Page:Convocation Addresses of the Universities of Bombay and Madras.djvu/405

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University of Madras.

the country as institutions sanctioned by human and divine laws. General and equal laws have been enacted by the British Government, the habit of official tyranny has to a great extent been extinguished, inhuman practices have been repressed. Slavery is no longer recognized by law, and though in the relations between the agricultural labourers and their employers in some parts of the country, the spirit of it may still be seen at work, it survives no longer as an institution. A system- of education, with the Universities to guide it in their several Presidencies, has been initiated with a successful effect upon the administration of the territory under the British Govern- ment, and of not a few of the Native Principalities. , The national mind is also being brought into familiar contact with a class of ideas which may facilitate the eventual introduction of further constitutional measures. Juries, Municipalities, the management of local affairs, Honorary Magistracies, and seats in the Legislative Council are all means to this end. It is rather a process of naturalizing than mere sowing, and your rulers are no doubt compelled to proceed cautiously on a path which may abound with pitfalls, a path to which history affords no guide, and which the light of political science fails to irradiate. A constitution is most efficacious, when, like branch from trunk, or like fruit from tree, it issues from the natural or acquired ^'tendencies, the general belief and the collective con- sciousness of the people." To obtain a hold on the popular mind the growth of the fundamental institutions must be slow and gradual. Those who are impatient for changes of a more crucial and obvious character, should not forget what has been already effected. While bearing in mind the advance in social order and well-being which they have themselves witnessed in their own day, they should not lose sight of the condition of anarchy into which the country had fallen when first the Eng- lish took upon themselves the functions of Government.

It may be well to consider what that condition was. From the commencement of the sixteenth century we see the process of absorption of the less by the more powerful Governments in a gradual but constant state of progression. In the North, the Afghan dynasty succumbed to the Mogul. The territory of the Bahmani dynasty of the Deccan became apportioned between three States, of which the Mogul was the acknowledged superior. To the allied armies of these three States fell the celebrated Hindu Kingdom of Vijiyanagar. In the middle of the seven- teenth century Sivaji commenced his course of organized robbery.