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About Pahlad Ramsurrun By Sangeeta Ramsurrun-Nunkoo

pahladWhat to say about a few coincidences that has come fortuitously in the life of Pahlad Ramsurrun, my dad, this very July 2010. Exactly, forty years back, he being a young man of 33 years old, married a few years back to a young woman and the couple having a child of one year (myself), had gone to New Delhi to receive a prize for an Essay Competition which he had won. The competition was organized by the (ICIC) Indian Council for International Cooperation, to mark the birth centenary of Mahatma Gandhi in 1969. My father had read the advertisement in “Aryoday” in Mauritius, entered the competition and won the 3″‘ prize.

The title of the essay was – ”Relation between your Country and India.” The prize giving ceremony was held in Mavalankar Bhawan, New Delhi on 19th July, 1970. Shri Gulzari Lal Nanda, the Railway Minister had awarded the prize to my father. The photo of my dad receiving the prize is still preciously preserved in the family album.

The real purpose of his visit to India was not to collect the essay-prize, but to join the University of Delhi to pursue his tertiary education. His old and most cherished dream since childhood was to become a B.A. degree holder. As such, he joined the Venkateshwara College as a pre-graduate student.

But, Pahlad Ramsurrun had another feat to accomplish in 1970 when he joined the University of Delhi. He had come from Mauritius with 30
copies of his first book of 130 pages, entitled – ”Illustrated History of the Arya Samaj in Mauritius.” And, during the course of his studies, he had written two books: a travelogue and a folktale. He had also edited another book on the Mauritius Arya Samaj, written by Pandit Mohunlall Mohith, the then president of Arya Sabha, Mauritius.

Hence, Pahlad Ramsurrun returned to Mauritius with his B.A. degree, and three books to his credit, in July 1973. Being now a graduate he was promoted from a primary school teacher to an education officer. His first posting was at one of the most prestigious secondary schools in Mauritius, the Royal College Curepipe. Besides teaching Hindi, he carried on with the writing of books in his leisure time.

This year too he is in New Delhi at this time of the year to look into the publication of two new books, one on the history of Mauritius, the other on the history of Arya Samaj, and the Indradhanush Magazine to mark the bi-centenary of the takeover of Mauritius by the British and Indian soldiers in 1810.

His passion for writing and research is phenomenal. His strong will power and determination (despite his age) to make a difference in the literary and historic world is amazing. I can very vividly recall that as an Education officer, most of his Saturdays (school holiday in Mauritius), his summer and winter vacations were spent at the National Archives and several libraries in Mauritius. His notes taken on the twentieth century history of Mauritius are treasures that ought to be preserved, because they contain highly informative materials which can be used to write several books.

His interest in collecting and preserving rare books, newspapers, journals and documents is outstanding. Based on his thorough research, he has written and edited more than sixty books in English, Hindi and French. His books have been translated into German, French, Malay and Marathi.

His literary and historic contributions have been recognized by private institutions and in Mauritius and India, and so, he has been awarded several distinctions for his keen insight in the subjects on which he writes.

Pahlad Ramsurrun is also the director and editor-in-chief of a unique trilingual magazine « Indradhanush » whose fame is being acknowledged internationally. Every issue of the magazine is dedicated to an eminent personality in literature, social work, philosophy, politics and so on.

Pahlad Ramsurrun retired in 1997 and by that time he had written thirty books. As from then onwards every year, he proceeds to India, to meet his publisher friends and get his books published. He has very good relations with Vishwanath Malhotra, Sushil Puri, Surender Malik and S.K. Ghai in India. Every year three or four books of his are published and it is hoped that Pahlad Ramsurrun will produce more and more books in future to enrich the literary landscape of Mauritius.

Since a few years, he has offered me the opportunity to be the co-author of a few books, and apart from that, he has made me the assistant editor of the trilingual magazine « Indradhanush ». I am really proud to have a father like Pahlad Ramsurrun who has been my role model, my philosopher and guide. I am glad to present a catalogue of all his books, and of all the trilingual Indradhanush magazine on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of his authorship.


Oxford Lane, Helvetia,
St Pierre, Mauritius 20 July, 2010


DOCUMENTARY ON PAHLAD RAMSURRUN By Mauritius Broadcasting Corporation (MBC)