Mauritius Times 60 Years Ago – 1st YEAR No. 10 – SATURDAY – 16th October 1954
Being unable to substantiate his vague and false allegations, Mr Noel Marrier d’Unienville, Director of the CERNEEN and editor of an anonymous bulletin, the C.I.D.I. in order to save his face cowardly slanders and ridicules the NALANDA Co. Ltd, because their printing press prints the Mauritius Times – the paper which is throwing cold water over his malicious, false and subversive campaign, Mr N.M.U. has been repeatedly reminded that the NALANDA Co Ltd is not responsible for the policy and views of the Mauritius Times just as the General Printing and Stationery Ltd, cannot be held responsible for the distorted news conveyed through the bulletin of the C.I.D.I which is printed by them. But Mr N.M.U appears to be invulnerable to reason. No amount of sound argument would convince our Mauritian Dan Quixote. Coup bas!
Stop Feudal Thinking Mr NMU!
Be Jove! Who has given him the “credentials” to question the activities of Indians and Indo-Mauritian firms? Who is Mr N.M.U to order the Nalanda Co Ltd, to state its aim under the threat of: “si elle (librairie Nalanda) veut que nous la laissons en paix, qu’elle démontre au public la purité de ses desseins de façon satisfaisante et en des termes aussi clair…” (vide Cernéen of 23.09.54). We doubt that the meanest Indo-Mauritian would have uttered such threat against a white business concern.
Mr N.M.U has returned to Mauritius after 20 years. Living actually in the ‘entourage’ of the ‘beau monde’ it seems he has not been able to take stock of the progress made by different communities during his long absence.
In the Indo-Mauritian he still sees the ‘malabar coolie’ which the white colon of old contemptuously called our grand parents. The World is moving faster than Mr N.M.U!
Hitler’s Weapon Borrowed by Mr N.M.U!
When argument fails, Mr N.M.U in the Hitlerite fashion deliberately ridicules, derides, mocks and nicknames his opponents. Hitler describes his method in Mein Kampf: “Toute propaganda doit établir son niveau intellectual d’après la capacité de comprehension du plus borné parmi ceux auxquels elle s’adresse. Son niveau intellectuel sera donc d’autant plus bas que la masse d’homme à convaincre sera plus grande.” Faithful to the above directive, Hitler set the example himself. His eloquence was marked by derision, vile jest and abuse. Churchill was called by him and by Goebbels: paralytic, drunkard, idiot, insane, driveller, lazybone, liar, Erostrate, etc. Has not Mr N.M.U. in the Hitlerite fashion derided Mr A. Masson, the only white man who had the courage to oppose and crush his nefarious policy, by nicknaming him Mootoomasson, Dr Ramgoolam is called Dr Croupion, Dr Ramgoolamsky, Dr Ramjagan, Mr Seeneevassen: colcotté, Mr Beejadhur: Marquis de Beejadherry; Mr Rozemont: Insoluble Dans l’Alcool…
* * *
OUR LANGUAGE PROBLEM
Mauritius has been rightly called the “carrefour de races’’. Each of the several races which constitute the Mauritian population has its own particular virtues, beliefs and prejudices. Each must live and let others live. In our plural society a proselytizing attitude adopted by any community will, we fear, be injurious to our welfare. Unless we settle our various problems, peacefully as civilized people we will not be able to build a strong Mauritian nation. To reach our goal it is imperative to foster mutual trust and respect for the opinions, language, culture and religion of our neighbours. One of the most important and thorny issues which is bound to create confusion and misunderstanding is our language problem.
Understanding foreigners through language
Throughout the civilised world there is a marked interest in the study of foreign languages; nearly all great universities have a special department responsible for foreign languages. Recently the Rockfeller Foundation granted about 80,000 dollars (Rs 350,000) to the Deccan College – Post Graduate and Research Institute, India. This was done in the spirit that “one of the most effective ways of understanding a country’s thinking and culture is through study of its literature and Press…” Everywhere, while there is an urge to understand foreigners, while there is a sincere desire to study and to appreciate foreign literatures, while there is a marked interest in the study of comparative religion, which the great thinkers want to unify that whole human race in one great family, in Mauritius there is an inclination to rouse communal hatred, there is a decided tendency to ridicule and to sneer at the language, national dress and even the religion of life-long neighbours who have been relentlessly contributing in a very great measure to the advancement of the country as a whole.
Royal Commission Recommendation abandoned
Every community which has settled in Mauritius wants to learn and to speak its own mother tongue. In order to satisfy all sections of the population it is Government’s duty to see that each community is given equal opportunity to learn its own mother tongue and that a foreign language is not imposed upon it. It is always repeated that French is the mother tongue of the Mauritians. But is it a fact that French is the mother tongue of the Mauritians? Do all the Muslims or the Chinese or the Hindus speak French in their homes or at their social functions? No doubt French is the mother tongue of a part of the population; but it is not the mother tongue of the WHOLE population. And so it shouldn’t be imposed any more on those who don’t want to learn it.
As far as in 1850, it was suggested by East India Company that “the children of Indian immigrants could not be forced to learn a language which was foreign to them”. Later it was intended to secure the services of Indian teachers from India, but the project met with opposition and was abandoned. Again in 1909 the Royal Commission recommended that “an Indian dialect may be substituted for either English or French, and the teachers must be able to speak and write at least one Indian language.” But still the recommendation met the same fate as its predecessor.
Foreign Languages imposed on subject races
Muslims, Hindus and Chinese students love French; it is a very rich language. They are learning it as much as their mother tongue. But why use compulsion? Is there an example in a civilized country where, besides the official language, the language of the minority is imposed upon the majority?
The Franco-Mauritians and the coloured population have every reason to love and to prize French which is their mother tongue. The Hindus, the Muslim and the Chinese are equally right and they have similar reasons to learn and to speak their tongue. Is it logical that Hindi or Urdu or Chinese be imposed upon non-Indians or non-Chinese?
Says Justice Sir John Woodroff: “A people who abandon or who are compelled to abandon their language for that of another lose themselves… for these reasons dominant peoples have sought to impose their language on subject races as the completion of their conquest.”
Provided the Indo-Mauritians or the Chinese are considered subject races or intruders in this colony, we don’t think the Government is justified to impose the French language any more upon those who don’t want it.
* * *
ADVANCE – A HINDU PAPER?
A revelation of Mr NMU
The CIDI writes: ‘There are three daily papers in Mauritius printed in French, all of which have approximately equal circulation… Advance is the paper of the Hindus and those who are inclined to left wing politics other than Hindus. (Italics are ours)
OUR COMMENTS: It is now quite clear that Mr NMU and his colleagues who are editing and publishing the bulletin are blinded by their eagerness to calumniate the Hindus. It is no secret that ADVANCE is an Indo Mauritian paper and not a Hindu paper. Hon A. R. Mohamed is one of the big Muslim shareholders and a director of the Mauritius Free Press Service Ltd. We understand that more than one third of the shares belong to the Muslims. As the shareholders of Advance are only Hindus and Muslims, when the CIDI says “those who are inclined to left wing politics other than Hindus”, does he mean that the Muslim shareholders are inclined to left wing politics?
Still Mr NMU has the guts to say that “la force du bulletin… se trouve dans son scrupuleux respect pour la vérité » !
* Published in print edition on 17 October 2014