Mauritius Times 60 years
Traditionally 60 has been the age of retirement for individuals, but for an institution it is a time for remembrance and thanksgiving, for taking stock, for looking ahead and charting the future course.
Mauritius Times had humble beginnings with very limited resources, and had to depend on the goodwill, commitment to the cause and support of well-wishers and supporters. Its means are still modest, but it has been lucky as the years rolled by to be joined by a succession of voluntary contributors replacing those who had done their time, and who shared the vision of the founder.
The major political development post-World War II was the clamour for self-rule by the colonies, which resulted in the Independence of India in 1947, following which there began a domino effect on the remaining British colonies. Mauritius could not be left out in the race for freedom of the people and increase of the democratic space. This was twice thwarted after general elections in 1948 and 1953, with the British governor nominating members of Council to tilt the balance of power in favour of the oligarchy. The rise of the Mauritius Labour Party to defend the cause of and claim rights for the workers, was being opposed by the private establishment. It was accompanied by a perverse targeted attack against the majority community in a deliberate attempt to sow the seeds of division in the population.
It is in response to this twin, related threat that MT saw the light of day with the fiery zeal of its founder BR who roped in similar-minded supporters to help prepare the content, ensure the publication and manage the distribution of the paper. Given the urgency and acuity of the context, the paper soon began to make its impact on the evolving political situation. The battle cry was for justice and mutual respect in a democratic system within the rule of law and order and equality for all.
The context may have changed, but the underlying cause remains, for the struggle to obtain one’s rightful place under the sun is never-ending. This is the reality that our collaborators are intuitively aware of, and we proudly acknowledge their regular articles and express our grateful thanks for their unflinching support, which has always remained voluntary. We have no apprehension about the future on this front, because we are confident that many have nurtured themselves who will keep up the torch that was lighted 60 years ago.
Over the years, the following members of the Mauritius Times’ team who have given of themselves in this endeavour are Dayanand Chuttur, Guruduth Moher, Geerjaparsad Ramloll, Preaduth Mewasing, Soorooj Bacha, Karan Balgobin, Bissoon Hazareesingh, Kher Jagatsingh, Kissoonsing Hazareesingh, Doojendranath Napal, Sewgobin Sharma, Deepchand Beeharry, Somduth Bhuckory, Mr Soomoo, Ram Ruhee, Major General Chatterjee, B.M Bhagat and the elder Bhagat Brothers of Long Mountain, Peter Ibbotson, Deolall Thacoor, Peter Ibbotson, KL Dassayne, Hossenjee Edoo, Dr Cassimally – most of these torchbearers have been by the side of B Ramlallah since the very beginning.
Many others have joined this team down the years to lend their support voluntarily to the causes that the paper espoused, namely Sir Satcam Boolell, Dr Boodhun Teelock, Ramnarain Roy, Messrs Ramtohul and Callycurn, Chit Dukhira, Jagdish Manrakhan, PB Dhar, Mr Dinally, Jean Georges Prosper, Mohamad Vayid, Sir Veerasamy Ringadoo, Cassam Uteem, Leckram Gunnasaya, T. Ramyead, D. Lingaya, Dr Iboo Mansoor, Kahlil Rehman Ahmady, P Forget, Harry Saminaden, Henri Souchon, Swami Venkatesananda, Purooshotum Callikan, Jacques K. Lee, Vijay Venkatasamy, Bhisma Dev Seebaluck, James Burty David, Radha Hardowar, Yusuf Abdullatif, Harry Saminaden, Bhinod Bacha, Uttam Bissoondoyal, Suren Bissoondoyal, Jooneed Jeeroburkhan, Ng Kwet Chan, Raouf Bundhun, Shafick Jeeroburkhan, Prem Benimadhu, Ragen Muthen, Vijay Seebaluck, Vijay Makhan, Hossenjee Edoo, Sarita Boodhoo, Atma Judoonundun, Dr Renga Sunnassee, Mr Krishna (caricaturist), Dan Callikan, Uttam Callikan, Dr Neerunjun Gopee, Anil Gujadhur, Paramanand Soobarah, Ramesh Beeharry, Dr Woodal Gopal, R. Chand, Dr R Soondron, Rajiv Roy, Mrinal Roy, Samad Ramoly, Sean Carey, Sir Ramesh Jeewoolall, RV, Milan Meetarbhan, Nita Chicooree, Vina Ballgobin, Shakuntala Boolell, Vinod Boolell, Rajiv Servansigh, Amal Meetarbhan, Dev Virahsawmy, Kul Bushan, Atul Dev, Shorab Bagoban, Joseph Tsang Mang Kin, Satish Kumar Mahadeo, DEV, Subash Gobine, Anand Mulloo, Moonindranath Varma, Teeluck Bhuwanee, Santosh Kumar Mahadeo, Jeewan Mohabeer, Hissack Asgarally, Hurryduth Megnath, Mona Babajee, Vishwa Mootoocurpen – as well as many others who would wish to remain anonymous. Those we have interviewed week after week have shared their disconcerting and penetrating insights about the evolution of our society and the world and contributed to the rich tapestry that MT has become with time.
We have also benefited from the sustained support and help from all the Board Members of Nalanda Co Ltd and the Staff of its Bookshop – namely Deoduth Bheenick, Chandahass Unnuth, Jaylall Dhunoo, Boodeo Mungur, Yaswant Ramsurrun, Nandan Palakdharry – as well as from the small staff of MT, past and present , for their devoted contribution to deal with the nitty-gritty needed to take a paper to its final form and to reach the most important link in the chain: our faithful readers who are a principal raison-d’etre of the MT. Our heartfelt thanks go to past and present staff members — Tecklall Gunness, Oodith Gopal, Jean-Claude Chuttoo, Cyril Ramsamy, Paya Chiniah, Ameen Oreeawon, Nazima Edoo, Priya Beeharry, Menagaye Sooben, Jean Kersley Ramsamy, Sultana Kurmally, Harish Chundunsingh, Dev Beekharry, Kiran Ramsahye, Vijay Gobin, Veddi Ballah, Prakash Ramparsad, Andre Emile, Vinod Rambaruth — for their devotion and patience, as well as to Shyam Bunjun, Satish Bisnathsingh, M. Nawoor, the staff of the Government Information Services, Mauritius Post, private and public bus companies for their kind and precious help.
A word of special thanks to all our advertisers, newsagents and readers, including our thousands of subscribers, who have supported the paper over the past 60 years.
The Mauritius Times would not have seen this day without the support of the entire crew above-stated as well as its numerous well-wishers. Also deeply acknowledged and appreciated is the unflinching support given by Mrs Saraswati Ramlallah, wife of B Ramlallah, along with Nalini and Radha Heerasingh, and the other members of the Ramlallah family – Prakash, Soodhakur, Karuna, Sadhna, Umrita and her two sons Treeyam and Doojesh, the Seebaluck, Makhan and Mohonee families.
To all the above, we would like to express our most sincere gratitude for having agreed to make the journey along. As always, there is a risk that we might have missed out on some who have contributed no less and, for this, we can only plead for their forbearance for the unintended omission.