Page:Convocation Addresses of the Universities of Bombay and Madras.djvu/567

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Univeraity of Madras.

India. South Indian society must be in a hopeless condition if useful work cannot be found for one graduate in every 18,441 of the population.

In order to account for the low estimation in which graduates are often held by the public, we must, I think, take into account other considerations than their absolute or relative numbers. It is just possible, for example, that it has its origin in the conviction that the graduates admitted year by year are not of the right kind. This is a matter deserving of the most earnest consideration. For it implies either that the young men who receive a University education are not of the right class, or that the education given is defective, or that our graduates do not live up to the expectations formed of them by others and the promises made by themselves. It must, I think, be admitted that there is an element of truth in each of those implied charges. It is to be regretted that the aristocracy of native society holds itself aloof from University culture, notwithstanding the example set by the Princes of some of the reigning families of Southern India, who enter the arena of intellectual competition, to have their ability and knowledge tested on equal terms with the lowliest in the land. On political and social grounds it is eminently desirable that those whom the masses of the people have been accustomed to look up to as the leaders of the society should be brought within the influence of the highest culture. The tendency of modern society is to attach less and less value to birth and wealth, unless accompanied by a cultivated mind. The conservative instincts of the people of India are, probably, still strong enough to cause the aristocracy of birth and wealth to be looked up to, even though it be steeped in ignorance and prejudice. But the democrative wave which is spreading over the world will sooner or later change the aspect of affairs in India also, and it is for the high-born and the wealthy to show by superiority in knowledge and intelligence that they are entitled to be regarded as men of light and leading. In all this I do not for one moment mean to imply that opportunity should not be given to the son of the poorest and humblest in the land to receive the benefits of University education. It is in the interests of society that intellectual ability and moral worth, by whomsoever possessed, should be allowed every opportunity of developing themselves. This the colleges of South India have done and should continue to do, without, however, leaving the other undone. As to the charge, so often made, that our University education is defective, none will