Plea for a better life

Mauritius Times – 60 Years

The question of birth control has never been so much discussed as it is today.

All this came about when Hon Dr Teelock, who is also chairman of the Mauritius Family Planning Association, raised the matter in the Legislative Council. He did so at the right time when the Council was called upon to discuss the general policy of the Government and also when the 1959-60 budget was being discussed. Which is to say that he viewed the problem with the general development of the country in the background. And this is how this matter has to be discussed.

But unfortunately, this problem is not simply an economic one: it has got the religious aspect which is often exploited for political ends. This is very unfortunate but nonetheless the problem has to be discussed and a decision taken. The most delicate and most controversial aspect of birth control is certainly the religious aspect. Roman Catholics object to the use of contraceptives but are not averse to Ogino method or as Father Dethise pointed out in Le Mauricien, they prefer abstinence as advised by Mahatma Gandhi. One section of the Muslim community is also against birth control on religious and moral grounds, whilst another section is outspokenly in favour of it. We can therefore safely say that the controversy is more on the method to be used than on the principle of birth control itself. But oddly enough, the question whether to adopt the principle is still causing much ink to flow.

The discussion on birth control has this time involved Father Dethise, who represents Roman Catholic opinion, and Dr Singer – a strong and indefatigable advocate of family planning. Each is attempting to convince the other of the validity of his or her argument and that is where the discussion becomes futile and unnecessary. Because there is no doubt that neither Father Dethise will agree to the use of contraceptives, nor will Dr Singer give in. The discussion now raging will certainly not bring about any conversion: the two points of view are irreconcilable.

What then has to be done? What should be the attitude of each towards the other? We feel that the people should be allowed to adopt the method of its own predilection and one should tolerate the other.

Next comes the question of Government sponsoring the movement. What objection can any sensible section of the population have to this? The government is a government of Mauritians which means it is a government in which are represented all shades of Mauritian opinion. The question therefore is, should all sections of the population be denied the right of doing what they think fit simply because they fail to realise that each should be allowed absolute freedom?

With due to the opinions of others, we feel that birth control will go a long way towards helping the overall progress of the country. Tolerance and understanding are needed. We have to see to it that we do not become responsible for the miseries of future generations.

* * *

Family Planning in India

India is one of the few great countries that have on official family planning policy.

The following steps are proposed to be taken by the Government to popularize FP:

  1. To integrate as early as possible the Family Planning Service with the Medical and Health Services of the country;
  2. To provide training centres for FP in medical teaching institutions and schools of social sciences.
  3. To appoint FP education leaders;
  4. To start FP training touring teams and orientation camps; and
  5. To make all-out efforts to be self-sufficient in the matter of supply of contraceptives by producing all kinds of contraceptives in the country.

The number of centres set up in the country by the Government of India was 675, by local bodies 47, and by private institutions 104. The amounts sanctioned to various agencies during the First Plan was Rs l,142,013 and during the Second Plan up to January 1959. Rs 4,140,720.

Sir Julian Huxley, the eminent expert in Eugenics told the sixth International Conference on Planned Parenthood that the success of India in solving her population problem would give hope to the world at large.

* * *


Last week, this journal pleaded for a sane and more enlightened trade union movement. It even suggested that for the ultimate, all-round benefit of the workers, the trade union movement and the Labour Party should work hand in hand. It was also hinted that both the IFB and the Parti Mauricien were infiltrating as well as courting the trade-union movement. There is now news which sheds more light on this matter.

A letter, signed with the pseudonym ‘Unionist, appears in almost all the dallies; Unionist wants Moignac to resign from the chairmanship of the MTUC because he had dared visit Communist China. All that is childish. Unionists must surely not be aware that recently Messrs Bevan, Gaitskell and even Macmillan visited Moscow.

At Tuesday’s meeting of the Legislative Council. Mr S. Bissoondoyal said he “specially welcomed” Moignac back to Mauritius. Didn’t I say, some time ago, that the IFB was wooing Mr Moignac and Lacaze? With the M.A.L.A. entrenched in the M.T.U.C. coupled with the demarches of Mr S. Bissoondoyal’s sudden paternalistic solicitude for Moignac, it looks as though the Parti Mauricien will be successful in driving a wedge between the M.T.U.C.and the Labour Party.

6th Year – No 250
Friday 29th May, 1959

Mauritius Times ePaper Friday 29 September 2023

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