Routine celebration of Independence Day every year may give us a good conscience. But is it enough? Do we realise that there is an important unfinished business? Is there a political will to transcend our ethnic loyalties and forge strong national progressive values? Is this just a poet’s dream or an indispensable survival tool to equip us to successfully face the dramatic crises looming behind the horizon?
In Mauritius we love slogans, catchphrases and myths so long as they hide the truth. We love to believe that God made Mauritius first and used it as a model to build paradise. Some think Mauritius is “LA PETITE FRANCE”; others that it is “LITTLE INDIA”. No one wants to know what it really is, i.e. A CREOLE ISLAND as defined by Professor Meghan Vaughan in her book “CREATING THE CREOLE ISLAND: SLAVERY IN EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY MAURITIUS”, Duke University Press.
On this creole island TWO important creole languages are spoken namely Mauritian (Mauritian Creole) and English. YES, both our national language and our official language are creole languages. If in doubt please read THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE by Professor David Crystal (Cambridge University press).
Mauritian is neither ‘a broken French’ nor ‘a patois’ nor ‘the daughter of French’. Only adamant asses can unashamedly say this. A serious study of the syntactic features of Mauritian and English shows how close they are at that level; a contrastive analysis of the phonemic features of Mauritian and French reveals how much they differ although French has been initially the main lexifier of our national language.
We have TWO vibrant creole languages (Mauritian and English) to power our cultural, intellectual and spiritual development. French as a third language may help provided blinkered Francophiles stop regurgitating stupidities, unaware that the world of learning has undergone a radical linguistic revolution.
Why bother? Just to please our ego? No, nation building is a necessity to help us face the consequences of global warming and climate change for we must develop new values, new attitudes and new strategies.