Bulletin Vol. 6 No. 3 Nov–Dec 1969

problems. In effect, its states and territories have already become interdependent economically now and will inevitably be culturally a regional unit. Now let me mention my second half truth: " T he East never changes". We remember the old story of the tombstone inscribed with the words: "Here lies the man who tried to change the East". Before me now sits a body of men and women representatives of a vital generatio n that is changing the East. Let me make a quick change to the one point 1 want to make : amidst all this change and the making of the new man in the new society a vital role will be played by the university. Some of you will be asking a question I have asked myself for a long time: Can we speak of an Asian university as a viable concept for the future, let alone a present reality? Science is not national nor regional. We do not in our curriculum subdivide physics into British, Chinese, German, American or Philippine physics rather than into optics, nuclear physics, electronics, etc. Yet there are regional needs that urge certain priorities in research and even in the undergraduate teaching of Botany, Chemistry and Medicine. Only in this context could we speak sensibly of Asian science, just as we speak of the climate of Monsoon Asia. Yet Asian independence or interdependence can be an illusion if based on regional loyalty alone. Modernization has exposed us all to the impact of mass media which militates against isolationism anywhere. Our neighbourhood is the world. In this world and in Asia particularly the university has become the foremost institution determining the future of the past and selectively exploiting present knowledge, regardless of it s sources, for the new life ahead. The university is the centre of ferment, where the past and the present and the East and the West freely mingle. The university wherever i t has existed and whatever individual tradition it has cultivated is a unique and essentially independen t institution. What I have now to say relates to defining the character of that independence. The university has always claimed a unique freedom — academic freedom — which looks two ways: inwardly and outwardly. It means freedom to seek and impart wisdom. It also means freedom fro m entangling alliances with external bodies: government, industry , the city and all its works. Now much is said these days by those within and by many others looking at the university from the outside about relevance. No one wants and dares to be irrelevant, even if he is not sure what it means. Relevance, however, is relative. Ultimate relevance is found in the newspaper, the radio and the T . V. It is to be up to the moment with the news of the day. But ultimate relevance lasts for two hours, or till the last four star edition is on the street and an hour later in the litterbox. In the university, real relevance exists only between the teacher and the student, when through the exciting process of learning they discover each other and develop a new alertness and responsiveness and are able to find new horizons and directions. Thus amidst the cross currents of a multitude of concepts—Identity, Change, Freedom, Relevance, Independence—often contradicting one another and representing different social pressures, the university must stand firm and chart a steady course. This immense responsibility rests with the administrators, the Presidents, the Vice-Chancellors , Rectors, Deans and department heads. It means, therefore, that they must develop a new style of leadership capable of inventing new concepts, new organizations and new arrangements to deal with the current problems. The only clear course is: to strive for humanistic excellence. A university succeeds onl y if the individual student grows and matures and is infused with a blending of knowledg e and purpose. Thus, if there is any new trend in university administration, the most important one will be a fuller awareness of the immense potentiality of the individual student and whether he can be pushed to new limits in human capacity. The student, on the other hand, tends to have less confidence in the instruction and administration of the traditional university. Many students may have a sound and responsible sense of a calling to become deeply involved in the academic policies of their universities and the politics of their nations while still under tutelage for their first academic degree. It may be significant that of the many reports of my university submitted to the University Grants Committee those of the students and the Professors/Readers raised the same questions and suggested similar solutions. Many students motivated by the wholesome idealism of youth may have in fact to assume a role exceeding their status, to be the conscience o f their countries. Taking and fulfilling responsibilities are the real goals of education. The Asian university cannot refuse to be a means toward these ends. Progress is not a matter of achievement within th e narrow confines of a university compound. It is not merely a university- developed blue print for social change and technical efficiency. Progress has no more narrow base than the development of the society itself. The Asian university, more rather than less compared with the modern western university, is in the public domain. This is both a threat and a challenge. Whether created by public or private — 2 —