There is in certain quarters, in various parts of the globe, a growing distrust of the educated classes—a latent misgiving of in India with regard to the policy of Macaulay's Minute and of Sir Charles Wood's Despatch, embodying the principles of the Whig party,any departure from which in this respect the people of England would, I feel sure, view with regret. That distrust, gentlemen,is to my mind absolutely groundless, if it refers to classes who come under the sway of sound educators. There is a danger, a very great danger, in partial, superficial, and unreal education. Such education however is a mere sham, a parody of University education. The danger lies in the absence of a really educated class. A man may have passed a score of examinations and still not be qualified to call himself an educated man, because he is deficient in the refinement which always accompanies and betokens academic distinction. Universities in one sense are exclusive. They cannot tolerate any standard but the highest, they cannot recognize any education but that which at once places a man in a separate category. On the other hand,Universities are accessible to all who submit themselves to the strictest discipline. Subject to that condition and in that sense they are absolutely democratic. An intellectual aristocracy is recruited from all stations in life, but it is an aristocracy to which nobody can belong who does not satisfy the highest tests, those which obtain in the republic of letters, and we must add the republic of sciences. The franchise in this republic can never be lowered and must always rise higher as literature and science are constantly adding to their treasures. The meter of University standards is simply that which is given by an ever-increasing stock of knowledge. If you lower the franchise with the standards and reject the meter, you cease to belong to this great republic of letters, your education is not higher education, and your educated classes sail under false colours. Indian Universities cannot escape from a rule which is binding on all Universities, and there is no reason why they should evade it. There is nothing in the conditions of social or of individual life in India to discourge that severe application to scientific training which alone gains admission to the academic ranks. There is plenty of leisure and there is nothing in the social customs of India to deter a man from leading a student's life. I need only quote Sir H. Maine, whose loss India mourns as much as England, to convince you that individual capacity, and especially the versatility, the flexibility of mind which predisposes to academic studies, exists in India to a very large extent. Sir H. Maine's opinion was: "In those subjects in which high proficiency may reasonably be expected, the
Page:Convocation Addresses of the Universities of Bombay and Madras.djvu/225
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University of Bombay.