Unseen Passage: Convocation Address by C.V. Raman

It is no small honour to be asked to address the Convocation of a University in India, and certainly it is a unique experience for me, at any rate, to be called upon to address a University Convocation at one place a second time.

I know poverty and misery and I quite appreciate by personal experience what it is to be poor, what it is to have no clothes, what it is to have no books, what it is to struggle through life, what it is to walk through the streets without an umbrella, without conveyance along miles in dusty roads. I have been through it all and I can understand the difficulties that most of you graduates have to face up today. I am speaking from a long experience of 60 years. Please do not imagine that all the 60 years were milk and roses. To be able to accomplish something I want to tell you that you have to go through such an experience.

I admit, success in life is not always to the intelligent or the strong and it is to some extent a bit of a gamble, but nonetheless those who have got their minds right and those who know their job will sooner or later, sooner perhaps than later make their way in life. But they should not be disappointed if they do not, they have to face up life and take it as they find it. This is the kind of philosophy that I have learnt by experience, and I make a free gift of it to you all.

What I say is this that the great things in life are not really great things in life. The Nobel Prize, the F.R.S. and the like, many of them leave a bitter taste in the mouth. What I love is to enjoy the common things of life. I am happy that I am still able to sleep at night provided I have a three mile walk in the evening. I am still able to enjoy a good lunch or good dinner. I am still able to look at the blue sky and like it. I still like to walk in the open fields and like the smell of the Ragi or the Jowar. I feel a younger man when I see the Babul flower and say God has given us these wonderful things. That is the real philosophy of life to appreciate what we see around us.

We think that happiness consists in going to pictures and seeing thrilling films and techni -colour dramas. Not at all, the great things in life are the God-given things which cost nothing. What you need is the desire to appreciate them. If you have your minds and hearts open, you have around you things which give you joy. There is the butterfly jumping about in flourishing colours on all sides. Look at this wonderful thing that God has given for our enjoyment.

We have to love nature and appreciate nature and appreciate her wonderful gifts, her marvellous ingenuity, her resourcefulness, her infinite variety. It is the same thing that has inspired me all my life. – An extract from the convocation address of C.V. Raman, delivered at the Agra University on 18 November 1950

Q. 1 Answer any four of the following questions briefly:

  1. How had C.V. Raman’s childhood been difficult?
  2. Why has life been termed as a gamble?
  3. How does C.V. Raman’s speech inspire us?
  4. What instances, quoted by C.V. Raman in his speech, show that he was a nature lover?
  5. According to C.V. Raman, where can we seek real happiness and where can it not be found?

Answer

  1. During his childhood, C.V. Raman had no clothes, no books, no conveyance. He had to walk along miles even without an umbrella.
  2. Life has been termed as a gamble as it is not sure that the intelligent or the strong would certainly succeed in life.
  3. In his speech, C.V. Raman told us the easiest way to enjoy life, we should enjoy the common things of life, love and appreciate nature, appreciate its wonderful gifts, marvellous ingenuity, resourcefulness, and infinite variety.
  4. There is the butterfly jumping about in flourishing colors on all sides, look at this wonderful thing that God has given for our enjoyment.
  5. We can seek happiness in all the God-given things which cost nothing. Happiness can never be found in artificial things like going to pictures and seeing thrilling films.

Q. 2 Choose the best option from the words given below which mean the same as:

  1. despair
    1. disappointment
    2. hopelessness
    3. misery
    4. distress
  2. endless
    1. unlimited
    2. continuous
    3. infinite
    4. unreachable
  3. prosperous
    1. rich
    2. flourishing
    3. wealthy
    4. fortunate
  4. exciting
    1. joyful
    2. funny
    3. exhilarating
    4. thrilling
  5. nonetheless
    1. but
    2. and
    3. still
    4. although

Answer

  1. disappointment
  2. infinite
  3. flourishing
  4. thrilling
  5. still

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