Will the MBC promote Bhojpuri?

Points to Ponder

By Lex

A First Point: We would like to address those responsible for providing us with some entertainment. We are talking in this context more especially to those persons who are responsible for

First of all, they are treated like a “parent pauvre” who must gulp down whatever has been served. I am referring specifically to the Hindustani news of 18.00 hours. It is clear that a far better treatment is reserved for those who understand French. Just watch the news in French and compare it with what is dished out in Hindustani and you will see the difference for yourself.

And then there is the timing and contents of the news. We would like to have full and detailed news in Hindustani. Why are the news items so sketchy in Hindustani, why is it that certain items are not even mentioned, and why is it that certain items are mentioned in the Hindustani news a day after they were first mentioned in the French news? Do not come up with such weak excuses that, as at 18.00 hours, the items were not ready for broadcasting but they were so by 19.30 hours. If such is, implausibly enough, the case, why do the people at the MBC not interchange the timings, by telecasting the full news in Hindustani at 19.30 hours and have the sketchy news in French at 18.00 hours?

And then we have to talk about the entertainment programme in Hindustani on our national television. We would like to have a channel that will give us the news, like what we used to have with the NDTV channel. Why explains that this channel, which was appreciated by most people, is now off? The MBC owed us an explanation about the reason for which it cut off all links with the NDTV, which has not been provided to viewers till now.

One channel that all of us are missing is the Aastha channel. It is a channel that is dedicated to spiritual improvement. This channel has also been replaced by another channel for no stated reason. We would appreciate it if the Aastha channel were restored on a full time basis, to give a boost to spirituality, which is generally on the wane in society today.

And with what type of channels have those channels been replaced? You have one channel called Zoom and what is shown on that channel is simply disgusting for the vast majority of the people. Its programmes contribute to make morons of the people. Of course this is my opinion and I present my apologies to those who feel that I am unduly targeting them. However, I feel that I am entitled to express my opinion.

Why is it that we do not have a channel in Bhojpuri? If the MBC does not have people who can prepare good programmes in this language, it can request the government in Bihar to send us a few of their specialists and I am sure they will help us. There must be a few channels in Bhojpuri in India, why not approach the authorities there in order to allow us to catch those Bhojpuri channels? Here I am appealing to the High Commissioner of India to give us a helping hand to promote Bhojpuri in the country and bring it to the level and status that it enjoyed in the forties and the fifties. Those of the Bhojpuri culture would ever be grateful to him. They know that he is a person who likes to help Mauritians of the Indian culture generally and they have a great expectation that he will help them. Can the Minister of Culture try to extend his help in this matter? The Minister was our High Commissioner in India just before the last general election and he still must have his contacts in India. Maybe a meeting involving the Minister, the Indian High Commissioner and the Director General of the MBC will help to find the right solution to the problems referred to.

The Language Issue

A Second Point: This point is addressed to Ministers Vasant Bunwaree and Mookeshwar Choonee. It concerns the language problem that we have in Mauritius. Everybody knows that at a certain time, more than 75 per cent of the population were conversant in Bhojpuri and now so many supposed intellectuals are clapping their hands that this language is slowly disappearing because certain persons have not spared any efforts in an attempt to kill it.

What is government doing to revive it, especially that those who speak the language and have always given it their full backing? We know that all politicians have given their favours to some other language to the detriment of Bhojpuri. They have bowed to the wishes of those who have always been and still are against Bhojpuri. Will anybody in government deny this fact? Creating a Bhojpuri Speaking Union and a Bhojpuri Cultural Centre will not do. Some real positive action is needed.

So I suggest that there should be a high-powered committee to find out why Bhojpuri has been abandoned by the people and once the reason is known, corrective measures should be taken.

There should be good programmes in Bhojpuri on our television as well as on the radio. Bhojpuri must get the same importance as say, French and for this the MBC will have to buy the relevant good programmes from India. I am afraid that, like many valid suggestions, this suggestion runs the risk of falling on deaf ears, as it normally happens. It will be a pity!

I am sure that this Bhojpuri issue will have its importance both for the Labour Party, the PMSD and the MSM alliance as well as for the MMM and its allies at the next general election. They should not think that the language problem will not become an issue because, according to them, those who have Bhojpuri as their language are not so interested to assert themselves.

People must realize that a culture is transmitted through the medium of the language that has given birth to that particular culture. I am not saying that you must believe me, but you can talk to any sociologist and he will give you the necessary information. If you want the Bhojpuri culture to die, kill the language first and all of us would then embrace the Creole or some other similar culture. When this happens, some people will then be satisfied to their heart’s content.

Talking of languages, some people are putting pressure on the authorities to have the Creole language as one of the languages in our Parliament. So far this is what the Standing Orders of the National Assembly say: “The proceedings and debates in the Assembly shall be in the English language but a Member may address the Assembly in French.” If the powers that be want to “niveler par le bas” the debates and other proceedings in the Assembly, let us all go that way. Why limit the amendment to the introduction of the Creole language only? If the Creole language is good enough for the Assembly, Bhojpuri has a greater claim and legitimacy for its introduction in the august House. It cannot simply be left out from among the various languages spoken in the country. I am not saying anything for the introduction of Hindi at the moment, I am mentioning Bhojpuri only which is taught at the MA and PHD levels in various universities in India.

Then various laws must also be amended to allow just anybody to be a candidate to become a Member of Parliament. We shall have some good fun when this is done.

So the question I am putting is: why is Bhojpuri not taught in our schools and other institutions of higher learning when we have the books and facilities already at our disposal? If some facilities are lacking, why have the local authorities not asked the help of the Indian authorities? It is still not too late to go in that direction. Are they just trying to satisfy those who have Bhojpuri as their language by giving them a few crumbs because they are prioritizing the Creole language? They will pay a heavy price for the treatment that is being meted out to Bhojpuri, but they still have an opportunity to change their policy relating to this matter at the earliest.

And then I am asking why a Commission of Enquiry has not been set up to find out the reasons for which Bhojpuri has gone down from 75% to 10 or 15% in a matter of a few decades? And the commission should suggest ways and means to give to Bhojpuri the importance it enjoyed in a not too distant past.

It is surprising that most of our politicians of the Bhojpuri culture are not concerned with their own language and they are doing everything to promote another language with which their ancestors were not familiar. Let them think deeply on this point.

The MMM’s Politics

A Third Point: According to Paul Bérenger, all the politicians in the government are incapable of taking a correct decision at the right time, do not understand anything concerning politics, are intellectually deficient and they should leave politics the sooner the better.

At the same time, he seems to suggest that all politicians of the MMM as well as his political allies, that is till they are his allies, are all very intelligent, they can take all relevant decisions at the right time, that they are all experts in financial matters and they know politics inside out. They never say, and will never say, that that we are in an “etat d’urgence économique et financier” due to their own doings and misdoings and that we should understand the situation as they want us to.

If Paul Bérenger is so intelligent, if his men whom he has handpicked to carry the party forward and if everyone of them is some sort of a political genius, then why is it that very rarely they win a general election? The people are supreme and in their wisdom, they choose other parties than the MMM and its allies to govern the country. Do the MMM and its allies mean to say that the people are stupid? Or maybe in their heart of hearts, they know that we have an intelligent enough population which can see through the bluffs and misdoings of the MMM and its allies.

What we have written above as to what Paul Bérenger thinks of himself, of the MMM and of its allies is also the thinking of many journalists in the supposedly independent press when we know that such journalists effectively work for and on behalf of Paul Bérenger and the MMM. They are all thus Bérenger’s men in the press. By acting as though they are really independent, they think they can fool the people. They may have their reason for so acting, but their past that follows them till now cannot be belied. They show their deep contempt for anything associated with the community/ies that support the party opposed to the MMM. The majority of Mauritians know what kind of persons such people are.

* Published in print edition on 3 June 2011

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