Page:Convocation Addresses of the Universities of Bombay and Madras.djvu/472

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179
1884.—The Honorable W. R. Cornish.

by Sir Charles Trevelyan in 1859 and increased in stringency from time to time, with great interest, and am satisfied that the wider employment of graduates and undergraduates in the public departments of the State has resulted in better work, and in a distinctly higher tone of the public service. These results might have been anticipated, but the fact that the character of the service has been manifestly improved by the enforcement of general and special tests of competency, will undoubtedly encourage the State to maintain, and increase, rather than relax, the stringency of the tests now accepted.

I have advised you to be modest in the estimation of your own value, and to be content with beginning life on the lower rungs of the official ladder. If you possess ability, zeal, and integrity, advancement and promotion must follow, as surely as the night follows the day, because every department of the State has an interest in being well served, and efficiency in lower grades is the best passport to the higher. But let it be borne in mind that the State cannot create offices because graduates abound, and that when the State service, and the learned professions have drawn their supplies of educated labor, there will still remain a number of graduates, who, of choice or necessity, will have to seek elsewhere for occupations suited to their circumstances. Whether you betake yourselves to trade, commerce, agriculture, or industrial handicrafts, there are vast and unexplored fields before you, which, so long as you enter upon them discreetly, prudently, and honorably, will afford you the means of living and enjoyment, and opportunities of demonstrating to your countrymen, that a sound, mental and moral training is the best of all preparations, for any and every pursuit in life.

Education in India, as you know, is a very one-sided affair, insomuch that until very recently, it was confined to the male sex alone, and at the present moment, the education of the female sex is pursued under grave disadvantages. The truest friends of the people of India cannot but entertain serious misgivings as to the outcome of a system which practically excludes one sex from the advantages of mental training and discipline; and having the opportunity granted me of speaking, I cannot pass over this grave fault in your educational system in silence. The influence of a mother on her offspring is most powerful and farreaching. Her physical and mental characteristics pass to the fruit of her womb, and her children learn of her instinctively, before they are capable of speech or intelligent thought. It is