KWANG POON

2 November 2020

1834 – First batch of 39 girmityas arrived on board ship ‘Sarah’ on 1st August. On 2nd November, the ‘Atlas’ landed with 36 more.

1835 – Slavery ‘officially’ abolished in Mauritius but freed slaves were forced into ‘apprenticeship.’ British Parliament passed the Slavery Abolition Act for most of the British Colonies since 1833.

1839 – ‘Apprenticeship’ ended for former slaves.

1871 – Planter Adolphe de Plevitz petitioned against harassment of Indian immigrants.

1880 – Big farmers started to sell marginal land as part of the « Grand Morcellement ». Some former Girmityas bought these lands and became ‘small planters.’

1885 – Governor John Pope Hennessy amended the Constitution to introduce elective element and allow non-Whites on Government Council. Dr Onésipho Beaugeard (Coloured) and Gnadicarayan Arlanda (Indian) entered Government Council.

1889 – During devastating outbreak of small pox, Dr Idrice Goumany volunteered to run the quarantine for indentured labourers at Pointe aux Canonniers after the death of Dr Beaugeard.

1900 – Dr Hassen Sakir was the first Muslim elected to the Municipal Council of Port Louis.

1901 – Mahatma Gandhi visited Mauritius and was invited by the Muslim traders to Taher Bagh where he delivered a seminal speech.

1907 – Manilal Doctor, sent by Gandhi, established the Arya Samaj and gave impetus to the Baitka network.

1915 – Rashib Nawab arrived in Mauritius and observed that the madrassahs were run “in a haphazard manner”.

1924 – Last batch of coolies landed in Mauritius.

1925 – Kunwar Maharaj Singh submitted report to British in which he noted the socio-economic progress of the Indians and recommended the termination of importation of indentured labourers.

1926 – Rashid Nawab established the Muslim Education Society and Muslim High School.

1932 – Goolam Atchia met Seewoosagur Ramgoolam who was studying medicine at the University of London. Atchia noted his precarious condition. He and some close friends arranged for a montly remittance (1933-1935) to Ramgoolam and even paid for his return passage.

1936 – Maurice Curé, Hassenjee Jeetoo, Pandit Sahadeo and others formed the Labour Party, the first political party with a national scope and centre-left ideology.

1938 – Goolam Atchia was elected as first Muslim mayor of Port Louis after having been city councillor for the first time in 1921.

1943 – Anjalay Coopen and others are shot dead at Belle Vue Harel during a strike to defend workers’ rights. Guy Rozemont of the Labour Party tabled motion for Universal Adult Suffrage.

1945 – Basdeo Bissoondoyal launched mass literacy campaign through Jan Andolan and the Baitka network.

1947 – Amended Constitution extended voting rights to all adults, including women, who could write their name, even in their mother tongue. Number of eligible voters shot up considerably. Basdeo Bissoondoyal boycotted and put an end to the humiliating “Les Courses Malbar” at Champ de Mars.

1948 – Eleven Indo-Mauritians elected out of 19 available. However, Governor Donald Mackenzie-Kennedy could still nominate 12 representatives sympathetic to oligarchy. Muslims showed concern that none of them were elected. Goolam Atchia became Mayor of Port Louis again with Seewoosagur Ramgoolam as Deputy Mayor.

1949 – Dr Hassenjee Joomye, one of Rashid Nawab’s brilliant students, created the Islamic Cultural College.

1957 – Trustram Eve Commission was tasked to re-draw electoral boundaries so that « each main section of the population secures representation in the LegCo corresponding to its own number in the community as a whole. »

1959 – First Legislative Elections under Universal Adult Suffrage. Labour Party, under leadership of Seewoosagur Ramgoolam, won 24 seats out of 40 single-seat constituencies. After a brief disappointing tryst with “Ralliement Mauricien”, Razack Mohamed created the Comité d’Action Musulman (CAM), which stemmed from the Muslim Constitutional Reform Committee (MCRC).

1962 – Indo-Mauritians category was split into Hindus and Muslims. White and coloured were amalgamated into “General Population.” The Chinese which were re-classified as Sino-Mauritians in 1952 stayed as Sino-Mauritians.

1963 – Anerood Jugnauth got elected at Rivière du Rempart Constituency and entered Legislative Assembly under IFB banner.

1966 – Bramwell Commission redrew electoral boundaries consisting of 20 constituencies with top 3 candidates returned under FPTP principle. Rodrigues would have 2 representatives. Another 8 Best Loser System seats to ensure representation of minorities.

1967 – Seewoosagur Ramgoolam of LP formed an alliance with IFB, CAM and AMHC (eventually AMHC left) under the Independence Party banner while the PMSD, led by Gaëtan Duval, represented the anti-independence movement. In a general elections which amounted to a referendum on independence, Seewoosagur Ramgoolam won the majority with 43 seats out of 70 despite a virulent and dirty campaign with the support of Le Cernéen.

1968 – Mauritius gained independence and Seewoosagur Ramgoolam became first PM of Mauritius.