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Convocation addresses of the universities of Bombay and Madras online

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literature and science of the "West and East, without those
eliminations in deference to prejudice and fear of change which
were too often formerly made, especially in the Government semi-
naries. The consequences are the extension of the
Hi iS^Educsf knowledge of what is of most importance, a com-
tion. 6r parison of the different courses of thought and

discussion and historical representation, the gene-
ration of a more catholic and tolerant spirit, the extension and
improvement of the native press and native authorship; the
advancement of popular education, embracing that of females,
so long neglected, the awakening of salutary inquiry about the
duty, the deliverance and the destiny of man, and the commence-
ment and progress of important reforms in the Indian commu-
nity, having respect both to the present life and that which is to
come. With reference to these matters, I was struck with a
remark made to mea few years ago by a most acute and observ-
ant native gentleman,, one of the first Fellows of our University,
the late Mr. Jagannath Shankarshet. " We must be prepared,"
he said, " to take the natural consequences of education as well
as the gift itself." What is here witnessed is perhaps more
conspicuously revealed in another of the sister presidencies, I
mean that of Bengal. I do not specially allude to any new religi-
ous organizations which have been there formed, on which I do
not wish to make any observations in this place, either approba-
tory or condemnatory. Let us remember that India is an empire
with various tribes and tongues of mutual peculiarities and even
uncongenialities, and not a single homogeneous and consoli-
dated nation. It has several distinct and marked centres of diffu-
sive illumination and civilization. Among these Calcutta, the
capital of the North-West Provinces, Lahore, Bombay, and
Madras are the chief. Let Calcutta and its acute, ingenious, and
in intellectual life not inactive Babus (I have no sympathy with
the exaggerated and distorted caricature of them made by the
great Macaulay) act vigorously on Bengal, Behar, Tirahut and
Orissa and the interesting and but recently appreciated sub-
Himalayan provinces lying to its north and north-east. Let
Allahabad, aided by Delhi and Oude, act effectively on the great

1871. Mr. Justice OMs. 55

river valleys, which were once the seats of ancient Indian power
and empire. Let Lahore, with its sturdy and determined races,
deal with the whole country and its environs, of the Pancha-
nada, now the Panjab, so often referred to in the most ancient
Indian song. Let Bombay, with the irrepressible power of its
people, occupy itself with the fair provinces of the Maharashtra,
in the fullest sense of the word, whether under European or
Native government, the fertile lands of Gujarat, the less produc-
tive Sindh, the country of the lower Indus ; and let Madras have
the whole of the Dravidian provinces to the south, so separated
by language from the Northern provinces, and in which it has
already accomplished no small measure of good. Let us every-
where provoke one another to zeal and good works. Let us be

friends of India to its farthest extent, asking the
tons Uty f Bn " Blessing of God on all our endeavours as an empire,

as a people, and as supporters of educational, phi-
lanthropic, and divine enterprize, to promote its well-being.
Let us who are Britons, particularly remember the providential
obligations imposed upon us by our wonderful, and, to a great
extent, unsought acquisition of power in this great and
wondrous land. Let the diffusion and maintenance of light, life
and love be onr endeavour, and continuous and bliss-giving

Be these thy trophies, QUEEN OF MANY ISLES,

On these high heaven shall shed indulgent smiles.

First by thy guardian voice to India led,

Shall truth divine her tearless victories spread j

Wide and more wide, the heaven-born light shall stream.

New realms from thee shall catch the blissful theme.



Gentlemen of the Senate, It is, I am sure, a subject of
sincere regret that the pressure of important business in the
Northern part of this Presidency has detained His Excellency
the Chancellor, and prevented him from presiding over the
present Convocation. It is an absence we the more regret, as
the interest he takes in the education of the people over whom
he rules has been manifested on so many occasions, while his
thoughtful care for this University is shown in the foundation
of that which it is hoped will be its highest prize, the
Chancellor's Medal a distinction which was offered for the

56 University of Bombay.

first time at the examinations just over, but which I regret the
Examiners did not feel themselves justified in awarding.

The present is the Tenth Convocation for conferring degrees,
and I think I may be allowed, therefore, in a brief
f manner to review the past, and consider some of
its results as guides to us for the future. In 1862
the first degrees were conferred; they consisted of four B,A's
and four L.M's. These were the first eight names on the
roll of graduates. Since then the numbers have increased
yearly. Our first M.A's were conferred in 1865 ; our first LL.B's
in 1866 and L.C.E's in 1869. Our rolls show after the degrees
conferred to-day, M.A., 28; B.A., 116; LL.B., 29; L.M., 25 ;
L.C.E., 6; while 1,227 students in all have matriculated. In
reviewing the returns for the past twelve years it appears that
4,567 students have presented themselves for the Matriculation
Examination, of whom 1,227 only have been successful. This
small proportion of passed candidates has often been the subject
of comment, and blame has been sought to be attached to the
Examiners for want of system or for over-strictness. Last year
out of 839 candidates, 142 passed, and in the present year out
of 877, 142 only were sucessful. Now the main cause of the
failure of the 735 in the last examination was their being
unable to qualify in English. I believe those who failed in
other subjects, and yet qualified in English, were very few
indeed. You will, gentlemen of the Senate, I feel sure, agree
with me that Examiners more competent, more conscientious,
more anxious to do their duty, both by the students as well
as the University, could not have been chosen, than those
who examined this year ; and yet, without tightening the
bands of the standard too closely, but after giving every
chance to the candidates, the result as to numbers appears even
worse than in the previous year, and has, I am aware, again
formed the subject of comment. But the almost constant pro-
portion of passed to unpassed which each year's returns from
1859 show, to my mind, point but to one cause not the over-
strictness of the Examiners or a too high standard, but the
simple fact that the students come up before they are properly
prepared. They have not profited by the advice of Sir Bartle
Frere, when Chancellor, not " to attempt to grasp their
academical honours by hurrying through their studies for the
examination." This subject has led me to inquire into the
results of the Matriculation at the other Indian Universities,
and I find from the last " Statistical abstract relating to British
India/ 7 laid before Parliament and made up to March 1869, that

1871. Mr. Justice Qibla. 57

in Calcutta the percentage of passed men, calculated for the first
ten years, is one-half or 50 per cent. In Madras it is greater
than in Calcutta, being about 60 per cent., while in Bombay for
the same period it is only rather over one-third, or say 34 per
cent. These statistics have also enabled me to draw your attention
to another very interesting circumstance ; that is, a comparison
of the numbers who in the first ten years presented themselves
for Matriculation, compared with the male population included
in the territorial ranges of the Universities. The figures from
the same return show the following results :

Males. Candidates for Matriculation.
Calcutta, including Bengal,

British Bormah.
Madras... ... ... 15,000,000 2,993 or 1 in 5,000

Bombay, including Sind ... 7,000,000 2,679 or 1 in 2,600

Now, bearing in mind that under the sister Universities the
Matriculation Examination is conducted at 33 places by Cal-
cutta, and at 18 by Madras, while we conduct it solely in Bom-
bay, to which place candidates come from Sind and Gujarath in
the North, the Berars on the N. E., and the confines of Madras
on the South, we may, I think, congratulate ourselves on the
greater desire for a University education which the Natives
under our own Presidency evince than those residing in either of
the others.

The following is a comparative statement of the degrees
conferred by the three Universities, including the Convocations
of 1870 :

Calcutta. Madras. Bombay.

M.A. 23 23







580 164 78

294 62 16

5 6

35 ... 4

4 1

15 2

L.M. _ ... 126 1 22

1,082 236 143

Here Bombay shows as to numbers at a disadvantage, but it
must be borne in mind that we have, from the first, fixed and
demanded a higher standard for most of our degrees than have
Calcutta or Madras in fact, they have within the last few years
been raising their standard and are still considering the subject,
so that any comparison drawn from the proportion of graduates
to under-graduatos would only be liable to mislead. The results

58 University of Bombay.

of these few comparisons I have drawn between the three Uni-
versities will, I think, satisfy you, gentlemen of the Senate, that
Bombay has not failed in her duty, that although the number of
her graduates is small, yet that having from the first fixed high
standards for her examinations, she has ensured that those who
hold her degrees have merited their honours by the soundness
and extent of their learning. On the report just read by the
Registrar, I have but few observations to make. The most
notable fact is that to-day the first European British-born
subject has been enrolled among the graduates of the University,
the son of one who long laboured in the cause of education in
Bombay, who was a Fellow of this University, and a frequent
Examiner of its students, and whose sudden removal from the
scene of his labours was a matter of deep regret.

I next notice the submission for competition of two new prizes
p . besides the Chancellor's Medal, viz,., the James

Berkley Gold Medal, unfortunately not awarded,
and the Ellis Scholarship for the best proficient in English in
the B.A. Examination, which has been won by a Muhammadan
gentleman of the Khojah sect one of two brothers who, having
broken through the strong sectarian prejudices of their race,
have competed in the ranks of the educated youth of the Presi-
dency, and have both succeeded in their object. Some important
changes have been made in the regulations. The Senate,
approving of the measures proposed by the Syndicate, have done
away with special examinations for the various scholarships and
prizes and have attached them to the general examination a
course which, without lowering the standard required for their
acquisition, is from convenience and economy much to be desired;
all graduates in law have also been now permitted to compete
for honours, and thus a greater impetus has been given for the
study of the higher branches of legal science. These, gentlemen,
seem to me to be the only observations the report calls for.
Since I have come to this Convocation a letter has been placed
in my hands with a request that I should notice it to you at this
assembly. I have great pleasure in doing so, though it is an
irregularity, as for such a course I have two precedents. I will,
with your permission, state the purport of this letter, which is that a
sum of Rs. 6,000 in 5 per cent, notes is tendered to the Univer-
' sity for acceptance, the interest, Rs. 800 a year, to be devoted
to a scholarship of Rs. 25 a month to be called the " Arnould
Scholarship," in memory of Sir Joseph Arnonld, who so long
and ably presided as one of the Judges of the late Supreme and
present High Court, the said scholarship to be held by the

1871. Mr. Justice GMs. 59

graduate who successfully passes the LL.B. Examination with
the highest number of marks for a paper on Hindu and
Muhammadan law. This is another instance of the yearly
increase of the endowments of this University.

And now, gentlemen, let us in conclusion see what answer the
What the Uni- experience of the past ten years enables us to make
versity has to the questions suggested by your late Chancellor
in his first address. Has the University answered
the great end for which it was founded, viz., " the encouragement
of Her Majesty's subjects of all classes and denominations
within this Presidency in the pursuit of a regular and liberal
course of education " ? have those who have won its laurels
proved themselves true children of their Alma Mater ? has the
University established its reputation by providing men fit to be
teachers of its students ? has it proved, as Sir Bartle Frere
hoped it would prove, that Oriental intellect is not worn out;
that while it possesses great capacity to receive and retain
knowledge, it also has the power to analyse and combine, that it
can now produce the same results of a high order of intellect as
those of which the ancient literature of the country gives such
abundant evidence ? above all, has it produced men who, while
rising high in the ranks of scholastic ability and scientific
learning, have shown themselves valuable citizens of the world ?
I trust the results of our past experience enable us to answer
much of this in the affirmative. Already have three of the pro-
fessorial chairs been filled from its graduates, besides many of
those important posts, the headships of the High Schools;
papers on abstruse questions have been produced ; the ranks
of the Bar and the Medical Services of the State have been re-
cruited from its alumni. These are indeed subjects for sincere con-
gratulations. But doubts have been breathed as to
whether the University will turn out as valuable
citizens of the world as did Professors Bell
and Henderson, Harkness and Green, in the days of the old
Elphinstone institution ; it has been hinted that our best men
will prove to be but pedants; that, however full of classical
and mathematical learning they may be, they are not so well
fitted for mixing with the world, for taking their part in the
government of the country, or for forming for their country a
healthy and just public opinion, as were those who preceded
them in their educational career. I mention these doubts as
existing, and therefore as being worthy of a careful investiga-
tion by teachers, by graduates, and by students. At home most
of our be&t meu in all tlte profession*, in Parliament and in the

60 University of Bombay.

State, are drawn from our Universities; and while we have
had our pedants, men from whose vast yet silent labours those
training in the great schools at home have derived most im-
portant help, yet the leading men in England as a rule have
been trained for their future distinguished careers by the Uni-
versities. Let it be so with us ; let it not be said that the
University here is unable to produce public men as well as its
sisters in Great Britain and Ireland. It lias succeeded in
raising the moral tone of our youth, as all who have been
engaged in carrying on the government of this Presidency will
heartily acknowledge. Let us add to this ; let us endeavour
more prominently to induce in our students habits of active
thought and independence of opinion, which, if combined with
personal modesty, will lead to success in the world success not
only for the individual, but success for the country at large.


(By H. E. SIR W. E, FITZGERALD, M.A., D.C.L., G.C.S.L)

Mr. Vice- Chancellor and Gentlemen of the Senate, I am
little fit, from somewhat severe indisposition, which oppresses
me even as I speak, to address you on the present occasion, and
I fear therefore that the difficulty which is always felt in this
room of making the voice heard will prevent my words from
being audible, even to those who are nearest to me, upon an
occasion when I should wish what I say to reach the more distant
parts of the chamber where the younger members of this assembly
are seated. But upon this the last occasion that I shall have an
opportunity of presiding over your Convocation, I have thought
that I should be wanting in respect to you, and in duty to the
University, if I devolved this duty upon my friend near me, the
Vice-Chancellor, and I gladly avail myself of my privilege to
address you in order that I may, before I say farewell, make my
acknowledgments to the authorities of the University, who have
made, during the whole time I have been here, my office as
Chancellor practically a sinecure, so that I have been called upon
only to preside over your annual meetings and express my sym-
pathy with your labours. Mr. Vice-Chancellor, I desire to tender
my warmest thanks for the assistance you have upon every
occasion rendered to me, and for the zeal, ability, and judgment
with which you have fulfilled the duties of your high office. To
the distinguished scholar who held the same post which you,
Sir, now fill, at the time when I arrived in this country, and who
has since been appointed to preside permanently over one of the

1872. Sir W. E. Fitzgerald. 61

most distinguished of the academical institutions of his native
country, I was much indebted for the constant and sedulous
attention he paid to the interests of the University. To your
predecessor, whom I also see present, I would tender my hearty
acknowledgments, and I am sure I speak only the sentiments of
everybody around me when I say that we are all glad to see
Dr. Wilson once more among us, invigorated, and as young as ever,
and as desirous to fulfil the same loving labours which have
marked his course hitherto in the promotion of the welfare, moral
and social, of the population of India. But, Sir, before I make the
more general observations which are dictated by the recollection
that this is the last occasion on which I shall address you, there
are some particular remarks suggested by a perusal of the records
of examinations in the past years which I wish to address to the
younger members of this University. From the reports which I
have perused to-day, it appears that in some respects the position
of this University is satisfactory and improving.

As regards the Matriculation Examination it is satisfactory
to find that there are less failures this year than in the one that
has immediately preceded it. There are forty-one less candi-
dates than there were last year, but ninety-five more candidates
have passed, showing that young men who have come up to
begin their studies at the University have come up better pre-
pared ; and it is a source of unmixed gratification to me, as I
am sure it must be to every one who has the interests of the
University at heart, that this result has been obtained, not by
any lowering of our standard or requiring less information or
less acquirements on the part of the candidates, but from the
fact that the institutions throughout the country in which the
preliminary education of our students is obtained, are success-
fully fulfilling the objects for which they were founded. I wish,
Sir, I could say that every other fact which has been disclosed
to me by a perusal of the records of past years was equally a
subject of gratification, but there is one point upon which I
desire to say a few words of warning and counsel to those who
come to this University to receive these academical honours.

I find too much reason to believe that most of the young

men who come up to this University are content

witii n fir s n t sue- wit k their first successes, and consider that in

cess a spirit taking their first degree they have done all that

tetha^ul.^ is necessary. I find that out of 116 candidates

who have passed here and obtained the degree

of Bachelor of Arts, only twenty-four, or about one-fifth,

have taken the degree of Master of Arts. Of these twenty-

62 University of Bombay.

four Masters of Arts only six obtained honours in the first
class, and of twenty-five who have obtained the degree of Bache-
lor of Laws there have only been five who have obtained first
class honours. Similarly, of ten Licentiates of Medicine only five
have obtained the first class, while of those who have obtained
the degree of Licentiate of the College of Civil Engineers, not
one has obtained first class honours. Now, what has been the
result of this ? Why, that the Forbes Medal, founded in 1868
in connection with the degree of Bachelor of Laws, has never
in the course of four years been awarded to a single student,
and the gold medal, which it was a pleasure to me to offer
to the University, and which the University did me the honour
of accepting, in connection with the degree of Master of Arts,
that again for the second year has not been awarded. Now I
argue from this, and I think it may be fairly inferred, that those
who come to this University are content to look to the first
honour they obtain as the only object for which they come to the
University. They look upon the honour as a sort of certificate
which will enable them to obtain preferment and emolument, and
do not seek to obtain University honours for the sake of learn-
ing and intellectual culture. Now I think that this is a source
of very serious regret to everybody who has the interests of
this University at heart. A very illustrious citizen of the city
of London, in days long gone by, Sir Thomas G-resham, erected
a fountain near the residence of the chief magistrate, with a
stone shelf upon which the weary porters could lay their loads
while resting, and upon this stone was inscribed the legend
" Rest and be thankful." Now it appears to me that the junior
members of the University treat the learning they acquire pretty
much as the overloaded porter treats his load. They are content
to be relieved at the earliest moment from their labours and
be at ease, and think the sooner this is obtained the better; and
then, like the weary labourer, their motto is "Rest and be
Strive after thankful." Now I would impress upon my young
knowledge for friends not to look on the honours they may gain
in what I may call a sordid light ; not to regard
the honours of the University merely as an introduction or a
certificate of character or competency, and desirable only from
what may be termed their commercial value ; to do this is to
introduce into the Temple of Learning the spirit of the market
and the exchange. I would have them consider that the honours
which they here obtain are but the first step on the ladder of
learning. Their first course here is really their probation, a
training that will fit them for greater efforts and for higher,
culture, which, if steadily and earnestly continued, will develop

1872. Sir W. R. Fitzgerald. 63

in their minds the taste for all that is refined, the love of what
is wise and good, and place them in communion with the
lofty spirits who, in every language of the world, have em-
balmed their thoughts in the precious literature which has
come down to us. I would have them not consider the benefits
which the University confers as limited to that scroll of parch-
ment which I have handed to them to-day, to be valued as a
certificate of a certain proficiency in various kinds of knowledge,
but as an earnest of future progress and renewed labour, re-
membering, above all, the latter words that I addressed to them
when conferring their degrees upon them " that ever hereafter,
in their lives and conversation, they would prove themselves
worthy of the distinction which the University had conferred
upon them." Now, don't let me be misunderstood. I do not
wish them to think that I undervalue these distinctions for their
own sake. They have a certain practical value in the eyes of
the world as rendering them eligible for employment and profita-
ble occupations in life, and the struggle of life is so keen that
every advantage which can aid them in their future is rightly to
be prized. I would only have them not to prize their learning
only for what it can bring let them strive after knowledge for
its own sake. In this, as in every other pursuit and aim, their
cry should be " Higher, and higher yet ! " and if they persevere,
Benefits of great indeed will be their reward. And now let

Online LibraryK Subba RauConvocation addresses of the universities of Bombay and Madras → online text (page 7 of 66)