MT 60 Years Ago – 2nd YEAR NO. 36 – 15th April 1955
According to psychoanalysts the mind has two functions: the conscious and the subconscious; the brain is compared to an iceberg, one tenth of its size which is above water is supposed to represent the conscious mind and the remaining nine-tenth the subconscious mind.
The subconscious mind registers and stores all events and impressions with great precision. In fact, it is the subconscious mind which more than any other factor influences the conscious mind in its functions.
The technique of Nazi propaganda was based on that assumption. Among its various weapons of propaganda the most formidable was racial prejudice which, according to the American school of psychology, is firmly established in individuals since the age of five. Hitler’s anti-semitic propaganda dived its roots deep into the subconscious mind of the Germans. All anti-semitic manifestations were carefully prepared; with crafty variations on the same theme – the Jewish peril – was incessantly hammered until all the Germans got into a frenzy. Taking advantage of this state of mind 8,000,000 Jews were murdered, banished, imprisoned and plundered.
Almost the same thing has happened and is still happening in this colony. After the General Elections of 1948 in which the capitalist element was defeated, the reactionary group got recourse to the Nazi technique of propaganda to further the imperialist ideology of divide et impera. To set the other communities against the Hindus – who happened to be the majority community and the biggest bloc to support the Labour Party – the reactionaries following the Nazi pattern, roused racial hatred. The Hindus or anything connected with them – their religion, culture, national dress, language, Indian or the Indian Government — became objects of contempt and derision. Should an article against Hindus or India appear in a paper anywhere in the world it is reproduced in a conspicuous place in the local anti-Hindu papers. When a careless driver is being slapped by some irresponsible villagers, the incident is magnified and it provides an excuse for the anti-Hindus to write an inflammatory article on the fancied “Hindu peril”.
Besides direct propaganda, the group got recourse to indirect propaganda. Hirelings engaged in anti-Hindus and anti-Labour propaganda had been touring villages and estate camps. Indo-Pak unfriendly relations were exploited to an extravagant degree. As a weapon against Labour and Dr Ramgoolam some very able Hindus are being indirectly exploited, who, unconsciously, perhaps, are dividing the Hindus community itself.
In the absence of a planned counter propaganda on the part of the Hindu Community, the anti- Hindu community, the anti-Hindu campaign gradually got ground.
It is a somber thing to note that after seven years of relentless anti-Hindu progaganda, there are many non Hindus who sincerely believe in the existence of a Hindu peril. This is sufficient proof that the campaign has found its way deep in the subconscious mind of these people. As the revision of the Constitution was contemplated the anti- Hindu campaign was intensified. The reactionaries were convinced, after the other means had failed, that only a communal riot could wreck the projected constitutional reforms.
In November last we were informed of the activities of the trouble mongers. Hoping to draw the attention of the authorities and that of the public, in our issue of the 4th December under the heading NMU’s party of Law and Order, we wrote: “… We have received informations that people are touring the villages holding private meetings and rousing hatred. It is even whispered that a move is being made to provoke a riot if the Secretary of State advocates any appreciable change in the Constitution. It will serve a pretext to the opposition that Mauritius is not yet ripe to shoulder responsibility.
We wish to think that the informations we have received are not true. There are responsible persons on both sides who will not tolerate goondaism and who will fight the constitutional proposals by constitutional means in case they don’t like it. But relying on past experience we think it is our duty to alert public opinion and to request the local authorities to keep a vigilant eye on what is going on around us. The Intelligence Service of the Police Department should be reinforced, the movements of the suspected propagandists be trailed and rabble rousers, whether of the Labour or anti-Labour groups, be dealt with severely.” It appears that our request was not taken seriously.
Now that the blood of both Hindus and Muslims has been spilled, it is high time for them to realize that they have been exploited for political ends. While the exploiters have remained in the background Hindus and Muslims have been pushed into the fray.
“Parti Mauricien” or “Ralliement Mauricien”
« I believe there will be considerable development in what is commonly known as the ‘party system’. There has been a good deal of talk about the party system recently. Have you by the way heard the new riddle: “When is a party not a party”? and the answer: ‘When it is a Ralliement” — Sir Hilary Blood 10 Jan 54.
By the end of last year a political party, Le Parti Populaire was formed. We do not know exactly what has happened to it, but of one thing we are sure: it was out to stop the imaginary ‘Hindu peril, and the fancied ‘Labour Communist menace’. This year out of the ashes of the Ralliement Mauricien is born another political party Le Parti Mauricien.
The Labour Party is the only constituted party worth the name with a policy, which has been reigning supreme in the political arena of the Colony. Now that there is a powerful opposition it will spur the Labourites to more vigorous actions. In democratic states a healthy opposition is a necessity: it should be welcomed by all thinking people.
In the introductory letter the sponsors of the Parti Mauricien claim that : “il est indispensable de former un parti politique pour sauvegarder le patrimoine mauricien”. We are tempted to put to ourselves some pertinent questions: « What the sponsors mean by le patrimoine mauricien and by whom is it endangered? » Is the patrimoine mauricien the heritage of a group of Franco-Mauritians, Muslims, Chinese and coloureds only or of the whole population of this island?” “Besides, have not the 260,000 Hindus who have watered the soil of this country with their sweat, tears and blood since 1735 a right to the patrimoine mauricien?”
Aim No. 1 of the Parti Mauricien will be: « le rapprochement de toutes les communautés de l’Ile pour la création d’une Entité Mauricienne affranchie de toute distinction de race, de classe ou de religion. » The anti-Hindu and Communalistic tendencies displayed by some of the sponsors during the electoral campaign of 1953 are still fresh in the memory of the population.
Was not the national dress of the Hindus ridiculed at an electoral meeting according to the following report:
“Mr Koenig sait que l’électorat commence à voir clair et il en voit la preuve dans les propos que lui a tenus un électeur « intelligent » de Port Louis : ‘Le suffrage universel et le gouvernement responsable ! Oui, nous sommes prêts à les accueillir à condition qu’on nous fasse venir un navire chargé d’une cargaison de toile écrue, pour que tous, nous commencions à porter « le langouti ». Pour éviter tout cela Mr Koenig demandera donc à l’électorat de ne voter que pour les candidats du Ralliement Mauricien » (Advance, 27 May 53).
In the same issue of that paper we read the following : « Le Dr Millien révèle que, après les élections de 1948, M. Jules Koenig a été lui demander de démissionner du Conseil en signe de protestion contre la nouvelle constitution « qui avait permis, disait-il, l’élection de onze députés indo-mauriciens ». In presence of these facts, unless Hon. Koenig has changed, can he honestly claim to fight « sectarisme ainsi que toute idée d’hégemonie”?
(M.Times – 15 April 1955)
Mr Anerood Jugnauth
Mr Anerood Jugnauth left Mauritius for England in July 1951 to read for the bar. He joined the Lincoln’s Inn in January 1952 where he passed his final examination in September 1953 and he was called to the bar in May 1954.
He took a keen interest in the social life of the Mauritian students and became one of the founders of the Mauritius Students’ Union which he served as a Committee Member. He was also the Editor of the Mauritian Students’ Quarterly.
He returned to Mauritius on the 1st of March and was sworn in on the 21st. We wish him success in his career.
(M.Times — 7 April 1955)