Port Louis: President Pratibha Patil on Tuesday met members of the Indian community here and hailed
their contribution to the centuries-old ties between India and
Mauritius making it not only a bond of friendship, but a
relationship of "kinship".
"Nearly 200 years ago, your ancestors braved the ocean
to arrive at a land unknown to all of them, a land which was
inhospitable and ruled by foreign colonial forces. They moved
ahead with determination, with an indomitable spirit which
could not be crushed, and were able to surmount every obstacle
to create what Mauritius is today," the President told the
gathering at the Indira Gandhi Centre for Indian Culture here.
She cited a couplet written by renowned poet from
Mauritius, Vishwamitra Ganga Aashutosh: "No gold did they
find, Underneath any stone they touched and turned, Yet, every
stone they touched, into solid gold they turned."
Patil cited the couplet to drive home the point to the
audience that that the Indian Government recognises "the
remarkable contribution that the people who trace their origin
to India have made in their countries of adoption."
"I pay homage to each and every one of them, whose
work guided Mauritius onward with the purpose and objective of
providing for its children and grand children," Patil, who is
on a five-day State Visit to Mauritius, said.
"An old African proverb says a friend is someone you
share the path with. This sentiment appropriates our
centuries-old traditional and time-tested relations. Ours is
not only a bond of friendship it is also a relationship of
kinship," she said.
Patil said during her meetings with leaders and
dignitaries in the island country over the last two days, the
two countries have once again determined to move towards
strengthening cooperation in new areas of this "dynamic and
"I am confident that my visit will provide additional
impetus and momentum, towards expanding the scope of our
dynamic and ever expanding bilateral co-operation.
"I am certain that my compatriots in Mauritius will be
true Ambassadors of India, and pursue excellence in whatever
field they choose to, and be a source of pride for India and
benefit to Mauritius," Patil said.
The President said it was a privilege for her to
confer the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award on Mauritius Prime
Minister Dr Navinchandra Ramgoolam in January 2008. President
of Mauritius, Sir Anerood Jugnauth, has also been recipient of
the honour in the recent past.