- 03 November, 2017:
The Prime Minister, Minister of Home Affairs, External Communications and National Development Unit, and Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Mr. Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, exhorted youths to make it a point to acquire further knowledge of the history of Mauritius as it portrays the evolution of Mauritius.
He was speaking yesterday in the context of the celebrations marking the 183rd anniversary of the arrival of indentured labourers in Mauritius at the Aapravasi Ghat, World Heritage Site, Trou Fanfaron Wharf, Port-Louis, in the presence of the Minister of Arts and Culture, Mr Prithvirajsing Roopun and the Chief guests from India namely the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Mr Yogi Adityanath, and the Minister of State for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, Mr Giriraj Singh.
Prime Minister Jugnauth called for unity in diversity by quoting Mahatma Gandhi “Our ability to reach unity in diversity will be a beauty and the test of our civilisation”. On this score, he appealed for a concerted effort of one and all especially the youths to preserve the harmony and solidarity that prevails in Mauritius and to live with dignity, respect and humility as transmitted by our ancestors. These qualities helped to make the country the star and key of the Indian Ocean and a reference in the world, he added.
Prime Minister Jugnauth also dwelt on the importance of education which has been at the grassroots of all development in Mauritius. According to him, the country stands where it is today due to the hard work and perseverance of our ancestors. He underscored that despite the huge sacrifices and moments of hardships, our ancestors persevered, and did not let go of their culture, which he said, should serve as example for the younger generation.
He recalled the strong bond of kinship that binds Mauritius to India with the arrival of the first Indian immigrants as Indentured labourers also called the Girmitias, some 182 years ago. This episode, he added, has marked an important landmark in the history and development of a modern Mauritius. The Prime Minister also expressed his gratitude to India for its continuous unflinching support to Mauritius.
For his part, Minister Roopun paid tribute to the Indian immigrants who came from various parts of India but in particular from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. He stated that the struggle of the Girmitias marks an inspirational chapter in our history and deserves to be taught. He reiterated that Mauritius has witnessed a tremendous transformational change in a short era of time and attributed it to the hard work of our ancestors.
Chief Minister Adityanath underscored the special relationship between India and Mauritius and expressed the firm and strong commitment of India to assist Mauritius in its developmental phase. He recalled that Mauritius has always been privileged on various fronts by India as both countries shared common historical linkages.
The Chairperson of the Aapravasi Ghat Trust Fund, Mr Dharam Dhuny, highlighted the various development phases of the Aapravasi Ghat which he said mark the beginning of the indentured era with the migration of over two million indentured labourers between the year 1834 and 1920 who brought along with them their culture hence contributing into making Mauritius a multi-cultural society. He recalled that Aapravasi Ghat, is among the earliest explicit manifestations of what was to become one of the greatest migrations in history and dwelt on the way forward which is the Indentured Labour Route Project as well as the conservation and restoration of the labourer camp at Trianon for the setting up of a model village which existed a decade ago.
Aapravasi Ghat formerly known as the Coolie Ghat, was listed in 1985 among the National Monuments of the island and was renamed Aapravasi Ghat in 1987 as the landing place of immigrants. It was inscribed on the World Heritage Sites List of the UNESCO in 2006. It is also the first site chosen by the British Government in 1834 for the ‘great experiment’ in the use of indentured labour.
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