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Convocation addresses of the universities of Bombay and Madras online

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University edu- me say a few more general words to the assembly
as to the prospects of academic institutions in
this country. Each year that I have been in India I have been
more and more convinced of the incalculable value of the Uni-
versity that we have established. Prominent among the many
advantages which have flowed from British rule in India, I look
upon Universities as institutions which are day by day conferring
the widest and the greatest possible benefits upon the natives of
this country. It is not merely that the University diffuses among
the population a thirst for knowledge and an intellectual culti-
vation that was before unattainable to them, but it is preparing
and fitting a class of men well fitted to render public service to
their country in every department of the State. I have often
thought that Europeans in this country are very much given to
try everything by the hard and fast rules of a European
standard ; that our system of government, our legislation, our
administration, are not sufficiently imbued with the spirit which
enlists the sympathies of the natives of this country, and which
those who love their country would like to see exhibited ; and I
therefore rejoice to see a class of men growing up who neces-
sarily possess a thorough knowledge of the wants and the wishes of

64 University of Bombay.

the people of their country, and who combine that knowledge with
the refined education and more sober habits of thought which a
European education gives. I believe that it is in this, in train-
ing a class of men who will in future times, perhaps in no distant
future, largely administer the affairs of their country in the
various departments, that a pervading and beneficial influence
is being established by the University, which even already is
beginning to be felt. But there is another benefit which I think
will be specially felt in this country from the establishment of
University education. It is very difficult to explain to you,
gentlemen, here, the influence of University education on Euro-
pean society I speak now of its social, not intellectual influence.
The fact that a man has belonged to the same University appears
to establish a relation between individuals which is at once recog-
nised. Thus, when a man takes a high position in literature,
science, art, or politics, there are hundreds who eagerly say "I
was with him at Oxford, or at the same College with him at
Cambridge." In this country, where you have so many religions
and so many social distinctions which separate you so widely one
from the other, every incident is of infinite value that may tend
to lessen or obliterate them. Everything that tends to bring you
together is to be encouraged and cherished; and I do not doubt,
as years roll on, and social and historic recollections begin to
cluster round our young University, a like feeling of academic
brotherhood will arise among you; you will cherish the feeling that
you belong to the same Alma Mater, and that feeling will establish
among the alumni of this University the same sympathy, cordi-
ality, and good- will which is ever found among the sons of the
ancient Universities of England. I must now bring my observa-
tions to a close, but there remains to me one duty a painful duty,
but yet a grateful one, upon this my last appearance amongst you
as your Chancellor, to bid you farewell. I cannot look forward,
as long as my pulses beat, to lead a life of indolence or ease,
such a life would be incompatible with my habits and my tastes.
I trust I may, if I am spared, yet devote some years to the active
duties of a public life. It may be, although I may not be clothed ]
with official responsibility, in my power to render some service
to the country in the affairs of which I have administered for
the last five years, and show the interest, the lively interest, I
shall ever take in the welfare, both moral and social, of its people.
I have already said that I believe one of the great benefits of
this University is that it is daily training up men who will here-
after be able to devote themselves in the various walks of life to
the advancement of their country. There may be some who listen
to me to-day who may be able hereafter to realise this aspiration,

1873. Sir P. E. Wodehouse. 65

and I would have them remember me as one who, though severed
from them by sea and by clime, will be ever ready to assist their
efforts to advance the interests of their country, and I would
assure them that they may ever rely upon my most cordial co-
operation. And now, Mr. Vice Chancellor, Gentlemen of the
Senate, and Members of the University, it remains for me only to
conclude with the wish Floreat Academia ; and with these part-
ing words I wish you all farewell.



Mr. Vice-Chancellor and Gentlemen of the Senate, It
affords me much pleasure, on this the first occasion of my having
the honour to take part in the proceedings of this University, to
think that in the report we have just heard read, there is much
that must be satisfactory as regards the past, and as regards
the future very encouraging to those by whom I am surrounded
to persevere in the efforts they ha ye long been making to spread
the benefits of education among the people of this Presidency.

And first I will notice, though indeed it stands last
donatiou Uer US * n ^ ne re P or ^ the very generous donation which

in the course of last year the University received
from His Highness the Rao of Kutch. I do not forget that the
thanks of the University were duly tendered with their accept-
ance of the gift, but standing here as I do on the occasion, and
being as it were for the time the mouthpiece of the Government,
and in this case, of those whom I have the honour to address,
it would ill become me to pass over in silence this generous
donation. It is not alone for the money that the gift is so valu-
able. It is still more acceptable as the indication of the interest
taken by the Eao in the efforts which HerMajesty's Government
is making to extend education, as the pledge that he is anxious
to assist his own subjects in obtaining education, and finally as
a proof that he will be ready to give protection and encourage-
ment to those who after the satisfactory completion of their
studies may return to his territories. Our best thanks are there-
fore due to His Highness, and we may trust that his example
may well find willing followers. Turning to the statement given
in this report cf the result of the Matriculation Examination, it
is very gratifying to observe the greatly increased proportion
which the successful candidates bear to the whole- number
examined, when contrasted with the results of former years. It

66 University of Bombay.

may be assumed as good evidence of the increased assiduity
of the teachers, and of their desire to save their pupils from
the expense and mortification of an unsuccessful competition,
by imparting to them a sound and good elementary education.
It is satisfactory also to notice the gradual but decided increase
in the number of schools whence students are sent for Matricu-
lation, an increase tending to show that the means of obtaining
good education are not confined to the few great towns, but
are being gradually extended to the remote parts of the Presi-
dency. Indeed candidates have been admitted from beyond
those limits, from Akola in Berar and from Indore, and we
may hope that in future years our institutions may extend their
usefulness to an increasing number of the educated classes of
Central India and of Nagpur and Berar. The report also
mentions another fact, from which I hope we shall be justified in
drawing a favourable augury. It shows that a very fair number
of the successful candidates was educated by means of private
tuition. It may be hoped that this is in some degree to be
accepted as a sign that the wealthier classes, those who can afford
to provide their children with private tuition, are becoming more
alive to the value of education, and are disposed to meet the cost
of it. It has been represented to me that hitherto

wealthy 6 tO the ^ e ma ^ n bulk * *h se w ^ see k education in our
schools and Colleges are young men of very limited
circumstances and that the wealthy and independent sections of
society have regarded the improvement of their minds with indif-
ference. This is much to be regretted and cannot fail to be most
discouraging to those whose best efforts are exerted for promoting
the spread of learning. They must feel that the success of their
endeavours is very limited, as long as the affluent and independent
classes choose to remain wholly indifferent to the attractions:^
literature. It must make them fear that literature and education
are not sought for their own selves. But for myself I would go
further, and warn such classes that their indifference is not only
illiberal but suicidal. One hears much of the immutability of
things in India, and no doubt the impediments to serious changes
are very great ; but I cannot bring myself to believe that they are
insuperable, I cannot think that rail-roads, telegraphs and this
very education which we are striving to promote, will altogether
fail to effect changes. The wealthy and independent may out of
apathy neglect the opportunities offered to them, but other
resolute and energetic spirits will eagerly snatch at them, nay, will
make them the means of their own advancement. It is but a few
weeks since the Govern or- General stated his conviction that the
British Government fully desired to maintain the position and

1873. Sir P. E. Wodehouse. 67

independence of the native princes. I think there may with
equal truth be enunciated a similar desire on our part to see the
wealthy and influential members of native society preserving
their ascendancy and independence. But it must be done by them-
selves, the Government cannot do it for them. If they persist
in permitting their inferiors to pass them on the career of
learning, they will have but themselves to blame,, and when
too late they will have cause to regret their apathy and indiffer-
ence. With the advantages with which their historical posi-
tion and social connexions surround them, it becomes them to
take the lead in self-advancement and education and fit them-
selves for dealing with difficulties which the advance of education
amongst the masses will bring with it. There is one feature in
the report which strikes me as being very singular, and that is
the apparent unpopularity of the study of law. I had always
thought that in this country a recourse to law was the most popu-
lar of remedies, but certainly the study of it seems to occupy the
attention of very few students, for only one Degree has been con-
ferred in that Faculty. It is to be regretted very much that such
should be the case. I have heard it stated that a year or two ago
the examination for law was made somewhat hard, but even if it
should be the case, I cannot accept it as a reason for the abandon-
ment of the study. The case of the medical profession is very
different ; the students are much more numerous and they have
obtained a singular degree of success. Out of the comparatively
limited number of those who came up for examination, a very large
proportion have obtained their degrees. With regard to Civil
Engineering I think the Government is at present placed in a
somewhat singular position. It seems to be thought the business
of Government to provide employment for those who acquire the
theory in our schools. There are certain circumstances connected
with the Civil Engineering College at Poona which, without any
disrespect to such institutions, give it something of the nature
of a school of industry ; and the industry there inculcated is one
which in the present state of demand can only find an outlet for
its application in the Government Department of Public Works
works carried on more or less under the control of Govern-
ment. I believe there is a feeling among the heads of the College
and those interested in it, that there is not sufficient encourage-
ment given by those who represent the Government in the
Department of Public Works to those who distinguish themselves
at the Civil Engineering College. But, on the other hand, I for
one, cannot wonder that there should be some objections on the
part of our Public Works officers to entrust to theoretic students
who have no practical experience important works throughout

68 University of Bombay.

the country. They will not naturally risk their own reputation
upon the efforts of those who, however cleverly taught at the
College, cannot possibly have any real practical acquaintance
with the works to be constructed. I hope it may be found practi-
cable to follow up this theoretical training by a practical instruc-
tion in the lower grades of the Department, after which there
might be an examination as to what they can really do. I hope
the Government will see its way to adopting something of this
kind ; for without it there will be a great deal of dissatisfaction
Employment an( ^ discouragement given. On this occasion, if
of Indians and you will permit me, I will in a few words explain
Englishmen. mv v j ews ^ m y personal views, as to the position
that I consider the Government to hold in respect to educa-
tion in this country, and more particularly as to the position
in which the Government stand towards those who take ad-
vantage of that education. It is a matter of great importance
and one which it is very desirable we should clearly under-
stand before matters proceed further. It appears to me that
some of those who take advantage of the education afforded them
by Government entertain the belief that they rather confer a
favour upon us by availing themselves of the instruction offered
to them, and that we are bound at once without farther question
to take care of them and provide them with maintenance when
they have finished their education. It must be clear that, if edu-
cation spreads, as we all hope it will, and if the number of schools
increases every year, it is impossible for us to offer employment
to all who look forward to it. But there is another point. At
present, and for some years past, it has pleased Providence to
entrust the affairs of India to the British nation. The area of
our territory in this country, and the extent of our responsibility
have been gradually increasing, whether we desired it or not.
We are bound to keep in view that we are the Government of
the British nation, and that we are placed here to regulate, con-
trol, preserve harmony, and, as far as we possibly can, promote
the happiness of all the many races and classes who inhabit this
country. In time we, like all that has preceded us, must pass
away. But so long as we remain, and so long as the Government
continues in our hands, it must ever be a British Government,
conducted on British principles. Our acts must be such as are
considered sound, and wise, and honest in England. It follows
therefore that while we ought to avail ourselves freely of the
services of able and distinguished natives of India, we cannot
cease to introduce and promote to high office a certain proportion
of our countrymen from England adequate to sustain the national
spirit of our Government.

1873. 9ir P. E. Wodehouse.

In the matter of salaries also it is very essential that at the
outset we should guard against misapprehension
Why English- and disappointment. To me it appears to be most
l?igLi H1 Ilarics! improbable, that if the admission to the higher
posts of native gentlemen should become general
the present scale of salaries could be maintained ; nor would
it be reasonable. We are here no doubt about it we are here
now, and to my mind we ever shall be. as foreigners. The
climate and other circumstances make it impossible for us,
English, at any time to become what is commonly called natural-
ized in this country. We cannot have therefore in India most
of those enjoyments and advantages which exists in our own
country, and which the Natives of this country in Government
employ can rely upon. We cannot have our children educated
here, we cannot maintain the same style of living as we are
accustomed to at the cost which we can in your own country,
In the ordinary domestic life of an English public servant,
separation from children is commonly the first incidence of im-
portance. Sickness probably follows. Sickness which at home
serves to draw closer all family ties, becomes here in most cases
the signal for separation ; in not a few the separation is final.
The ordinary termination to the official career in India is to
return to England with moderate means to commence life anew.
For all these drawbacks the only remedy has hitherto been
money a poor one no doubt, but a better probably will not be
found, and so it has happened that the salaries of the princi-
pal public servants have been fixed at the present rates. In
what way then do these considerations apply to the natives of
India serving in their own country ? I cannot see that they
have any application whatever. Their case should be compared
to that of our own countrymen similarly employed at home. We
shall do no injustice if we apply the same principles to both. It
may be that the position of the permanent servants of the Crown
at home is imperfectly known here. The mass of public servants
on entering the service of the Crown in England receive a
salary commencing with 100 per annum or less than Us. 100
per mensem. They work on for forty years, rising to the
highest stations in their respective departments. They are
entrusted with business affecting the whole world most con-
fidential and intricate and at the end of the forty years they
arrive at a salary of 1,000. That is a fair description of the
position of public servants of the best ability and education in
England. Therefore, it is naturally quite unreasonable to sup-
pose that the British Government here would be justified in im-
posing upon the people of the country for the payment of their

70 University of Bombay.

own fellow-countrymen higher salaries than we charge our own
people at home for the maintenance of those who serve them. I
hope, Mr. Yice- Chancellor, that those who can hear me among
the Native gentlemen present will fully see that it is their
duty and their interest to take advantage of the education
offered at this University. And so far as Government is able to
make use of their services, it will not fail to do so. But no
exaggerated notion of the salaries to which they may be entitled
should be drawn from comparison of the payments made to
Englishmen who are serving the Crown in a foreign country.
I trust that those educated here may not be content with the
instruction afforded to themselves, but will endeavour to spread
it amongst all the people of this land. By so doing they will
hasten the advent of the return of self-rule, if that is to be desired.
I would add one word 'more. I have shown that no exaggerated
notions of the salary to which Native students are entitled in the
Government service ought to be entertained ; but there is a further
mistaken notion which I believe is not uncommon amongst those
to whom we have offered the advantages of education to which
I wish to advert. Many of you, gentlemen, are inclined to think
that the close of your College career closes at once the necessity
for further effort on your part for further instruction. This is
not so. The education given you here is but the basis on which
you should build your own self-improvement. We
li Menmentthe canno fc carry on the status pupillaris for ever. It
precursor of na- rests with you to complete the work begun here,
tional Govern- an( j j vou j oo k f orwar d to the day when the Gov-

ment. J ., . . . i n

eminent ot this country is to be in your hands, it

is not only necessary that the governing classes should be educated
and enlightened, but that the governed should be as a nation so
improved as to co-operate with you in accepting honestly and
intelligently the principles of administration upon which the
fabric of society and Government is built. When that day of
general enlightenment shall come, and not till then, we shall be
ready to wish you adieu and leave these shores with the con-
sciousness that our work is done.



Gentlemen of the Senate, I can assure you it affords me

University sincere pleasure to be able to preside this day on

buildings lib- the occasion of the dedication of this noble Hall to

Cowasjee f Je- purposes to which I hope it may be dedicated for

hangier. many generations to come, forming as it does but

1874. Sir P. E. Wodehouse. 71

a portion of the many magnificent buildings, in connection
with the education of the people of this country which are
now in the course of erection in this vicinity. It has been
the fortune of Bombay, whenever it felt in want of institutions
adapted to the advancing civilization of the age, to find among
its own citizens those who were both ready and proud to devote
to the supply of these wants large contributions from the wealth
which their energy and ability and experience have enabled
them to accumulate. In connection with the present building
I may make a few remarks. As soon as it was found that the
University of Bombay could be called into existence, and that a
suitable building should be provided for it, a gentleman, dis-
tinguished by his great generous liberality, Sir Cowasjee Jehan-
gier, at once came forward and tendered to the Government of
the day the sum of 10,000 on the condition that they should
supply what further sums might be needed for completing the
buildings, and also that no other private subscriptions should be
admitted in aid of the undertaking. Government unreservedly
accepted the terms, and the result is before you this day. The
first step addressed to the accomplishment of the design was
to obtain from Sir Gilbert Scott, the eminent architect, proper
designs and plans for the building in 1864 ; but, from various
difficulties which arose in respect of the total sum wanted, and
other arrangements, it appears that no real progress was made
with the undertaking until near the close of the year 1868, the
then Governor, Sir Seymour Fitzgerald, in the presence of the
late lamented Viceroy of India, Lord Mayo, laid the foundation-
stone of the University Hall of Bombay. From that time to
the present, as the work has gone on, the whole charge of its
construction and superintendence has been in the hands of
officers of our own Presidency. The working drawings were
contributed by Mr. Molecy, of the Architectural Engineer's De-
partment of PublicWorks ; the detailed superintendence through-
out has been in the hands of Mr. Makund Ramchandra, Assist-
ant Engineer in the Public Works Department, who as many
here can testify, devoted himself with the greatest assiduity to
the completion of the building. The general charge of the whole
has been of course in the hands of Colonel Fuller, the Architectu-
ral Engineer to the Government of Bombay. Of the good work
which he has been able to render in that capacity it is hardly
necessary for me now to speak. All these gentlemen whom I have
mentioned must feel proud and delighted at the conclusion of
their labours in connection with this building, and they have, I
consider, the strongest possible claim upon your gratitude and
your thanks. Before closing my remarks upon this part of the

72 University of Bombay.

subject, I hope that the Senate and those connected with the
University will feel disposed to join me in proposing that this
building henceforth be called the Cowasjee Jehangier Hall of
the University of Bombay. Other buildings will spring up
around it, no doubt, but the Hall will stand alone ; and having
regard to that gentleman's well-directed beneficence I think my
request is a fair and moderate one. The other buildings on the
front of Bombay are now advancing to completion, and when
that time comes there will be few cities in the world able to
present an equally magnificent spectacle. There is, however,
one building not yefc begun, although the Government is pledged
to the building of it. I think we ought to feel great regret
because of the absence of this building perhaps even feel we
have acted rather unworthily by not carrying out our pledges in
regard to it. Gentlemen, I allude to the School of Arts. Very
many years ago indeed, before the Queen's Government was

Online LibraryK Subba RauConvocation addresses of the universities of Bombay and Madras → online text (page 8 of 66)