Sookdeo Bissoondoyal (25 December 1908 – 18 August 1977) was a Mauritian politician and one of the leading figures in the independence movement.
Sookdeo Bissoondoyal was born in Tyack in 1908. He had two brothers Basdeo and Soogrim.
Education and career
At the Young Men's Hindu Aided Primary School (Port Louis) he acquired his primary education. He passed his Teacher's Examination and worked as Primary School Teacher from 1923 to 1945.
In 1946, Sookdeo Bissoondoyal left the teaching profession to join his elder brother Basdeo's movement Jan Andolan. Sookdeo become active in politics and was elected to the Legislative Council in the Grand Port-Savanne constituency in the August 1948 elections. He was re-elected in 1953.
On 13 April 1958 he founded a political party, the Independent Forward Bloc (IFB). He was re-elected in the Rose-Belle constituency in the 1959 elections, which saw the IFB win six seats. Following the elections, Bissoondoyal was appointed Minister of Local Government and Cooperative Movements. He was re-elected in the Rose-Belle constituency in the 1963 elections, whilst the IFB increased its representation to seven seats.
In 1965 Sookdeo Bissoondoyal attended the Constitutional Conference in London (also known as 1965 Lancaster Conference) in preparation for the independence of Mauritius. The 1967 elections saw the IFB run as part of the Independence Party, an alliance with the Labour Party and the Muslim Committee of Action. The alliance won the elections, with Bissoondoyal re-elected in the Vieux Grand Port & Rose-Belle constituency, and subsequently becoming Minister of Cooperatives. He resigned from the Council of Ministers on 21 March 1969 due to a disagreement on some issues, including the postponement of the 1972 general elections by the Prime Minister Seewoosagur Ramgoolam. In 1971 Bissoondoyal became Leader of the Opposition. In 1976, he was candidate at the general elections in the Vieux Grand Port and Rose-Belle constituency, but was not elected.
In honour of Sookdeo Bissoondoyal the Port Louis municipal council renamed Place d'Armes as Place Sookdeo Bissoondoyal where his statue has been erected. The statue faces that of his brother Basdeo. The secondary state school Sookdeo Bissoondoyal State College in Rose-Belle is also named after him. On 3 April 1987 the Sookdeo Bissoondoyal Memorial Museum (located on the main road in the village of Tyack, Rivière des Anguilles) was inaugurated. In 1998 the Bank of Mauritius issued new 500 Rupees bank notes featuring a portrait of Sookdeo Bissoondoyal on the obverse face.