K Subba Rau.

Convocation addresses of the universities of Bombay and Madras online

. (page 9 of 66)
Online LibraryK Subba RauConvocation addresses of the universities of Bombay and Madras → online text (page 9 of 66)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

established here a gentleman well known to this community,
Sir Jamsetjee Jejeebhoy, undertook to endow a School of Arts
in Bombay in a fit and proper manner, on the condition that
Government should provide a suitable building. The endow-
ment has been drawn from many years, yet the Government has
done nothing respecting its part of the bargain. I hope,
gentlemen, that this reproach will not long attach fairly to us ;
but that in the course of a short time the School of Arts will
take its place among the other educational buildings of the City
of Bombay. When that time arrives I think the City of
Bombay may fairly pause in its career of architectural adornment ;
its inhabitants may well consider that sufficient has been done
for many years to come more, at all events, than many of the
present company will live to see. It has been my fortune to
see many of the largest cities in India, but I think that though
others may boast of greater antiquity, and have more interest-
ing objects to show in them, yet I consider that there is no city
in India which can take precedence of Bombay in respect of
public buildings of superior architecture. I am aware, gentle-
men, that it is customary on these occasions for the Chancellor
of the University to review, as it were, the educational operations
of the past year. But it seems to me but the other day when
I had a similar opportunity of addressing the Convocation of
this University, and of expressing my views upon some of the
more prominent points connected with education in India. I
feel, therefore, that I should be unnecessarily intruding upon
your patience if I were again to enter into details of opinions
upon^these points. You have just heard the report which Mr.
Taylor has read, and as you can all draw your own inferences

1874. Sir P. E. Wodehouse. 73

from what has taken place, I may be spared from making any
commenlLupon it.

I trust, however, that I may be permitted to depart a little
or perhaps to a great extent from the ordinary
Loeal Disturb- traditions of these Convocations, and to address
myself to what I believe is at present the promi-
nent and absorbing topic of interest in this community. I
allude to the disturbed state of the city of Bombay. I am
anxious that it should be known that Government is in no
way indifferent to the character of the city, is in no way
indifferent to the sufferings and losses of life and property
which some of the community have sustained. But I confess
that I needed some experience of the, actual course of these
events in order to arrive at a clear understanding as to the
position of Government, and as to what were the powers imme-
diately within its reach in dealing with these disturbances.
And I say that it finds there is no simple and efficient and
practical punishment which can be instantly applied to those
creating riots in this city. I say further that there is no power in
the Legislature of this Government to provide,, off-hand, full legal
powers to do what is necessary on the spot for keeping down such
disturbances. I believe prompt punishments to be the essence
of dealing with disturbances of this nature. I find also that
there is apparently a general disinclination to take an active part
in the operations of the established police of the city; that
there is a disposition to leave them to cope as they best can
with all the disturbances disturbances breaking out first in one
quarter and then in another ! Yet, wherever they may be, the
police are expected to do all the work ! Such being the case,
and when they have been harassed from morning till night, so
that they have no rest whatever, yet they find themselves sub-
jected to bitter and ungenerous criticisms for what they cannot
possibly help. And, moreover, they feel their labours prolonged
and increased by exaggerated statements of what has occurred,
and which only tend to keep up the sensation in the town. I
believe that the events of the past ew days have proved that
such is the case. Then turn to the aid which Government can
give the police under such circumstances I mean the legal aid.
What does it appear to be ? It appears to be that Government
must have recourse to what in England, and, so far as I have
seen, to what in other countries governed on English principles,
is always approached with the greater caution with the fullest
possible consideration for what may be the result, that is, the
interposition of the military aid to support the police ! No step

74 University of Bombay.

more serious can be taken, and no such step ought to be taken
without a thorough conviction of the consequences that may
ensue. At the same time, gentlemen, feeling that such is the case
feeling that this is the assistance to which alone the police must
look, and being fully aware that the festival termed the Mohur-
rum is close at hand, the Government is sensible that it cannot
possibly expect the police to sustain for many days together
their prolonged exertions, and to alone preserve the public
peace. We feel we must support them, and therefore, after full
consideration, it has determined that upon this occasion I say
" on this occasion " distinctly, the processions usual in the
Mohurrum festival are not to take place. I hope and trust that
we shall have, as we have a right to expect, the assistance of all
honest and good men, of all classes, to put an end to these dis-
turbances. But we do not trust to the efforts of independent
people outside. We yesterday decided that troops must be sent
for in such numbers that further attempts at violence will be put
an end to. The consequence is as the result of yesterday's
orders, that one regiment is now in Bombay, half a European
regiment will be here this evening, and cavalry will be here to-
morrow. The movement of the military has been effected with
the greatest promptitude by the authorities. I feel there may be
some here who will say that this is not the proper place for such
observations as I have addressed to you, but if such be your
opinion I must beg your forgiveness. My object has been to
satisfy the people of this country, here in the presence of the
leading members of every class of society, that the Government
was fully alive to its duty of protecting life and property, while
fully commiserating with those who have suffered, and was pre-
pared to do its duty to the utmost during these disturbances.

I shall not trespass on your patience further upon this occa-
sion, but, reverting to the business of the day, invite you to join
in the hope and prayer that, under Providence, this building,
with the aid of the enlightened Professors who are likely to be
engaged on it, may for many generations to come be regarded as
an honour to the city, and that it will long tend to assist in the
moral and social improvement of the people of India.



Gentlemen of the Senate, Owing to His Excellency the
Chancellor's absence in Kattywar, it falls to me to address you

1875. Honorable James Gibbs. 75

at the present Convocation. The report just read offers several

topics on which I may be expected to comment. You will be

happy to find that the Chancellor's Medal, which was instituted

by the late Chancellor, Sir S. Fitzgerald, has for the first time

been awarded to a gentleman who has successfully passed the

M.A. Examination in the first class. It has been

Vasle- noted that the Munsruldass Nathoobhoy Travelling

kar's departure ^ ,, 6 XT XT

to England. -E ellowsmp had been conierred. on JNanaji JNarayan
Vaslekar. This gentleman left for England with
the intention of entering the University of Edinburgh, and
proceeding to the degree of Doctor of Science in Engineering ;
I am happy to state that news has just been received that
Mr. Vaslekar has successfully passed his first examination, and,
moreover, was the only successful candidate out of eight who
presented themselves. I think this is a fair subject for congratu-
lation. The report also notes the loss the University has sustained
by the death of the late Registrar, Mr. Taylor, and of one of the
original Fellows, Dr. Bhau Daji, and informs you of the resolu-
tions passed thereon by the Senate. I am in hopes that before the
next Convocation memorials of both these gentlemen will form
part of the endowments of the University. But besides these
facts, there is one prominent feature in the report which calls
for special observation, viz., the very small number of candidates
who have passed the Matriculation Examination only 262 out
of 1,084. I have noticed that the press have commented on this,
and in some of the communications they have published, attacks
have been made, unfairly, in my opinion, on the Examiners.
The Syndicate, with whom rest the arrangements for the exami-
nation, have made it a point to abstain from frequent changes
in the Examiners in order that the standard of examination may
differ as little as possible from year to year ; and they feel sure
that more painstaking and conscientious Examiners than those
who examined this year could not be chosen. But

kr C e U fai S lure r in "^ ma ^ ^ e as ^ e( ^^ ^ ow ^ J ou account for this result ?
Matriculation. I have given the matter much thought, not only
now but for some time past, and I have arrived
at an opinion, which a comparison of the results of the
examinations for the past ten years seems to confirm, that
the increasing number of failures is in a great measure to
be accounted for by the fact that Government make the Matri-
culation Examination a test for admission into the Government
service. Hence numerous youths, on arriving at 16 years of age,
who have no intention of entering on a Collegiate education, go
up, many very imperfectly prepared, on the chance of passing ;
and if they fail they return again and again, until they scrape

76 University of Bombay.

through or retire from the contest. I find from the returns of
the past ten years that, for the first six, eighty per cent, of the
passed candidates entered Colleges, while during the following
three years, subsequent to its being made a test of Government
service, the percentage of those entering Colleges to the total
passed has fallen a little below sixty. I think some remedy
should be applied, and the simplest that occurs to me would
be to have a separate examination what in England would be
called a middle class examination as a test for the public
service, and I would have this of a less severe nature, and of a
more practical character, than the Matriculation Examination.
I say I would make this public examination less severe ; and I
have come to this opinion because I feel sure that the mass of
the rising generation are being educated at too high a pressure.
They are, in fact, having too many subjects crammed into them,
injuring if not wearing out their powers of mental digestion. It
cannot be good for a growing lad, after a day's hard schooling,
to be obliged to work at home until nine or ten o'clock at night,
and sometimes later, to be ready for the next day, as I am
assured is ordinarily the case. At all events such an amount^of
labour cannot be needed for the greater portion of our youth.
I have been in the habit of noticing the candidates
Poor plry- f O p the Matriculation Examination during the past
students. ^ ew years, and I was much struck on the last

occasion to see crowding out of the pandal in the
Town Hall compound such numbers of thin, pallid and sickly-
looking youths. I have also been told by some of the older
class of educated natives that they can now easily tire out their
sons and other young relations in ordinary walking exercise. I
do not go so far as one of the greatest benefactors to educational
establishments in this Presidency, who said to me some time
ago : " In this generation you are destroying the bodies to
strengthen the minds ; in the next generation both mind and
body will fail if you press them so hard/' But I do think that
it is a matter deserving the greatest consideration at the hands
of those at the head of the Educational Department, whether we
are not, by the excess of our educational training, injuring the
bodily physique of the rising generation. They say at home
that ' all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.' I believe the
same holds good out here as regards Bappoo and Krishna and
Ahmed and Nowrojee. I have been told that the native mind,
particularly the Hindoo, is so peculiarly constituted that, once set
in motion in any one direction, it will work on and on as in a
groove and not feel the need of a change, and that in consequence,
unless bodily exercise is actually made a part of the educational

1875. Honorable James Gills. 77

course, it will not be spontaneously engaged in. If this be true,

and I am inclined to think it is, it behoves those

Importance w h o direct the course of education to provide

of gymnastic ,. ,^

exercise. some sort of gymnastic exercises to be undertaken

as part of the system. His Excellency the
Governor has just been visiting the Rajkumar College in Katty-
war, and his account of the way in which the bodies as well as
the minds of the young Chiefs are there trained is most cheering.
Manly exercises form a part of the curriculum, and if such be
necessary for Chiefs and Princes whose future lot will be one of
comparative ease and affluence, how much more necessary is it
for those who will have to buffet about the world for their living ?
I take this opportunity of venting these ideas .because I feel
sure, after more than a quarter of a century's experience, that
on some change of this nature in the educational course depends
the future health, and therefore the prosperity, of the natives
of this country. There is another topic, one which
lifelong de- has been before alluded to by those who have
ing! 01 occupied this chair, that we do not find those

who succeed in their educational career, and
become our graduates, following up their education after
they leave College. As I told the students at the Grant Col-
lege a few days ago, they do not consider the important fact
that their, real education only then commences, that unless they
are content simply to exist and do not desire to grow, they
must ever continue f apt to learn ' I I am told that in some of
the examinations in the higher grades the Examiners find men
coming up time after time, and failing on each successive occa-
sion more signally than before. Those who enter on the liberal
professions and have to earn their bread by their skill, are obliged
in some degree to keep pace with the times ; but those who enter
the service of the State are too apt to rest content with their lot
and find, in their daily office routine sufficient for them. Let me
warn all against leading such lazy lives. Take example from
the late Dr. Bhau Daji ; look what he has done for his country ;
how he studied its early history and its ancient languages, and
gave the results of his enquiries to the scientific world ; how
he made deep research into the hidden mysteries of Sanskrit
lore and culled therefrom additional benefits for his fellow
countrymen ! He studied and searched the past for the benefit
of the present and future. Let all take example from this distin-
guished man's career, not the Medical graduate only, but the
lawyer and the civil engineer. Looking at the records of old,
both writings and buildings, we may indeed say, "there were
giants in those days ". Let it be the pride and satisfaction of

78 University of Bombay.

this University to find its graduates not, as was ably pointed out
by one of the leading Anglo-Vernacular papers a few months
ago, permitting their exclusively English education to lead them
to deny the existence of science and art among their ancestors ;
not falling behind the alumni of the older educational institutions
of the Presidency, but following diligently those pioneers of the
study of the past. Let it be said that they perfected what others
began, and that the University of Bombay has sent out not mero
pedants, much less conceited half-educated striplings, but men
who in the State, on the bench, or at the bar, as architects or as
physicians, prove themselves, as Dr. Bhau Daji did, worthy of
their education, beloved and respected in their lives, and in their
deaths honoured and deplored.



Gentlemen of the Senate, Owing to the absence of His
Excellency the Chancellor from Bombay, I have again the honour
of presiding at the Annual Convocation of this University.
The year 1875 will undoubtedly be famous in the annals of
Indian History from its having witnessed for the first time the
arrival on our shores of the Heir-Apparent of the British
Crown, while our island had the honour of being the first soil on
which he trod, and our city the first place in which he sojourned.
The welcome he met with, not only from the Native Princes and
Chiefs who came to do him homage, but from the vast crowds
of loyal subjects which thronged the streets, is still, as it were,
present to us, while the many fetes and ceremonies in which he
took part, seem as yet hardly to have become things of the past.
One of these will certainly long remain fresh in the memories of
those connected with this University the visit of His Royal
Highness to this Hall to receive the address voted by the
Senate ; and the kind words of hope and encouragement for
our future, which fell from his lips in reply to our welcome, will
not be readily forgotten, while the more tangible memorial of
his visit in the shape of valuable books and the portrait of our
Queen, which he presented to the University, will long remain
objects of our choicest care. He has honoured our elder sister
at Calcutta by accepting the degree* of Doctor of Laws, and
thus permitting his name to stand first on that roll which it is
to be hoped may include many distinguished statesmen, scholars,
and promoters of education, recipients of a like honour, the

1876. Honorable James GMs. 70

power to confer which will, I trust, before long be extended to
the Universities of Madras and Bombay.

Turning from this subject of congratulation and satisfaction
to one of a diametrically opposite nature, it becomes my duty to
allude to the great loss which this University has sustained by
the death of the Rev. Dr. Wilson, who from its foundation had
been a great, if not the leading, spirit of the Institution. Dis-
tinguished not only as a linguist and an antiquarian and
honoured by the diploma of the Fellowship of the Royal Society,
but possessing a cosmopolitan reputation as a man of letters,
this venerable missionary brought all his powers, tempered by a
most truly catholic spirit, to the service of this University ;
and in every branch of its government, including the office
which I have now the honour to hold, gave it not only his
best and warmest support, but also the incalculable benefit of
his great experience as a teacher and a guide of the native
youth of this Presidency. He has gone, in the fullness of the age
allotted to man, to his reward and his rest. The regret we
entertain for his loss is sincere, though perhaps selfish ; but all
will, I think, concur in the applicability to him of the often-
quoted sentiment of the Prince of Denmark :

" He was a man, take him for all in all,
We shall not look upon his like again."

The Senate at its last meeting decided that Dr. Wilson's
memory should be perpetuated in the University ; and the Syndi-
cate, to whom the matter was referred, has determined that a
bust be placed in these buildings at the expense of the Fellows,
fir t Le ^ ki 8 death a change of some moment takes
tureship 8 a place in the system of the University; hitherto it
tached to the has been a purely examining body, it will now
commence its career as a teaching one. It will be
remembered that a large sum of money was raised in honour of
Dr. Wilson in 1869, the interest of which was payable to him
for his life, and after his death the principal was to form an
endowment for a Philological Lectureship in this University ; and
the Syndicate is now taking the necessary steps for the first
series of lectures under this endowment which yields about
Rs. 1,000 per annum, and I would express a hope that this may
not long remain the only lectureship attached to this University.

The memorial in honour of our late Registrar is now
complete, and the sum of Rs. 2,500 has been tendered to found a
James Taylor Prize for proficiency in those branches of know-
ledge in which lie took a special interest. It rests with the

80 University of Bomlay.

Senate to accept the terras. There has, I believe, been some
difficulty in arranging the memorial in honour of the late
Dr. Bhau Daji, of which I spoke last year, but it is hoped that
at the next Convocation mention may be made of the means
adopted to perpetuate the memory of one who from its foundation
was a warm supporter and able administrator of this institution.

I will now turn to the statistical portion of the report, and
the first fact which strikes us is the great increase over the
previous year in the percentage of passed candidates at the
Matriculation Examination, and the great falling off in the
number of successful candidates in the examination for the B.A.
Degree. Of the former in 1874, out of 1,084 only 262, or
24 per cent, passed, while in 1875, out of 1,240, 434, or 35 per
cent, were successful; and of the latter in 1874 out of 64, 30, or
46 per cent, were successful, while in 1875, out of 84 only 18, or
21 per cent, passed.

The result of the University examinations has often been a
topic for discussion in the public prints, and last year there was
a great deal of correspondence regarding the very unfavourable
result of the Matriculation Examination. Not only was the
system of the examination attacked, but even the Examiners
themselves did not escape. This year, owing apparently to the
percentage being much higher than last, no comments have ap-
peared ; but I mention this subject, because I wish to draw atten-
tion to the following result of an examination of the returns of the
past five years and a comparison between the Matriculation and
B.A. Examinations, viz., that whenever the percentage of suc-
cessful candidates at the former is high, we find that at the cor-
responding B.A. Examination, three years after, the percentage
of successful candidates is low, and that the converse also holds
good. I will take the following extract to prove what I mean :
In 1868, 41 per cent., and in 1872, 43 per cent, passed the Matri-
culation, and in 1871 only 28 per cent., and in 1875 only 21
per cent, passed the B.A. ; while in 1869 only 17 per cent., and
in 1870 only 16 per cent, were successful at Matriculation ; and
at the B.A. Examination of 1872, 45 per cent., and in 1873, 42
per cent, passed. It would seem from this that when a large
proportion are successful in the Matriculation Examination it is
more owing to the leniency of the Examiners than the fitness of
the students, and I venture to think that such leniency is a mis-
take if we are to maintain the high standards for honours which
has ever been the aim of this University. We have this year
to congratulate the Principals and Professors of the Medical and
Civil Engineering Colleges on the success which has attended

1876. Honorable James Qibbs. 81

their labours. From the former we have the first M.D. of
the University, and also the satisfactory results of thirty success-
ful candidates out of 43 in the first L.M. and 16 out of 19 in
the final L.M., and of these six in the first class; while from
the latter institution we have 21 out of 24 passing in the first
C.E. and 9 out of 12 in the L.C.E., of whom 3 were in the
First Class. As regards the other examinations, it is to be noted
that 4 out of 5 of the M.A's were successful, but none acquired
a First Class. In law, however, 50 per cent, passed, a percent-
age not previously attained for the degree of LL.B., although
none attained to the First Class, It is still a doubtful question
whether a large return of successful students is really a proof
that the mass of the pupils are better prepared than in those
years when only few pass, or whether they will do as much
credit to the University as those who come out in smaller num-
bers from the final ordeal. I am not one of those who think our
examination system perfect, or that alterations in this, as also in
the subjects required for the various degrees, may not be desira-

Online LibraryK Subba RauConvocation addresses of the universities of Bombay and Madras → online text (page 9 of 66)