Moorghen, S. Koomaren S. Koomaren Moorghen, Mauritius. Only 6 months into his one-year teaching contract with the Arya Sabha of Mauritius, Pandit Ved Bhusan was suddenly asked to leave that country. Despite hints of political motives, the official reason given was failure of his employers to request a renewal of his residence permit.

A Vedic scholar affectionately called "Guruji" by his 60 to 70 regular students, the Pandit arrived from Hyderabad, India, last August to teach prospective priests and missionaries for the Arya Sabha. Himself a member of the Arya Samaj, he is a past associate of Mahatma Gandhi and the founder of the International Ved Pratishtan in India, which now has branches on every continent His work in Mauritius was highly praised by most Sabha members, who were stunned by his unexpected removal. The Ladies Section was especially hurt by the action, and tried vainly to reach the Prime Minister for a reversal of the order. He was unavailable.

The Government of Mauritius records show Pandit Ved Bhusan was issued a 6-month permit of residence in August with the proviso that it would be renewed on request of his employers by February 5th. Instead, the Sabha officially stated that his services were no longer required, and the government therefore requested his departure. For two weeks past his visa expiration date, however, the Pandit refused to present his papers to the Passport Office or acknowledge the command of the authorities, a Sabha spokesman stated. He departed the island nation on February 19th.

The Arya Samaj was founded in 1875 by Swami Dayananda Saraswati to revive the orthodox Vedic culture of pre-Buddhistic India. The name means Society of Nobles, and their platform vigorously condemns temple worship and temple offerings, the caste system, untouchability, ancestor worship, animal sacrifice, child marriage, pilgrimage and priestcraft. They consider the original four Vedas utterly infallible and judge every later scripture strictly on its own merits. Their primary teachings promote the twin doctrines of reincarnation and karma, the sacredness of cows, the efficacy of Vedic fire rituals, the importance of individual samskaras and the furtherance of general social reform.

Since the founding years, the Arya Samaj has strongly fostered female education, intercaste marriage, the building of welfare missions, orphanages and homes for widows and undertaken much famine and relief work. The movement has from the first played a key role in the rise of Indian nationalism, and its adherents are often criticized for their aggressive intolerance of Muslims and Christians. The founder of the sect was apparently poisoned after criticizing a local political figure, but this was not proven in court.

Before leaving Mauritius, Pandit Ved Bhusan's plight was featured in a local newspaper. He insisted in the interview that he was supposed to leave Mauritius only in July, and that the authorities had offered no explanation for the expulsion order. He blamed the events on official reaction to his recent article in the Souvenir Magazine of the Arya Sabha in which he revealed a close connection between the Sabha and an influential political party. This angered Sabha leaders, he said, as did as his public criticism of the conditioned aid given Mauritius by India.

He seemed to feel his motives had been misunderstood. "The primary goal of the Arya Samaj is to serve humanity," he said. "There is no difference for us between political parties, nations or races. We have to serve everybody indiscriminately. We haven't got the right to follow blindly individuals or political parties. We strive only to show to people the Path of Truth. We support all those who accomplish good work. We never bend our head before injustices."

Article copyright Himalayan Academy.