Page:Convocation Addresses of the Universities of Bombay and Madras.djvu/528

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235
1887.—Rajah Sir T. Madava Row.

proportion of the landed and moneyed aristocracy. As regards the best families, the plan would amount to a sentence of exclusion. Judginor from my own feelings in the matter, I should say that the discontent would be great, though, in the old Indian fashion, it would be a good deal disguised. Gentlemen, for my part, I have run my course, and have reached the serene air of private life, but I cannot be unconcerned about my posterity! Just imagine what the people would have felt if the Muhammadan rulers, even in the plenitude of their despotic strength and prosperity, had declared that no Hindu would be eligible to high office without going to Mecca and staying there several years!

To pass to another topic of the day. The people of India are deeply interested in seeing that high collegiate education is not made to suffer under a narrow spirit of financial economy. It cannot be too strongly urged that the intellectual emancipation of India depends upon the maintenance of such education. The native intellect shows a capacity for indefinite development. Noble England cannot have a more docile pupil than India. The associations, however, know how to deal with this matter. Again, we are right to press for some system by which information and explanation may be elicited from Government as occasions may require. It is an elementary requisite of responsibility. We are also right in asking for a larger number of Native members in the several Legislative Councils of India. And these members should represent some bodies other than themselves. They may represent property and intelligence as determined by a rough test. But I hope that the activities of the associations will not be confined to political matters.

Nail your flag to the massive principle, "Increase happiness and reduce misery." You cannot carry that flag into a more promising region than that of social reform. With equal labour you can do far more good in this than in the political field. Gentlemen, there is work here beyond, the dreams of Howard and Wilberforce. Some social reforms are difficult, but others are easy.

This is not the place to enumerate them even by way of examples. I am prepared to speak to anybody who may be earnest in the matter. Earnest you ought all to be. Effect at least the easier reforms without delay. Postponing them from generation to generation is unworthy of educated men who wish to be increasingly self-governing. Let me remind you, gentlemen, in this connection that Indian society suffers far more from