Sir PC Ray’s Speech in the Edinburgh Indian Association

Primary source material reproduced from ‘Sir PC Ray’s Speech in the Edinburgh Indian Association’, Amrita Bazar Patrika, 13/11/1920

Our distinguished countryman Sir PC Ray is now in Edinburgh on what he calls his ‘pilgrimage’ to his alma mater. On the 17th October last, the Edinburgh Indian Association organised a social function to meet the great scientist. Sir Praphulla Chandra in the course of his address to the students said that:

‘There were about 2,500 of their countrymen reading in different universities of Great Britain and on an average of 50 lakhs of rupees spent every year. Was India going to get the benefit of this enormous amount spent on degrees or was it going to be only a waste? The answer would depend upon the success of their career.’

Sir Praphulla Chandra is not oblivious of the difficulties in the way of their future career being successful. But he still exhorts them to endeavour to contribute to the advancement of science in all its aspects. ‘The difficulties were very great but the rewards would be richer,’ he assures them. Sir Praphulla Chandra had to ask them to prepare themselves for struggling against difficulties for what else could he say having had himself an experience of the way in which the loaves and fishes of the Imperial Education Service [IES] are disposed of?

Whether these men will be able to make substantial contributions to the store of scientific knowledge will certainly depend upon the facilities they will get in the colleges of this country for that purpose and upon the kind of opportunity which the positions they will obtain here will give them to avail themselves of what little facilities exist.

The way in which scientific education in this country has been starved and the reluctance which has been shown in the past to appoint even scientists of world-wide fame like Sir PC Ray himself in the IES have always been a fruitful cause of the waste of money our young men spend for European education. And, could not this education itself be provided in this country by generous contribution from the Government for the promotion of scientific education? But that is left to the munificence of our public men while the Government must attend to the Army and the Police. And if public donations are insufficient, Vice-Chancellors may be breaking their hands against the wall in their attempt to eke out the donations of their countrymen by asking for doles from the taxpayer’s money in the close bureaucratic fist. And so our young men must spend fabulous sums for education in foreign climes and get in return jobs in private colleges, and in the provincial educational service […]