Mauritius Times – 60 Years Ago
When the electors of Port Louis go to the polls on Sunday, they will have to choose between the Labour Party and the Parti Mauricien. The four independent candidates are not going to affect that choice at all. We are happy to see that party politics is taking some shape not only in the sphere of Legislative Council elections but also in the sphere of local government.
It is, first and foremost, because the Labour Party stands of the noble cause of socialism that we are today appealing to the electors of Port Louis to vote Labour. Just as people have realised that the days of Groupement or Ralliement are gone, we want them to realize that the days of the supremacy of personalities over principles are numbered. Even the elite cannot stand just as an elite, it has to stand for something, for some cardinal principle.
There is another ingrained feeling which should be uprooted: the feeling that a list of candidates must be as representative as possible communally. We have to get over the idea that only a Hindu candidate can satisfy the Hindus of St. Denis Street, only a Muslim can catch the votes of Pagoda Street or only a Creole can be of some value to the electors of Ward IV. In Mauritius, the political climate is such that white socialists cannot thrive. But what socialist would hesitate for a second to give a vote to a Fenner Brockway or a Peter Ibbotson?
* * *
We propose to analyse the list of candidates to see first what part personalities are expected to play and what part communities. According to the occupations of the candidates we find the lists to be composed of as follows:
Labour Parti Mauricien
Attorneys 2 Attorney 1
Barristers 5 Barristers 4
Government Pensioner 1 Commission agent 1
Housewife 1 Dentist 1
Medical Practitioners 3 House, Land & Cattle agent 1
Student in Pharmacy 1 Medical Practitioner 1
Teacher 1 Notary Public 1
Trade Union Officials 2 Teachers 2
And according to communities, the lists are made up as follows:
Labour Parti Mauricien
Creoles (including 10 Creoles (including 6
Hindus 4 Hindu 1
Muslims 2 Muslims 5
It is clear that both parties have taken pains to gather as many prominent persons as possible without losing sight of the communities to which they belong. We sincerely hope that our political parties will do their best in time to come to ignore communal considerations in selecting their candidates. They must, of course, endeavour first to educate the masses politically.
As less and less attention is paid to the community to which a candidate belongs, more and more emphasis must be put on his political colour. The parties must select only those candidates who have served them with devotion and who can ably serve the people. A high intelligence should not be the only criterion. Popularity should not be the only touchstone.
* * *
We have said above that we support the Labour Party because it stands for a noble cause. Let us now see what is the alternative if Labour is discarded. Can we have faith and confidence in the Parti Mauricien?
The Parti Mauricien started with high hopes and a broad foundation. But in the pursuit of quick results its leaders forgot the ideals. A party which was meant to be a political party having some ism to fight for degenerated into a league of minorities. That was a tragedy in the life of the Parti Mauricien and a calamity in the development of true party politics in this island.
People who had spent their time kicking and vilifying the Hindus wanted to win them over overnight. And what did they hold out to the Hindus? More humiliations! Is it any wonder then that Hindus kept aloof from it?
Realizing its blunder, what has not the Parti Mauricien done to appear as representative as possible? But it is too late now. The leaders of the Parti Mauricien seem to have caught an old bird with their chaff. But how can that single swallow make a summer?
By refusing to rally under the banner of the Parti Mauricien, Mr Latham-Koenig has made it clear that the Parti Mauricien is very far from commanding general admiration. If Mr Latham-Koenig has seen through the game of the leaders of the Parti Mauricien, why cannot that electors of Port Louis do the same?
It would not be wise to discard a tried and tested party to back the groupement of old, the Ralliement of yesterday, the Parti Mauricien of today which acts as nothing less than an excited party of adventurers. That is why we say again: Vote Labour.
* * *
It is reported that the Parti Mauricien is making much of a manchette of Le Mauricien, entitled “Une Campagne contre les Missions chrétiennes dans l’Inde”, and published on the 23rd of August. It is alleged that the Hindu Maha Sabha is bent on making foreign missionaries quit India. Manchette of Le Mauricien, Mahasabha, missionaries and the Municipality. What a combination and what a red herring!
Le Mauricien feigns to ignore the findings of the Christian Missionary Activities Inquiry Committee appointed by the State Government. The report of the Committee which was appointed on April 14, 1954 was released on July 17 of this year. The six-member committee which was presided over by Dr M.B. Niyogi, former Chief Justice of the Nagpur High Court, in its findings observe: “Evangelization in India appears to be a part of the uniform world policy to revive Christendom for re-establishing Western supremacy and is not prompted by spiritual motives.” Isn’t it plain that there are missionaries and missionaries? It’s not all an immolation of innocent Christian lambs or rather shepherds.
Christians being in a majority on the electoral register, detractors are doing their damnable best to raise the cry that Christianity would be in peril if Labour succeeded.
Now that the stunt is exposed, we say once more: Vote Labour.
* Published in print edition on 26 October 2018