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National Day Celebration: Messages From Leaders Of Cultural And Religious Associations

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On Saturday 12th March 2022, Mauritius celebrates the 54th Anniversary of its Independence and the 30th Anniversary of the Republic. On the 12th March 1968, Mauritius had adopted its new constitution and gained independence. Even though Queen Elizabeth II remained the head of the state, Sir Seewoosagar Ramgoolam became the first Prime Minister of Mauritius.

Exactly 24 years later, on the 12th March 1992, Mauritius became a Republic within the British Commonwealth, Sir Veerasamy Ringadoo occupied the post of the President of the Republic of Mauritius.

From this historic date, National Day is celebrated commemorating both Independence Day and the Republic of the country. Mauritians will show their pride in their nation by displaying their colourful flag across the island. An official flag-raising ceremony takes place with military parades and lives music.

To mark this celebration, Le Matinal Team have spoken to various people from different associations cultural or religious.

Mookeshwar Choonee: Strengthening our sense of patriotism

Mookeshwar Choonee GOSK, the President of GOPIO International, stated that we, as Mauritians, should continue the consolidation of our sense of patriotism until we pronounce ourselves as being Mauritians without any division.

Talking about the history of Mauritius, he recalled that when Mauritius was asking for its independence, more than 40% of the population did not want to gain the status of independence, especially when they realized that the hard work that would be needed for the progress of the country, and some people were saying that things would end up badly. They would say this because we only had the cane industry as the only pillar of our economy at that time.

Mookeshwar Choonee, the President of GOPIO International

But things changed after gaining our Independence and we are grateful to all the architects of our Independence, especially Sir Seewoosagar Ramgoolam and Sir Charles Gaëtan Duval and their teams.  Together as a team, they worked for the country and diversified our country’s economy, for example with the tourism and textile industries.

So, it was the Independence that brought development, diversity in the pillars of our economy, and a better standard of living for everyone. Today, we are proud to be Mauritians and the world recognizes us as an independent state with 2.4 million kilometers square of sea territory.

Let’s stand as one nation, and continue to work for the development of our country.

Father Jean Maurice Labour: Dialogue to open a path of hope for the common good of our country

Father Jean Maurice Labour, Vicar General of the Diocese of Port-Louis, shared his message for the 54th Anniversary of Independence and the 30th Anniversary of the Republic of Mauritius.

For 2 long years of managing the Covid 19 pandemic, I have always said that physical distancing should not be confused with social distancing. But, I must admit that the physical distancing imposed for two years by sanitary conditions has ended up becoming a social distancing, I would even say more, as I resent a social breakdown in our country.

On one hand, there are optimists, who say that everyone is fine despite the pandemic, the economy is starting, school has started, tourists are coming and I’m happy about it.

On the other hand, there are pessimists, who predict all kind of catastrophic scenarios in the social, economic and ecological sectors and that scares me.

Père Jean Maurice Labour

On the one hand, those, who can make ends meet, receive increases in salaries and incomes, get duty free car benefits, know how to count on protectors to get benefits for them and their loved one.

On the other hand, those who do not eat to their hunger, due to the increase in the cost of living, who have not had a home for 40 years, who do not know which door to knock on to find a job or some help.

For this Independence Day, I wish that my country find ways of dialogue between civil society and government; between government and Opposition; between the private sector and the public sector; between religions and the state; between generations; between men and women. Dialogue so that this fruitful dialogue between optimists and pessimists may open a path of hope for the common good of our country.

Happy Independence Day.

Bhojraj Ghoorbin: Praying and asking for the welfare of Mauritius

On his part, Bhojraj Ghoorbin, the President Mauritius Sanatan Dharma Temples Federation stated that we should thank our ancestors who have worked for the country and brought us to the status of Independence.  It is due to our ancestors that we are living on a paradise island.

Bhojraj Ghoorbin, President Mauritius Sanatan Dharma Temples Federation

Today, we know of the difficulties that our island is going through due to the Covid 19 pandemic. This is why the Sanatan Dharma Federation is sending some special requests to the population on the occasion of National Day. On that special day, the Federation is requesting the whole population to pray and to ask for the well-being of the country.

Balraj Pentayah: We must live in peace and harmony in Mauritius

Balraj Pentayah, the President of the Mauritius Telugu Maha Sabha, stated that we are celebrating National Day in joy as well as in sadness this year due to the pandemic situation prevailing in Mauritius. He seized this opportunity to express his condolences to all families, who have been victims of the Covid-19. He also stated that he supports the Ukrainian community, given that he is prone to peace and harmony across the world.

Balraj Pentayah, the President of the Mauritius Telugu Maha Sabha

Concerning the celebrations of the National Day, due to the Covid-19 situation prevailing across the country, he sent a special request to the population stating that we need to take all precautionary measures and follow all protocols put in force by the government during the celebrations. He also highlighted that it is a very significant day for all Mauritians as it is our ancestors who fought for our Independence. Seizing this opportunity, Mr. Pentayah said the young generation stating that we need to live in peace and harmony.

Luxshmee Ramdhun Bundhun: Celebrating unity with all our brothers and sisters from all communities

The President of the Hindu House, Mrs. Luxshmee Ramdhun Bundhun underlined that the National Day is a sacred and symbolic day for the Mauritian Nation where we celebrate unity with all our brothers and sisters from all communities. Mauritius is a country that is making its way to progress in peace and equality. According to her, the government is working day and night for all Mauritians to be able to live in peace; and every Mauritian should strive to work hard and to follow the same values.

The President of the Hindu House, Mrs Luxshmee Ramdhun Bundhun

The National Day celebration is also the occasion for us to remember that we have a duty towards our country and as a patriot, we must preserve the unity that we have and consolidate the well-being of our children, brothers and sisters, and the elderly.

Dr Bhushan Chummun: We should preserve the heritage of our ancestors

Dr. Bhushan Chummun, the General Secretary of the Arya Sabha Mauritius, spoke about the battle brought by the Hindu Community and the Arya Samaji in Mauritius. He stated that it was beneficial to have Basdeo Bissoondoyal at that time; who prevailed in education through the different Arya Samaj “Bhetka’s” (small education institution) across the country. People could learn how to write their names in the Hindi language and in the Roman alphabet (English/French). It was due to that people could vote for the elections and it was through a vote that we were able to get our Independence. It was after a very long battle brought by our ancestors that gave us our Independence and at the same time, we got our own identity.

Dr Bhushan Chummun, the General Secretary of the Arya Sabha Mauritius

Today, Mauritius is recognized as being one of the countries doing great progress in Africa. He seized this opportunity to send a special message to the young generation stating that we should preserve the legacy our ancestors left for us and that enables us to move towards progress ensuring that our country continues to develop and progress the way it is.

Asant Govind: We have to follow all the protocols in place

Asant Govind CSK, the President of the Mauritius Marathi Mandali Federation, stated that the Marathi community as a component of the “Nation Arc-en-Ciel” of Mauritius normally celebrates the National Day by a Flag Raising ceremony and a cultural show presented by the artists of the Marathi Mandali Federation. The Federation also works in collaboration with the Ministry of Art and Culture for the cultural show organized for the National Day celebrations englobing all communities as one nation. Unfortunately, due to the Covid-19 situation in Mauritius, nothing has been organized since 2020.

Asant Govind CSK, the president of the Mauritius Marathi Mandali Federation

On this occasion, he sends a special message to the population that we must follow all the instructions given by the authorities and follow all protocols put in place by the government. It is by doing so that we will be able to combat the pandemic and get back to normal days.

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