Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam
Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam was a Mauritian politician, statesman and philanthropist. Affectionately referred to by Mauritians as the “Father of the Nation”. He was born on 18th September 1900 at Belle Rive, Mauritius.
He was a leader in the Mauritian independence movement, and served as the first Chief Minister and Prime Minister of Mauritius, as well as its 6th Governor General. He led the Mauritian Labour Party from 1959 until 1982. Serving as Chief Minister from 1961 until 1968. He fought for the rights of labourers and led Mauritius to independence in 1968. As the first Prime Minister of Mauritius, he played a central role in shaping modern Mauritius’ government, it’s political culture and it’s foreign policy. Establishing free education and free health care services, and introducing old age pensions.
He lost his father and at the age of 7. His encounters with poor people, and the death of his mother, inspired him to help those less fortunate than himself. These experiences had a deep influence on his future life. Wanting to become a doctor Ramgoolam went to study medicine in England, graduating from UCL.
In 1963, the British Conservative government relied heavily on him to form an All Party Government in Mauritius and to expedite this, he was knighted in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list of 12 June 1965. An admirer of the late Mahatma Gandhi, he worked to ensure there would be no bloodshed during the campaign for independence, which was granted on 12th March 1968.
In memory of Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam (SSR) there are various streets in Mauritius named after him. The Botanical Gardens, a recreational centre for the elderly, a college and the national airport bear his name. You will also sees his face on every Mauritian Rupee coin and on the highest note tender of Rs2,000.
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