National anthem of Mauritius
|Music||Joseph Philippe Gentil|
"Motherland" is the national anthem of Mauritius. The music was composed by Philippe Gentil and the lyrics were written by Jean-Georges Prosper. The anthem is short and briefly describes the luscious landscape of Mauritius. It also mentions the qualities of its people: peace, justice, and liberty.
The national anthem is composed in English and was first played during the Independence Day of 12 March 1968. The Labour Party ruled Mauritius from the time of independence in 1968 to 1982. The opposing Mauritian Militant Movement won the 1982 election. The party decided to establish Mauritian Creole as the national language and wanted to sing the national anthem in Creole during the 15th Independence Day on 15 March 1983. The move was sternly opposed by the alliance partners; the party lost power in 1983.
Mauritius was a British Colony from 1810 and became an independent state on 12 March 1968, with Elizabeth II as Queen of Mauritius, represented as head of state by the Governor-General. The last governor, Sir John Shaw Rennie, served as the first governor-general until 27 August 1968. A Competition was held to choose the best anthem and Jean Georges Prosper, a popular poet won the competition and "Motherland" was chosen as the anthem. The music was later composed by police band musician Philippe Gentil. During the announcement of independence, the flag of the United Kingdom was lowered by Lieutenant D.E. Wenn from the British side, and the flag of Mauritius was hoisted by Inspector Palmyre of the Special Mobile Force (SMF) from the Mauritian side. "God Save the Queen", the anthem of Britain was played for the last time, while "Motherland" was played for the first time. It was followed by firing of 31 salvos in the harbour and a loud cheer from the crowd.
Critics consider that the national anthem failed to inspire the people during not so prosperous times of the economy when communalism and casteism made headway. There is a strong criticism in sections of media that though the anthem states unity as the prime strength of the nation, the nation stands divided even after 40 years of independence. Unity described as the strength of the nation as quoted as "as one people as one nation" is also posted as a challenge the country faces at the face of globalization. The harmony and cultural mix of different religious communities of the country are also not seen united in the nation. The unrest during 1969 clashes between Muslims and Creoles and the football tournaments till 1980 conducted on community basis are commonly quoted to show the indifference.
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- "COMMUNALISM AND CASTEISM: "United we stand, divided we fall"". Lemaurician. 24 April 2012. Retrieved 3 November 2016.
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- Cheong-Lum, Roseline Ng (2009). CultureShock! Mauritius: A Survival Guide to Customs and Etiquette. Marshall Cavendish International Asia Pte Ltd. ISBN 9789814435604.