Page:Convocation Addresses of the Universities of Bombay and Madras.djvu/495

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University of Madras.

we look on sympathetically and respectfully, but leaving you absolutely to yourselves, so long as you do not appeal to the "arm of flesh." When you do that, I hope we shall always let it be seen very clearly, that we do not mean to permit any one, small or great, to disturb with impunity the Pax Britannica. So long, however, as there is no physical violence, nor infliction of civil inconveniences, we shall watch all the changes that may occur—and they may well be immense—in the same spirit in which we read of the gradual supersession of paganism by Christianity, of serfage by freedom, of blind ecclesiastical authority by the liberty of intellect, having our own opinions about it all, but by no means inclined, even if it were possible, to rush into the fight.

The first sphere of labour then, outside the professions and other money-getting pursuits, which I would venture to suggest to you, is the bringing into harmony of your new thoughts, derived from us, and your old thoughts, derived from your ancestors, or from the non-European conquerors who have, at various times, settled down in India. In that field, you may become great and original. If I ventured to express an opinion on a matter quite small, when compared with many others you have to settle, I would say that he who could persuade his countrymen to give up their, to us, stounding expenditure on marriages, would do more for South India than any Government could do in a decade, but these questions are, as I said, for you. In the field of social reform, you may produce men as great as some of our political reformers of the West, but you will never produce anything great, by learning our political phraseology, and then applying it to circumstances entirely different.

I can quite understand those who say : "You Europeans should never have come to pour your new wine into our old bottles." I can well understand those who say "Pour away, the sooner our old bad bottles burst, the better."

I wish as a British official to be absolutely neutral between these parties, but I cannot understand how any one who wishes for the good of India, should dream of desiring that any portion of the intelligence of the country should go dancing after this or that pseudo-political will-o'-the-wisp, while the mightiest social and religious questions, that have been debated for the last fifteen hundred years, are asking more and more loudly for an answer.

I re-read recently the grave and wise address, which was delivered to you four years ago by Mr, Muttuswami Aiyar.