Indian Independence and Mauritius in 1947

By Sada Reddi

As India celebrates the 75th anniversary of its independence, one cannot forget that this historic event in world history, which marked the beginning of the era of decolonisation, was celebrated in many countries including Mauritius.

The independence of India had a major impact on Mauritius, and the growth of Indian nationalism and the struggle for Indian independence were keenly followed by many Mauritians. Just to give one example, the march of Indian labourers on the sugar factory of L’Union in 1937 was accompanied with cries of ‘Jai Hind’ according to Magistrate Osman’s report.

The Indo-Mauritian communityalso celebrated the independence of India on15th August 1947, which was also a public holiday celebrated locally on the occasion of ‘Fête Dieu’. A few days earlier, on12thAugust, there were speeches in the Legislative Council, and congratulatory messages addressed to the people of India and Pakistan.HonRaffray pointed out that people in the colony could not remain indifferent to such an event.

Independence celebrations for both India and Pakistan, which saw the participation of Hindus and Muslims, took place at the Champ de Mars. Thepresident of the organising committee was RK Boodhun, and the secretary was Dawood AbdoolRahman, the President of the Jummah Mosque. The Champ de Mars was illuminated for the occasion and there were special trains to convey people to Port-Louis. Free cinema shows were also held.

A procession left the Jummah Mosque for the Champ de Mars, and the flags of both India and Pakistan were unfurled by Boy Scouts on top of masts. It was indeed a celebration displaying the solidarity of the whole Indo-Mauritian community.

The ceremony was marked by speeches and congratulatory messages from Acharya Kripalani and Pandit Nehru were read. The gist of Nehru’s message was to call upon Indians overseas to serve with loyalty the countries where they had settled down. In towns and villages, celebrations were also organized to salute the flags of India and Pakistan as symbols of liberty and dignity, ending with ‘Jai Hind’ and ‘Pakistan Zindabad’.

Besides the official celebration, prayers were offered in temples, mosques and churches.Flag-raising ceremonies were held by variousreligious and non-religious organisationsin different localities.

There was then little indication that the independence of India and Pakistan had any divisive impact on the Indo-Mauritian population. However, there were celebrations on the creation of Pakistan organisedby the SuneeSurtee Society in Port-Louis, and messages were sent to Jinnah,the Governor General of Pakistan by the Medine Muslim Youth and the Muslim society of Plaine Magnien. Read More… Become a Subscriber

Mauritius Times ePaper Friday 26 August 2022

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