September 18th Celebrated

September of each year is particularly a month of celebrations. Lord Ganesha known as the God who bestows intelligence is celebrated with much pomp and devotion. Reverend Pere Laval majestically follows the procession and thousands of people seek his blessings and help. Comes also in September, on 18th whom Shakespeare would have welcomed thus“Nature stands to say – Here is a man, when comes another” And Ben Johnson would have said
“He was not of an age, but of all time”.
SSR was born in Mauritius to teach Mauritians certain things. He was sent first of all to tell the ignorant people of yesteryears, all those who had been uprooted from their birthplaces to remember that God had delivered this land into their hands as they had to work for it and make it prosper. The poor people did it and they were no more poor.
He told desperate people not to surrender to the whims of nature and caprices of colonisers. He asked them to turn stumbling blocks into stepping stones. People listened to him like to the good shepherd whose main objective is the herd’s safety. And the good shepherd won the battle of independence with all his people behind him.
Today history bears testimony of the “grandeur d’âme” of this simple “Docteur” of the mass. But this same history is neither taught, not learnt, let aside read by our young people of today. There is a marked tendency to shed whatever is old, hence this golden age of our old age is forlorn and forgotten. Nothing noteworthy in our books and reading materials remind students of this great personality who should have been called the father of free education, this same free education every child of the country enjoys. And maybe this is the reason why this free education is taken for granted because they do not know how it came to be acquired. Students of today believe that it was always there and they take it as a birthright. No one explained this to the young generations who are either bunking school or just doing nothing at school, that long back so many intelligent kids were left out gaping at the school gates which they could not enter as they could not afford even the meagre fees being asked.
There is a time for everything, there is a time to correct discrepancies as well, there is a time to reflect where we erred. It’s high time we bring a sense of belonging in our youth so that they do not feel that the grass is greener elsewhere. Our youth cling to the glittering things abroad as no sense of patriotism is inculcated in them in our schools. The students in the rat race have no time for the past years. Even the national anthem is sung in a dull drab and dreary way, and the clapping in the end heightens the mockery. This is the state of patriotism in our schools. It’s only when we are in far-away lands that the national anthem brings a few sighs for some split seconds but overpowered immediately by the sound of juggling coins.
On this special birthday of the father of the nation, the Father of free education, the maker of independent Mauritius, the Saviour of the old and forgotten, with his famous “Pension” Ramgoolam, the good old shepherd seems to say to you all, that history cannot be discarded. It has to be taught to the young of today as
“Today the sheep
Tomorrow the shepherd”