Historical Background of Telugus in Mauritius
The Telugus came to Mauritius in the 19th Century from the southern part of India, particularly from the following regions- Badraachalam, kaakinaada, Chittoor, Madras, Simhaachalam and Vishakhapatnam.
Together with other Indians of different ethnic groups, the Telugus came to work as indentured labourers. Needless to say they underwent untold sufferings working in the sugar cane fields and living in conditions of near slavery. When the Telugus came to Mauritius they brought along with them valuable scriptures. They did their very best to preserve their culture, language and religion. They forcefully helped to transmit the above to their descendants and thus maintained their identity as Telugus. In those days, the Andhra would meet in the evenings after a hard day’s work. They would meet in a modest thatched hut, which they built as their temple or place of worship. Here they would read and explain the Holy Scriptures. Here too, they would talk and discuss matters pertaining to religion and culture.
The need for a Telugu Sabha
As days passed the Telugus realised that the need of a Telugu sabha, a seat where they could meet and discuss their social and economic welfare and educational advancement was keenly felt.
In this context after much struggle, some determined leaders among the Telugu people founded the Telugu Association on 4th August 1946 and incorporated it on 30th July 1947. Later the association was renamed as the Mauritius Andhra Maha Sabha and was in Champs de Mars at that time. And with the help of many people the seat of the Sabha was shifted to Grand River North West.
Mauritius Telugu Maha Sabha
(formerly known as the Mauritius Andhra Maha Sabha)
The Mauritius Telugu Maha Sabha (MTMS), a socio-cultural, religious and spiritual organization which was founded on the 4th August 1947, is the official representative of the Telugu people of Mauritius. The Government of Mauritius deals directly with the Managing Committee of the MTMS for matters relating to the benefit and welfare of the Telugu Community, including the confirmation of the date on which Ugaadi is celebrated each year.
The main office of the MTMS is at Royal Road, GRNW, Port Louis. Besides its office premises, the MTMS compound also hosts a social hall (Swami Tyagaraja Kalyana Mandapam), a Shri Venkateshwara Devaalayam (a traditional Dravidian temple), two open shelters, parking slots for more than 50 vehicles and the busts of Amarajeevi Potti Sreeramulu, Pandit Goonayah Ottoo and Shri Simhadri Virahsawmy.
The MTMS has 90 Branches scattered all over the island and has also established 7 Regional Committees (RC). Thus, it has the MTMS Riviere Du Rempart RC, MTMS Pamplemousses RC, MTMS Moka RC, MTMS Plaine Wilhems RC, MTMS Flacq RC, MTMS Savanne RC and MTMS Grand Port RC. Furthermore, it has also set up a Youth Wing known as the MTMS Youth Wing.
Aims and Objectives of MTMS
- To promote the cultural, religious, economic, social and educational advancement of the Telugu Mauritius;
- To propagate the Telugu Culture by the study and practice of philosophy, literature, arts, science and history;
- To support the setting up of temples and charitable, philanthropic and educational institutions;
- To organize lectures, forums, workshops, seminars and conferences;
- To set up schemes or funds to provide financial grant or assistance for the welfare and well being of the Telugu Community of Mauritius, and to provide for death benefits to members and their dependants;
- To work in close collaboration with local and international institutions having similar objects;
- To print, publish and distribute books, magazines, pamphlets, periodicals and multimedia to further the objects of the MTMS;
- To establish branches throughout the island;
- To raise funds for, and do such other things, as may be conducive to the attainment of the above objects.
In its endeavor to raise the Telugu Flag high, the MTMS is leaving no stone unturned in order to achieve its goals. Activities relating to our glorious Telugu language, Arts and Culture are being organized regularly at both the national and regional levels.
To promote the Telugu language, the MTMS has been organizing Telugu examinations annually in November at national level for Standard 1 to Form 5. Students from across the island take part in the exams and are rewarded at an annual Prize Giving Ceremony.
In furtherance of its aim and objectives, the MTMS collaborates very closely with the Mauritius Telugu Cultural Centre Trust, Telugu Speaking Union, MTMS Youth Wing, Women’s Wing and Telugu Associations. The MTMS is confident that it is moving in the right direction and it is contributing fully towards the consolidation of National harmony and unity for a better and more prosperous Mauritius.