Five years back, I wrote an article, congratulating the Tamil League on the occasion of its 75th anniversary and highlighting its glorious achievements. Our respected organization is energetically marching on to its 80th anniversary in a few days.
Born in modest rented premises in Port Louis on the 27 February 1937, the Tamil League has been managed by generations of members dedicated to the welfare of the Tamil community within our cosmopolitan society. Its long journey has been characterized by notable successes in sports, drama, music, debates and other literary and scout activities, resulting in tremendous changes in its structures, programmes of activities and eventually its delocalisation from Port Louis to the beautiful surroundings of Martindale, Reduit.
I still recall the lively debates we had in the late 1970s on the proposal to shift the League from its traditional seat at Church Street in Port Louis. The Managing Committee had to face a few serious objections emanating mainly from the older members. I was then the Secretary of the League and I thought the best way to thrash out the matter was to write formally to all members, explaining the merits of leaving the tight premises in Port Louis for a spacious land in a central place like Reduit where we could build a modern club house for all ages. I also invited those who had reservations on the proposal to express their views in writing within a date limit. I received none and the way was thus clear for the transfer.
Throughout its 80 years, the Tamil League has generously taught generations the fundamental values of life like honesty, discipline, dedication, integrity, selflessness, honour, truth and openness and has accompanied us safely all along and has made of us better-equipped citizens to serve pre and post Independent Mauritius in various capacities. Our members occupied with distinction prestigious positions like the President of the Republic, Vice President, Ministers, MPs, Mayors, Senior Public officers, Ambassadors, etc.
Having joined the Tamil League in 1967, I have always considered the League as my alma mater. With its maturity, credibility, wealth of experience and knowledge, it has so much to give to the generations to come, especially in a world dominated by fast changing technologies, fierce competitions and the surge for materialism. The League needs to constantly develop innovative programmes of activities to cope with the new and growing aspirations of the new generations. It should likewise encourage women to have an important say in the running of the club. Why not a woman President in a couple of years? All these questions should trigger serious debates and reflections on where the Tamil community is heading. The League should aim at becoming a powerful voice on all major issues affecting the interests and welfare of the community. By extension, it can play a pivotal role in enhancing the cooperation and partnership with sister organisations in the Tamil Diaspora worldwide and become a global player.
As we are pursuing our course in the 21st century we look forward to the Tamil League occupying a greater space in community affairs and providing sound guidance on topical issues such as governance, meritocracy, corruption, adequate representativeness of the community in Cabinet, Parliament, important state institutions and other spheres of socio-economic activity. It should also show a stronger determination in the fight against gross injustice. We are confident that the Tamil League has the stature and the potential to accomplish such missions.
Happy anniversary to the Tamil League!
14 February 2017.