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Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Hindi Mauritius

Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam (Chacha Seewoosagur as was called by most of the Mauritians) is known as the father of nation. He played a crucial role in shaping modern Mauritius’ government, foreign policy. He was a leader in the Mauritian independence movement and also fought for the rights of the labourers. He was born into a family of indentured labourers. His father, Moheeth Ramgoolam and Basmati Ramchurn got married in 1898. He was born on 18th September 1900. He faced lot of struggles in his life from the very beginning. He lost his father at age of seven and attended local evening schools in the village called Batika. From his childhood he was greatly impressed by the stories of ancient Hindu legends and cultures. Later in his school days, he was interested in Indian freedom struggle. For him, a deep and strong tie existed between Mauritius and India. He graduated from University College London and studied medicine. In his graduation days, he met some Indian students and freedom fighters. When he was in London, he got the opportunity to meet leaders like Vitthal Bhai Patel whom he considered as his political guru. He also met legendary Lala Lajpat Rai, whose arya samajist view also influenced him to a great extent and joined the arya samaj movement in Mauritius. He tried to reform, organize and mobilize Hindu community which later became backbone of his political power. He was a great admirer of leaders like Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru and believed that Indian freedom struggle could provide guidance to the freedom struggle in Mauritius and Africa. After completing his stint in London, he joined Mauritian politics on the occasion of 100th year celebration of Indian arrival in Mauritius in 1935. This occasion provided him the platform to talk about the mobilization of Indian community and demanded the colonial government to grant voting rights to its citizens while establishing a responsible government. He joined the labour party. He opposed the discrimination done by Franco- Mauritian elite to Indians and he worked hard to organize and mobilize them. During the era of 1946-47, he emerged as a leader of labour class and progressive section of society. He later became a member of legislative council and mayor of Port Louis in 1954. He was in favour of the socialist idea and likewise Nehru believed in Fabian socialism. He also promoted causes like universal education, healthcare and old age pensions. Under colonial regime, headed the labour government till 1968 and resulted in Mauritian independence. He was the main catalyst behind the voices of Indians resided in Mauritius. After becoming the prime minister he tried hard to establish strong links with India. He always considered India as a real motherland for all Indo-Mauritians. He tried to bridge the differences between the Indo-Mauritians and Franco -Mauritians so that a strong and stable democracy could be established while simultaneously promoting various causes like cheap housing for labour class, free healthcare and education for all. He also became the first non-African president of Organisation of African Unity (OAU). He emphasized to diversify the economical base of Mauritius and promoted investment in higher education. He started various projects to trains youths in various technical professions. Lastly he served as the Governor General from 1983-1985. He died in office on on 15th December 1985 but his legacy will remain intact and still regarded by every Mauritian as the father of modern Mauritius, for providing a sense of identity to the Indian community.

Thus, the idea on which he worked regarded India and Mauritius having a special link, always admired Indian leaders and tried to establish a successful democracy on line of India which is possibly his greatest achievement in establishing a stable and working democracy in Mauritius unlike other newly freed African countries. He was of the view that a stable and strong political democracy is a prerequisite for achieving freedom. A real follower of Gandhi followed the path of non violence resulting still is regarded as a father of nation. His son Dr. Navin Ramgoolam is current prime minister of Mauritius.