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Islam Bhugan : a man of Culture

Islam Bhugan left us so suddenly. We lost a highly treasured expert in Arts & Culture who played a fundamental role in our multi-cultural society. He served as Director of Culture for several years.

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My friendship with Islam was more at professional level. I was first introduced to him by late Mohamad Vayid in 2006 who was then chairing the organising committee for the celebration of 100th Birth Anniversary of Sir Abdool Razack Mohamed. I was assigned the responsibility of editing a Souvenir Magazine for that occasion and Islam helped me to get it printed by Government Printing. Since then, we continued to exchange views and collaborate on several issues and projects relating to arts, folklore, history and cultural heritage.

In 2010, I initiated the project to commemorate al-Idrissi, the Arab geographer/cartographer whose maps helped both Arab and European navigators in the discovery of Mauritius. Our collaboration got materialised through the erection of a monument on al-Idrissi at Jardin de la Compagnie, Port Louis and publication of a book entitled “Maritime History of the Indian Ocean: from al Idrissi to ibn Majid” which was printed by the University of Qatar.

Afterwards, when I started the advocacy movement for recognition of the precious contribution of Dr Idrice Goumany during the smallpox pandemic, Islam once again gave his technical support in getting an annual ceremony of wreath-laying at the tomb of the national hero inscribed in the official programme marking the celebration of the arrival of Indian immigrants.

Islam and I were contemplating on two projects related to our cultural heritage: the first one was the erection of a monument to mark the arrival of early lascars in Mauritius and the another one was to inscribe “biryani” as our tangible folklore and cultural heritage. Both remained as unfinished business. May his soul be blessed.

ASSAD BHUGLAH

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