By Vinod Boolell
Picture taken on the 100th anniversary of Dad. Standing, from left to right: Mitradev, Ranjit, Vinod, Indumatee, Vijay, Indranee. Sitting: Soolekha Jepaul- Raddhoa, former Mayor of Quatre Bornes, former Minister Etienne Sinatambou, Bhoomitre Boolell, Amita, Mala and Mila
Our father, Bhoomitre Boolell, passed away on Saturday 30 July at the age of 104. His funeral was attended by family members, friends, neighbours, people who had known him – a crowd that testifies to the endearment that our father had generated throughout his life.
To any child the loss of a parent is unimaginably painful. There are no words that could adequately describe the void that the loss of our father has left.
Our father had a lasting influence on our lives. He valued education and brought us up to understand that the search for knowledge was key to progress. Sometimes, we had our differences but most importantly, he loved us unconditionally. Today we remember our dad and the great memories we shared.
Our dad was a very modest person but was endowed with so many qualities. He imparted to us values to help us forge our path in life. He was very strict and imbued with a sense of utter discipline. He was rigorous and meticulous in everything he did. Above all, he was very demanding of himself and of us in whatever he undertook or asked us to achieve.
Born in a very poor family on 7 May 1918, by sheer hard and studious work, he won a scholarship that got him to study at the prestigious Royal College Curepipe. After successfully completing the Cambridge School Certificate examinations and was contemplating and getting ready to pursue his secondary education, fate decided otherwise. His father died at a relatively young age, leaving behind our father and five of his brothers and sisters who were all still very young.
That episode deeply influenced our father in his life. He left school to start work and care for his widowed mother and five siblings. He joined the health department and trained as a nurse. He dedicated himself to cater for all the needs of his siblings by looking after their education and took an active interest in their personal lives. When Satcam, his younger brother, who had the ambition to study law, expressed that wish to our father, he readily agreed in spite of financial difficulties. Satcam ultimately became a lawyer and a successful political figure. And though he blazed the trail for our generation of professionals in mostly the legal and medical field, the visionary behind that success was our father, as is recognised by family members and friends.
That urge to help has been mostly manifest in another of his major achievement: his devotion to give private tuition during most of his weekends, without claiming any fees, not only to his children but also to nephews and nieces as well as to children who lived in our neighbourhood, irrespective of race or religion from the then standard VI class up to the Junior Scholarship and Certificate of Primary Education Class. For him education was a mission and not a commercial enterprise. He instilled in his children and all those he coached values that are becoming almost inexistent today. He strongly believed that the young generation should be given a chance to prove themselves. He had that vision and he was proved right as most, if not all, who studied under his exemplary and rigorous coaching, were to win scholarships to study at prestigious schools like Queen Elizabeth College, Loreto Convent and Royal College. Many of them are today professionals in their own callings.
As a nurse he has been attached not only to hospitals but also to dispensaries in villages as health centres were known. His passion and dedication to his work earned him the honorific appellation of “Doctor” by many of his patients. To him that must have been a source of solace and immense pride as he could not achieve his own ambition to become a doctor. His dream was cut short by the hands of fate. And he derived pride in seeing two of his sons, Mitradev and Vijay, qualify as doctors.
Maybe in his lifetime we did not show enough recognition and gratitude to him for all the things he did for us, but we are sure that all along he knew how much he meant to us. We will dedicate to him these few words of Stanley of Aderley who said:
“Your day is done? It is not true. You know you left behind a memory of courage which the years can but increase. And we, your heirs, will find that in good truth there’s nothing here for tears.”
You are not with us but you still are. As the Bhagavad Gita teaches us,
“The wise grieve neither for the living nor for the dead.
The Self within is eternal, indestructible.”
Mauritius Times ePaper Friday 5 August 2022
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