Page:Convocation Addresses of the Universities of Bombay and Madras.djvu/396

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.

intellects and to lead them to regard any education not founded on a classical basis as essentially false.

It would be presumption on my part to say much either for or against classical education. I venture, however, to express a hope that the day is not far distant when the classical students of this University may be counted by hundreds and not by tens; for there is much in classical literature which we cannot afford to lose and which cannot be had elsewhere. But the spirit in which classical studies have, until very recently, been pursued, and which even now has many advocates, is characterized as narrow by the most competent authorities. To get up endless rules and gigantic lists of exceptions by heart, to turn Latin and Sanscrit into English for the purpose of learning these languages, and to give little or no thought to the subject-matter or to the picture of human life presented, is surely not the system by which the classics can be rendered either attractive or instructive. If we are to have classical education, let us not perpetuate the '^ elegant trifling" of the English public schools in prose and verse composition. Let us learn Sanscrit for the purpose of being able to read it, and read it for the purpose of being impressed with its beauties and with the primitive form in which it presents to us the ever-interesting problems of human life. The question as to whether the study of a classical language should form part of our higher education was recently discuss- ed by the Senate of this University, and, as was to be expected, elicited great diversity of opinion. Without presuming to say what should or should not be done at present, I may observe that in the University of London, on which ours is closely modelled, a competent knowledge in Latin, Greek, English, and either French or German is required in every candidate for the B.A. degree. No doubt, the educational machinery in England is far in advance of what it is now, or what it will be for some time, in India. But, in point of intellect, the average Hindu is not One whit behind the average Englishman, and what can now be reasonably expected from the latter may soon be looked for from the former. The time then, we trust, is not far distant when those who occupy the place which you do now shall have been taught a classical language as well as their own vernacular.

But though an appreciative acquaintance with literature and a firm grasp of history, "treated not as a succession of battles and dynasties ; not as a series of biographies ; but as the development of men in times past and