Many would have thought that such a proud person like the ex-Prime Minister would have cowed down under the heavy hand of the police. Many had expected that Navin Ramgoolam would have shed childish tears when made to sleep on a concrete bed with a few blankets. You would of course be wrong.
The adversity of the moment shows a man, in the words of a reporter, as charismatic as ever, friendly, with a scrupulous attention to detail, patient, and true to his self, ‘méfiant’ when necessary and above all eliciting sympathy which others could have more aptly defined as admiration. Perhaps also regretting, as many seem to do, that a budding politician who found himself propulsed to such a high position of responsibility, should have gone through such trials, and perhaps with a nagging feeling that he would bounce back.
What is happening is not unusual in our history. The great Mahé de Labourdonnais, the founder of Ile de France, ended his governorship with about four years in the Bastille before he cleared his reputation on a charge of corruption. Today he is remembered as the most illustrious French governor we have known. Robert Farquhar, the British Governor who ushered in a sugar revolution, was recalled to Britain to face a committee of inquiry.
More recently, Sir Gaetan Duval, thought by his partisans to be the most intelligent and charismatic politician the country has known, whose ‘droit à l’excès’ so outraged the Left, remains unforgettable to this day.
As in the case of SSR, the policemen who had been in his company for his last few days, had wondered about his calmness, his resilience, his fortitude and patience.
Whatever be the debate on the person who, while in power, has mesmerized many and continues to do so even out of power, the grand dilemma of the Mauritius Labour Party (MLP) at this critical juncture is to decide on the leadership of the party.
Some have opined that he should have voluntarily and temporarily stepped down and made place for a collegial team which characterized the MLP of the the 1950s with the triumvirate of Rozemont, Seeneevassen and Ramgoolam. Others prefer a different option, which is equally valid.
At least a healthy debate has started which should reach a democratic conclusion soon for the sake of the party. This is the way ahead for the MLP and Navin Ramgoolam.
* Published in print edition on 27 February 2015