Mauritius Times 60 Years Ago — 1st YEAR No.3 Saturday 28th August 1954

News & Views

The HOE and the HAMMER v/s THE PEN


The urges which set men toiling are many and spring from their several natures. The primary motive which makes men work is to get a living. Besides this the need to work is to enjoy life, to cultivate one’s talent, to serve humanity or for affection towards someone dear to him. After the economic considerations comes the question of dignity of labour.

During the First World War the Labour Battalion failed to attract young men. But the high sounding name, smashing uniform and medals, good treatment and consideration of its successor, the Royal Pioneer Corps, attracted thousands of our youths.

Advertisement for posts of Rat Cutchers in U.K. failed to attract candidates, but when the title was replaced by Rodent Control Officers hundreds of candidates applied for the posts.

WC attendants and dustmen in London wear shoes, tie, gloves and a smart uniform. They are well paid, in certain cases better than the clerks themselves. They are considered as useful as the medical officers. It is recognised that without their services the whole city will become the prey of diseases.

Since the beginning of our history manual work has been entrusted to African slaves and Indian indentured labourers, who had to work for a pittance and were often treated as beasts of burden.

It was and is still believed that manual labour is the occupation of outcasts only. To supplement the dearth of cheap labour, the white settlers have more than once tried to introduce legislation to make manual work compulsory. Today such legislation would of course remind us of the nazi systems which exacted compulsory labour. This is the psychological background of manual labour in Mauritius. The youths of today scorn the hoe and the hammer and prefer to become white collared officemen. They do not want to suffer economic difficulties and humiliations as their forefathers. This is a very legitimate ambition; it is a psychologically normal reaction. In England there are about 2.3 million clerks. The difference between the clerk’s salary and that of the manual worker has quite disappeared. In some cases the manual workers are being paid higher wages. According to latest statistics manual workers are receiving an average of £9 a week while the clerks are being paid an average of £7 a week. They both enjoy the same rights and privileges.

In Mauritius the minimum wages paid to a labourer is Rs 88 – monthly whilst a new recruit in the General Clerical Service receives about Rs 200 – monthly. Had the manual workers been paid proper wages and given proper treatment, there would have been no reason for our youths to scorn manual work.

In ancient Greece the manual workers after the day’s work followed classes in music, literature, civics and philosophy. They were given the opportunity for moral relaxation and self-refinement. In England, today, the manual workers enjoy still greater privileges; in the evening classes run by the London Country Council they are taught in about 300 subjects.

But in Mauritius the carpenter and the labourer are considered unsociable, this is perhaps because they belong to the “race des humbles”.

* * *



According to a police communiqué Mr Brizmohun Calcutteea of Mahebourg who was under treatment at Victoria Hospital has committed suicide by severing his right carotid with a penknife on last Sunday at 11.30 pm.

Hospital attendants on duty are not supposed to sit at one end of the ward and keep vigilance on patients at all times. But there are patients who show signs of restlessness on whom a watchful eye should be constantly kept. They should not be allowed to keep dangerous weapons.

In England the hospital authorities are very often held responsible for anything which happens to the patient inside the ward. In Britain hospital treatment is not doled out as charity, everyone is entitled to it as his birthright. In the words of Justice Stable the hospital authorities are just as much the paid servants of the patients as anybody else. England is a democratic country where human life is a highly valued thing.

Lately the Justice Cassell of the Monmouthshire Assizes awarded £3,049 damages to the widow and the daughter of a pneumonia patient who rose in delirium from his hospital bed, walked out unnoticed and was later found drowned in the River Wye.

In order to ease public opinion we think that it is important that the authorities should fully investigate the matter and make a press declaration.

* * *

Usury The Curse of Modern Civilisation


From time to time we hear public officers accused of bribery or fraud, women of respectable families driven into the underworld, people in sheer desperation committing suicide. If thorough investigations are made into the root causes of the misfortunes of these unfortunates it will be found that several had fallen victims of usurers from whose clutches they could not escape.

Who borrows from usurers? Pawn brokerage and Mont de Piété, their origin and how they are run in England and France.

Read about these in our next issue. Due to lack of space we have been unable to print the whole article on this subject.

* * *


Qui gagnera le Maiden? Voilà la question qui suscite de la plus vive discussion dans les milieux de nos turfistes. Il est à remarquer que ceux qui se disent connaisseurs en matière de courses, tout en proclamant leur certitude avec force explications, trahissent cependant une inquiétude mêlée d’un petit grain desentiment.

Quant à nous aucun doute n’est possible: ELAINE reste le cheval à battre dans cette grande épreuve. Elle est la seule bête qui à notre avis a eu les meilleurs galops sur cette distance. D’ailleurs sa brillante victoire au dernier meeting de Juillet où elle a couvert les 12 furlongs dans le temps record de 2 m 34 4/5 a laissé entrevoir ses très grandes possibilités.

Que dire des autres partants ? Il nous semble que dès le lever des rubans JURANÇON voudra s’échapper pour marquer une certaine avance sur ses concurrents afin de courir plus librement les deux derniers furlongs. Mais GOLD SIN le laissera-t-il faire? Nous ne le pensons pas. Aussi, selon toute possibilité, après une lutte acharnée les deux bêtes faibliront en fin de parcours. La distance nous paraît un peu trop longue pour WOOLSACK et HELP. La seule bête qui puisse inquiéter ELAINE est ABOUKIR. Mais le CRACK de l’écurie Rousset étant trop lent au début nous ne pensons pas qu’il puisse arriver à temps pour régler ELAINE au finish. Donc la vaillante jument de l’écurie Gujadhur devrait aisément enlever notre Derby.

En résumé voici nos PRONOSTICS pour cette grande journée.

1ère Course 1. Devondellah (2) Kincajou

2ème Course         1. Elaine                (2) Aboukir

3ème Course        1. Enigmatique       (2) Pretty Mollie

4ème Course        1. Bay Adam          (2) No Name

5ème Course         1. Dover Approach            —–

6ème Course        1. Païllole              (2) Honey Show


* Published in print edition on 29 August 2014

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