Dr Philippe Forget

Obituary

Mauritius Times was pained to hear about the demise, last Monday, of Dr Philippe Forget, with whom the early editors of this paper had a close association since the good old days of responsible journalism in the country. We shared with him a number of values, chief among which was objectivity when dealing with facts.

He was a straightforward person and so was the pen he wrote with as Chief Editor of the l’express newspaper from 1963 onwards. Those were testing times for editors of calibre in the pre and post-independence period. If you did not want to get lost in the thicket of wild emotions surging up in the political context of those days, you needed to wrestle with all the rumours and propaganda that ran amok at the time until you extracted that essential grain of truth which stood up to factual evidence. This is what his analyses of the situation brought out with clarity and depth of understanding of the real issues at stake.

Dr Forget transformed the newspaper into such a powerful voice that it became compelling to listen to it, no matter what your personal inclinations were. One remarkable fact about his writing was the precision with which he employed words, succinct and not straying outside acceptable bounds while accompanied by an economy and precision of language. It was no doubt terse delivery but one that saved you from having to ramble around in trivial argumentation about side issues.

For quite some time after he left his responsibilities as Chief Editor of the newspaper, he had got readers used to such a high standard of precision that his successors could not but abide by the set standards.

It can be safely said that Dr Forget set a standard for which, howsoever lost today regretfully, he will be respected and we can only hope that Mauritian journalism will again someday operate with the rigour and discipline he successfully introduced in what may be called the summer times of l’express newspaper.

It is a sad loss and we would like to share our feelings of sympathy with his family members and friends.

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Founder’s Day Celebration

Paying homage to late Rohit Bolakee, founder-father of Universal College

Oodayechand Ramkhelawon

16 September: A day of reminiscence, of invocation, and even a day of submission; in short a red-letter day for everybody at Universal College. This day reminds us of the birth date of the great soul who was late Rohit Bolakee, founder-father of Universal College.

Those who were closely associated with him can recall how this man of vision, who had education and nothing but education at the top of his life’s agenda, made of this lifelong treasure his battleground, and how with his modest finance established a private secondary school early in 1961, now a jewel-in-the-crown in the Riviere-du-Rempart’s social and community life.

Today, with over 52 years of existence, Universal College is called upon to play a still more crucial role in the education scenery of the country. Indeed, the institution has made great strides in this span of time, and stands as a powerful lighthouse for its 1500 student-population.

Late Rohit Bolakee left us at the early age of 49 on a fateful 11 January 1986, filling us with awe and stupefaction as to what would befall this priceless legacy left by him.

His belief in giving to humanity and his vision of a better enlightened area in this northern part of Mauritius inspired his wife Mrs Shakuntala Bolakee to go ahead. As a matter of fact, with the collaboration of the present Managing Director, Mr Tejnarain (Rajen) Chumroo, cousin-brother of the deceased, the dreams of late Mr Bolakee took a new turn and became a reality. Mr Rajen Chumroo, the catalyst, along with his dedicated team including the Rector, Mrs Anjanee Bolakee-Bhowon (unique child of late Mr Rohit Bolakee) is striving hard to fulfill the founder’s vision and cherished goals, enshrined in the philosophy to make Universal College a ‘masterpiece’ institution.

Founder’s Day also includes visits to infirmaries and providing lunch to the inmates of the Gayasingh Ashram, Port-Louis and the Gandhi Breedh Ashram, Petit Raffray in order to illustrate the philanthropic nature of late Rohit Bolakee. Socio-political and community services were innate features of this illustrious son and these, along with several other multifarious activities, made him a multi-faceted man. All of these make Founder’s Day a Philanthropic Day as well.

Late Rohit Bolakee may not be physically with us today, but the legacies he has left behind and on which we are consolidating make him more alive than dead!

In remembrance of this great visionary, we can but only borrow Shakespeare’s lines that:

“He, only, in a general honest thought,

And common good to all, made one of them.

His life was gentle; and the elements

So mix’d in him, that Nature might stand up,

And say to all the world, THIS WAS A MAN!”


* Published in print edition on 14 September 2013

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