Burning Questions

3rd Year – No 74 — Friday 6th January 1956

• The further he went West, the more convinced he felt that the wise men came from the East.

— S. Smith

Burning Questions

As the year was dying out we reviewed our editorials to see what we had done during the year. At the same time, we get the opportunity of realising what remains undone. On the threshold of the new year we cannot do better than group some of our outstanding problems and express our hope of their happy solution.

Our population problem is becoming more and more acute. Government has taken stock of the situation through the Population Committee. The country has seen what an urgent task it is to reduce the population. But unfortunately no practical step is being taken to that end. The Population Committee has prescribed the remedies of Emigration and Family Planning. We have said more than once that we have faith in Family Planning. We are repeating it today in the hope that the responsible authorities may see that the opponents of Birth Control have not won the whole country to their way of thinking.

Closely linked with the problem of population are the problems of production and unemployment. Sugar production has gone up to a remarkable degree. But that should be no reason to concentrate all our attention on that one industry only. Sugar will be at a premium till 1963. And after? It is dangerous to have all our eggs in one basket. Secondary industries must be encouraged. Tea, tobacco and aloe must claim more of our attention. Ways and means should be devised of utilizing our molasses here. The ten-year electricity plan should be executed to schedule. And work has to be found for the unemployed.

We hope this year we shall not find religion meddling with politics or politics invading the field of sports. Politics, religion and sports have their definite parts to play in life. If we mix them up under any pretext, our country is bound to suffer. We wish our political parties would crystallize on the basis of ideology. Communalism must be banished once and for all from all political spheres. We hope all professed religions will be subsidized in a near future. It is not the money that will count so much as the equal status conferred on all religions. Sports should be served by real sportsmen. Those who feel like kicking their countrymen should keep away from the football ground.

The confusion reigning in the Civil Service as regards appointments and promotions should be done away with. Merit should be the biggest criterion. We are weary of hearing that the influence of this individual or that clique is the deciding factor. Communalism in the Civil Service will simply stink. The Public Service Commission has a noble task to perform and on its performance depends its reputation.

Justice and the police were a great deal in the news last year, much to their discredit. People questioned whether justice was a blindfolded lady holding the scales evenly. It was also questioned if the police were helping justice to be done. We sincerely hope that similar circumstances will not arise. If justice and the police play hide and seek, crime will prosper.

Primary schools will open their doors on the 16th. It is not known what percentage of children on the waiting list will get admission. It appears that teachers are averse to the shift system. We don’t know what the Education Department has in mind but may we suggest one thing? To have shift system only in two or three lower classes. The curriculum of those classes could be modified and the teachers could teach the newly admitted children. The question of language also has to be tackled. It must be clear by now that we don’t despise any language but we are fighting for the equality of language and equality of opportunities.

The Constitution is still in the making. We hope it will be made in such a way as to satisfy progressive minded people. We don’t want it to contain any shade of communalism. If it is retrograde, it may become the cause of a general deadlock. We would welcome better elections in local government and Village Councils.

N.M.U. is no less a problem in Mauritius — a very concrete problem indeed. His virulent pen has become the sword of the Conservatives. N.M.U. adds colour to the local scene by means of his various antics. We wish he had discussed matters objectively. By giving way to his sentiments and superiority complex he quite often betrays a total lack of common sense.

We made some tangible progress last year. We are thankful to our readers, contributors and advertisers. With the help of one and all we hope to tackle the burning questions of the day in the spirit summed up in the following prayer:

God grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
The courage to change the things I can;

And the wisdom to know the difference.

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