Dhanjay Callikan

It is with great sadness that we learned last Saturday about the passing away of Dhanjay Callikan, at the age of 75. Dan, as he was commonly known, was born in Vieux Grand Port and lived a full life, touching the hearts and minds of many along the way.

An alumnus of Sorbonne University, Dan Callikan belonged to that generation of former Royal College students who would go on to shine in their respective chosen fields – be it politics, administration, engineering, medicine or the law. Sadly, he did not take to practising as a lawyer although having read law; there is no doubt he would have been a brilliant and reputable one, fighting for the upholding of human rights and embroiled in battles of wits around constitutional litigations. Reputable, indeed, to those who have known himclosely in view of his forthrightness and integrity.

Throughout his life, Dan was instead passionate about politics and communication. One of the difficult things about politics, especially in a multiracial society like Mauritius, is finding the right balance, and he must have viewed communication as an effective tool to help achieve that necessary balance. That is why he spent most of his professional life in the communication field – as head of the MBC, the Government Information Services and as editor of the news agency Matera and thereafter his own paper ‘La Gazette’.

He was also an attentive observer of Mauritian politics and had a good grasp of its intricacies. This is what brought him close to Sir Anerood Jugnauth in the 1980s, helping together with a couple of comrades-in-arms to turn around a disastrous situation then prevailing in the country. At some stage in the 1990s, dissatisfied with the orientations and policies being pursued by the then government, he took some distance from politics. Later it was to the Labour Party’s Navin Ramgoolam that he extended his support, but in both cases with a view to striking the delicate balance that would allow the country to progress within the democratic framework.

In hindsight, Dan Callikan understood the pertinence of the earlier Labour Party’s policies despite having been critical, like many of his generation, of some of them in the past. Likewise, he had the moral integrity to take issue with the ill-fated 2014 Second Republic alliance brokered by Ramgoolam and Berenger. He was, to paraphrase Shakespeare in ‘Hamlet’, always true to his own self.

What stood out as regards Dan Callikan, besides his sharp intellect and the profound influence on those who went to him for guidance whether in the field of politics or communication, was his equanimity. An intellectual heavyweight, he wielded enough moral authority to influence PMs and cut self-aggrandising ministers and other politicians to size. Nonetheless, he was a discrete man who did not lay bare his inner feelings, but one could sense that he held deep regrets that some of the political figures to whom he extended his support and unwavering commitment did not live up to the ideals expected of them, not going far enough to promote what is right for the country and our fellow countrymen.

His contribution to Mauritian politics and the media is important. His passing leaves a profound void in the hearts and minds of those who had the privilege of knowing him. We take comfort in the knowledge that he touched so many lives during his time with us.

We extend our deepest condolences to Sadhna, Shakti, Anjali, to his brother Soomant and all his close ones.

Mauritius Times ePaper Friday 14 April 2023

An Appeal

Dear Reader

65 years ago Mauritius Times was founded with a resolve to fight for justice and fairness and the advancement of the public good. It has never deviated from this principle no matter how daunting the challenges and how costly the price it has had to pay at different times of our history.

With print journalism struggling to keep afloat due to falling advertising revenues and the wide availability of free sources of information, it is crucially important for the Mauritius Times to survive and prosper. We can only continue doing it with the support of our readers.

The best way you can support our efforts is to take a subscription or by making a recurring donation through a Standing Order to our non-profit Foundation.
Thank you.

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *