Mauritius Times 60 Years Ago – 1st YEAR NO. 7 – SATURDAY 25th September 1954
Floods in India
India In distress
Urgent Need For Funds
Desolating floods have occurred over almost the whole N.E. of India. They are the worse ever known in its long history.
The great river systems of the Ganges and the Brahmaputra have overwhelmed vast tracts extending over 25,650 sq miles (over 36 times the size of Mauritius) and causing misery to 9½ million people. The flood has swept away 7,700 cattle, damaged crops over 13,700,000 acres, destroyed roads, railways and houses by the thousands. Thousands have died from drowning and the fatal bites of snakes washed down from the Himalayas in their thousands. Assam and Bihar stand totally submerged, in parts under twenty to thirty feet of water.
As a rule, in India, a flood subsides in about a fortnight, but this year the waters are still at great height after almost one month.
In Assam the Brahmaputra has swelled to the size of great sea, and in some places to a width of twelve to fifteen miles.
The urgency of relief operations and the lack of communications make such work difficult.
Much sympathy and token assistance have flowed into India from diverse parts of the world. Money and medical supplies have been sent from the United Kingdom, Australia, Czechoslovakia, the United States, the Soviet Union and national and International Red Cross Societies.
Government agencies are engaged in larger scale operations of relief and plans for resettlement and rehabilitation of refugees. The Indian Air Force and the Army have performed outstanding service in relief and in reconnecting the areas.
The people themselves have shown great courage and fortitude in the face of unprecedented suffering. They have also shown a great deal of self-reliance and readiness to help each other. Government and Municipal plans and measures to check or prevent epidemics have been prompt and substantial. Though only large-scale relief and assistance can solve the problem in an appreciable measure, assistance and expressions of sympathy received from abroad have a greater value than can be measured in material terms.
To relieve the Victims of the flood, Countess Mountbatten and Mr V.K. Krishna Menon who are honorary joint presidents of the India Relief Committee of Great Britain have appealed for help in cash, kind or services.
We feel that the sympathy of the people of Mauritius will go in large measure to India in her present suffering.
Mauritians have always showed their sympathy to India in her distress.
In 1935 an earthquake shook the province of Bihar causing considerable disasters and havoc. H.E. Sir Wilfrid Jackson, the then Governor of Mauritius in the course of an appeal for financial aid said: “Mauritius owes much to India. More than two thirds of her people are of Indian descent and it is their presence in this colony which has made possible the intense development which today places Mauritius among the most highly productive areas in the Empire.”
We make an earnest appeal to all Mauritians to help the victims of these floods.
We think that a committee should be set up and collection of donations started immediately. The Mauritius Times will help in every possible way to make the task of this committee a success.
The need is considerable and urgent.
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News & Views
Self Government Under Labour
The Liberal’s Point of View
The Manchester Guardian, the liberal paper, in its issue of the 16th September last commenting the Labour Party’s Statement of Policy on Colonial Affairs in which it is said that the Labour Party when in power will try to help the colonies “to achieve democratic self government under conditions which will ensure for their peoples both a fair standard of living and freedom from oppression for any quarter,” writes: “…the wildest Tory would think twice before denying in public that these (colonial) territories should be developed in the interests of their peoples… The great trouble that faces any liberally minded Colonial Secretary, even when a local Parliament seems to be functioning with all dignity of its Mother, is precisely this: Are the men to whom on self-government power would go to be trusted to avoid oppression? Will they or will they not disturb the political balance maintained over a century by the territories’ Colonial Government? Clearly it is desirable that as many territories as possible should be independent and self-governing. What is not desirable is that one foreign (and not very onerous) tyranny should be replaced by another more vicious indigenous one. It is never easy to decide… There is a political “interest” and there is the “interest” of the people. The two may not always be the same… It is only when a party has the responsibility of office that it is driven to contemplate the distasteful limitations of political freedom.”
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Bulletin Full Contradiction
[Thank you Mr. N.M.U. for having let loose the cat! Poor animal it was suffocating and groaning inside the bag! But why did you hide its paternity so long and let it suffer the humiliations of illegitimacy?
If there is nothing suspicious in the C.I.D.I. why is it for PRIVATE CIRCULATION ONLY? For mercy’s sake! Could you not spare us the pain in printing extracts of the Bulletin yourself?]
POPULATION: “White group descended from the French… 2.2%, English settled… 0.3%; Mixed European and Creole descent living largely by Western Standard 29.5%; Hindu group descended from the indentured labourers from South India, who replaced the slaves 51%; Muslims from India and Pakistan 14%; Chinese 3%”
OUR COMMENTS: The majority of the Hindus came from Bihar, Bengal and the United Provinces which are not in the south of India. The editors do not make any mention of Pondichériens who came here as artisans. Do they ignore that Muslims too came as immigrants? Or do they want to distort history just to suit their whims and fancies and to enlist the support of the Muslim community?
C.I.D.I.: “Religions in Mauritius are as varied as the races in the Island. The Catholic Church, the Anglican Church, Islam, the Brahmans (italics ours) and the Boudhists live side by side…”
COMMENTS: A Brahman, according to the Oxford Dictionary of Current English is a member of the highest class of priests among the Hindus in India. Larousse too tells almost the same thing. The C.I.D.I. makes a revelation to the Hindus themselves. It also contradicts Mr N.M.U. who has hundred and one times written that the low caste Indians fled as immigrants because they could not bear the oppression of the high castes. According to C.I.D.I. Brahman is a religion just as Islam is one.
POLITICS: “Some years ago a Hindu Nationalist Movement with subversive tendencies was formed. The leader of this movement is Dr Ramgoolam who is well known for his inclinations towards communism…
COMMENTS: It appears that the editors of C.I.D.I. are expert in distorting facts, we do not know whether the above was written by responsible persons but we are sure that what they have written are the mere inventions of their corrupted minds. We challenge the publishers of the C.I.D.I. to prove what they assert. What is the name of the “Hindu Nationalist Movement”? “When and where was it formed?” “Besides Dr Ramgoolam, who are its other members? Where are its headquarters?”
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Confessions of Mr. N.M.U.
He is the man who since his arrival in this colony has been exciting and dividing the Mauritians by brandishing the bogey of “Hindu Peril”, of “Labour communist menace”, and of the fancied annexation of Mauritius to India; he has always professed the superiority of the White Race and imputed sinister motives on all leaders (either white or coloured) and on all newspapers that dared to disagree with his low and vilifying campaign. He is the very man who has created an atmosphere of contempt, disdain and scorn against the Hindu Community. To-day that man has the cheek to accuse us of exciting the population “a la haine” because we committed the sin of publishing a series of articles on Mauritian History which has roused the wrath of the real subversive elements of the country.
Mr. N.M.U. now enters the lamb’s garb and plaintively says: “Certes, nous avons tous horreur des affreuses rigueurs de l’esclavage ancien. Nul ne les eut combattues plus résolument que nous si le destin nous avait infligé la vie quelques siècles plus tôt.”
He stoops so low as to attack a Commercial Firm whose “crime” is to print the Mauritius Times. The meanest Hindu will never attack the General Printing and Stationery Ltd. Because it prints the Bulletin of C.I.D.I. which is carrying a wholesale campaign of lie and distortion of facts against the Hindus and the Labourites.
The thinking public knows fully well where the danger lies and who has been exciting the population against each other. The Mauritius Times has snatched some important confessions from Mr. N.M.U. in his Opinion du jour of 24.9.54 about the C.I.D.I. In our next issue we shall analyse Mr. N.M.U’s campaign and compare it with Hitler’s and Goebbels’. We shall quote an eminent French authority in the science of propaganda.
* Published in print edition on 26 September 2014