Mauritius Times 60 Years Ago
2nd Year No 66 – Friday – 11th November 1955
• “Borrow trouble for yourself, if that’s your nature, but don’t lend it to your neighbours” — Kipling
Dedicated to GFB of Le Cernéen
It was amusing to read a ‘pontifying’ article on ‘party politics’ by one GFB in Le Cernéen of the 29th October. It raised some hope when the contributor began by “looking at things dispassionately”, but soon it was all shattered, as he poured forth his full stream of passion and prejudice. His logic was not only self contradictory and utterly hollow, but it was needlessly provocative. It is anybody’s guess for whose deliverance he tried to pose as a Messiah.
A cursory analysis should reveal the underlying motive of such writings. Not only it attempts to be a calculated affront to a particular religion, but it seeks to bolster up the true picture of atrocities that are being perpetrated under other communities domination elsewhere. It is also one way of diverting the attention and play with the imagination of a certain community here whose co-religionists are cajoled to play the game here, but coaxed to give a battle elsewhere. These types of trite matters therefore just make their appearance periodically — for heavy weathering the political climate here, but in reality are expressions of a subconscious conflict in certain minds whose irreconcilable psychology in frustration expects the simple and the unsophisticated to believe that capital and labour have no conflicts.
If labour and capital are complementary and co-operative, that is, they are not antagonistic or shy, then why do they not consummate their love for yielding a democratically accepted product of social equality? No, the conception of such a product is unthinkable for that would mean ushering in of democracy, where Indian settlers – Hindus and Muslims, and the ‘mixed’ community will inevitably have their due share. GFB is greatly concerned because with his parochial and confused thinking he says “they are playing here the same game which their opposite numbers have already played in other Colonies.” What thought was haunting him is not clear, but we, and all sensible people know, that expressions like ‘Hindus’, ‘Muslims’, ‘Indians’, ‘Orientals’, ‘Labour Party’, ‘Nationalists’, etc., are all handy and convenient devices to perpetuate the game of divide and exploit, either by the masters or by their stooges. Otherwise who does not know the fate of Indians (not Hindus) in the neighbouring countries (not British) and who does not anxiously follow the politics of Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia, where the opposite numbers of a community here are demonstrating before the world-bar what nationalism with all its implication means.
The propaganda article becomes really funny when in the exuberance of solicitude for the ‘mixed’ community, the Mauritians are called to rally against the Hindu Nationalist domination. But who are Mauritians. That is exactly what we asked the other day in one of our articles. The Indian settlers are as much Mauritians as anybody else. They are called ‘Indo-Mauritians’, but the ‘White Mauritians’ are dubbed as general population, as if something outside Mauritius. In any case people living in the 18th century and those who toe their lines under a pretentious spell should know that to refer to a community by religion is unethical and improper. It is not common to hear that “Roman Catholic” domination of Indo-China or Morocco was wholly unpopular. Anyhow the cat has come out of the bag when he says ‘Nationalist’. Of course true nationals, with both the legs in one boat must be nationalists. How can a community with divided loyalty be nationalists?
Such indecorous tirade can go on but no one will swallow the poisonous bait of the propagandist, nor will they believe a word of the inciting insinuations against India. It is easy to whip up communal passion by fictitious stories, but it requires character to remain brotherly. Anyway we are not concerned with what happened in India or when the British withdrew. We are only concerned with our small country where democracy is in the offing. GFB along with his preceptors ought to know that democracy with its fundamentals of liberty, equality and fraternity are not meant to be preached only but they are to be practised. We do not hold any brief for any political party but we can categorically say that the capitalists do not represent labour. Anyway the Indo-Mauritians suffer from no illusion, they are simple peace-loving people; they bear no ill will for anybody and are consistent in their conduct whether they live in Moka or Curepipe or Quatre Bornes or Beau Bassin.
GFB should note that it is the much maligned Indo-Mauritians or ‘Hindus’ (if that expression finds favour with Le Cernéen and its learned contributors) together with their dark skinned compatriots who could allay the apprehensions of the ‘non-nationalist’ capitalists. It is a curious anomaly that a reference has been made about ‘Indian’ capitalists. So there are Indian capitalists and Hindu labour – that is interesting!
We would now close this article with the fervent hope that the alert and agile Mauritians with their knowledge of past Mauritius history and current world history will not put their feet in ‘sugary’ traps. They have seen through centuries the gamble for pelf and power and now they feel confident to take upon themselves the ‘burden’ of their own advancement and not remain subservient to those who admit that they have been patronizing labour for feathering their own nests. All the dark and coloured underprivileged people have been fellow travellers and have shared the same experience, and they hold the common belief that nothing worse can come to them; on the contrary they can advance quickly if they all pull together.
That article was therefore not only a piece of shibboleth and galimatias, — but since the erstwhile Daily (un des plus modernes parmi les plus anciens journaux du monde), had thought it fit for being doled out on the front page for some definite reasons we felt it would be better if the linen had a more thorough wash.