QUO VADIS PMSD?

QUO VADIS PMSD?

What does PMSD stand for? Parti Mauricien Social Democrat. What does Social Democracy stand for? “Social democracy is a political, social and economic ideology that supports economic and social interventions to promote social justice within the framework of a liberal democratic polity and capitalist economy … Social democracy originated as a political ideology that advocated an evolutionary and peaceful transition from capitalism to socialism using established political processes in contrast to the revolutionary approach to transition associated with orthodox Marxism.(Wikipedia)” It is not different from Fabian Socialism, the Labour Party ideology and is somewhat loosely associated with some form of Keynesianism. Is it a misnomer in the case of PMSD? A mere demagogic linguistic decoration? PROBABLY. So far Xavier’s party seems more like a neoliberal organization which believes in economic liberalisation policies such as privatisation, austerity, deregulation, free trade and reductions in government spending in order to increase the role of the private sector in the economy and society. In other words, a Creole MSM.

If there is nothing very exciting about its economic outlook, Xavier’s PMSD is daring politically as opposed to the MMM which constantly looks for a sexy dhoti to hide its complexes or the classical Mauritius Labour Party (MLP) which insists on building an empire on flimsy myths such as ‘Vaish Power’ and ‘little India’. The new PMSD has understood that the demographic reality has much changed and that the General Population (GP) consisting of Afrocreoles, Eurocreoles and Indochristians now represents over 40% of the population of the Maritime Republic of Mauritius. If reality keeps on changing, and it will, soon it will cross the 50% mark, putting an end to claims that the Prime Minister should be a Hindu.

It must be noted that the change is not only due to biological and cultural miscegenation (métissage) but also to a change in attitudes and outlook. Two generations since independence have seen a lot of mindset changes among young people who refuse to be tied to customs and traditions in a way which would shock and kill my Babam and Tata (grandparents on my father’s side) again and again. The PMSD can without any qualm fish in that barachois but can the MLP?

In this context the MLP has to undergo deep changes if it does not want to perish. Its Hindu physiognomy (not to say ‘malbar’) and its attachment to the “little India” myth will eventually alienate potential supporters. The PMSD can easily accept the progressive idea that Mauritius is a creole island but is unable to accept Mauritian (Mauritian Creole) as our national language and English (another creole language) as a quasi-universal language because of its entrenched loyalty to francophonie. Here, the MLP has an edge over the other political parties in its acceptance of the English-Mauritian language policy and its resistance to the neoliberal onslaught – Economic Democracy, rupture (break away from past policies), Maurice Île Durable, Maritime Republic.

In a not too distant future, the MLP and PMSD will have to agree on a government programme: nation building, economic democracy, food security, gender equality, universal bilingual functional literacy etc. Both parties will have to undergo drastic progressive changes to equip them to face global warming and climate change. This new strategy for survival will need the support of one and all.

09.11.18

TESTAMENT OF A HINDOCREOLE

TESTAMENT OF A HINDOCREOLE
OR
WHO WE REALLY ARE?

We must admit that we, Mauritians, a nation of immigrants, constantly try to define our identity to give meaning to life and to build links between the past and the present. We are not always successful for, more often than not, we are blinded by prejudice and ignorance. Some believe they are Hindi-speaking as opposed to Marathis, Tamils and Telugus when in fact Hindi was not the language of their forebears for 2 reasons: (a) In the mid-19th century when our Indian forbears reached our shores, Urdu was the dominant language under British rule. The rise of Hindi is linked with the Indian struggle for independence and its recognition and standardization came at a later stage (from late 19th century to the present time); (b) most of our Hindu and Muslim forebears from India spoke Bhojpuri, a Bihari language and not Hindi or Urdu.

Others claim that Mauritius is “La Petite France” and consequently argue that French should be both our national and official language. They also think that Mauritian Creole is just a ‘patois’, some form of ‘broken French’ and must be denied the status of language. As a reaction to this, a new myth has emerged: Mauritius is Little India and hence a tendency to consider loyalty to ‘Mahabharat’ (India) more important that loyalty to ‘Chotabharat’ (Mauritius).

Is all this getting us anywhere? Are we not simply floundering in muddy illusion and half-baked concepts instead of growing like the lotus flower? Now the new battlefield is whether we should have an ethnic census. We want to keep the much loved and equally hated ‘best loser system’ and yet refuse to know reality and prefer to use outdated data. Those who thrive on division have become arch-defenders of a semblance of unity. Some are genuinely afraid of an avalanche of new denominations, of the emergence of new groups, sub-groups and sub-sub-groups.

Fundamental questions: Is it better not to know the facts or better to know them? Is it better to pretend that something is what it is not than finding out what it really is? Should demographics be ignored to make way for mainstream political strategy and ideology or ethnic politics?

Some information:
1. The constitution recognises 4 ethnic groups; 2 are based on religion (Hindus and Muslims); one is truly ethnic (Chinese); the fourth is just a ragbag into which we dump any person who does not belong to any of the above groups and include atheists, agnostics, free-thinkers.
2. There is a certain perception of the demographics which are as follows: “Hindi-speaking” – 40%; Tamils, Telugus and Marathis – 10%; Muslims – 16%; Chinese – 3%; general population – 31%.
3. The Hindi-speaking group is further divided into 4 castes of which the Vaish group is thought to represent 25% of the global population.

Since the 70’s, things have changed a lot. An important number of Hindus have embraced other religions and different Christian sects have seen their flocks grow substantially. It would not be unrealistic to think that the “Hindi-speaking” group now represents less 30% of the whole population and the Vaish group represents less than 20%. The general population is now over 40% of the whole population and the Afro-Creoles (Nasion) make up about 25% of the population. Afro-Creoles are the biggest minority group.

I am pretty sure that an ethnic-based census will show this spectacular change and so must be supported by progressives who want to get rid of the “Little India Arrogance” and promote what we really are: A CREOLE NATION, living on a Creole Island, peopled by immigrants from Europe, Africa, and Asia, who are Euro-Creoles, Afro-Creoles, Hindo-Creoles, Islamo-Creoles and Sino-Creoles, who have an original Creole cuisine, music and dance and who speak 2 Creole languages – Mauritian and English.

Political parties which cannot portray and symbolise this new ethnic reality together with a new gender consciousness will face all sorts of crises and perish. The rear-view mirror cannot yield a clear vision of what the future will be.

Only if we know who we really are, can we chart a new course to use judiciously the resources of the Maritime Republic of Mauritius, to guarantee food security, to face the consequences of global warming and make of gender equality an important element of our national culture.

03.11.18