Page:Convocation Addresses of the Universities of Bombay and Madras.djvu/556

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263
1890.—Rai Bahadur P. Ranganadha Mudaliyar.

the elasticity required to undergo without injury to severe mental effort. It is said that "all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy." Of the Hindu boy, it will be truer to say that all work and no play makes him a feeble boy. Hindu boys, all but a few excepted, need still to be taught the art of "losing time wisely." With a variety of examinations to pass, with the high-pressure methods of imparting instruction in vogue, and with a hereditary aptitude for conning things by heart, the Hindu youth is sorely tempted to pore over his books day and night, forgetting that he has a bodily frame to build up as well as a mind to stock with knowledge. Such utter disregard of physical health out of excessive anxiety to cultivate the mind must produce the most disastrous results, —feebleness, want of spirits, functional derangement, premature arrest of bodily growth, if not death itself. "This over-education," says Herbert Spencer, "is vicious in every way, —vicious as giving knowledge that will soon be forgotten; vicious as producing a disgust for knowledge; vicious as neglecting that organization of knowledge which is more important than its acquisition; vicious as weakening or destroying that energy without which a trained intellect is useless; vicious as entailing that ill-health for which even success would not compensate, and which makes failure doubly bitter."

I may, in this connection, exhort you and the like of you to remember that on you devolves the duty of diffusing among your Country men true notions concerning natural objects and natural forces. There is much truth in the familiar couplet:—

"How small of all that human hearts endure,
That part which kings or laws can cause or cure."

Much the greater part of human misery is due to ignorance, —ignorance in regard to the properties of the things around and about us, —ignorance in regard to the character of physical forces, —ignorance of the invariable sequences of cause and effect in the realm of nature. Let it be known to the many as it is now known to the few that "pestilences will take up their abode only among those who have prepared unswept and ungarnished residences for them" and how much human suffering could be avoided or mitigated. There is small cause for wonder, though there is much for sorrow, in the fact that such large numbers periodically fall victims to cholera, small-pox, and typhus. How is it possible for people to be healthy when they are ill-washed and ill-fed, —when their houses are ill-drained and ill-ventilated, —when their towns have narrow streets reeking with noxious odours from accumulated garbage, —when