An Ex-Teacher Speaks Editorially

2nd Year No 54 — Friday 19 August 1955 —

To NMU, of course. But as an ex-teacher we do not want to speak to the propagandist so much as to the ex-manufacturer of “goudron” lamps.

NMU will surely not fail to see that the Directeur of Le Cernéen and the Editor of Mauritius Times have at least one thing in common: they have become journalists by accident and not by inclination! It would be quite interesting to an outsider with a leaning for research (take note, Mr Benedict) to go to the root of the matter by trying to know how they caught the itch to scratch paper.

“Ce pauvre M. Ramlallah”, writes NMU on the 2nd of August, « passe du professorat élémentaire au journalisme primaire, s’épuise en affirmations fantasques, » and ten days later he starts his article entitled « Le sens de ces Bobards… » by saying belatedly : « M. B. Ramlallah est, dit-on, on instituteur d’école primaire devenu journaliste depuis quelques mois.”

We are a primary school teacher and now we are a journalist. So what? Does NMU want to insinuate that the primary schools of Mauritius are staffed with a bunch of morons or Mongolian fools?

* * *

From the ex-teacher to the ex-teacher’s paper is but another step. “Le Mauritius Times, petit journal précieux pour son talent à dénoncer inconsciemment…la boulimie indienne… proclame dans son sottisier hebdomadaire…” writes NMU on the 2nd of August. And ten days later again referring to our paper, says: “Une feuille de propagande hebdomadaire, aussi minuscule que venimeuse, d’où exude, avec autant de cynisme que de candeur, la haine de l’Occident et du Christianisme.”

We can see that NMU is at the old game again – the game of giving bad names to our paper. And strangely enough he has revived the nonsense of trying to make of us a laughing stock because of our size. He seems to have forgotten what he himself wrote on the 8th of August while answering the Editor of Advance: “Si, pour lui, la valeur d’un texte est function de la notoriété de la feuille qui le diffuse, pour nous cette valeur réside en la qualité intrinsèque des propos.”

If NMU sincerely believes that every writing should be judged on its own merits, does he not think that it is outright silly to refer to the size of the publication with a view to minimizing the importance of what is published?

The meat on which NMU is feeding his readers is Hindu hegemony. But he is clever enough not to serve the same stuff all the time. That is why he brings up every now and then two fancy dishes of his which he has fancifully styled Anti-Western and Anti-Christian. It remains to be seen how long his customers can stand him and his spoon-feeding.

“Une feuille de propagande hebdomadaire,… d’ou exude… la haine de l’Occident et du Christianisme.” What a stinking paper is ours! But why does it stink? It is because we take up the cudgels on behalf of India when we deem it fit and because we have the guts to defend Hinduism when it is the object of some dirty attack!

“La haine de l’Occident et du Christianisme.” That is our crime in the eyes of the High Mogul of Mallefille Street – the anti-orientalist who craves to reign supreme in full oriental splendour. How dare we try to shake his throne by our subversive behaviour?

* * *

Now, between ourselves, Mr NMU

You have travelled a long way from those treacherous lamps you had put your faith in once and we, on our part, have left behind impish brats and hissing blackboards. Let us forget our shameful past. Let us kneel down and bless our stars. Let us thank Providence for having put us on the highroad to fortune and fame.

We agree that your paper is a big paper the like of which our small far-flung island would not have known had not benignant Fate snatched you away from those nasty lamps. But don’t you agree that Mallefille Street would have been a humdrum sort of place had we stayed within the four walls of a primary school classroom?

And as we are whispering harmless secrets to each other would it be asking you too much to forget those Hindu Hegemony, Anti-Western and Anti-Christian nightmares just as you have forgotten the annexation business?

Thanking you beforehand, we remain, editorially yours for ever.

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