By Chit Dukhira
After his numerous works and articles on Public Administration, mostly in relation with local government, Chit Dukhira has rounded off his large-formatted, 600-page encyclopaedic ‘Indians In India, Mauritius And South Africa’ (2011), after three years of, in the author’s own words, “extensive, but passionate, research and interviews”.
The book contains a Tribute to Mahatma Gandhi, several chapters devoted to India, Mauritius and South Africa, the Indian Diaspora today and appendices with further material on India, Mauritius, South Africa, as well as on Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Reunion, the Seychelles, Trinidad/Tobago and Oman. A bibliography, a glossary, an index, marginal and footnotes, maps and tables are inserted. The supplementary booklet to this main work is on Rediscovering Ballia, an Indian district in Uttar Pradesh (UP), from where hail the author’s paternal ancestors.
Book Launch in Delhi
‘Indians In India, Mauritius And South Africa’ was launched last month at the Central Government-run Indian Institute of Public Administration (IIPA), set up in New Delhi by India’s first Prime Minister Nehru in 1950. In the absence of India’s Vice-President M. Hamid Ansari, who presides ex-officio over the IIPA, TN Chatturvedi, who heads its governing body, chaired the ceremony, with Prof Sushma Yadav as announcer. A former Union Home Secretary and then Comptroller/Auditor General, Mr Chatturvedi was later elected MP before becoming Governor of Karnataka. (Vice-president Prof. N. P. Singhalso chairs IIPA’s standing committee. Dr Rakesh Hooja, scholar and ex-Chief Secretary/CEO, Indian Administrative (Civil) Service, is the director.)
While in Varanasi, Chit was interviewed by Sahara TV on 31 October 2011. He commented in mixed Bhojpuri-Hindi on his latest book, emphasising the now global citizenry with which the Indian Culture is synonymous, referring to the plural society in Mauritius and Ballia’s historical reputation. Appreciating C. Dukhira’s work on Ballia, Neeraj Shekhar, its current MP, whose late father Chandra Shekhar was its MP for 45 years, is keen on having the book translated into Hindi.
Acclaimed by Gandhi’s University, Varanasi
In Varanasi, Chit Dukhira was greeted at the Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapith (MGKV). Set up in 1921 by Mahatma Gandhi, financially supported by Shivparsad Gupta, editor of the then Hindi daily Aa, the MGKV became the main educational centre for India’s liberation in the eastern region (then undivided Bengal, Bihar and UP). Such eminent freedom fighters as Chandra Shekhar Azad and Prime Minister Shastri had studied there. Ballia’s Chandra Shekhar had as his political mentor MGKV’s second Vice-Chancellor, N. Dev. Now, with 300 colleges across UP, attended by some 400,000 students, this university runs 11 faculties and 30 departments. The function was organised upon the initiative of Prof M. K. Das, Director, Head and Dean of its Education Department.
Besides Prof Das and the mistress of ceremony, Dr Rakhi Dev, Prof Vachaspati Dwivedi, who had recently sojourned in Mauritius, and Prof Arvind Kumar Pandey spoke on the occasion. Invited to the pulpit, Ms Dukhira and Devesh referred to the Indian traditions kept alive in Mauritius and its present economy respectively. The regional Sunday papers, including the Sahara and the Hindustan, covered the event.
Soon after the launch by the IIPA, Chit handed over, in Delhi itself, a copy of his book to Prof. Ajay Dubey (Jawarhalal Nehru University), world co-ordinator (academic) for Indian diaspora, who recently fathered the open Organisation for Diaspora Initiatives (ODI). Chit is the founder-chairman of ODI Mauritius. The theme of his present work reflects the goal of ODI – the promotion of intra-culturalism.
* Published in print edition on 25 November 2011