Natasha Apana recounts the rebellious act of her “quiet” grandfather.
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Natasha Apana recounts the rebellious act of her “quiet” grandfather.

This is the highlight of the story “The Faded Memory”, published Thursday by the editions of the Mercure de France.

Washed because memory transfer has its drawbacks. Some of the many stories heard by the future writer remained shrouded in mystery.

This heavy blow was dealt to the colonizer in particular. At a time when it was not possible for a sugar plantation worker to lead a life other than his daily work, this man rebels. It is a stigma in the history of the family, which no one dared to talk about.

“My grandfather was very quiet. My grandmother had a way…a quick way of telling stories,” the novelist told AFP. In the book I mentioned that in Creole it was called “trankil trankil”.

“I vaguely knew”

This ancestor is one of the heroes honoring Mauritian women for their lineage from a village in the state of Andhra Pradesh, in southeastern India, and their cultivation in Mauritius, at the far end of the ocean.

He was born in 1911, nearly four decades after the arrival of the family’s first ‘workers’, those ‘duty’ Indians who had been promised a better life on the tropical island by the British Empire. to park them in camps.

“I vaguely knew that my grandfather had been imprisoned (for his rebellious act, editor’s note). I really didn’t know under what circumstances. I didn’t know that his first child was a baby and that he was expecting a second.” “He and my grandmother had to leave,” says his granddaughter. Even “there is a part of my family that hasn’t known at all.”

By questioning all of its surviving members, and by digging through the archives, I pieced together the scattered fragments of a forgotten dossier.

The 23-year-old was a laborer in his 30s when the global economic crisis caused the standard of living to drop in Mauritius as elsewhere.

“to start over”

The author says: “I saw him in his youth, as I did not know him. Strong, handsome, tall, several heads taller than everyone else, when we were young…and that was wonderful.”

At the end of the day, the foreman decides to punish him for not doing the work required of him.

“Le Blanc lied,” he would tell his granddaughter only once. “He wasn’t listening to me, I punched him and he fell.” But according to his son, the reason for this quarrel was an insult in Creole against Al-Harith’s mother, who had died when he was a child.

The consequences will be terrible. He was sentenced to prison, banished by his employers, berated by his community, and lost everything.

“I don’t know where he spent his months in prison. I don’t know how he felt. Was he sad, was he angry? What was my grandmother like? These are things I’ll never know,” assures Natasha Abanah.

The holes are not filled. It only indicates where he will restore his life and overcome his misery.

“My grandfather, this man who was kicked off the farm, who made my family have to start over in very difficult circumstances, I think he passed that on to his son, who passed it on to my brother and me: the difficulty of finding a place for us. Will we ever be asked to leave our place? I didn’t know where that came from, me.”

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