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Obituary: LALIT member Suresh Ramsahok


Suresh Ramsohok (Srawansingh Ramsohok) aged 60 years, LALIT militant since 1985, died peacefully early on Monday morning. He lived in La Rosa, working until his recent serious illness, as a taxi driver. He was interested in and active in politics throughout his life. Active in the Labour Party before independence and then in the Independent Forward Block in his youth, then in the MMM in its early days, Suresh Ramsohok joined LALIT as soon as he came into contact with the Party. He was a Rose-Belle branch member for 25 years and in the Curepipe-South Regional of the Party right up to the end. The last national LALIT event he could attend, because of his frail health, was the Labour Day celebration at Grand River North West.

Suresh Ramsohok was known as a LALIT leader in his region. When people wanted to know LALIT`s opinion on anything, they would go and ask him. He was candidate in Village Council in 1971, and was consistently active in Village Council elections, and when elected, as a Village Council member. He was active in social work in his region. He played a key role in the LALIT-spearheaded movement to re-institute Village Council democracy when the MMM-MSM government disbanded Village Councils and their elections altogether in 2003-04, a movement that forced the Labour Party to re-introduce Village Councils in 2005.

He was respected in his region for standing up for his political ideas. When there was a petition being signed, he could convince people in the South to sign up. He was also active in the LALIT housing movement, organising homeless people`s assemblies in the South in the struggle for affordable housing.

In May, 1997, when the Ministry of Education produced a "Curriculum" that imposed English and French as medium at pre-primary level, he and another parent in the Playgroups movement, Mrs Sylvaine Laval, challenged the Ministry of Education through a Constitutional Case to stop suppressing the mother tongues, Kreol and Bhojpuri, and they won their challenge; the Ministry agreed to come out with a new "Curriculum" that takes note of the fundamental right to education in the language of the children's environment.

Before this, in June 1992, he had been the signatory of a LALIT-initiated "mise-en-demeure" against the MBC to have the "News" in Kreol and Bhojpuri so that people can understand it, and this action helped finally bring change in MBC policy, after a long struggle spearheaded by LALIT and Ledikasyon pu Travayer, of which Suresh was also a member.

Respected by all those who knew him, he stood candidate for LALIT in 1987, 2000 and in 2005. He, together with two other LALIT members, went through the tough experience of being attacked and stabbed by men paid by right-wing politicians, while posting up LALIT posters in the South in June, 1990. He was witness in the case against them, a case wrecked by the police.

He will be sorely missed by everyone in LALIT. We express our condolences to his wife and all his children.

Rajni Lallah
19 July, 2010