Ssr-the Father of the Nation

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  • Topic: Port Louis, Mauritius, Navin Ramgoolam
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  • Published : September 1, 2012
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Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam (SSR), GCMG, LRCP, MRCS (Hindi: शिवसागर रामगुलाम; Chinese: 西沃薩古爾拉姆古蘭), often referred to as Chacha Ramgoolam, was an Mauritian politician and statesman, a leader in the Mauritian independence movement, and the first Chief Minister, Prime Minister and sixth Governor General of Mauritius. He is known as the "Father of the Mauritian Nation", he led Mauritius to independence in 1968 and worked for the emancipation of the Mauritian population. Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam also known as Kewal was born on 18 September 1900 at Belle Rive, Mauritius in the district of Flacq. SSR is a Mauritian of Indian origin that is an Indo-Mauritian. His father, an Indian immigrant labourer, Moheeth Ramgoolam came to Mauritius at the age of 18 in a ship called The Hindoostan in 1896. His elder brother, Ramlochurn, had left the home village of Hurgawo in Bihar in search of his fortune abroad. Moheeth worked as indentured labourer and later became a Sirdar (overseer) at La Queen Victoria Sugar Estate. When he got married to Basmati Ramchurn in 1898, he move to Belle Rive Sugar Estate. Basmati was a young widow born in Mauritius, who had two sons, Nuckchadee Heeramun and Ramlall Ramchurn. Kewal had his early grounding in Hindi, and Indian culture and philosophy, in the local evening school of the locality (called Baitka in Mauritian Hindu term), where children of the Hindu community learnt the vernacular language and glimpses of the Hindu culture. The teacher (guruji) would teach prayers and songs. Sanskrit prayers and perennial values taken from sacred scriptures like the Vedas, the Ramayana, the Upanishads, and the Bhagavad Gita were also taught. He joined the neighbouring primary school R.C.A school under Madame Siris on his own without his mother’s knowledge. Later he left for Bel Air Government School, travelling by train from Olivia station until he passed his sixth standard. At the age of seven, Ramgoolam lost his father and at the age of twelve, Ramgoolam met with a serious accident in a cowshed that cost him his left eye. He continue his scholarship class at the Curepipe Boys’ Government School while he took up boarding at uncle Harry Parsad Seewoodharry, a sworn land surveyor, living at Bougainville street, Curepipe. There he would listen to the drawing room politics of the day carried by his uncle and his circle of friends. From there, he would relish the talks given by the barber, Ratan, eloquent on the local political situation in Mauritius and the current passionate struggle for Indian liberation under Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Rash Behari Bose. These initial conversations were to form the basis of his political beliefs years later. Later, after his studies, he contributed to Fokeer’s "The Mauritius Indian Times" and revealed his personal interest in writing and journalism. The scholarship classes helped Ramgoolam to skip Form I and II and go straight to Junior Cambridge at the Royal College Curepipe, where he fell under the influence of the English tutors, Reverend Fowler and Mr Harwood. Early in life he was impressed by British culture and manners and he became a devoted lover of the English language and literature, he also loved French literature. After secondary schooling, Ramgoolam worked for three months in the Civil Service, despite racism within the organisation. Many memories of poor people he met, and the death of his mother, inspired Ramgoolam to help those who were less fortunate than he was and also led to the many good personal qualities that he had in his later life. He realised that the only way he could help mop up the suffering of the poor was by serving them as a doctor. And his brother Ramlall promised to help him financially for his medical studies in London As Mauritius's first Prime minister, SSR played a crucial role in shaping modern Mauritius's government and political culture along with sound foreign policy. He is praised for giving free universal education in 1976, free...
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