Page:Convocation Addresses of the Universities of Bombay and Madras.djvu/195

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University of Bombay.

human learning and study, of law and medicine and engineering, and, above all, of general literature and science. All these subjects have here their representatives, and these representatives have been chosen from every class and creed. Our University spreads its roots thus amongst Hindus and Mussalmans, Parsis and Christians. Every class unites with the others in the

noble effort to promote the welfare of this country and the advance of its people along the great lines of civilization and learning. I will not attempt an enumeration of all the names which this day for the first time grace the list of our Fellows. But there is one gentleman whose name is added to our list to-day, who does claim a special recognition, both on personal grounds and also on account of the special honour to us of his annexation, to use such a phrase, to our University. I speak of Professor James Darmesteter. James Darmesteter and other French savants. To say a word of the eminence of that gentleman in literature and oriental learning would be quite superfluous in an assembly which itself comprises many distinguished oriental scholars; and I know that the modesty which is one of the most marked characteristics which accompany the genius of that gentleman would shrink from enumeration of his claims to our regard and respect. I will content myself with saying that no one has ever quitted the shores of India, which he is about to leave very shortly, with more personal respect and with greater regard on the part of all those who have come into personal contact with him. But let me add a word as to the institution to which he belongs, and of the claims which his country has to our regard on account of the progress which it has made, the services which it has rendered to our oriental scholarship in that College de France, of which he is so distinguished an ornament, and in the Societe Asiatique of France. There has never been wanting there a number of men of the highest ability and of the most distinguished scholarship who side by side with the savants of other parts of Europe have been pushing forward those researches by which you, gentlemen, especially as natives of the country, must be gainers, and which call from you for high appreciation. Let it be remembered that it was Anquetil du Perron who first rescued the Avesta from the slumber of ages and brought it to the notice of the learned of the world. Let us remember that it was another French scholar, Eugene Bournouff, who first deciphered the Avesta for European scholars, brought it into the full light of day, and made it the subject of critical examination to a line of scholars like Darmesteter, who will, no doubt, illuminate many of the still obscure passages of that interesting compilation. It must surely be a moment of pride