The seed of the Arya Samaj was haphazardly sown on Mauritian soil in 1898 by Subedar Bholanath Tiwari of the 1st Bengal Infantry who was a religious man and had brought a copy of “Satyartha Prakash” of Swami Dayanand Saraswati, the founder of the Arya Samaj in Bombay in 1875.

Pahlad Ramsurrun

Hence, the credit goes to him to inspire the rebellious mind of Khemlall Lallah of Curepipe Road who tried to establish the Arya Samaj in 1903, 1906 and 1907, but every time it was aborted because the migrant Indian community in Mauritius was still plunged in darkness due to lack of education and they were trapped in their old age Hindu Orthodoxy. As such it was not easy for the opinion leaders like Khemlall Lallah, Guruparsad Duljeetlall, Gayasingh Ramkhelawonsingh and Ramsharan Moti to establish the Arya Samaj, and they had to wait for a man of the calibre of Manilal Doctor, who was a lawyer with an M.A, LLB degree, the envoy of Mahatma Gandhi. He supported their cause and the local Arya Samaj was put on a firm footing in 1910 with the help of a few Punjabi social workers such as Ramjeelall, Khersingh, Lekhram, Moonsasingh and Pt. Gayasingh. The new society was later to have the assistance of Doctor Chirinjiv Bhardwaj, Swami Swatantranand and Pandit Cashinath Kistoe.

Pandit Gayasingh (1873-1954)

During the First World War, the Arya Samaj went on consolidating its hold on the Mauritian Society by having a permanent seat, the Dayanand Dharamshala (now Arya Sabha Mauritius) at Champ de Mars, Port-Louis, and having its branches spread throughout the Island. The Arya Samaj was the first Hindu institution to open a primary school at Vacoas (Aryan Vedic) in 1918. Pt. Cashinath Kistoe and Pt. Atmaram were the leading figures of the Arya Samaj and both had the skill to edit Hindi Papers and Journals.

The year 1925 was exceptional for it was the year to mark the birth commemoration of Swami Dayanand Saraswati. The local Arya Samaj founded in 1910 bore the name “Arya Pratinidhi Sabha”. But it was registered by Dr. Chiranjiv Bhardwaj, under the appellation “ Arya Paropkarani Sabha” meaning ‘Aryan Welfare Society’ in 1913.

Mehta Jaimini was invited to attend the centenary commemoration of Swami Dayanand in 1925. A two-day programme was held in the Dayanand Dharamshala. Pt. Jugutrai Trivedi and Rajkumar Gujadhur were selected to preside over the functions respectively. Speeches were delivered by Mehta Jaimini, Pt. Gayasingh. Prizes were awarded to winners of an essay competition. A souvenir magazine of Arya Patrika was published and an appeal was made to add a story on the existing Dayanand Dharamshala building.

Pandit Cashinath Kistoe (1884-1947)

After the celebration, Mehta Jaimini founded the Arya Kumar Sabha, the three Bissoondoyal brothers became its members and together with Ramsharan Moti and Imrit Surnam, they started a movement to destitute the earliest Arya Samajist leaders, such as Pt. Gayasingh, Guruparsad Duljeetlall, Gopinath Chuttur, Mahesh Sardar and Pt. Cashinath Kistoe among others. From 1926 to 1931 Soogreem Bissoondoyal was the secretary of Arya Paropkarani Sabha.

Under the new management, the old members of the Arya Samaj mentioned above were expelled and they founded the “Arya Pratinidhi Sabha” in 1927, and it was registered a few years later. Pt. Cashinath Kistoe who was the editor of “Mauritius Arya Patrika”, started a new organ the “Arya Vir” as from 1929. Dr. Jhugroo Seegobin and Mohunlal Mohith, two young intellectuals had joined the Arya Pratinidhi Sabha and they were destined to play important roles in this wing, while the Bissoondoyal brothers, Soogrim, Basdeo and sookdeo were in control of the Arya Paropkarani Sabha.

In 1933, Swami Dayanand Saraswati’s death commemorations were celebrated by both factions of the Arya Samaj at Dayanand Dharamshala by Paropkarani and at Shraddhan Bhawan at Jacob Street by Pratinidhi Sabha. Pandit Kanhayalall was invited from India to participate in the function. In 1935, the Indian Centenary Celebrations  were held on 29th December at the Dayanand Dharamshala, under the chairmanship of Ramkhelawon Boodhun and the Indian delegate T.K Swaminathan. An obelisk was unveiled in the premises of Dayanand Dharamshala.

Ramsharan Moti (1888-1944)

In 1947, India got its independence and a year later the first Commissioner for the Govt. of India, Shri Dharam Yash Dev came to Mauritius. Under the chairmanship of Dr. Seewoosagur Ramgoolam a committee was formed and Swami Swatantranand from India and Manilal Doctor from Aden were invited to participate in India’s Republic Day Celebrations that took place in Champ de Mars, Port Louis on 26th January 1950. Speeches of leading members of the Mauritian communities were delivered on that occasion.

After Manilal Doctor left Mauritius, Swami Swatantranand met the members of both factions of the Arya Samaj, the members of Paropkarini and Pratinidhi Sabhas and persuaded them to merge their branches into a single association. Thus, the “Arya Sabha Mauritius” came into existence. The papers “Arya-Vir” and “Jagriti” were also merged into “Aryodaye”.

Guruparsad Duljeetlall (1875-1948)

As from 1910 the Arya Sabha, which has grown into a full-fledged organization with two primary schools, [one at Vacoas and the other at Laventure] the Shradhanand infirmary and the Gayasingh Ashram at Port Louis, had become the pride of the Indian community. The Movement, which had a humble beginning a century ago, had developed and grown up like a tree, spreading its branches and roots in every direction. It has been running Hindi schools until the 1950s when Hindi was not taught scientifically in the Government primary schools. It has produced several socio-cultural intellectuals and leaders, like Dr. Jugroo Seegobin, Mohunlall Mohith, Teeluckparsad Callychurn, Bramduth Nundlall, and among the women, Soodevi Bhima and Luckhawtee Hurgobin.

The Arya Sabha is nowadays running two Aryan Vedic Schools, one at Vacoas and the other at L’Aventure, two secondary schools, the Port-Louis Dr. Jugroo Seegobin D.A.V College and the Morcellement St André D.A.V College. Besides, the Pailles D.A.V Degree College has produced hundreds of Graduates and Post Graduates and is running a pre-vocational training D.A.V School at Goodlands.

The Gayasingh Ashram at Port-Louis, the Jadoonundun Balgobin Ashram at St.Paul and Dr. Chiranjiv Bhardwaj Ashram at Belle-Mare, Flacq, the Chemin Grenier Ashram are offering services to the elderly, disabled and abandoned children. Moreover, the Foyer Trochetia at Pointe aux Sables is a caring home for severely disabled persons and the Sangram Sewa Sadan is offering daycare and de-addiction treatment and counseling to those indulging in drug abuse and the Govind Ramen Ashram is also running the Special Educational Needs School at Union Vale, Trois Boutiques.