Dr Idrice Ameer Goumany, The Forgotten Hero of Mauritius

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The brief lifetime story of Dr. Idrice Goumany opens to us the window to an era in Mauritius’ history when the colony was still in the process of transition marked by the on-going Anglo-Franco tussle to consolidate a sphere of influence for themselves and was faced with numerous transformative challenges, notably: a shift from being a commercial entrepot to moving to a sugar-based plantation economy; a revolutionary development in the transport system, evolving from horse-drawn carriages to railway lines and from wind-powered sailing ships to steam-powered vessels; and finally making a major breakthrough in communication with the introduction of telegraphic services, which helped to mitigate the insularity of the island colony that had hitherto relied exclusively on postal and courier services. Also, it was an era that witnessed the beginning of electrification of the urban areas where hitherto candles and oil lamps reigned supreme. And finally — and more importantly — it was also a time that saw social mobility of the labouring class: the sons of lascars aspiring to move up the social ladder and become professionals…

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