GIS - 29 October, 2018: A three-day exhibition aiming to disseminate knowledge about the history and salient features of indentured labour in Mauritius through archival documents and heritage was launched on Friday 26 October 2018 at the Municipal Council of Quatre Bornes. The event is one of the several activities that are being organised in the context of the Commemoration of the 184th Anniversary of the arrival of indentured labourers in Mauritius.
The Minister of Arts and Culture, Mr Prithvirajsing Roopun, the Chairman of the Aapravasi Ghat Trust Fund (AGTF), Mr D. Dhuny, and other personalities were present at the event.
The event which is an initiative of the Ministry of Arts and Culture and the AGTF in collaboration with the Mauritius National Archives, the National Library and other stakeholders will be replicated across the island to better disseminate information on indenture and its heritage to the population until March 2019.
In his address, Minister Roopun highlighted that the exhibition will help raise awareness and sensitise the population on the Aapravasi Ghat World Heritage Site and the heritage of indenture that goes far beyond the limits of the site. It will also shed light on major periods and the crucial themes of indentured labour such as the Great Experiment, the end of Indenture, its legacy and the universal value of the site, he underpinned.
According to the Minister, the story of the indentured labourers also known as Girmitiya’s is one of the most inspirational chapters of the country’s history which deserves to be told and retold as it sets an example and also reminds Mauritians of the hard times their forefathers went through.
He recalled that Mauritius was the first country to introduce the indentured labour system adding that the Aapravasi Ghat was the first depot where the indentured labourers were kept. The site, he underscored, narrates the stories of more than 462 000 valiant and brave men, women and children who came from different parts of the world along with their traditions and values.
Furthermore, the Arts and Culture Minister mentioned about the valuable contribution of Dr Idrice Goomany, who was the only doctor who volunteered to take charge of the Quarantine, where the indentured labourers who were afflicted by epidemic diseases were kept.
Mr Roopun also spoke of Flat Island, its stone buildings and structures which are intimately linked with the history of indentured labourers in Mauritius. He made an appeal to the population to visit the exhibition so as to get an in-depth knowledge about indenture history and the various sites linked with the indenture system.
For his part, Mr Dhuny highlighted that the Trianon Labourer’s Quarters also known as the Trianon Barracks, was decreed a National Heritage Monument in the early 1970s and is the third most important indenture heritage site after the Aapravasi Ghat and the Vagrant Depot. As regards the Trianon Barracks, he pointed out that a conservation and renovation project for the restoration and renovation of the Barracks was initiated and is due to be completed within few weeks.
The AGTF with the help of the Ministry of Arts and Culture is envisaging to erect a model of an Indian Village which existed during the year 1875 at the Trianon Barracks, he added.
Government Information Service, Prime Minister’s Office, Level 6, New Government Centre, Port Louis, Mauritius. Email: email@example.com Website: http://gis.govmu.org