Our Third Year

Mauritius Times – 60 Years Ago

By somduth Bhuckory

Mauritius Times was born three years ago on a Saturday morning on the 14th August 1954. It was then a single sheet.

For some five months it appeared on Saturdays and after that it started appearing every Friday. And now Friday has become Mauritius Times Day.

When our paper was ten months old, a great even took place in its life: another sheet was added to it. The day Mauritius Times appeared in four pages we called ‘Our Red-Letter Day’.

Princess Margaret’s visit in September 1956 gave us the opportunity to see how low a section of the British press could stoop and it also gave us the opportunity to say what we thought of that sort of press.
Photo – Vintage Mauritius

And today we are inaugurating another change. For its third anniversary we are dressing our paper up in eight pages but its normal attire after this will consist of six pages. This change has inevitably brought a change in its price. From five cents the price will go up to ten cents. We are confident that our readers will not grudge us this rise.

Three years in the world of journalism is not a long time. Le Cernéen celebrated its 125th anniversary and Le Mauricien its 50th this year. Although our paper is just a junior among the journals of this place, it is fully conscious of its responsibilities. But it is proud to retain the stubborn nature of a child. When it sticks to something it sticks to it like a limpet sticks to rock.

It is an acknowledged fact today that Mauritius Times has a place of its own in local journalism. It is the only weekly of its kind. It was a hazardous venture to start such a paper here. But as the paper answered the call of the moment its success is quite understandable.

Our modest beginning has been the cause of much contempt in some quarters. We have had to contend against heavy odds to make our position secure. It is a matter of deep satisfaction, however, that if some pelted us with bricks others were ready with their bouquets. And so, amidst cheers and jeers, we jogged along.

Our physical appearance was not the cause of much concern to us in the beginning. What engaged our attention was the formulation of our policy. It is one thing to know political and other theories in the abstract, but it is quite a different thing to relate them to our day-to-day life and contribute thereby to the solution of topical problems.

People may agree with us or they may not, but at least we expect they will credit us with following a progressive course. Difference of opinion there will be. Young minds will have fresh points of view. Young people may not like the beaten track. Let, therefore, nobody doubt our sincerity of purpose.

* * *

Our third year has witnessed momentous happenings in this island. It would perhaps be more exact to say that we have not only witnessed those happenings but have also taken part in them. Let us consider one aspect of our struggle – the political aspect.

The municipal elections which were held on the 2nd of September saw us very active in supporting Labour. When Labour carried the day, we joined in the rejoicing as any other Labourite. We were proud of the victory and of the Labour Party.

Then came the election of ministers to introduce the ministerial system. We were against the system and the Labour deputies boycotted it. We were once more proud of the Labour Party.

Then came the election of ministers to introduce the ministerial system. We were against the system and the Labour deputies boycotted it. We were once more proud of the Labour Party.

Princess Margaret came to visit us while a constitutional crisis was brewing in the air. We published a special number to welcome her. The royal visit gave us the opportunity to see how low a section of the British press could stoop and it also gave us the opportunity to say what we thought of that sort of press.

The by-election of Moka-Flacq came, and we openly supported Mr Balgobin. The Labour Party was still commanding our respect and admiration.

Another parliamentary delegation left for London for constitutional talks. We wished that delegation ‘Bon Voyage’ once more and we were at Plaisance to garland the Labour delegates.

When in March of this year we received the London Agreement, we could not do otherwise than denounce it. Needless to emphasize the violent controversy in which we got involved with our own friends.

On the eve of the institution of the new ministerial system, Mr Profumo came to pay us a short visit. We again expressed our doubts and fears. And even after, we never hid our distrust of the ministry.

We have completed our three years at a time when our political future looks uncertain. We have proved how futile the work of the Boundary Commission will be and what the dangers of communal representation are.

Is not the foregoing enough to show how keenly we are interested in shaping the destiny of our island home? And, by the way, does it not also reveal our independence of thought and action?

* * *

So much about the past to show how we have evolved so far. Our past must be an index to our future.

If ever any constructive criticism was needed, it is now. If ever any watchdog was necessary, it is now. Our constitution is in the making, and we have to be careful not to accept anything that will retard our reaching the ultimate goal of self-government. There are also other problems in other fields which will deserve our undivided attention. Ministers are at work now. We shall have to assess their achievements one day.

We want Mauritius Times to be a vehicle of public opinion on topical matters of interest. Letters from readers will be as welcome as ever provided they are short and the writers reveal their identity. Our Readers’ Forum must become the barometer to gauge public opinion. We invite our readers to help us achieve this end.

Much will naturally depend on our regular contributors to make the paper as interesting as possible. We have every reason to believe that our contributors take as much delight as us in raising the standard of our paper. They have rendered a magnificent service in the past. How can they fail us in days to come?

Our advertisers and readers, our supporters and friends need a special mention also. One and all have co-operated to make of Mauritius Times what it is today. There is no reason why anyone will let it down in future.

And so we are visualising our future with confidence. We are entering on our fourth year fortified in the thought that we can rely on the co-operation of all concerned to keep us going on the rough road which we have chosen to make ours.

Mauritius Times is not a paper to be satisfied with retailing news. It is a paper which, above all, aims at making people think. The value of such a paper to the rising generation cannot be stressed too much. The wider its circulation the greater its impact. We appeal to our supporters and friends to see to it that we get as wide an audience as possible. A well-informed public is the best check on the acts of public men.

Before we end, may we express our gratitude and thanks to all those who, one way or another, are contributing to the success of Mauritius Times.

4th Year – No 158
Friday 16th August 1957

* Published in print edition on 9 March 2021

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 *