the excellent manner in which a Brahman student, the son of a
distinguished member of this University, has gone through his
course in Mechanical Engineering in the workshops of the Madras
Railway. Only a few years have elapsed since Brahmans in
Madras began to take to the profession of Medicine and Surgery,
and not in a dilettante way, but with a determination to do the
rough work as well as the agreeable, to regard nothing as
tc common or unclean," of which their science demands a know-
ledge : and now, it must gladden the heart of every friend of



304 University of Madras.

India to see youths of the same race, filled with the same spirit,
pursuing the study of engineering, like men who believe that
the " drudgery " of a profession is also " divine," because by such
pains alone can a mastery of its noblest branches be attained.
One word more of advice I would give you. Try and establish
a body of independent engineers outside the Public service.
Your numbers are still few, but that is no reason why you should
not draw together, and draw to you, as your coadjutors, the
engineers of the service. Remember that such an association
will add greatly to your weight and your usefulness in the
country, and will help to direct the mind of the educated and
wealthy classes towards the development of its vast resources
through private enterprise. There is also one other duty I
would urge on you the encouragement by your advice, and
co-operation of .the small efforts which are being made here and
there to give to education, through the teaching of Drawing and
Carpentry and other industrial subjects a practical burn. These
efforts often languish, and sometimes die, because there is no
one possessing sufficient technical knowledge to guide and help.
You can, if you choose, do much in this way, and you have in
your Professor, Mr. Chatterton, an admirable example. Remem-
ber that such simple work is after all a humbler portion of your
own work, and that your profession can never secure a firm and
wide basis, independently of the State, unless the sympathy of
the people tends towards the development of their industrial
activities.

Graduates in Teaching. Yours is a new degree. It was
Adrice to created with the intent not only to provide a course
Graduates in of study, which should prepare you adequately to
Teaching. f u ]gj vour fagfr calling but also to add dignity to

your noble profession. It is strange in a country in which the
Gruru is regarded with the greatest reverence and is not permitted
by public sentiment to barter his knowledge for fee, that the
teacher of knowledge on new and scientific methods should be
so little esteemed ; and that a profession, on which the future of
India so greatly depends should attract to it but few of the best
of the rising talents. Here is not the place to discuss the
multifarious causes of this, but there is one characteristic of your
people which seems to me to lie at the root of it, the absence of
a love of any line of work apart from its pecuniary rewards. One
would not have expected this in a country, which has a peculiar
literary class, numbering one-thirtieth of the people, a class to
whom literary callings are as congenial as is cultivation to the
ryot, or trading to the Chetty. But it is none the less the case, and



1892. Mr. H. B. Griyg. 305



unless it can be corrected it demands the faith of an optimist to
believe strongly in the future of your country, because unless the
leaders of the great branches of public activity are capable of pur-
suing each activity at the expense of selfish or monetary interests,
that activity or department of public life can fulfil but indifferently
its special work. Whosoever would save his life shall lose it, arid
whosoever loseth it shall find it. It is true with prominent
exceptions that generally professions attract candidates in propor-
tion to their lucrativeness, but with all noble minds the stipend
is regarded as a " due and necessary adjunct only and not as
the great object of life." All true men have " a work to be
done irrespective of fee, or even at any cost, or for quite the con-
trary of fee." Such minds, .1 fear, are as yet far more rare here
than in the West. But, gentlemen, it is such minds that are
especially needed now, and I would fain hope that in some of
you there is this mind. Every day the world is recognising
more fully that the education of the rising generation is the
chiefest among duties, that " the child is father of the man,"
that that work is the most difficult problem society has to solve,
and that its solution depends rather on those to whom you
actually entrust the teaching, than upon the literary knowledge
imparted. Your profession is not therefore one that can remain
ill-esteemed. It must, as knowledge advances, be held in greater
honour. With you is the future. Prepare yourselves for it, by
learning, by virtue, by industry, by sympathy, by unselfishness ;
and seek to win for yourselves that place in public esteem, which
is now held amongst the great mass of the people by the Guru.
It must come unless you as teachers are untrue to yourselves
and to your calling. Few things will hasten its coming like the
gaining for yourselves the reputation of men of knowledge, and
of men also who love to impart knowledge, apart from pecuniary
rewards. It was this unselfish spirit that won for your Guru
ancestors so high a place in the people's affection. It will, as
new things become old, be yours also if you work in this spirit.

But, Graduates in all Faculties, you have duties in connec-
tion with education beyond the limits to which your University
is by the nature of things confined. It is to these external

activities that I would invite your attention. The
* e first concerns the education of the great masses of

the people. It has been the fault of most academic
societies and classes that they fail to recognise that their real
honor, their true function, is to be the natural leaders, of an edu-
cated people, i.e., of a society each member of which has in
childhood had his moral and intellectual faculties and his hands
trained to do his life's work, however humble, as efficiently and

39



306 University of Madras.

as intelligently as a reasoning creature can. But your position,
gentlemen, has hitherto been of a different kind. You are in
a way exotics, foreign you have in a measure been taken out
of your people, and made peculiar. Now this is not a healthful
condition of things, and it cannot be permitted to continue. No
country can flourish with an academic class which is out of
sympathy with the people from which it springs. Therefore I
urge you to take your fitting place in the work of levelling down
your knowledge, and of permeating all classes of the community,
from the conservative temple Brahman, to the poor extern
Pareiya, with this new leaven of light. Your duty seems to be
clear, if you accept the doctrine that a people rightly taught is
more industrious more productive and happier than a people
untaught, or wrongly taught ; that the ryot, the artizan, the
cooly, who can read and cipher, will, other things being equal,
be a better ryot, a better artizan, a better cooly than he that
can do neither. It is for you, wherever you are placed, to seek
to establish schools, and to make these schools as efficient as
possible, and to help by your example and by your work to make
the people believe that what is being done for the education of
their children is for their good, that school training sharpens
the intellect, strengthens the reason, and produces better
manners. This part of elementary education they will more
easily apprehend, because from time immemorial certain classes
of the community have in a defective way practised it, and thus
your task is only that of bringing them gradually to see that
the system of teaching and the matter taught are better
than their own. But your task will not be so easy when you
come to deal with the industrial classes, such as the Weavers,
who regard education as their enemy, because they fear it
will draw away their sons from their hereditary calling.
Indeed it will be all the more difficult because the plea is too
true, so far as it goes a temporary evil which can only be over-
come by the very means that cause it. You will have to
show them that, though some may be led away, yet those who
remain will become more effective workers, and by their
increased intelligence and their increased knowledge be able to
make good the loss. Your best plea for the education of
their children must be that the elementary education we impart
to them will not be confined to the three E/s, but will gradually
include a knowledge of the things they should know for the
intelligent and progressive use of their art, the cultivation of the
eye, the dexterity of the hand, that in the school must be laid
the basis of special knowledge, on which the efficiency of the
individual worker can best be cultivated. Gentlecten, the possi-



1892. Mr. H. B. Qrigg. B07

bility of such a system of education may to some of you seem
visionary, but I believe if you will consider the
fact that fche spread of knowledge is beginning to
stir up some of the best spirits in the caste, or
labour organizations of this country, and to make them see,
that if they will not educate their children, if they will not take
in new mechanical ideas, they must inevitably sink lower and
lower, you will not regard the task as hopeless ; but will acknow-
ledge that if these organizations once recognise that general and
special education is necessary for their own protection, they will
adopt such a system, and develop it in a way that will astonish
the world. Take for example Drawing, which is the basis of
industrial education. Five years ago the children throughout
the Presidency learning Drawing could be numbered by tens ;
now they may be numbered by scores, and ere long they will be
numbered by hundreds. And what is more noteworthy is that
a large portion of those who learn belong to the artizan classes.
This movement has now a solid basis in the growing belief that
Drawing, and a knowledge of better forms of articles of com-
merce, such as metal-vessels, have a better sale if they are better
designed and of greater variety. Your task is to fan this smok-
ing flax into a flame, and thus like true lovers of your people to
seek through scientific instruction, however humble, to do for
the ancient industries of India, what scientific scholars are doing
for its literature. And I doubt not with the marvellous manual
dexterity, and patient industry of your workers, who love like
true artists to linger over details which would weary the artizan
of the West, that India may regain her place as the mother of
the finer textile, and of other minor arts. But not only must



Online LibraryK Subba RauConvocation addresses of the universities of Bombay and Madras → online text (page 64 of 66)