50th Independence Anniversary: Mauritius the multi-cultural society: – A Reality or a Utopia?

Mauritius acceded to its independence on 12th March 1968 and we had to wait for 24 years before it became a Republic on 12th March 1992. We must be thankful to the numerous freedom fighters who contributed to this dream of us where we were free from the shackles of the British rule. Thanks to the Father of the Nation Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam, Bissondoyal’s brothers (Sookdeo and Bassdeo), Guy Rozemont, Emmanuel Anquetil, to name a few.

However, a particular event took place on 27th September 1943 that will definitely be a turning point in the history of Mauritius when Anjalay Coopen was killed on Belle Vue Harel Sugar Estate. This incident will be an iconic symbol of bravery and struggle of human rights against British colonial tyranny and sugar planters. This must be a powerful source of inspiration for all Mauritians to show that our island paid the highest price for its freedom.

Nevertheless, nowadays most of them tend to put aside the notion of unity as a “Nation Arc en Ciel”.We are living in an individualistic society and social tensions between different ethnic groups are a reality whether we like it or not. Yes, we have make lots development in terms of infrastructure, human rights like free education, freedom of speech, liberty of the press, having constitutional right and respect of different religious groups living together as one ….nonetheless, as we go deeper in the abyss, the myth of “Nation Arc en Ciel” ceases to exist, we must unveil our facades and wear our true masks.

As a youngster, I would have preferred to live in the 60’s and 70’s, life was so peaceful and the true sense and notion of “Nation Arc en Ciel” was cherished by most people at that time. Yes, life was difficult, yes they did not have enough food, yes they had lots of children, yes they were ill-treated on sugar estates, yes they were unpaid, yes they worked a lot but despite all these miseries, my grandparents, my mother, my father, my uncles,  my aunts all lived happily. They breathed free air, they enjoyed each second of their lives, they shared food with their neighbours, children played with each other till dusk, and all ethnic groups lived together as a family in the same locality. That was the time where I wished I could have experienced all these different emotions.

Motherland are you real or am I dreaming..? It’s been 50 years now, let me continue to dream of “Nation Arc en Ciel”, it is so beautiful and I do not want to wake up.

By Anjinsen Valamootoo