Page:Convocation Addresses of the Universities of Bombay and Madras.djvu/473

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University of Madras.

the opinion of eminent men who have studied the subject that the transmission of certain mental and physical attributes of a race is more commonly influenced by the mother than the father; and the simple fact that nearly all the men of high eminence in Science, Art, and other pursuits, now living, have descended from mothers of more than average mental vigor and capacity, should be enough to cause us to ponder whether the Indian system is a wise one, or suited to the development of the highest Educated man intellectual power of the people. The gulf between the educated man and uncultured woman is very wide, and, if the views of scientists are true, there is some danger that the descendants of unions in which there is great disparity of mental development may favor the mother rather than the father, and that the intellectual powers of the males of succeeding generations may be of the feminine or childlike type, never ripening into the fulness of the higher order of manhood. The late Charles Darwin thought that a similar arrest of mental development followed, when there was great disparity in the ages of father and mother ; the offspring, according to his observations, generally showing the child-type of intellect throughout the period of mature life.

So strongly have the disadvantages of the lop-sided system of culture prevailing in India appeared to me, that I have often thought, and said, that given the position of a Dictator, and with full command of the State purse-strings, I would spend no public money on education, other than the primary teaching of both sexes, and the higher training of the future wives and mothers of India, until the existing disparity between the culture of the two sexes had in a great degree ceased. But, gentlemen, so heroic a treatment of the subject is unnecessary. I am delighted to acknowledge that you have already recognised the evil, and that every graduate of this University is doing his best, consciously or unconsciously, to cure it. Kindly give me your attention to the following figures. Twenty years ago the number of girls "under instruction" in this Presidency was 3,763. In 1873-74 the numbers were 17,113. Nine years later, in 1882-83, the female pupils had increased to 43,671. Thus, in the space of nineteen years, the female pupils in school had increased by about 40,000, and last year, they exceeded, by more than ten times, the numbers at school in the official year 1863-64. These results appear to me to prove, that an important revolution in native thought, as to the position of women, is actually in progress in our very midst, and, seeing that the extension of female education has proceeded