DREAMS OF TAMILS UPLIFT
Chancellor, Mr. Pro-Chancellor Mr. Vice- Chancellor, Graduates of the Year and Friends:
as I am for the unique honor conferred on me by this institution, it is not without hesitation as a good deal of trepidation
that I stand before this august assembly to-day to deliver the Convocation address, for though it is a pleasure to be present
on the happy occasion of greeting the graduates of the year and wishing them all a bright and prosperous future, it is not
an easy task to place before them appropriate guidelines-conscious as I am of my own limitations and aware of the eminence
of those who stood at this rostrum in the past and gave weighty and worthy advice to the graduates. Stalwarts in various walks
of life, scholars of erudition and experience, administrators of rare abilities, have all been here to deliver instructive
discourses, and I do not for a moment imagine that I have the capacity to add any thing substantial to what has been already
said by those who preceded me. I am convinced therefore that to be called upon to deliver this address is not so much an invitation as a command to me bestow the most careful and considered thought on
the role of Universities in general and of the Annamalai University in particular.
fact that I am conscious of my own limitations gives me a sense of relief, for attempt I shall not to offer original ideas
or theories with a special stamp, but only reiterate some of the cardinal principles enunciated by those who offered their
a advice in past years, perhaps with annotations here and there, bringing to bear the lay-man’s point of view to the
findings of experts in various fields connected with education.
is the age of the common man-whatever the regrets some might have –and it’s his point of view that matters most
and I do claim to represent him in all his ruggedness.
and schools of thought, whether it is in philosophy or politics, ethics or economics, are certainly meant for him. Of course,
the interpretation should come from scholars and experts and the art of translating them into every day activity is to be
undertaken by the administrators. Universities, as the repositories of knowledge and the nursing ground for the emissaries
of thought wisdom and service, have got a prominent role to play-and the prominence
is growing every day, as more and more individuals get themselves equipped for the task of bettering society in all its age
when we have eschewed monarchy and autocracy and have inaugurated the era of democracy.
the monarchical or feudal days, Universities had to train scholars and poets to adorn the chambers of Royalty or the gilded
mansions of Lord and nobles and their wisdom was meant for the mansion, not for the market place. Those were days when numbers
did not count, nor were eminent scholars asked to face the problems confronting the masses. They were content to work in secluded
spheres, far from the din and noise of the common man and weave the costly fabric of philosophy of poetry which on turn was
to be converted into dazzling garments for the select and the privileged.
role of the University to-day is not cloistered and confined as in the past. Its function has been enlarged-not in its fundamentals
but in its domain. It has to take into account the commonness, but to trim and train, guide and lead him, for asked to do
his duty as the citizen of a democracy-a task which kindles sweet hopes but which demands, patience and perseverance, faith
and confidence, faith in himself and in others and confidence in his inherent ability to shoulder the responsibilities. The
common man has become the birth place of a potential ruler and the duty today, the responsibility today of the universities
is to fashion out of him as an individual fitted and equipped for the task of making democracy fruitful and effective.
said that the duties and responsibilities of Universities have grown in dimension and scope, but pointed out that the fundamentals
remain unaltered and these fundamentals are of permanent value and of perennial interest. The supreme task before the University
is to give those who seek a vision of knowledge in its true proportions and perspectives, to maintain the sovereignty of ideas
and ideals in the world. A balanced mind, the ability to discriminate between what is merely trivial and what is important,
the capacity to look at a problem from all its angles without fear or favour, to be tolerant of the other man’s point
of view. These are fundamentals which are unalterable and it’s only the universities that can provide society with a
continuous stream of men and women endowed with these qualities.
addressing the University of Brussels, Dr.s.Radhakrishnan,
our former president, made the following statement:
its proper functioning democracy requires more qualities than other forms of government. It is in the universities that we
can develop the true spirit of democracy, appreciation of other points of view and adjustment of differences through discussions.
It can be kept healthy and strong by the exercise of individual responsibility and judgement.in universities we have to re-call
the struggles of the past and realize the perils and possibilities, the challenges and opportunities, of the present.”
is not a form of government alone –it is an invitation to a new life-an experiment in the art of sharing responsibilities
and benefits-an attempt to generate the common task. Hence we cannot afford to waste a single talent, improverish a single
man or woman or allow a single individual to be stunted in growth or held under tyranny and the universities should through
the graduates it sends forth year after year, annihilate the forces that attempt at aggrandizement and tyranny, fight against
caste and hypocrisy and enthrone human dignity.
of the year, I wish you all a prosperous future-for, after all, the immediate concern of every individual, graduate or no
graduate, is to acquire the means for a decent living. That is the first motivation for all human activity and no one can
ignore it, but that ought not to be the sole objective. Something higher and nobler than mere individual material advancement
is expected of you – for remember that this University education is a privilege that you enjoy, for which you are deeply
indebted to the community of which you are a member. Most of the money needed for maintaining institutions of higher education
come from the revenues collected from the community through the State, and a good proportion of that revenue comes from the
tillers and the toilers, men who did not enjoy this privilege, men who willingly submit themselves to discomfort, so that
they can enable the next generation to lead a better life. Graduates of the Annamalai
University, may I ask you, how you are going to repay – what is
to be your contribution to the social chest on which you have drawn so largely. Unless you replenish it richly, coming generations
will find only an empty coffer. Your superior education increases your responsibility to society and therefore, apart from
or along with your own individual advancement, society has got a right to expect an adequate return from you – not so
much in terms of money as in terms of service – in toning up society, in bringing light into the dark alleys, sunshine
into dingy places, solace into the afflicted, hope unto the despondent and a new life unto every one.
this is a welcome and worthy ideal none would dispute, but not every one will come forward to translate that ideal into action
– and yet our ancient as well as modern thinkers have all stated in unmistakable terms that wisdom is manifested in
service is the outcome, the sermons become sweet nothings. As Jefferson stated,
must dream of an aristocracy of achievements arising out of a democracy of opportunities”
when I seek your help and co-operation in the supreme task of serving society, please do not wink and smile and say, it is
all so easy to say. I am not unaware of the difficulties in the way, nor am I going to brush aside the influence of the environment
on you. May be, the world in which you are to begin the journey is one which will dim your hope, disturb your determination.
You may come face to face with the unpleasant sight of practices widely differing from the principles inculcated in you. You
may find self-seekers enthroned and the patient worker decried. Tyranny of all sorts may stare at you and every step you take
will be a struggle. I admit that the environment is such that even people with robust optimism will be discouraged and forced
to take to the part of ease and comfort.
we should also realize that a continuous stream of men and women endowed with the spirit of service has been carrying on the
crusade successfully and have conferred rich benefit on humanity.
the Tamilians have been holding aloft this ideal for more than two thousand years and hence we find in pura nanuru this passage,
m«k ï›îyf« . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
KaYe® c©ik ahnd!"
inheritors of that rich legacy, you are best fitted to overcome even the environment and serve society to the best of your
who proposes to do good must not expect people to roll stones out of his way, but must accept his lot calmly if they even
roll a few more upon it. A strength which becomes clearer and stronger through its experience of such obstacles is the only
strength that can conquer them – says Albert Schweitzer.
the problems in various countries are of a similar nature, the peculiarity attached to the problems of our country is of a
is not case of starting from scratch-had that been the case the only thing needed would have been the intensity of effort
to be put forth. Ours is a case of erosion of the mind – we are not in search of fields, but have to engage in the task
of fertilizing it, irrigating it, we are not in search of ideals, but are engaged in the more intricate task of classifying,
codifying and verifying layers of ideals. We are not wanting in culture-but have to cleanse it from the cob-web of time and
de-adulterate it. In short, we have to re-discover ourselves, and re-construct our entire thought. Once task to-day is to
allow fresh air and sunshine and regain the original shape and stature – that which made us well
is distant lands and climes.Our literature, art and architecture are fine specimens of human intelligence – but they
bear the ravages of time and also the effect of currents and cross currents so that to-day we have to listen to the foreign
historian or scholar in order to realize the “glory and grandeur” of our own country.
commands veneration –but unless it is recuperated, decay sets in. our culture and civilization are hoary, but we have
allowed scars and wrinkles to disfigure them. It is our duty therefore to re-discover and re-construct what is ours and enrich
it by drawing liberally upon the achievements of other countries.
problem is not want of a system –in any branch of knowledge. We have fine specimens in all spheres. We claim also –and
that rightly –immortality for our systems, but we have not succeeded in keeping them fresh and young, effective and
energetic, for we have allowed them to decay.
a system has to endure, says, Dr.Radhakrishnan, it must be perpetually young and ready to change. In other words, it must
be capable of accepting new ideas, have the resilience of mind which the young have, have the openness, flexibility and spirit
of adventure by which they accept what is given to them and transform it out of recognition.
a goddess falling in love with a mortal, prayed to god to grant immortality to the lover-‘yes’, said god, and
the mortal gained immortality. But he grew old, infirm, senile, decayed –and what was a feast once to the eyes of Eos
became a sight to shun and grieve over –and he who gained immortality longed for death – for what is life if it
becomes a prey to decay? Then Eos sighed and said, “I prayed for immortality for my lover, forgetting to pray for perpetual
in this country are facing some such situation – and we are in charge of the task of rejuvenating our culture and civilization
– our entire thought, instead of attempting that, we have been, for too long a period, doting upon the decayed forms
attempting to defend them from critics and currents of new thought. And while other parts of the world, after persistent and
patient search after truth, have arrived at new conclusions and are scaling new heights, we are content to sit near the shattered
rampart and narrate past glory.
religion has degenerated into rituals, our society which was once classless and casteless has degenerated into water –tight
compartments of caste and creed and all the while, we have kept either silent or have been supplying defense to superstition
and orthodoxy by offering liberal allowing this state of affairs to exist, despite condemnation and protest, and, more than
that, whenever a doughty warrior comes forth to fight against the evils prevalent, we decry and denounce him as an annihilator
of noble values and hoary systems. Periyar Ramasami represents and symbolizes the fury and frustration in a sizable section
of society at this state of affairs. To allow systems to degenerate and at the same time denounce those who champion the cause
of rationalism is but to perpetuate superstition and orthodoxy and allow this society of ours to get decomposed.
offer the proper forum for a free and full discussion of these intricate problems and graduates trained here are to go forth
as emissaries of that social reconstruction which is long over due. The country looks to centers of learning like this
to enable the people to pursue the path of progress, braving difficulties and if need be, courting danger.
of the Annamalai University,
let me call upon you to carry on the crusade against caste which cannot co-exist with democracy, against superstition which
cannot co-exist with science and against tyranny of various dimensions which cannot co-exist with liberty, equality and fraternity.
vocations for your and your families’ well being, you have to perform your duty towards society. You are to become torch
– bearers of rationalism – and rationalism does not mean repudiation of basic and fundamental truths and maxims,
but the annihilation of dubious modes of thought and action. You have to work hard and with daring and dash, for we have to
clear cob-webs which are centuries old and let reason reign supreme.
peculiar feature of our times is the fact that we are a nation in the making, and if in their anxiety to forge integration,
some confuse unity with uniformity, it is the duty of men trained here to clearly enunciate the principle and see to it that,
in the name of unity, no part of the country is made to become the vassal of another part-knowingly or unknowingly. We cannot
be a party to foul play, however worthy the goal. Just on the eve of independence Rajaji stated with an acumen all his own,
“our political experiment is really like melting iron and metals and pouring them in to a crucible and making an alloy,
an alloy which can stand wear and tear . It is not like the chinaware that other people have turned out in their countries.
Their democracies were easy to make – like plastics. But we are dealing with metals.” National integration is
a goal, worthy and much – sought after, but neither in the field of language nor in the economic sphere, could we tolerate
injustice and domination. That is exactly why this government was brought into existence – it represents the determination
of the people to be coerced into accepting Hindi as the official language.
we plead for the continuance of English as the link language, some people do misrepresent us and misinterpret our motive.
They trot out untenable arguments and disputable statistics, bring in the bogey of disintegration and want to silence people
by threats and troops. Problems were never solved by autocratic methods – and this problem of language is intimately
connected with our way of life, not for the present alone but for the future as well.
government of Tamilnadu has stated in unmistakable terms that Tamil and English can serve all our purposes, the former as
the official language of this state and the latter as the link language. If it is accepted and the most emphatic of Hindi
protagonists do accept that - if it is accepted that English can serve admirably as a link between our state and the outside
world, why plead for Hindi to be the link language here? What serves to link us with the outside world is certainly capable
of rendering the same service inside India
as well. To plead for two link languages is like boring a smaller hole in a wall for the kitten while there is a bigger one
for the cat. What suits the cat will suit the kitten as well
is foreign, some argue, as if we were out to destroy or give up everything foreign. We bring foreign wear in foreign ships.
We seek foreign aid not only in the shape of money bur also in the from of technical know-how and not a week passes without
one or other leader undertaking a journey to the west or east to secure whatever aid is possible to secure. And on top of
all these things, we have given up so many systems peculiarly our own.
are not content with rural economy, we want Trombays and Ennores. And we are not conscious of their being foreign; only in
the matter of language we pose as being ultra –nationalists and dub the English language as foreign.
and Byron, Keats and Coleridge, Emerson and Bacon-they are not foreign to us in the strict sense of the term. Is Tiruvalluvar
a mere Tamilian? They are all world citizens – world teachers. And the language enshrining their thoughts is not to
be discarded just because it comes from another country. That we are not going to accord a higher status to English is borne
out by the fact that we have accepted and are implementing with due caution the principle of making Tamil the medium of instruction
in colleges –progressively.
education is an epitome of all that is best in thought cultivated in various countries, and from you should radiate universal
thought and cosmopolitan ideas.
if we are to get all these and more from out of the graduates of the University we have to re-examine the methods in vogue
in universities, in teaching and in administration, and so perfect them that every student feels that he is a co-sharer of
the pleasure and privilege of knowledge along with his professors. I shall not dabble in methods of teaching or administration-experts
in that field are the natural custodians-my plea is only as regards the necessity for a re-examination.
the functions assigned to universities are mostly of the same type, the Annamalai
University, by its structure and spirit, has got a special function of
its own. The great founder’s nobility and generosity has made this institution gain the esteem of eminent men here and
elsewhere; but if we analyze the thought and motive force of Rajah Sir Annamalai Chettiar, we will find that he wanted this
place to be not only a seat of learning and research of Tamil Culture and Tamil polity. He had the foresight to realize that
Tamilians were going to cultivate their special talents and that was exactly why he started and made a success of the Tamil
Isai Movement. Rajah Sir was never a man of tall talk-he believed in solid work and he knew the time was bound to come for
us to delve deep into our annals and literature, culture and civilization and succeed in getting due and adequate recognition
in the world forum.
great has been our achievement in the field of literature. To be able to announce to the world that we the Tamilians do process.
ešy FWªbjhid I§FWü
gâ‰W¥g¤ njh§F gÇghlš
V¤J« fÈnah lf«òwbk‹
to present to the world the great Tirukkural which is a Code of Conduct for the entire humanity are something about which
we can have pardonable pride and pleasure.
yet, are we devoting enough attention to these Tamil Classics? Addressing the Convocation here in 1943, the late lamented
Sir R.K. Shanmukham Chetty had the following to say:-
graduated with a complete ignorance of Tamil Culture and History: in fact with a great deal of contempt for these. I attained
a fair degree of proficiency in English literature and the history of European culture. I acquired some knowledge of even
Anglo- Saxon and Gothic. I read the translation of the Bible in the Gothic language , but I had not read the Kural of Valluvar.
I could understand Chaucer, but the name of Ilango was nothing but a name. Even after leaving College, I kept alive my interest
in these studies and built up a Library in which there was not a single Tamil book.
my early youth when I lived in a world of my own with no sense of responsibility, all this made no difference to me and I
was proud of my learning. Soon when manhood came with its cares and problems, I found myself a stranger in my own home…….Gradually
I began to realize the incongruity of my scheme of life and for some time now I have been endeavoring to rectify the balance.
It was only a few years ago that I seriously attempted to study some of the Tamil Classics. I find that they are fit to rank
among the immortal works of the world. I now bitterly regret my neglect of the treasures of my own land.”
was not an apologia, but the expression of a new determination and Sir R.K.Shanmukaham lived to establish the truth that he
had mastered not only the Tamil language but Tamil literature as well. Had he lived for some more years, he would traveled
many a land carrying the message of the Tamil Classics, which spoke at such a hoary past about
FyK« xUtnd njtD«”
Cnu ahtU« nfË®”
brŒjš M‰Ö uhÆD«
mšy thÊa Ãynd”
e‹W« ãw® ju thuh”
gšYÆ® X«òjš ünyh®
now placed before the world as blossoms of the modern age.
graduates of the Annamalai University, have got undertake the special task of carrying the message that our classics contain
to the entire world and declare that what was the most ancient here is what is being introduced to-day as the most modern.
India is the home of the most ancient culture Though for a fairly long period there was the mist of ignorance, thick and widespread,
it has now been acknowledge by all that Dravidian Civilization of a highly developed character can be traced back to the second
and third millennia before Christ. Many a Foreign scholar has borne testimony to the perfection with which Tamil language
has been developed into an instrument of precise and subtle thought and to the beauty and richness of the literature –
which is contained in it. Dravidian literature, philosophy, art and architecture offer therefore a rich and fruitful field
for exploration and critical investigation.
for more glorification but for a just appreciation of all that is of real value and beauty in our past heritage. We need this
research and investigation.
do not propose to talk about your responsibility in the political arena. Suffice it to say that you should make democracy
safe and sound, salubrious and fruitful.
the message that this Universities has given to you wherever you go, whatever the station you find yourselves in and elevate
the common man- the average man-
“He seems incredible but represents two –thirds of mankind. He lives in
hut. He cannot read or write. His energy is sapped by disease. He labours up to 15hours a day. He works on land he does not
own. He and his family are family are usually hungry. He will die young. But he still has hopes for his children; that they
will be strong and healthy; will be able to read and write, will know individual freedom in a peaceful world. This is the
world’s average Man.”
the world over, this average Man has become conscious of the injustice done to him and as a consequence we find agitations
and marches, struggles and clashes. In many a country, measures to raise his level have been undertaken. Take a pledge, here
and now, that we will not lag behind and leave our average man in the lurch. For if the base is weak, the dome is doomed.
Inheritors as you are of a noble heritage, you are eminently fitted for this noble task, and on its success depends the future
of this nation as of others.
us remember what Woodrow Wilson said,
are renewed from the bottom not from the top . . . real wisdom of human life is compounded out of the experiences of ordinary
men. The utility, the vitality, the fruitage of life comes like the natural growth of a great tree, from the soil, up through
the trunk into the branches to the foliage and the fruit. The great struggling unknown masses of the men who are not the base
of everything are the dynamic force that is lifting the level of society. A nation is as great and only as great as her rank
I submit my plea to you, youths blossoming forth from this institution, be firm but not obstinate, let here be a blending
of ideas, but never cheap imitation and injurious adulteration, beware of mistaking obsessions for principles and fads for
facts, strike at a synthesis and avoid subservience, view as the final on to protest against injustice but project not your
own view as the final one, forget not the ancient saying
k©zsî fšyh Jyfsî”
father not when you practice what you profess.
education gives you the basic needs for this stupendous task, but that is not enough. Say along
read, I study
examine, I listen
reflect, and out of
this, I try to form
idea in which I can put as
remember the longest journey is the journey inward, and since graduation is but the starting point of that journey, I wish
you success-reach the goal yourselves-teach others to march towards the goal and let that goal be,
world without the
piteous wail of
the pallid face
lips of lies,
of flesh or
of form and
to get these things realized, let us one and all strive towards the ideal enunciated by Thiruvalluvar,
Xth¥ ãÂí« brWgifí«
am confident that you are being sent into the wide world by the Annamalai
University with this objective-you are bound to win, for you are adequately
equipped with the spirit supplied by this great institution. May your life be a bright one, and may its luster brighten the
entire land! Accept my congratulations and march onwards, towards the land of smiles.
Convocation Address of Tamilnadu Chief Minister C.N.Annadurai on 18.11.1967]