Page:Convocation Addresses of the Universities of Bombay and Madras.djvu/508

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215
1886.—Rt. Hon. Mountstuart Elphinstone Grant Duff.

Then, to us who have been trained in that veneration for the past which we, bold innovators as we are, in our maturer years are all trained in, cannot understand the extraordinary ignorance which prevails in every corner of this country about its own objects of interest, its ancient buildings, ruins, pillars, and so forth.

Two instances of this have recently much amused me. I went to the great Jain temples on Mount Abu, and tried to extract from the people on the spot something about them, other than the two or three well-known facts. Then, still more recently, I went to the very remarkable Mahommedan shrine at Nagore, near Negapatam. The Jain temples were very old, the Nagore shrine was comparatively modern, but not one answer, which conveyed any certain idea, could I obtain at either, from the very courteous gentlemen who took care of them. Is not this all wrong? Should not the history and antiquities of your own country be one of your chief studies? In these researches, no reasonable man would wish to employ any one but a native of India, if only he could find an adequately instructed person who cared one anna about them.

I dare say, when your researches have been made, the result will not be very gigantic. There is not recoverable probably from the Dravidian past, anything as valuable as that which has been found in the East Aryan past, and the value of the literary performances which Sanskrit embalms, considered merely in themselves, and not as the key to much of human history that was till lately unknown, has perhaps been overrated by those who went through the toil that was necessary to secure the prize.

Still, it is your manifest duty to recover for the world all that is recoverable of your early days. The real golden age for you, as for others, is not in the past, but in the future. Yet it will be all the more golden, when it comes, if you exhume, for use in it, every scrap of buried treasure you can find in your long Past.

Another branch of Archaeology, the pre-historic, has hardly excited any attention in this residency, and yet the best authorities consider that there are many important secrets to be revealed by the surface deposits of your hills and plains.

The Madras Government, under the advice of Professor Huxley, and through the instrumentality of that very distinguished Geologist, Mr. Bruce Foote, assisted by his highly intelligent son, have made a commencement of researches in the Kurnoo]