Mauritius Times – 3rd Year No 83 – Friday 9th March 1956
* Morality is simply the attitude we adopt towards people we personally dislike.
– Oscar Wilde
Writing under the heading of “Les Criailleries de M. Johnson” last Monday, NMU says: “On sait que la représentation proportionnelle est un mode de suffrage dont l’objet est d’assurer à chaque parti politique une représentation au Parlement qui soit, autant que possible, proportionnée au nombre de voix que recueille ce parti aux élections.”
That is exactly what PR is. The accent is on political party and not on any particular community. It is far from being communal representation although in practice it does degenerate into it.
It is quite possible for two or three political parties to send their representatives to the Council under PR. But will that satisfy NMU and those who think like him? Because what NMU appears to desire after all is not the representation of interests but the representation of communities. He always speaks of “l’asservissement de la population chrétienne blanche et mixte, de la population musulmane et de la population chinoise.”
Even if non-Labour political parties can have some candidates elected, what is the guarantee that all the pet communities of NMU will be fairly represented?
On the other hand, if they are fairly represented, where will be the accent on political party?
Does NMU want political parties to exist under PR to distribute seats to various members of various communities?
That is precisely what he has in view. But when communal troubles break out at the polls just as they did recently at George V Stadium, NMU will blame Mauritius Times & Co for importing communalism into politics.
* * *
We are accused of communalism every now and then because the charge of communism is getting out of fashion. As soon as we take a strong stand on a question relating to religion, for example, we are branded communalists who deserve only contempt and scorn.
When we speak on things like “Jeya, fille de Brahme”, some people start saying: “Well didn’t I say they were anti-Christians?”
Those who want us to swallow insult after insult and just smile are greatly mistaken. Let people call us anything except cowards.
Vital facts are not to be ignored. It is not by blinking them that a solution can be found. They are to be faced. They are to be discussed. We like to express our views on such matters and we like to know what the other man feels and thinks about them.
Our contributor TITAN has viewed the controversial film from one angle and Rev. Father Dethise views it from another. Some good will surely come out of the controversy.
And we expect people will be on the lookout to see the effect of the film on the masses. By that it will be judged whether such propaganda is after all worthwhile in Mauritius.
We are as conscious of our responsibilities now as we were when we wrote: “Priests on Soap-Boxes”. We provoked a controversy and after hot discussions the issues became clearer.
We are not afraid of harsh or hard words. Like the surgeon’s knife they are sometimes necessary to inflict a wound, but a wound that helps to cure some sore spot.
* * *
Government has promised to solve the problem of space by January 1958. And it has also promised to solve the thorny problem of appointing Training College students in government or aided schools.
The intake in schools was such an important question that it absorbed all our attention for some time. We shall now be able to deal with other aspects of the Education Department.
We say that the appointment of teachers is a thorny problem because the Education Department has not up to now clearly defined its policy. In the past it has given the status of government teachers to some candidates sponsored by the Education Authorities and the status of aided school teachers to some others who were not so sponsored, that is to say, who joined the Training College directly.
And we know the stalemate that has resulted. Some fifty teachers who were not sponsored are today working with the status of aided school teachers.
Protests have been made in various ways. The Council has had the opportunity of getting acquainted with the case of Miss L. Gujadhursing and the court with that of Miss G. Gujadhursing. Both cases are now awaiting solution. The fifty teachers mentioned above too are eagerly awaiting the decision of Government.
We understand that the Education Department has now practically adopted the principle of appointing sponsored candidates as aided school teachers and non-sponsored candidates as government teachers. That is all right for the present and the future. But what about what has been done in the past?
We expect that justice will be done to those who have been wronged in the past. Government should once for all lay down the principle that sponsored candidates should be given the status of aided school teachers and non-sponsored candidates the status of government teachers. The Education Department may reserve the right of posting the teachers in any school. The question of status which seems to have been a matter of policy should become a matter of principle.
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