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Keeping Indian Ocean Safe from Piracy

By Assad Bhuglah

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The economic health and survival of Mauritius are intricately linked with maritime security in the Indian Ocean. Mauritius, which nourishes the ambition of becoming a regional maritime hub, critically needs an ocean free of conflicts and piracy.

For millennia the peoples living around the Indian Ocean have benefited from its rich trade, while the interaction resulting from these maritime exploits invariably influenced their lives fundamentally. These traditional patterns of trade and communication changed drastically when first the Portuguese and then other European powers began sailing around the Cape of Good Hope to establish trade links and empires in the East. The Indian Ocean became a platform for power rivalry and conflicts among European naval forces. However, during the course of the 19th century, European navies played an important role in maintaining good order at sea, eradicating piracy and countering slavery.

The decline of Muslim societies

Pluralistic Globalism

Many monotheists, including many Muslims, who themselves adhere to certain way of thinking and a certain pattern of behaviour, also believe that all good people have to fit in their frame. Tolerating differences in "others" has not become fundamental in our thinking nor in our faith, where dogma has overshadowed morality and behaviour. Diversity within unity has not yet been recognized as being essential among Muslims and among all human beings. Horrible crimes are committed in the name of religion all over the world: in Northern Ireland, in Bosnia, in Algeria, in the Indian subcontinent and Sri Lanka and elsewhere. "Ethnic-cleansing" has become a familiar term in the political glossary, and ethnic conflicts cover the whole world; the ethnic mass massacres in Africa, South of The Sahara are just one tragic example. Conflicts resulting from ethnic and religious differences, or born from chauvinistic nationalism and a fanatic following of ideologies, have been happening all through history, and Muslims and monotheists have not been an exception. Furthermore, modern technology and evil growth of terrorism and weapons of mass destruction have contributed to horrible practices aimed at destroying the "others," efforts that would bring with them a total self-destruction of the whole human race.

Israf

Israf signifies extravagance and wasteful use of what is otherwise permissible. Three factors are used to identify actions that fall within the boundaries of waste: Firstly, permissibility in Shariah, which means that forbidden acts exceed the limits even if there is no extravagant monetary spending. Secondly, rational judgment, which proscribes spending considered as being wasteful and foolish—such as destroying one's wealth for no good purpose. Thirdly, societal norms, which indicate the limits of normal expenditure from that which is excessive and wasteful—and this can vary from individual to individual. Permissible levels of expenditure on the personal as well as family levels are consequently not the same for everyone in a given society. One individual may spend his money in a certain way that will be considered as israf, while another individual may do the same but will not be considered wasteful.

STAR: Interview - Assad Bhuglah: Book on Dr idrice Goumany

What motivated you to write a book on Dr Idrice Goumany?

Initially, my effort was simply an advocacy role to get the contributions of Dr Idrice Goumany recognised at national level. I found it very sad that this young doctor who sacrificed his life while saving the lives of patients infected by deadly disease of small pox, particularly the Indian indentured labourers, was flatly ignored in all the national celebrations relating to the arrival of Indian immigrants. This made me write several articles in local newspapers, namely in Star and le Mauricien, with the aim of sensitizing public opinion. I had no idea of writing a book. It was Mr Carrim Currimjee who requested me to write a book on this illustrious personality so that the present and coming generations will be proud of the heroic and patriotic actions of this eminent son of a humble lascar. For the last three years, this idea of writing a book had been dominating my mind. I was always asking myself whether there would be enough materials to write a book on ha person who died very young and who had exercised his profession for three years? When I started interviewing people and compiling information for the book, I realized that there was a deficit of information about the doctor. Many young persons were under the impression that Dr Goumany could be a recent figure associated with treatment of drug addicts. They had little idea that this enigmatic personality was among the first Muslim doctors. Dr Goumany was the sole Indo-Mauritian in the list of doctors in the list of doctors published by colonial gazette of 1887.

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