“The Indo-Mauritian intellectuals seem to me to understand fully the value and interest of their situation. Placed between motherland India, the liberal England, and France all the time lively here, that intelligentsia is placed at the convergence of three rich and noble civilizations, whose meeting is enriched in our privileged Island. These intellectuals cloak it with pathos and poetry from which gush forth clear spring, savoury and refreshing for the mind and the heart” – Robert Edward-Hart
Tagore Mentions Mauritius in his Memoire
Rabindranath Tagore, the great Indian thinker wrote in his reminiscences in 1912  – “Into the pages I have wept many a tear over a pathetic translation of Paul and Virginia. The wonderful sea, the breeze-stirred coconuts’ forests, on its shores and the slopes beyond lively with the gambols of mountain goats – a delightful refreshing, mirage they conjured upon that terraced roof in Calcutta. And oh! The romantic courting that went on in the forest paths of that secluded Island, between the Bengali boy-reader of little Virginia with the many a colourful kerchief round her neck.”    
The mention of a story with a Mauritian background by the Indian poet in 1912 has tremendous importance, because only a year later Tagore was to receive the world’s most coveted honour – “The Nobel Prize” for literature by the Swedish Academy. It was meant for his immortal work, the “Gitanjali”.
Mentions of Tagore’s Nobel Prize in Mauritius
When Rabindranath Tagore received the “Nobel Prize” for literature in 1913, the Indo Mauritians had two weeklies – the “Hindustani”, started by Manilal Doctor in 1909, and the “Mauritius Arya Patrika”, initiated by the Arya Samaj in 1911.
However, in 1913 there were two dailies (out of six) that had published the news of Tagore’s success. The Planters and commercial Gazettes, had published an article of Asworth Brigs entitled – “The Great Man of Bengal”, and Le Radical had inserted another article entitled – “La Bayadere”, meaning the dancing girl. The first article is in English and the second one in French. The first was published on 11th and the second one on 29th December 1913.
In “The Great Men from Bengal”, Asworth Brigs has praised profusely the Indian poet mainly for “Gitanjali” and “Gardner” in following terms – “There is a great man in Bengal. His name is Rabindranath Tagore. He is a lover of mankind and a star in the firmament of the poets. The English people will welcome him with open arms when they know him better. He is inspired with Carlyle’s heroes”.
He added – “Rabindranath Tagore’s original works were of course in Bengali. He has translated them into rhythmical English prose. One cannot tell what they have lost in the translation but as they stand, they are of extreme beauty.”
The second article in Le Radical said: Today we are giving our readers an insight of good literary talent of a Hindu poet, Rabindranath Tagore, laureate of Nobel Prize for literature in 1913. Then follows the poet‘s famous poem entitled , “The Dancing Girl” in French version, which describes, the poignant dialogue between Buddha’s disciple Upgupta and the dancing girl.
After that, the available materials on the great poet are found in the Indian Miscellany, edited by Soliman Mohabat. The first Issue of this monthly magazine appeared in 1919. In its first issue, and in subsequent issues, there are several poems of Rabindranath Tagore from his works, the “Gardner” and the “Crescent Moon”. Moreover, in the pages of this monthly are published the poet’s journey to Japan, Canada, and the United States of America, together with the excerpts of his speeches delivered in those countries.
Tagore in Mauritius Indian Times
The first Indo-Mauritian barrister Ramkhelawon Boodhun in collaboration with Ghanesseesing Kawalessursing had started a bilingual daily –“The Mauritius Indian Times” in 1920. It consisted of two pages of articles in English and French and two pages in Hindi. It is in this daily that on January 1921, an article of Laura Valda from “L’humanité” entitled “Rabindranath Tagore” was published and in that article the poetic genius of Rabindranath Tagore was glorified.
Effervescence of the Indo-Mauritian youths
Ever since the awakening of enthusiasm of the Indo-Mauritian youth for a new experience in the 1920s, it was natural that the budding intellectuals would draw their inspiration from the work of Rabindranath Tagore. This was possible by the diffusion of the poet’s works in the columns of the “Sociologist“1924 –32, “The Vigilant” 1929-30, “The Mauritius Mittra” 1924-32, “ The Mauritian Arya Pratika” 1924-39 and the “Student Own”1931-32. In the columns of all these papers, articles on Rabindranath Tagore were published from time to time.
In the thirties of the 20th century, the main events that are considered to be the milestones within the Indian community were the commemoration of the fiftieth death centenary of Swami Dayanand in 1933 and two years later, the holding of the Centenary Celebration of Indian Immigration at the Dayanand Dharamshala on 29 December 1935. T.K. Swaminathan had come from Madras to participate in the historic function.
According to K. Hazareesingh, Mahatma Gandhi did not approve of the idea of celebrating a centenary that would bring home the memory of bitter experience of our ancestors but on the other hand the Shantiniketan poet, Rabindranath Tagore, did send a message for that historic occasion. It read:
“India is struggling to solve its immediate problems at this time which she is unable to solve: while lacking physical power and political prestige, she fails to save from indignity and injustice those of her children who have gone out to seek their fortune abroad. We have our only recourse today in moral appeal to civilized humanity and at the same time, we must develop the power and character that can assure us human treatment whenever we may find ourselves.”   
Queer as it may seem, it was just after the Centenary Celebration and through the initiative of R. K. Boodhun, R. Neerunjun and C. C. Pillay that the Indian Cultural Association was founded. And on the day of its establishment at Plaza Theatre, Rose Hill on 26th April 1936, John de Lingen, a Scottish eminent poet had pronounced a masterly lecture on – “The Life and Philosophy of Rabindranath Tagore”. The lecture was attended by intellectuals of all bounds, including the master poet of Mauritius, Robert Edward Hart.