Yogi Rummun was a pioneering promoter of Hinduism in Mauritius. All lovers of Hinduism should be inspired by such a great soul who had sacrificed himself for years in order to give visibility and prominence to Hinduism. Yogi Rummun is no more but his teachings will always enlighten our hearts, as mentioned in most Upanishads: “By His light alone everything shines”.
Yogi Rummun was more of a spiritual than a religious man. Hinduism for him was merely a religion but a way of life. As a great teacher, preacher and author, Yogi Rummun brought the lofty teachings of the holy scriptures such as the Vedas, Bhagavad Gita, Ramayana and Mahabharata to the level of adequate understanding for the youth, which helped to prevent them from falling into delinquency.
Yogi Rummun was a living symbol of Hinduism. During the Deepavali festival, Yogi Rummun’s house and yard were always illuminated, and he welcomed people of all ethnic groups. The visitors did not come only for the Deepavali sweets but also to celebrate this great festival as a national one together with the Yogi’s family. Leaflets explaining the meaning and message of Deepavali were distributed. This is an inspiration that he has given to all Mauritians – that Deepavali brings unity and brotherhood in our country.
The history of Hinduism in the schools of Mauritius has been marked by the contributions of Yogi Rummun. His first Hinduism Movement (Jnana Yajna) was held at the Presidency College Boys on 26th July 1977. It was inaugurated by Sir Kher Jagatsingh, Minister of Education at that time. For almost 30 years, the Hinduism Movement contributed towards the welfare of students offering Hinduism at SC and HSC levels.
In 1979, after the colossal efforts of Yogi Rummun, Hinduism was accepted as an examinable subject for the Cambridge School certificate examination. During that time the subject was being taught in almost 15 colleges in Mauritius. In 1982, Hinduism was accepted as a subject at the HSC level by the Cambridge University. This was not only an achievement of Yogi Rummun but the fruit of his continuous efforts.
The Hinduism Movement of Yogi Rummun in the schools of Mauritius carried out several activities all throughout the island, bringing innovations such as
- Exhibitions of books and paintings. Among those exhibitions, the one worth mentioning was Kriyavan, which was visited by Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam in 1980.
- Antavas or spiritual campings at Riambel to remind students about education in the gurukulas.
- The Nachiketa library: symbolizing the dynamic youth and the spiritual needs of young people in the field of education.
– Donation of blankets to old people.
– Adoption of a Ward at Victoria Hospital.
– Visit to Petit Raffray Ashrama to offer lunch and gifts to old people.
– Blood donation for the sick and suffering.
The Hinduism Movement organized by Yogi Rummun also contributed in the literary field by organizing:
HSC seminars were held in different parts of the island. Students of several colleges participated in the seminars. Educators discussed topics from the syllabus and welcomed questions from students. Students who attended the seminars showed great enthusiasm in mastering the syllabus more particularly on topics like Samkhya, Yoga, Advaita, Vishishadvaita, Jainism and Buddhism.
The Hinduism Movement had also published booklets for students of Forms One to Two. The aim was to facilitate young students’ learning of Hinduism through stories.
The Hinduism Movement organized various competitions at school level every year. Most of the schools of the island participated in the different competitions such as: Gita Recitation, Ramayana Chanting, Essay competitions, Elocution contest, and Best candidates (for SC and HSC examinations were offered silver medals).
The finals of these competitions were held at the Octave Wiehe auditorium of the University of Mauritius. Prizes were in cash and books offered by Yogi Rummun. As a great philantropist, Yogi had even offered a scholarship to a student who came out First in HSC examination. That student namely Rajshree Beneemadoo was sponsored by Yogi Rummun for a BA Course of three years at the Banaras Hindu University in India.
The seed of Hinduism was sown by Yogi Rummun and that seed has become such a huge tree that it has spread its branches in almost all the colleges of Mauritius. Even the University of Mauritius is running the course of BA (Hons) Indian Philosophy in collaboration with the MGI. The MIE has also launched the PGCE course in Hinduism. The driver behind such a great success of Hinduism is the one and only Yogi Rummun.
* Yogi Rummun sought and obtained the support of the Founder-Editor of this paper, late Beekrumsing Ramlallah to get Hinduism promoted as an examinable subject at SC level. It did not require much convincing for Sir Kher Jagatsingh, then Minister of Education, to implement the proposal.
* Published in print edition on 31 August 2018