Page:Convocation Addresses of the Universities of Bombay and Madras.djvu/599

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University of Madras.

as intelligently as a reasoning creature can. But your position, gentlemen, has hitherto been of a different kind. You are in a way exotics, foreign—you have in a measure been taken out of your people, and made peculiar. Now this is not a healthful condition of things, and it cannot be permitted to continue. No country can flourish with an academic class which is out of sympathy with the people from which it springs. Therefore I urge you to take your fitting place in the work of levelling down your knowledge, and of permeating all classes of the community, from the conservative temple Brahman, to the poor extern Pareiya, with this new leaven of light. Your duty seems to be clear, if you accept the doctrine that a people rightly taught is more industrious—more productive and happier than a people untaught, or wrongly taught; that the ryot, the artizan, the cooly, who can read and cipher, will, other things being equal, be a better ryot, a better artizan, a better cooly than he that can do neither. It is for you, wherever you are placed, to seek to establish schools, and to make these schools as efficient as possible, and to help by your example and by your work to make the people believe that what is being done for the education of their children is for their good, that school training sharpens the intellect, strengthens the reason, and produces better manners. This part of elementary education they will more easily apprehend, because from time immemorial certain classes of the community have in a defective way practised it, and thus your task is only that of bringing them gradually to see that the system of teaching and the matter taught are better than their own. But your task will not be so easy when you come to deal with the industrial classes, such as the Weavers, who regard education as their enemy, because they fear it will draw away their sons from their hereditary calling. Indeed it will be all the more difficult because the plea is too true, so far as it goes—a temporary evil which can only be over-come by the very means that cause it. You will have to show them that, though some may be led away, yet those who remain will become more effective workers, and by their increased intelligence and their increased knowledge be able to make good the loss. Your best plea for the education of their children must be that the elementary education we impart to them will not be confined to the three R's, but will gradually include a knowledge of the things they should know for the intelligent and progressive use of their art, the cultivation of the eye, the dexterity of the hand,—that in the school must be laid the basis of special knowledge, on which the efficiency of the individual worker can best be cultivated. Gentlemen, the possi-