Beware of imposed identities

For lack of relevant and credible policies to address the country’s woes, a few politicians unrelentlessly keep harping on consolidating and saving national unity as if people were living at daggers drawn with their neighbours. The very fact of pretending that unity and harmony are at stake in public speeches is divisive.

No one is fooled by the strategy of minority vote bank politics, which does create frustration and resentment, besides being a total waste of saliva and our precious time. Such an empty slogan is dismissed as gaspiyaz. Seasoned politicians believe that the old trick of making last minute promises on improving living conditions and relieving the financial burden of common people is going to work as in the olden days of free education. We all know how free education is today, as free as public medical care in the public sector. Just see what chunk of an average family budget is spent in the two key items.

What is more worrying and is giving sleepless nights to quite a number of concerned citizens is the spectre of a French-style Second Republic concocted behind the back of Mauritians, to suit the whims and personal agenda of French freemasonry in the region with the support of local politicians. It should be remembered that the annexation of Mayotte as French overseas territory was on the agenda of French President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing as far back as in the 1970s. The former president is himself an influential member of a freemason lodge which has ramifications in Mauritius.

France never gave up the ambition of laying its hands on Mayotte, and it took the French more than thirty years to achieve their goal. Selling off part of national territory to foreign powers is, unfortunately, in the DNA of local political history, and to say the least, one should be wary of any attempt to alter the identity of the country, which might end up in the whole country being handed on a platter to the métropole friends of local leaders.

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Unsurprisingly, in the male-dominated realm of what we call socio-cultural associations, obtaining subsidies for duty free cars seems to be a major concern. It is part of the trappings of power that males in this country are enamoured of and deem it indispensable to enhance their self-image.

Everybody is competing with everybody else, especially with well-off private sector bosses, to own the latest brand of whatever cars or luxury products the West puts on the market.

No wonder developed countries and their citizens look down with contempt on the greed that characterizes the spheres of power in third world countries.

How leaders of those associations use public funds to care about their flocks is an open question given the moral decay that one can observe around. Let us leave respective religions to gauge their own development. As far as Hindus are concerned and the rate of crime and violence that plagues the community, it is high time to face reality squarely.

How many Hindus have ever held a copy of Bhagavad Gita in their hands? Or are imbibed with its teachings? Instead of luxury cars, the subsidies should be better used in putting a Gita in every Hindu household so that the antharyamin guides seekers in thought, word and deed, on the meaning of birth, the stress on performance of one’s assigned duty without hankering after fruits, and abiding by values such as integrity, honesty, mercy, purity and self-restraint among others.

A simplified Gita, like the one Swami Venkatasananda gave to college students, would be a good start.

The maxims, axioms and doctrines highlight one’s way of life, guiding one to cross from the material world to a spiritual world.

Righteousness, doing the right thing, picking the right path in the spirit of Dharmic culture is what most of us dream of seeing in ourselves, in people around us and those who are entrusted to gear the destiny of the country. They are common values shared by the different components of society. Reality is a far cry from what we aspire to.

Years ago, in a bid to entertain and please the public, third rate Brazilian telenovela starlets were to be invited at public expense. Today, Brazil has been superficially added to Mauritian identity on every screen on the national air carrier AM thanks to the bright idea of the Minister of Tourism and his craze for carnival dancers. We are quite embarrassed to have to explain how Brazilian carnival is a publicity for Mauritian tourism. Brazil itself does not give a damn about our quest for a superficial identity. But our leaders and their coaches in their metropole are working seriously to press an unwanted political identity down our throats. If anything, it should be fought tooth and nail to prevent its advent in the next elections.

 

* Published in print edition on 21 November 2014

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