183 years since their ancestors set foot here, the people should ask themselves if they are satisfied with their achievements in Marish Desh
Feel like starting your day with a big laugh? Cast a look at and read, even diagonally (which is often the case), the headlines in the Mauritian press on this Tuesday morning. A bunch of well-meaning champions of religious and ethnic harmony are up in arms to cry themselves hoarse against the arrival of Yogi Adityanath, Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh in Mauritius. Reason: for the sake of harmony and peace in which different ethnic groups live in paradise island. And UP Chief Minister (CM) is a weapon of mass destruction that will destroy the ubiquitous harmony.
What harmony are we talking about? A twisted idea of harmony in the local context is ‘noubanisme’ which unfortunately dictates who you employ and promote in some specific ministries, parastatal bodies, trades, shops, CEOs, managers and even simple employees in the private sector.
By his sheer commitment to efficiency in public services, schools, hospitals, administration departments, his fight against corruption in all nooks and crannies, the high standards he demands from officials, downsizing overstaffed lazy municipal services and his reputation as a workaholic, Yogi Adityanath should be a role model to local politicians.
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183 years since their ancestors set foot in the island and 50 years after Independence, the political platform in Mauritius, widely occupied by people of Indian origin, should ask themselves if they are satisfied with the style of governance and their achievements in the land their forefathers called Marish Desh.
Out of politeness towards their Indian guests, what about first justifying their hefty salaries compared to those in the Central Government in Delhi? To Yogi Adityanath’s monthly allowance for monitoring a state of 220 million inhabitants? A man chosen by a democratically elected government of India, who does not mince his words and calls a spade a spade.
We are given to understand that average people live and conduct public or private affairs by using the three lower chakras down the spine ; the four higher others are used by beautiful souls and benefit greatly those around them. Which category does our political class fit in? What ideals and principles are they guided by? The honourable guest is in a better position to give a lesson or two on the topic to his counterparts over here. He must have been briefed by the Indian High Commission on ground reality.
It appears that Bihar CM is not so keen on flying to paradise island of peace and harmony. Navel-gazing deludes some people into believing that Mauritius is a gift to mankind and foreign officials are craving to jump on a plane and enjoy the ride to SSR airport. Like French tourists who are naïvely marvelled by everything they set eyes on, which superficially raises the self-esteem of locals.
Never in their wildest dream, Indian ancestors who landed here 183 years ago would have imagined the mindset that motivates today’s politicians who invest so much energy elbowing their way to top rungs of political ladder. What sense of honour, honesty, integrity, what principles, what degree of commitment set them on the race for elections? By today, we mean the past twenty years or so.
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A deeper assessment of our evolution as people of Indian origin will be too lengthy in this paper. We know what we gain in living in a small, still relatively unspoilt island. Every time we interact with people in India or meet them abroad and in Mauritius, we realize what we have missed as far as our rich cultural heritage is concerned. And we spend years catching up what should have enriched our intellectual, spiritual and mental landscape because, in many ways, formal education alienates us from our real beings.
Let us pay tribute to the travellers who set off from Bengal and called themselves Calcuttiahs amid economic turmoils, rural exodus, opium trade and the turbulences of colonization. Swagatam, Yogi Adityanathji.
- Published in print edition on 1 November 2017