- 10 November, 2016: The Mauritius Museums Council (MMC) mounted an exhibition in the context of activities to mark the 182nd Anniversary of the arrival of Indentured Labourers in Mauritius. The theme of the exhibition is: An overview on the History of Indentured Labourers in Colonial Mauritius- They Came to Mauritius Shores.
The exhibition is being held at the National History Museum, in Mahebourg and was inaugurated yesterday by the Minister of Arts and Culture, Mr Santaram Baboo. It serves as means to showcase part of the Mauritian history and to acknowledge the achievements of our ancestors. It is also an opportunity to honour the memory of our ancestors who through blood, sweat and tears laid the foundation of Mauritius.
Twelve panels are exhibited. They portray the resilience of our forefathers, the Indian Immigrants in the 17th and 18th centuries who, through their perseverance, dedication, hardships and hard work have contributed significantly to make of Mauritius where it stands today.
The twelve panels relate to the following topics: Indian Immigrants in the 17th and 18th centuries; Indenture system and Indian Labour Immigration; Origins of Indian Immigrants: Regions and Districts; Working conditions in Mauritius; Aapravasi Ghat, the Immigration Depot; The Vagrant Depot; Powder Mills: The Indian Orphan Asylum; Quarantine Stations and the sacrifice of Dr Idrice Goomany; The Sugar Estate Camps; From camps to villages – A new pattern of life; Personalities that fought for the upliftment of the indentured labourers; and Our living heritage.
In his address, the Minister of Arts and Culture lauded the initiative of the MMC who through the event is retracing the history of Mauritius and giving the population an insight of the peaceful co-existence, mutual understanding and the sharing of common values being transmitted by our ancestors for the benefit of humanity.
According to him, our ancestors represent the guiding star for the world to follow hence the importance to commemorate their hardship, revive history and acknowledge our roots thus making of Mauritius a full-fledged successful multicultural nation. He recalled the resilience and hard work of the Indentured Labourers who cultivated the sugar cane fields, built places of worship, schools, roads and edifices which still stand as a testimony benefitting all of us today.
Minister Baboo concluded by appealing to everybody to bring their children, friends and relatives to discover the history being portrayed as well as acknowledged the achievements of our ancestors.
The Indentured labour system was introduced after the abolition of slavery in the British Empire in 1834 as there was the urgent need to replace the local labourers liberated from slavery by an indentured workforce.
Mauritius was the first British Colony to embark on the ‘Great Experiment’ of importing an indentured labour workforce of almost half a million men, women, and children from India, Eastern Africa, Madagascar, China and Southeast Asia.
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