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Website Launch: Speech of Chief Guest, Cassam Uteem GCSK

Rédigé le Mercredi 21 Février 2018 à 22:53 | Lu 732 fois


On 27 July 2017, a website (www.mohamad-vayid.info) on late Mohamad Vayid GOSK CMG was launched at the Glamis Business School, Quatre Bornes (Mauritius). Former Mauritian President of the Republic Cassam Uteem GCSK was the Chief Guest of the ceremony. His eloquent speech follows.


I feel deeply honored, humbled and privileged to be associated with the launch of a website dedicated to late Mohamad Vayid, his writings, press articles and speeches, at different periods of his life, in numerous and diverse circumstances and on a wide range and variety of subjects. Honored because found worthy of presiding over the inaugural ceremony of a memorial, which this website is indeed meant to be, to the life of Mohamad Vayid, one of the foremost and finest intellectuals, of this generation and of all times, that our country has produced. Humbled in front of the colossal, if not impossible, task of presenting and doing justice to the works of an erudite, a man who was the embodiment of Eastern and Western cultures, giving a lie to the notorious ‘never the twain shall meet’, an intellectually honest scholar, a respected teacher, a convincing preacher, a forceful orator and so much more. Privileged to enjoy the esteem of the Vayid family, in particular that of the respected Dr. Sajeda Malleck, spouse of Mohamad Vayid, and to be, today and for ever after, associated with this dedicated and exclusive website that will perpetuate the memory of Mohamad Vayid and record the collection of his inspiring articles.

 


Ladies and Gentlemen, I do not intend here nor would I claim to be able, within my short intervention, to comment on or to critically analyze the opinions, reflections and views expressed by Mohamad Vayid in his innumerable interviews, pronouncements or written texts which have all, or almost all, been captured and posted on the website that is about to be launched. What I shall, however, make bold to do is to affirm without any risk of being contradicted that the website will constitute a treasure trove of thoughtful pieces, some clinical and others impassioned ones, incisive interviews, philosophical discourses, wise counsels, meticulous and rigorous dissection of societal problems and social issues, political and economic treaties, a treasure trove that would enrich and inspire both students and non-students, young and old, of this and the coming generations, who care to access the website.


The occasion, I believe, is appropriate for us to reflect on some of the outstanding qualities that made of Mohamad Vayid such an exceptional human being - cultured, refined and sophisticated. He was reckoned to be of a rare breed of intellectual personae, with remarkable scholarship and amazing versatility. His untimely demise on the 5th of May 2013 left us all with a profound sense of void and the country lamenting over its incommensurable loss.


Mohamad Vayid, besides having been a respected opinion leader, a political analyst and a management consultant, was a man of bountiful talents with complete mastery of both spoken and written English and French languages. He would occasionally wear his preacher’s garb - and this particular aspect of his wide range of knowledge and interests is probably less well known - and standing at the mosque’s pulpit, deliver sermons that would often pale to insignificance many a professional cleric.


At a time when the perennial Islamic message of peace and justice, mutual respect and tolerance is being willfully distorted by some dishonorable nincompoops, Mohamad Vayid’s would have been one among the most authoritative voices that would have contributed to set the record straight and while fearlessly denouncing the misappropriation of religion for political mileage, would make them swallow their own spilt over slaver. Dauntless as he was and with a fearsome self-confidence, I did witness once, how when ruffled by a stupid and ill-advised remark he rendered entirely speechless his unfortunate interlocutor, who seeing himself as a political leader in the making thought he could outdo or outshine Mohamad Vayid in front of the important audience out there. It was a mistake he should never have committed. Many of you would, like me, still remember how powerful a polemicist he could be and those who dared confront or measure up to him on issues that he felt strongly about would curse themselves for trying to contradict him. With his mightier than the sword pen, he would trounce them but without ever hitting below the belt. He was too dignified to even think of having recourse to such or any cheap stratagem.


Mohamad Vayid, especially in his more youthful days, had been a much sought-after speaker at conferences and roundtables especially organized by youth clubs on a variety of topics ranging from economics and history to politics and religion. The vastness of his knowledge, the pertinence of his arguments coupled with a sharp analytical mind and a rare eloquence used to keep his audience spellbound. Simply sitting down and listening to him was a real treat.


He would always insist on the need for moral education, on the importance of work ethics and human values that should be inculcated while the individual was still young. He was allergic to all forms of corruption and denounced the practice of favoritism and nepotism to the detriment of meritocracy. Outspoken as he had always been, he never hesitated to publicly utter bitter criticisms against the incompetence of some of the political nominees in both public and parastatal bodies and to strongly denounce measures that ran counter to the national interest. Always elegantly dressed but elegant also in his manners and his speech, he was the role model of many of us, the pre and post-independence youth.


Not himself a politician, Mohamad nonetheless formed part of the politicians’ wide circle of influence. He was known to be close to the leader of the defunct CAM, (Sir Abdool Razack Mohamed) who made no secret of the fact that he valued his advice and to the former Labour Party leader (Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam) who entrusted him with quite a few important assignments. For nearly half of a century, Mohamad Vayid has either openly or discreetly, directly or indirectly, made use of his wide and influential network of friends and acquaintances in both the public and private sectors to further what he believed was a just and worthwhile cause.


His knowledge and competence, his integrity and honesty more than his proximity with the leaders of the different ruling parties saw him, at different periods of time, serving with rare distinction, as Chairman of the Boards of several public companies, institutions and parastatal bodies.



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