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Kreol Version Adapted to DIKSIONER MORISIEN-

Pioneering Introduction in Disaster Management

                                  

                                                                             

 Kreol is the mother tongue of all people of Mauritius. Apart from being the vehicle of expression for all ethnic, linguistic, cultural and religious groups of the 1.230 million inhabitants, it is also used by foreigners, expatriates, tourists and diplomats who happen to set foot here. It has reached the status at local tertiary level.

The roots of Kreol Language date back from the colonisation of Mauritius by the French (1715-1810), who introduced permanent human settlement after the Portuguese and the Dutch temporary occupations. This ‘patois creole’ mode of expression was rather used only in the spoken form in social interaction during the period of Malagasy and African slavery and of the subsequent Indian Indenture systems. 

Brief Historical Overview

The Middle-Ages or ‘Siècles des Lumières’ in Europe saw the emergence of multilingual, bilingual and monolingual dictionaries in Latin and other languages. The Christian Missionaries played a vital role in the transplantation of these in the colonies. Thus Dutch-Malay-Malagasy, French-Malagasy and English-Swahili dictionaries made their appearance in 1603, 1658 and 1879 respectively.

 

<<The first, recently discovered, manuscript in an emerging Indian Ocean Creole, dates back in 1760s. Its author is a Lazarist priest, Caulier, who decided to translate religious texts in what he considered was the French ‘jargon’ or ‘style’…>>, page 7, Preface,  DIKSIONER MORISIEN, Premie diksioner kreol monleng, 2em edision, Les Editions Le Printemps, 2011, Professor Hookoomsing.

  

Socio-Political Perspective 

There are many individuals and NGOs who have contributed for the promotion of Kreol Language in Mauritius, a few of whom are explained below.

 

The Association-Ledikasyon Pu Travayer (english version-Education for workers) (LTP) and LALIT (english version-The Struggle or Fight) socio-political movement and magazine lead by Dr. Ram Seegobin and supported by Linzy Collen, Rada Kisnasamy, Alain Ah-Vee, have a long history in the struggle for mother tongue rights in favour of Kreol and Bhojpuri (an Indian language) since 1976. They have published more than 100 books and periodicals in Kreol, including one dictionary in Kreol and Bhojpuri. They have organized many socio-literary activities focused in the same direction.  It is noteworthy that they are among the collaborators of Diksioner MorisienThe struggle continues-LALIT Kontinie.

 

Mr. Dev Virasawmy-Teacher/Linguist was one of the founders of the Movement Militant Mauricien (MMM) political party in 1969, which is now the sitting and main Opposition Party in the National Assembly of Mauritius. He became the first MMM member to be a returned candidate at the bye-election in constituency Number 5, in 1970. He was at the same time a militant of Kreol Language visible in his teachings, poems and literary publications. His role has been determinant in the introduction of Kreol as Mother Tongue in the school curriculum.

 

Late Mr Siven Chinien, Trade Unionist was also among the founder-members of the MMM party. Apart from being a musician, he was a catalyser in political meetings with his patriotic songs in Kreol Language-‘Solda Lalit’. As he was a close friend of mine, I campaigned for him during the general elections of 1976. His two colleagues were returned successfully, but unfortunately, he was not. However, his son is continuing in local folklores-songs/segas in Kreol.

 

Late Alphonse Rawaton-alias Tifrère is recognised as the Father of Mauritian Sega, the folklore sung in Kreol Language.

 

After the Riot of 22 February 1999 (which I had Predicted since 1970) Mr Jean Yves Violette, leader of his NGO, organised a conference on Créolité (Kreol culture) at the Municipal Hall of Port Louis City. I attended that event and also made my speech. It is here that I met, for the first time, Messrs Arnaud Carpooran (linguist), Jocelyn Chan Low (historian) and Clyde Vacher (news reporter) who became my tutors at the University of Mauritius the following year.

 

The Riot of 22 February 1999 was an upheaval by the slave descendants, after the sudden death of singer Joseph Reginald Topize-alias Kaya. The emerging Seggaeman singer passed away while he was in police custody on 21 February. Berger Agathe, another singer, (with whom I made a trip to Rodrigues Island aboard Mauritius Pride Ferry in 1998), was shot dead by the police during the social unrest. This community of slave descendants rejected their exclusion from the socio-economic mainstream of the Democratic Republic of Mauritius. They claimed more politico-socio-economic justice in the contemporary society.

 

It can be said that, as from then, there has been the emergence, amongst others, of various socio cultural organisations of the slave descendants in Mauritius. The Catholic Church was also in effervescence. At least four males of Kreol ethnic group (descendants of slaves) were ordained as Catholic Priests at the Mass of Marie Reine de La Paix, which I had attended. Who will forget the Pardon presented by Catholic Bishop Maurice Piat to the Kreol Community for the discard of people of slave descendants by the Church? Maurice Piat, in spite of retiring from the church activities about a month ago, has been appointed by Pope Francis as Cardinal whose ordination will take place in two weeks’ time at the Vatican.

 

Refer also to the statement I made at the University of Mauritius in 2003, wherein there were many historians/researchers/lecturers who had assembled:

‘Slavery, despite its several ramifications, is a ‘will of God’ for the unification of the whole mankind of the Blue Planet.’

  

Mission Accomplished 

It can be said that Kreol Language evolved gradually as ‘patois creole’ making it the medium of expression for the slaves, immigrants and their Colonial Masters. Today, as a complete language, it has reached the status of the national language-spoken, written and in folklores. With the introduction of the First Kreol Dictionary-‘Diksioner Morisien’, this Language has been integrated and recognized at local University level.

 

Kreol is like a spherical mass of matter linked to all sorts of energy oozing out from all cardinal points: customs, traditions, beliefs, values, culture, dialects, resilience against European slavery system and acculturation, Code Noir, freedom, attitude, habit, mixed-blood (métissage), identity, ethnicity, colour, appurtenance, lifestyle, cuisine, farming, fishing, music, songs, segas (local folklores), slams, poetry, tangible/intangible things, Le Morne World Heritage Site-symbol of Colonial Slavery, etc.

  

Kreol Language makes the pride of the multi-ethnic, multi-religious, multi-cultural rainbow nation of Mauritius and is unique in the world. On one hand, Mark Twain stated that ‘God created Mauritius first, then the Paradise’. On the other side, and during the colonial periods, this Land was considered as the 'Star and Key of the Indian Ocean'. All the major European colonizers of the globe have trodden the soil of Mauritius, including the Phoenicians and Arabs, Malays etc. 

 

Moreover, Kreol Language is also an identity for all the Mauritian people. This language is also used in all the Territories of Mauritius: Rodrigues, Agalega, St. Brandon and Chagos, with some slight and negligible differences. In addition, Kreol is also, regionally, used in Reunion Sister-Island (French Territory-DOM/TOM) and in Seychelles which are located in the South Indian Ocean. It is also connected to the native language used overseas in many Caribbean countries: Jamaica, Haiti, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Guyana, etc. and probably in other parts of the world.

 

The first bilingual dictionaries of Seychellois and of Mauritian Creole appeared in 1980s. The monolingual Malagasy dictionary of Rajemisa-Raolison was produced in 1985. Yet, the first monolingual encyclopaedia dictionary of Malgasy language took birth in 2005. This coincided with the publication of the first monolingual dictionary- DIKSIONER MORISIEN by Professor Carpooran.

 

The Ministry of Education and Human Resources set up the ‘Akademi Kreol Morisien’ in October 2010. The objective was ‘to review and consolidate the propositions contained in the Grafi-larmoni report regarding the written form of Mauritian Creole’, Forward, Premie diksioner kreol monleng, 2em edision, Les Editions Le Printemps, 2011, Diksioner Morisien, Professor Arnaud Carpooran.

 

Professor Vinesh Hookoomsing, Chairperson of the Mauritian Kreol Academy, stated in the Preface (2nd edition), Diksioner Morisien: “Mauritius has chosen to create an Academy for the standardization and validation of Mauritian Creole orthography, grammar, lexical systems, and for the promotion and development of the language in general. It has also been assigned the task of preparing technical and pedagogical guidelines in view of the introduction of the language in the schools.”

 

The Diksioner Morisien is the work of Professor Arnaud Carpooran- linguist at the University of Mauritius and of his (500+) hundreds of collaborators: linguists, researchers, students, authors, writers, social workers, NGOs, etc. of local, regional and international levels. There are 17,000 entries, 35,000 definitions and 30,000 examples in 1201 pages. See picture.

  

The journey from ‘patois créole’ –Kreol dialect to National Language status, confirms the Mission Accomplished for Professor Arnaud Carpooran and his collaborators.

 

In view of presenting my Innovation, I had a meeting with Prof. Carpooran on Wednesday 04 May 2016, at the University of Mauritius. I informed him of my Pioneering Work of providing Kreol Version of articles in my Website. He encouraged this venture. It is worthwhile to note that he was one of my tutors at the UOM.  

  

Suggestions 

There may also be some negative ingredients during the process of recognition of the Mauritian Kreol, as the country’s standard national Language. One of the participants at the Kreol Festival (24-28 October 2016) expressed, through the MBC- national radio/television station, his worry of the fading out of this Language. But, this sounds an expression of some doubt or pessimism. I state that there is no such doubt or fading out. This mother tongue, besides being adopted by the whole population and foreigners, is also used during the day to day rituals practiced by all religious groups of Paradise Mauritius. We should therefore cruise forward and let the whole world take cognisance of the universality of this Spherical Mass of Matter-Kreol Language.

 

Teachers, tutors, researchers, social scientists: linguists, anthropologists, ethnologists and sociologists, writers, reporters, NGOs, well-wishers, etc. are requested to stop lamenting, apprehending and meandering in the issue of recognition of Kreol. Let the academicians, researchers and social scientists stand as the guardians of Kreol Language and Créolité, who may intervene for the updating, modification, revision, rectification of the words, terms and expressions whenever the need to do so is required. Everyone is, therefore, requested to focus on the promotion of this spherical mass of matter towards other venues-local, regional and international.

 

 Introduction of Kreol Version 

<<Baker-Hookoomsing ‘Creole-English-French’ dictionary stands out of the lot for having played an initial feeder role…Carpooran’s monolingual Diksioner Morisien is a great milestone…It opens a new era for the establishment of Mauritian Creole as the standard Mauritian language, with the exiting perspective of making it ready for use as a medium for all spheres of human discourse and activity, including SCIENCE, philosophy and, especially, EDUCATION>>, pages 7-8, Preface (1st edition: English version), DIKSIONER MORISIEN, Professor Hookoomsing.

 

The introduction of KREOL Version of articles in this Website-http://www.kanhye.com, is aligned with the great expectations mentioned above. My Cheval de Bataille’, amongst others, is to Educate everyone in the Science of Disaster Management. Besides, this is another Innovation. It is also projected to be used in Videos, Gifs and Power Point presentations. This is a Unique and Pioneering endeavour as far as the Education in Climate, Weather, Hydrology and Disaster Management of other Natural Hazards is concerned. In this context, the translation in Kreol Version will be subject to revisions, modifications, corrections, updates and also suggestions. The translation of the text will be done strictly according to the version provided in the DIKSIONER MORISIEN and in ‘Le Créole mauricien Guide de conversation’, Editions Assimil, France, 2002 of the same author. But, the scientific words, terms and expressions may not be changed, unless it is possible.

 

 

This Pioneering Endeavour and Innovation should be adopted by all countries world-wide. It is complementary to ‘Country-Driven’ and ‘People-Centred’/‘Putting-People-First’ mechanisms, as far as the dynamism of the Early Warning Systems is concerned.

 

NB: Météo-Madagascar, whose services were almost inactive at the beginning of this decade because of political instability, has moved forward with the publishing of its Weather Forecasts and Warning Bulletins, including videos, in Malagasy language. This is a very laudable effort and demands encouragement. However, the other Meteorological Services of the South-West Indian Ocean: Mauritius, Comoros, Reunion and Mayotte (Météo-France) have not introduced their local tongue. Seychelles too has not done so in spite of Seselwa Kreol has been recognised as the official language together with French and English.

 

So, keep watch for the Kreol Version of articles starting soon with: ‘MOTHER EARTH and ‘WMO and Mauritius’, whose versions in English are already published in this Website.

 

The launching of the Pioneering and Innovative introduction of Kreol Language in Disaster Management coincides with-

  • Festival Kreol: 24-28 October 2016;
  • Festival of Lights-Diwali: 30 October 2016;
  • All Saints’ Day: 01 November 2016 and
  • Indian Indenture System marked at Appravasi Ghat World Heritage Site: 02 November 2016.

Let this glow of enlightenment energize everyone.

 

PKANHYE.                                    FRIDAY 28 OCTOBER 2016.

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