Page:Convocation Addresses of the Universities of Bombay and Madras.djvu/476

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183
1884.—The Honorable W. R. Cornish.

sickly community, or one in which the bread-winners are cut off in the prime of their days, must always be miserable and impoverished. And when the people shall have been shown the importance of cleanly habits as affecting their health, you may well direct their attention to some other customs which have an important bearing on their happiness and prosperity. Look forProfuse expenditure on marriage. instance at the custom, so universal, of profuse expenditure on the occasion of marriages and family ceremonial. The wealthy may indulge in such a custom without hurt to their estate, but see how pernicious is the example to the lower classes, when a poor man, apeing his rich brother, does not hesitate to sell himself, and all belonging to him, into life-long slavery, for the price of a wedding feast! The lightheartedness with which people, otherwise thrifty and self-denying, will incur overwhelming debts, sanctioned by custom and usage, is a matter that strikes strangers to your countrymen with astonishment, and you may well use your personal influence in discouraging habits which lie at the root of three-fourths of the chronic poverty of the Indian people. In these and other matters, in which you would be an example to your fellow-men, remember the advice of the poet : —

" Be useful where thou livesfc, that they may
Both want, and wish thy pleasing presence still.
Kindness, good parts, great places are the way
To compass this. Find ont men's wants and will
And meet them there. All worldly joys go less.
To the one joy of doing kindnesses."

And in battling against customs injurious to health, material prosperity and morals, I may remind you in the words of John Milton that

"Peace hath her victories
No less renowned than "War."

Indian philosophers of old were remarkable for the two excellent qualities of "plain living" and "high thinking." We live now in the days of a higher civilization, and in an age when men spend much of their substance in luxury, or on the non-essentials of existence. I would not have you depart from the simple habits, inherited from a long line of ancestors, and which the experience of countless generations has proved to be best suited to the inhabitants of tropical lands. Food and clothing must

Alcohol and meat not essential to health vary in different countries, as climate and other conditions vary, but in adhering to the simplicity of life practised by your forefathers, you will have the sanction and approval of some of the most eminent of modern scientists, who have come to the conclusion, hat alcoholic drinks and strong meats are not essential to