The Vanguard of Social Progress

Mauritius Times 60 Years Ago

2nd Year No 69

Friday – 2nd December 1955

• Everyone complains of his memory, no one of his judgment.
— La Rochefoucauld

 

Probably our interest in public affairs is half-hearted and vaguely political. Not that interest in politics is unwholesome. Far from it. We must understand it clearly and must have no illusions of where we would be landing.

But the time has come for a division of labour in our public activities. I am definitely against subjecting our cultural or social work to any kind of political tutelage. Worse is it to bring them under the thumb of any particular brand of politics.

There is a great scope for cultural work. That we are politically mature will also be judged by the degree of our cultural work. We have luckily some selfless and able workers in the field. We should be able to attract more and more of our bright men. Many able men who are in government could give themselves to this kind of work.

That is why a divorce from political work is highly desirable. People who are culturally sound alone have the right to lead the people culturally. So that whatever be the brand of one’s politics or the denomination of one’s religion we should be able to cooperate in cultural and social work.

I feel a terrible sense of guilt when I have to preside over functions of a cultural nature in the area where I have some political design. This although I am conscious of my purely cultural personality that has been consistently in the field of cultural work since the last eighteen years. Yet I am eager to divorce myself completely and do cultural work only without any ulterior political motive.

But the aim of this article is to make a plea for social work. There is a real need for a foreword social front to react against social malpractices that are growing every day.

Let me catalogue some of what I call social evils: (a) drinking habit to such an extent that the wife and children are rendered destitute, (b) abstention from civil marriage with the result that the wife is changed on the slightest pretext, (c) marriages that have only money as motive, (d) marriages of pairs that could be the ages of father and daughter or even granddaughters, and (e) honouring people who are known to be polygamous.

I have here mentioned only a few. There are many more. We simply tolerate them. Not less evil is the stratification of our society by some wealthy people who are desirous of forming an aristocracy revelling in party and jollity away from the common lot. Even the practice of displaying wealth on the occasions of marriages.

It is of vital importance for well thinking young men and young women to take a stand in regard to these. A society that nurses such cancers has no right of survival: it must go down inexorably to its doom.

Social unhappiness is engendered by a rift in the happiness of the parents or some pronounced form of immorality. People’s health is sapped. The home is our second heaven. The wrong step of unbridled person will turn it into hell and affect the happiness of a large number of people who must line up the great calamity.

The problem of society is largely a matrimonial problem in its varied form: remarriage, money marriage, unequal marriage, lavish marriage, tolerated polygamy, inconsiderate marriage.

A poor father who has sacrificed to educate his fair daughter cannot marry her as educated boys would rather have an illiterate wife with plenty of money. Bright children cannot pursue their studies because the mother has been set aside by an immoral father. This tale of woe is multiplying day by day.

This can only be the sign of social degradation of the worst type. A forward line can take certain stand. We should not tolerate as social beings one who forsakes his wife without any reason. We should not attend marriages that has only money as motive. We must look down to polygamous human curiosities. We must boycott marriages of very unequal ages.

In this way we should be able to create a strong and healthy public opinion of social reform. Progress is no mere slogan. It is a way of life. If a person pretends to be progressive you will see progressive action in everything he does. Otherwise he is a villainous hypocrite.

Progress is a way of life. It must be transparent throughout. What is the use of that superficial shine that is not grounded on strong moral foundations?

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