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National Day of Mauritius - Hindu Girls College, Mauritius

Hindu Girls College

National Day

11 March 2019

Distinguished Members of the Management Committee,


Rector and Deputy Rectors,

Teachers, staff members,

And dear Students,

A very happy 51st Independence Day to all of you.

Thank you for inviting me here today.

It has been 37 years since I finished my schooling in Delhi. A long time ago. Therefore, I am especially excited to be here today among all the young and bright students.

I am still very new in Mauritius having arrived only a few weeks back.

But I am deeply impressed by the all-round progress that Mauritius has made in the last fifty years as an independent nation. It is truly remarkable.

The young students in this hall are fortunate to have been born in a free country. But I suppose most of the elders present here today started their lives when Mauritius was still a colony.

Both India and Mauritius were ruled by others but have now made remarkable progress. Both our countries have a lot diversity. Both are also democracies.

It is useful for all of us to know about our own society and our past. You must learn from your elders about the very different and difficult times that they lived in when Mauritius was not ruled by its own people.

It helps us understand why our country is like what it is today. And what we can do to help change it for better.

The history of Mauritius has made it one of the few countries that have so many different languages, cultures, religions and ethnicities.

It means that we can enjoy so many different types of wonderful foods and flavours. We can speak in many languages. We can enjoy and play different types of music. We can wear different types of clothes. There is no monotony. It is not at all boring. And it brings in more new ideas and creativity.

We must also try and explore from where our different types of foods or music or cultures or rituals came from. And how they have evolved and influenced each other.

This diversity also means that Mauritius has good links with three major continents Asia, Africa and also Europe. Not many countries are like this. I am a diplomat and have lived and worked in several countries. I know this. You will also know when you travel abroad.

Diversity must become our strength and must not divide us.

We study so many subjects at school. History, Geography, Economics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Mathematics.

But these subjects are not completely separate.

The history of a country is also linked to its geography. Together history and geography tell you about the agriculture, economy and culture and arts of a place.

We need to be alert to ask questions – ask why – and we will see connections. Just try and see if you can find such connections about Mauritius.

It is the same with science.

Many of the senior students may have read about the Big Bang theory. About how our universe may have begun. Scientists are still working on this.

But it appears that in the beginning we started with simple atoms that made Hydrogen and Helium gases. Physicists, especially nuclear physicists study these matters.

Soon stars formed as bigger molecules and elements began to be formed and physics soon gave way to chemistry.

Gradually planets were formed with rocky structures – that is studied by geologists.

At least on our planet earth these chemical reactions and energy gave rise to cells. And biology started to take shape.

Then life – plants and then animals - evolved in the sea, came to land. Human beings appeared relatively recently on earth. They made tools, started agriculture, established civilisations. And today our industries and lifestyles are affecting the climate and our own future.

Today if we want to undertake any serious research, some understanding of all these subjects and the connections is required.

We must not hesitate or be shy in asking questions from our teachers, or friends or parents. It helps us become more aware of what is around us. Not only examination results but overall curiosity and understanding that is important.

Education is the main way by which we can make progress as a person and as a country. Education and research has helped India develop nuclear power, launch probes to the moon and Mars, do research on Arctic and Antarctic, lead in IT and software development, in solar energy.

It is good to see also how the people and government of Mauritius place importance on good education.

At the same time, a good education also means respect for teachers and parents, and pride in one’s culture and nation.

When I finished schooling, our long distance communication was with phones, which very few people had in India. Today we are always connected by internet to the world. But we must try and not lose touch with our immediate surroundings – family, friends. And the environment. For our own sake.

I wish all of you students the very best in your studies and lives ahead of you. Make all efforts to become good individuals.

Congratulations again on your 51st Independence Day.


Thank you.

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