The search for Anjalay

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Mauritius is paying a due homage to Anjalay on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of her martyrdom. I have written a three-act play in English, which is inspired by that tragedy. She is known as Anjalay Coopen, but her real identity has been baffling historians, as there is no record at the Civil Status Office concerning either the birth or the death of Anjalay Coopen. In the course of my research work in connection with the writing of the play, I have been able to solve the mystery. Her particulars, as recorded on her death certificate, are as follows: Surname : Pavatdram Name : Soondrom Age : 32 Place of death: Belle Vue Harel Camp Date of death: 27.09.43 This information helped me to find out that she was born at Espérance Estate on the 17th February 1911 and that her name, as recorded on her birth certificate, was Soondrun Pavattan. When I contacted Mr Sattianen Coopen, he insisted that Anjalay was his paternal aunt, who had two brothers named Priyasamy and Cathan Coopen, who were the sons of Nagapen Coopen. The matter got complicated, when I saw a picture of Anjalay?s mother with her two sons. I managed to solve the problem when I discovered that Soondrun Pavattan had been acknowledged by her mother only, Arraye Pavattan, who is mentioned as the mother of Cathan Coopen also on the latter?s birth certificate. The inevitable conclusion is that Anjalay was the household name of Soondrun Pavattan, who bore the surname of her mother, Pavattan, while her brothers, who were born after her at Bon Air Estate, bore the surname of their father, Coopen. The fellow-martyrs of Anjalay were Kistnasamy Moonesamy, aged 29, and Moonsamy Moonien, aged 12, who died on the spot at the same time as Anjalay on the 27th September 1943, and Marday Ponapen, aged 16, who died in hospital on the 5th October 1943. My play, entitled Anjalay, is inspired by the tragedy of those noble martyrs. It will be staged in October by the Tamil League, which holds a 49-year old record of play-production with a cast drawn from several communities. I am giving full details concerning Anjalay in the forthcoming publication of my play. As the official commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the tragedy in September includes the unveiling of a stele at Cottage in honour of the martyrs and as it is fitting to inscribe the names of the four martyrs on the stele, I have considered it advisable to set the records straight right now. Pyneesamy PADAYACHY
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