Page:Convocation Addresses of the Universities of Bombay and Madras.djvu/452

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1882. — The Honorable Mr. Justice Muthusami Iyer.

why then should not Government leave it to be supported by the spontaneous efforts of indigenous agencies, and confine their attention to providing elementary instruction for the masses. Doubtless the ultimate state of things to be aimed at in regard to the higher education would be a model college in the Presidency town, supported by the State, forming as it were a focus of intel- lectual life, nnd having on its staff professors of eminence, who wonldbe in themselves the living embodiments of the highest forms of culture; no expense being spared by the State to maintain the instruction imparted in such an institution at the highest level of attainable perfection. Such a college the ordinary laws of demand and supply cannot be trusted to bring into existence. In the provinces would then spring up colleges, supported by the nobility and gentry, and an enlightened middle class fully alive to the advantages of liberal education, and able and willing to make large sacrifices for securing it to their children. These colleges would necessarily be influenced by the high standard maintained at the Government College, but not enslaved by it ; they would provide for a variety of forms of culture, according to the importance attached to the several branches of knowledge or methods of instruction in the communities among whom they come into existence. Admitting that this should be the final aim, I must express my conviction that the day is yet distant when such a state of things may be expected in this country. Those who have benefited by the encouragement accorded by the State to higher education hitherto, have not been the Zemin- dars and the landed aristocracy of the country, so far at least as this Presidency is concerned, and there is no such sharp distinc- tion between the rich and the poor in this country as is said to exist in European countries, and intelligence and refinement do not co-exist with wealth to the extent that it does elsewhere. It is to be feared in the present circumstances, if the State aid be suddenly withdrawn, any movement to replace it out of the private wealth of the country would not in most cases be successful. Higher education will have to be practically left in the hands of Missionarj^ agencies in no sense indigenous. I do not in the least undervalue the impor- tant services which they have rendered to the cause of education. They have been very useful auxiliaries to the Government, and by creating a healthy rivalry between Government institutions and their own, have contributed in no small degree to the success of educational efforts ; and all honor to them for it. But if all higher education is virtually committed to their hands, will it conduce to the variety of culture and the adaptation to the special needs of the country