Sinking of A Star: Sreenarain Jugdutt

Mauritius Times – 60 Years

In the sudden demise of Sreenarain Jugdutt in New Delhi last week not only do the unscrupulous milk sellers of the country get rid of a permanent threat to their evil occupation but the Medical and Health Department loses one of its best and most conscientious officers, the Hindu community loses one of its luminaries and the Mauritius Times loses a guide, philosopher and friend it will mourn forever. For Jugdutt was not a mere Sanitary Inspector whose activities were confined to the Health Department only. He was an eminent but refined intellectual with a remarkable strength of character.

Assessing his life and work today, one cannot fail to conclude that Jugdutt was an institution in himself. No wonder then that the news of his death was received with great consternation all over the country.

Sreenarain Jugdutt was an institution in himself


Yes, Sreenarain Jugdutt was an institution because he symbolised profound learning with great humility, because he personified the man of faith as well as the man of action and because he enshrined the exacting Hindu ideals and put them into practice in all his dealings. He was essentially a spiritual man and spirituality is the key to his personality. Another reason why Jugdutt could be considered a genius was because he was like a link between two important generations of Hindus.

His generation produced the first batch of Hindu intellectuals who subsequently took the leadership of the community. When he made his debut in social life, the community was at its incipient stage of development, the community had to face baffling problems like lack of education, economic insufficiency, and its attendant ills. Above all the community had almost lost its sense of self-respect: it was the time when being an Indian or just bearing an Indian name was considered sinful. And many were those who gave up or tried to give up their Indianness.

But Jugdutt could grasp the problem. He believed that apart from making good the economic insufficiency, the community had to find its spiritual moorings. The community must revive its culture and regain its self-respect if it were at all to be rehabilitated, thought Jugdutt. To do that he pinned his faith on education. And that is why he always emphasised the need of sound education which to him comprised spiritual education as well.

His contribution in the field of education is tremendous indeed and one is simply amazed that he did so much in so short a time. His contribution towards the establishment of the Gita Mandal in Mauritius, his work in the Hindi Pracharini Sabha, at the Ramakrishna Mission and in innumerable other cultural and educational organisations needs no emphasis. It now forms part of the legacy he leaves behind.

Another striking feature of Jugdutt’s character was his positive approach to life and its problems. There was no assailable problem to him. Either there was a way out or one had to resign oneself. Though his culture and religion were attacked, he used to reply with calm and understanding. He always tried to understand the other man’s views. He knew how to be polite and adamant and courteous and unshakable. He was well steeped in his own culture and traditions, but he was not blind to the beauties of other cultures and traditions. He never believed that his culture was the only one that mattered in the world; he was universal in his outlook and that was how he understood and propounded the fundamentals of Hinduism.

Jugdutt’s death is being mourned today. And the feeling of sorrow and tragedy seems to be greater because he died far from his country. Whatever one might say, his death appears to be one much to his liking. He spent a lifetime working for others in his own unassuming way without expecting anything in return. He always preached the Gita and used to stress that one should work but with no motive of having something in return. And here he dies with none of those who owe him some gratitude unable to pay him a last homage. A really Hindu death perhaps.

Jugdutt is no more. The frail, little, learned man who left us in July has not and will never come back. Instead, a small urn containing his ashes has come by Wednesday’s plane. The star has sunk for ever; but its light will be always there. It will always shine.

* * *

English Scholarship Exam

It has been reported to us that at the English Scholarship examination held this week, the invigilator ordered several candidates to leave the examination room as their names did not appear on the examination schedule for the subject they were taking.

They left but under hard protests. Sometime later, that invigilator told them that they could sit for that subject under certain conditions. The result of that was that these candidates had completely lost their calm and coolness, they felt as if they had been stunned by a blow. They could hardly concentrate on their paper. Though at some time later they were told that an error was committed, they did not feel relieved from the shock.

In such an important and competitive examination as the HSC, the candidates’ moral must not be tampered with, even erroneously, by the invigilators. It must be borne in mind that the career and future of the candidates depend upon the result of this examination.

The psychological makeup of a candidate’s mind during the examination is tense and any unpleasant happening can easily make him lose his balance and end for him the chance of a lifetime.

One of the tasks of the invigilator is to help the candidates and any invigilator must see to it that in no way he upsets the candidates, the more so in an as examination of such great importance.

The harm once done by him cannot be undone no amount the degree of assurance he might afterwards give to the candidates.

5th Year – No 225
Friday 28th November, 1958

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 *