Press articles by Mahen Napal

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Operating as usual

[03/11/12]   Our National Anthem
We are currently celebrating the 44th Independent Anniversary of Mauritius. I am trying to analyse and see whether we have achieved the aim of “One’s people, one’s nation” as it has been clearly put in “our National Anthem” or are we still undergoing experiments and in the meantime the country is going to the dogs. How long more will it take us to become a nation free of communalism, casteism and Best Loser System which are the three evils knawing up our society. To do away with such evils we have to amend the constitution. It’s only then we can talk of “equal opportunity act”.
Objective of our National Anthem
The main objective of our National Anthem was at the outset, the unity of the Mauritian population because it is through unity that we can make progress. As goes the saying “United we stand, Divided we fall.” Have we achieved that aim or are we still “ en rodage”. Because after nearly half a century of independence we are still not a nation though we are supposed to be having a father of the nation. Which nation? On the contrary, we are more divided than ever though we are humming the national antheme since the last decades, i.e. since 1968.

As it goes “One people, One nation “, are we really one people one nation or does it look nice and beautiful on paper. Who really wants our population to be united? Our political leaders? A big NO. For them the more the population is divided, the more secure they feel. Just imagine a member of the assembly sitting there for more than four decades just in the name of communalism and casteism. Are those people indispensable?

Tony Blair and Heerall Bhugaloo

When will a minister or a member of the national assembly, not to mention the Prime Minister who is supposed to be “ Boulone” on his seat, ever resign on the name of “Principles”. I think never because the Principles of our politicians is to “trim their sails according to the wind that blows”. Alliances and coallitions are discussed perpetually during ages but when will they ever work for the country? Never. They always think of feathering their own nests or those of their dear and close ones.
Whenever an election is in progress, most of the political leaders start negociating another alliance. As soon as an election is over, they start talking of “anticipated elections and new alliances “. If such is the case, when will they ever think of working for the country or implement their electoral promices? Their role is to turn yesterday’s enemies into todays friends and vice-versa. As far as the population is concerned they never give a rational thought to such alliances because they just know to put their crosses on “pieds bananes” . Thats what I said and I repeat it strongly giving a “ rasoir to a monkey”.

There had been a unique case of Heerall Bhugaloo, the minister of education of late seventy seven who resigned both as minister and member of the national assembly. Hats off to him after thirty four years of his action. He can be compared to Tony Blair, the British P.M who resigned on principles. Why Bhugaloo resigned is still a mystery. He preferred to continue his teaching career than to survive on ministers’ allowance. Besides, he is a professional. He is the Founder, Manager, Director of Port-Louis High School. A Big Bravo to him. He has never been an opportunist as SSR and SAJ who are but monuments of opportunists. Had he been an opportunist, he would have readily accepted Ramsoondar Prayag’s offer to fight Aunath Beejadur in 1963. He did not have to incur any expenses because Ramsoondar Prayag wanted to avenge Aunath Beejadur , the then minister of education because the latter had refused to give his son an indian scholarship because according to him he did not deserve it.

Sometimes back our PM who supposedly “ Rassembleur” used a purely communal language in a public gathering. He said “ Nu ban, zot ban” , which is not appropriate from a PM to the whole Mauritius. Let such languages be used by say “ rasseur l’herbe or the supposed King Maker, but not a PM”. It’s a shame. And such people have the guts to preach national unity. Yes, it is a superficial unity.

If we really preach “one people, one nation”, how comes we have socio-cultural groups with communual connotations. For example: Hindu Cultural Centre, Islamic Cultural Centre, Marathi Cultural Centre etc etc… And to crown all those we also have “Centre Culturel Mauricien”. What a joke! We do not lack clowns and clownish ideas in our midst. Just to mention a few striking examples:
1. The clown or the pleasant century is, no doubt, among many others Rama Sithanen. When the new governor of the Bank of Mauritius was appointed, He swore never to sit by his side. And everyone knows what followed afterwards. He made a tour of the island with his resignation letter in his pocket. Did he not know the proper channel of sending his resignation letter? And he had the guts to come on t.v and defend himself as if he was indispensable. Yet there was “Ti roquet”. What followed afterwards is well-known to everybody. On the eve of the last general elections he was sacrificed on the altar of vengeance as happened to SAJ Stadium whose name was changed to Anjaley Stadium. What’s in a name? Had the rose been called by any other name, its fragrance would not have been different. Another striking example, Desforges Street will always remain Desforges street. Had Sithanen been given a labour ticket, the MMM candidate would not have been election. As goes the saying “ One’s man meat, another man’s poison”.

2. We have three vice-Prime Ministers. One is Constitutionally recognised and the two others namely Xavier Duval and Baichoo just in name. How comes Baichoo was appointed and not Arvind Boolell, who is seasoned labourite? Did anyone ever put the question and we have the guts to talk of “equal opportunity act”. On which ground was Baichoo chosen vice-Prime Minister?

3. We were supposed to have a Hawker’s Palace. What does a hawker stand for? He is supposed to be someone who carries his wears around and offers them for sale by shouting. So can we erect a hawker’s palace? How can we put all the hawkers under one roof?

4. Regional Assembly Of Rodrigues
Rodrigues is looked upon as the twenty first constituency of Mauritius. But how comes it has a Regional Assembly? If such is the case and logically speaking, why all our 20 constituencies do not have Regional Assemblies? We speak of Rodrigues being autonomous. How can it claim to be autonomous when it depends on Mauritius for its very survival? Automous means that you can stand on our own feet without any support, without any clutches. Who contributes to its survival? Is it not the Mauritian Government? As goes the saying “ boeuf travail, souval manger”. The present government if it means business, should look into it and dissolve the regional assembly because astronomous sums of money are spent on such barren decisions. Now, big expensive cars are run on the road of Rodrigues.

Coming back to Socio Cultural Groups we find that some of them take laws in their hands, they act as Minis Populaire to threaten the government as if the government needs their support to be elected. They even defy the authorities and the Judge’s order and they even dictate to the judge what he has to do. Such groups do not represent anybody as such. They pretend, they represent the majority of the population. They use a “Headed Writing Sheet Of Paper With Some names On it”, secretary, president, treasurer etc. I wonder those people represent themselves not the majority of the population. They are even invited in public functions and given big publicity by our national radio tv stations. Besides, with the blessings of the authorities they dirty our clean walls by putting their barren slogans. Instead of the authorities taking actions against them, they are given plots of lands. That is in the name of Socio Cultural Groups, they are making money. “ To Be Continued”.

Mahen Napal
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11.3.12

[02/22/12]   Independent Mauritius 1968 to 2012.
This year we celebrate the 44th anniversary of our Independence which we got on 12th March 1968.No one fought for it as such as most of the African countries and India did in order to dismantle the British Empire.
Our Independence can be compared to a ripe mango.if not plucked,was going to fall on its own.Either by hook or by crook Independence was going to come one day or the other.It would have come most probably without the extinction of Chagos because the Britishers had had enough of of us.WHAT WERE THEY GETTING OUT OF mAURITIUS? Nothing.As Rodrigues,what is Mauritius getting out of it?On the contrary we are spending a fortune on its Regional Assembly.
All the elections prior to Independence were crucial ones because there was agoal to attain.And for that the country was divided into 2 blocks - the Pro-independent and the anti-independent.To be more precise.the countryside people and the town people.The former was for Independence and the latter was against..Even to-day this trend exists.The rural area voters and the urban area voters are not on the same wavelength that's why our country can never have a one party government but coalitions or alliances. We have the Universal Franchise voters on one hand and the literate ones on the other.Late Jules Koeniqrightly put it in the following terms:Le suuffrage universel,c'est donner un rasoir a un singe.The situation where our country is today may be to the fact that the gapbetween the haves and the have-nots goes on increasing
Independence V Integration
The 1967 elections saw the emergence of two categories of people.One was forIndependence and the other for Association with Great Britain.It was a tough fight-between the rural and the urban areas With a very slight majority .the people voted for Independence.Had been a one to one fight the Association with Great Britain block would have won with a comfortable majority and the destiny of Mauritius would have been quite different from what it is to-day - for the better or for the worse.The results clearly showed that the country was divided into two blocks,the majority and the minority.Even the majority of the supporters of CAM voted against Independence,if not,howcomes that the leader of the CAM who had done so much for his community lost the elections.Other CAM candidates were elected by the help ofHindu Voters No15,No 13 ,No 10 and No 13.
The credit of Independence cannot go to any one person in particular as people are supposed to think.On the other hand the Britishers had a good bargaining power in its hand i.e. Chagos the exicion of Chagos from the Mauritian territory.That game was played and Mauritus became independent and we know the Chagossian story.
Unfortunately Ramgoolam agreed to sacrife Chagos just to quench his thirst of becoming the firrt Prime minister of Independent Mauritius.He wanted Independence at all costs so the victims are no othet than the Chagossiens.Chagos is gone for ever and ever and its population will always suffer because they cannot adapt themselves toMauritian life.Getting back the Chagos will always remain a dream.Can Mauritius fight with Great Britain or U>S>A> on thqat issue?Every year our representatives deliver kilometric speeches at the United nations just to say nothing a here the concerned people jubilate on the speech which is telecaston our National T.V.
Was Ramgoolam a freedom fighter or was he given Independence on a golden tray?
Can he be compared to a Julius Nyrere,Nkrumah,Gandhi,Nehru etc.Or was he just a sheer opportunist.
On every independence day celebrations for the last 44 years our National Radio broadcast patriotic Indian Songs to show that our country got its independenceafter years of struggle whereas it was not so.
How many times has Ramgoolam been jailed as a freedom fighter? On the contrary he had been knighted by the British Government.Such knighthoods were refused by genuine freedom fighters like Nehru,Gandhi,Subash Chandra Bose

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[02/18/12]   MAHA SHIVRATREE FESTIVAL
Mauritius is a multi-communal country or a multiracial one.It comes to the same.Each communal group has its own religious festivals.And no festival can can be declared National Festival.Even Christmas is not a National Festival.But some people say,especially politicians,that Divali is a National Festival.If so will a non-hindu ever light an earthen lamp on Divali?So how can we say that Divali is a National Festival.What a joke?Politicians should stop fooling the people.We have to be realist.
So far as Mahashivratree is concerned it will be celebrated throughout the world on 20th instant.What Mahashivratree is to the Hindus so is Eid to the Muslims and Christmas to the Christians.
Mahashivratree is synonymous to Jhummun Giri Gossagne Napal,the official Priest of Bois Pignolet Temple,Terre Rouge.He was the first Priest of that Temple which was the first hindu temple in Mauritius.The people of that locality have erected a hall on the name ofJhummun GIRI Gossagne Napal in February 2007.It is known as Jhummun Geer Gossagne Bhavan.It has immortalised his name and on the veranda of the Bhavan there is a big statue of his.
When he came to Mauritius from India in late 1890’S he was hardly 15years young.He did not come willingly but he4 was forced in a ship bound to Mauritius or he was rather kidnapped on the banks of the Ganges and taken to Mauritius to work on the sugar cane fields as many others had come in those days.When he came to Mauritius he brought along with him his Shiv Ling on which the sacred water of the Ganges is poured on Mahashivratree Festival.His aim was to propagate Lord Shiva in Mauritius whereas other compatriots brought along with them their sacred books such as the Ramayana,Gita the Vedas etc.He was a staunch believer of Lord Shiva.The Shiv Ling under reference is still found in the old wing of the temple.Since it has become old and somewhat damaged it has been replaced by a new one yet the old one is still there in the old wing.

Since he landed in Mauritius he was haunted by his memeries of the Ganges.His only regret was that he could not get the water of the Ganges for his annual pilgrimage on the occasion of Maha Shivratree.According to the hindu customs when someone dies his funeral rites are supposed to be done with the water of the Ganges and his ashes be thrown in the Ganges.He was so haunted by his memeries of the Ganges that the villages thought he was a little mad and never took him seriously.
His dream:
He was haunted by the idea of the Ganges and the sacred water so much that he had a wonderful dream.He dreamt that he was bathing in the river Ganges.All of a sudden a mighty current pulled him down and swept him for days on end through a channel under the sea.When he came to the surface he found he was in an enchanted lake inhabited by heavenly fairies.The lake was set up in a deep forest and bordered on one side by a hillock in the shape of a temple.He was told by the fairies,in his dream,that there was such a lake similar to the Ganges in Mauritius and he had to search for it and ultimately he could quench his spiritual thirst in the lake.
“Jhummungeer” the fairies told him in his dream.” you are the first mortal to have journeyed from your beloved Ganges in India to our lake in Mauritius.You go and find the lake.You need no longer miss the holy Ganges that you left behind.When he told his friends about his dream nobody believed in him.They thought he was mad.Yet,there was something in his madness which was infectious..
And soit happened that in the year 1897 or so,he went alone in search of the lake.He travelled the entire length and breath of the island until,finally,he discovered the lake to his great satisfaction.He stopped there during the night hoping to see the fairies that he saw in his dream.Yes,he saw them in the clear moonlight on the hillock singing and dancing on the lake.It was he who gave the name of the lake Pari Talao (the lake of fairies).With the passage of time the name was changed to Ganga Talao.We do not the why of the change.As it is said somewhere “What’s in a name,if the rose were called by any other name it’s fragrance would not have been different”
There is no doubt of Mauritius being a mini-India so what the Ganges is to India Pari Talao is to Mauritius.The two waters are in truth but one and same.In 1899,he wnet along with some of his friends on his first official pilgrimage to Pari Talao.A statue of his is placed at Grand Bassin
It was in the year 1998 and the names of his friends are found on the statue.
In 2007 the people of Bois Pignolet constructed a hall bearing the name of Jhummungeer Gossagne Bhavan ,.It was a tribute paid to him by the people of Terre Rouge.The construction of the hall has immortallised the name of Jhummungeer the pioneer who propagated the name of Lord Shiva throughout the island.Not only Mauritians go on pilgrimage but p3ople the world over go yearly.
The Mahashivratree,the night of Shiva,is celebrated this year on the night of 20th instant so the public holiday ought to be on21st instead of 20th.It is on the 20th that the pilgrims or the hindu believers have to spend a whole night in prayers till dawn the following day.It is celebrated at night and not during the day so why a public holiday on 20th and not on 21st.What an irony?Some people always claim a holiday for the next day because they don’t realise how much a public holiday costs to the country.If public holidays are given on such flimsy grounds then we have no less than 365 public holidays and our country will be a Pinnochio’s country of holidays from1st January to 31 December.
An appeal to the Pilgrims.
My most pressing appeal is that they should not undergo the pilgrimage for show or with anidea of competition who carries the biggest Kanwar.I do not think Lord Shiva will ever appreciate such moves.The smaller the Kanwar the most beautiful will be the sight.How beautiful will it look if each of the pilgrims carries a simple Kanwar on his shoulder?Big Kanwars are a threat to road safety.Besides some people carry them on four wheels.We should not do things for show or we should not indulge in competitiveness as such it is well said “iF YOU GIVE ALMS.YOUR LEFT HAND SHOULD NOT KNOW WHAT YOUR RIGHT HAND IS DOING”
Next no politicians should deliver any political speech in such a sacred place.People who go there all the way on foot are not in a mood to digest politicalsppeeches but words of God.Even beggars should be banned from such places.I wish all the pilgrims a happy and peaceful journey to and from Pari Talao.

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