NMU And Our Small Self

MT 60 Yrs — 2nd YEAR NO. 44 – 11 June 1955

Editorially Speaking

Our editorial of last week, Priests on Soap Boxes, has roused the wrath of NMU.

In Le Cernéen of Tuesday he has devoted the concluding paragraph of his article, La Quatrième Phase to us with the threat of keeping a rod in pickle for Friday (yesterday).

We were quite clear in our article when we stressed that it’s no business of priests to meddle with politics. But NMU has deliberately chosen to confuse the issue by sidetracking. Even the anonymity of our editorial is an eyesore to him!

After reading his article, one is left under the impression that we are the inveterate enemies of the Catholic clergy and the mighty upholders of communism. He has insinuated that we are against the Catholic clergy because the latter is attacking communism.

But what did we say in fact? We said that the clergy should keep clear of politics. And by this we mean that we would not like the clergy to speak even against capitalism. Is that clear?

It is sometimes contended that it is part of a priest’s duty to speak against communism in the interest of his religion.

Should the clergy be allowed to do anything it fancies in the name of its sacred mission, under the cloak of religion? If it were in the interest of Christianity to speak against Hinduism or Islam, would the clergy be encouraged to attack those religions? Surely a line has to be drawn somewhere.

*  *  *

It is no secret that NMU is size conscious. He has called our paper micro-Times before. Now it is petit hebdomadaire.  He has sized up our editorial board by calling us petits intellectuels indiens. And he finds in our editorial “preuves divers accumulées” in a “petite colonne”.

We have seen NMU only once. He looked as gentle as a lamb. By no stretch of imagination can he be described as a colossus. He may be an intellectual giant but the remains a puny (or micro?) journalist physically. Is it because he is short and stocky that we must look upon him with contempt? Not by any means.

But we wonder why he makes so much fuss about size. We leave the poet to answer him:

“It you can’t be a highway,
then just be a trail,
If you can’t be the sun,
be a star;
It isn’t by size that you win or you fail —
Be the best of whatever
you are!”

*  *  *

When we consider how attentive NMU has become to us after reading our article, we cannot help congratulating ourselves on the publication of our “petit hebdomadaire de faible diffusion”. And he confesses that we are irritating – “ennuyeux comme la pluie”. What a compliment!

NMU, of all people, is accusing us of spreading “des propos venimeux et provocants.” To what end? To increase the sale of our paper! NMU must be thinking that we are circulating in a very small circle. What a cheek!

One day NMU will perhaps tell his readers what the soundness of an opinion has to do with the size of the paper which publishes it. He will also perhaps oblige them by explaining how he thinks an argument can be won by means of contempt, ridicule and sarcasm. And we hope he will tell us what was the sin we committed in quoting Hon. Forget.

NMU must be knowing that making vague allegations is but bluffing. He must be knowing that looking down upon one’s neighbour is no Christian virtue. He must have realised that by spitting venom right and left he is disgracing the culture and civilization of the community to which he belongs. And yet he persists in his obstinacy.

*  *  *

We are doing our small bit, in our small way. We are never so happy as when we are thought provoking. We don’t expect NMU to endorse all our views as we have different principles. We welcome his criticism as any other provided our opponents show the sense of playing a clean game.

Small fry that we are, is that asking too much, Mr NMU?

*  *  *

Le Parti Mauricien Unmasks itself

NMU’s dream has now been materialized: Mr d’Arifat and Mr Jules Koenig are today on the same band-wagon. Has anybody forgotten the efforts made by NMU to include Mr d’Arifat in the list of candidates presented by the Ralliement Mauricien for Plaines Wilhems and Black River in August 1953? Sometime ago we forecast that the Parti Mauricien is but the Ralliement Mauricien in a slightly different garb.

Now it is a fact: the orators, at their first meeting have confirmed our contention. In its press communiqué inviting the public to the meeting of the 5th June last, the Parti Mauricien stated: ‘A ces meetings seront exposés les principles qui guideront le parti, et particulièrement, l’organisation par laquelle il sera offert aux Mauriciens la possibilité pour chacun de contribuer à l’élaboration d’une politique juste et saine ». (Italics ours).

What are the principles « qui guideront le Parti Mauricien » ? Were they exposed at the meeting? To what school of political thought does the Parti Mauricien belong? Did the orators say how the organisation, which will “élaborer une politique juste et saine”, will work? No. Instead, they poured their spleen over Dr Ramgoolam and the Labour Party. One got the impression that Dr Ramgoolam means the Labour Party and sometimes the Government. What a sauce!

The Speeches

Mr d’Arifat is too well-known for his anti-Hindu and anti-Labour feelings. He is in complete agreement with NMU’s policy and had often proclaimed it at his meetings. So, his tirade against Dr Ramgoolam was expected. At the very beginning of his speech he served his audience with an insanity. Here it is: simply because the Parti Mauricien published its manifesto on the 7th of April last Dr Ramgoolam had to admit defeat. Mr d’Arifat’s contention that “le gouvernement – c’est Hon. Chadien et sa bande” is blatant nonsense fit only for his Plaine Verte audience. His theory that “le socialisme abolit la liberté” shows his ignorance of the subject. He should read Prof Cole. He is of opinion that all men are not equal – some stupid, others intelligent (as him) – yet he said “Pour la première fois on inaugurera un système politique qui permettera aux Mauriciens de se rencontrer sur le plan de l’égalité ». In short there was nothing new in Mr d’Arifat’s speech, it was a repeat of NMU’s usual diatribes against Dr Ramgoolam and Labour.

Instead of exposing the principles of the Parti Mauricien, Mr Victor Ducasse – ex-Mayor of Port Louis – missed the point and made a plea in defence of the administration of the Municipality of Port Louis. It seemed that he had forgotten whether he was at the first meeting of a new political party, but did not forget to pour venom upon Dr Ramgoolam and Labour. He spoke on everything except on the Parti Mauricien.

Mr Razack Mohamed made sensational revelation. He considers Hindus as his brothers. At long last the Hindus have found someone to take care of them! This is indeed a priceless acquisition. He made a confusion between the Financial Secretary, Dr Ramgoolam and the Labour Party. If the 1955-56 estimates have reached the enormous figure of Rs 150,000,000 – none than the Labour Party is responsible for that. Is it, Hon. Mohamed?

Why the Labour Party wants to close the Railway Department thus throwing 1800 familles sur le pavé? asked Hon R. Mohamed “But Dr Ramgoolam will not mind,” said Hon. Mohamed “for the good reasons that all of them are Christians and of the coloured population.” Mr Mohamed’s declaration was bottomless. Let us consider the facts. While speaking on the 1955-56 estimates, Hon G. Forget (Labour) said “Therefore the only question that will arise will be whether the Sugar Industry can take out an additional burden of two million annually out of the two hundred and sixty it collects and keep the Railways going on with the 1800 families living on it, or whether the Government, in spite of the large number of people now living on the Railways will not be willing to accept as a permanent feature a deficit which could be reduced to the least possible figure.” (Italics are ours).

On the other hand Hon Guy Sauzier a nominated member and the Secretary of the Mauritius Chamber of Agriculture, while speaking on the same estimates said: “I want to be fair and I want here – when I say fair, I mean fair to the Financial Secretary and the Government – I want to mention that if and when the Government decides to close down the Railways a saving of Rs 2 ¾ million will be effected annually, which will help us to balance the budget.” (Italics are ours)

(to be continued)

  • Published in print edition on 31 July 2015

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