Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolambust1.jpg (11504 bytes)  

The Man and his Vision

flag_small.jpg (555 bytes)

Within the span of its brief history, Mauritius has been singularly fortunate to have produced a few dedicated men of genius, great builders who have marked its development. And among all these men, none has embodied the Mauritian genius to the extent of encompassing all that is best in it as Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam in the wide scope of his vision, his humanism, his achievements and universalism.
Ramgoolam has completed the work started earlier by the founder of Port Louis, Mahé de Labourdonnais who stills stands facing the harbour he built and who laid the foundation of successful French colonialism. Less than a century later, the first British governor Sir Robert Farquhar brought about the great reconciliation of the defeated but proud French colonialists who became the sugar oligarchy and the virtual rulers of this country, holding all the reins of power - economic, administrative, cultural, social and political. However, Remy Ollier, a young liberal journalist had a tough time struggling for the civil liberties of the Coloured population. The ex-slaves found a spiritual champion in Père Laval, the dedicated Christian missionary and saintly figure. Another great champion of human rights was Adolphe de Plevitz who stood up for the rights of the oppressed Indian immigrants against the exploiting class of sugar owners who treated the docile Indians as beasts of burden and as their slaves.

In the 1930’s came Dr Curé and Emmanuel Anquetil who founded the Labour Party and the trade union movement in Mauritius and thus paved the way for the emancipation of the working classes. But still, this country would have been torn apart and lagging far behind had it not been for the emergence of Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam, 1900-85, who stands out among the great nation builders of the world in the wake of Gandhi, Nehru, Mao Tse Tung of this century. As the father of the nation, the philosopher statesman and first Prime Minister, Ramgoolam has not only liberated the country but has invested it with strong democratic, institutional and infrastructural foundations that have stood the test of time. Today, Mauritius counts among the few and rare free, democratic, peaceful and prosperous countries in the Indian Ocean and African region, a model to the rest of the world.


By Anand Mulloo 15.9.98