Mauritian President: “I am a Bihari”

Mauritian President: “I am a Bihari” January 7, 2013

Indian diaspora is spread all over the world.  And it constantly returns to trace its roots and heritage.  One such visit was by the Mauritian President Rajkeswur Purryag.  He broke down as he met villagers from Bihar, who are apparently related to him.

 Mauritius PresidentRajkeswur Purryag turned emotional and broke down a number of times while remembering his forefathers who sailed to an alien island some 150 years ago to work in the cane fields there. He arrived here on Sunday along with his wife Aneetah Purryag and a few ministers to associate himself with his roots.

Paying tributes to his great grandfatherLakshman Paryag, who went to Mauritius, and his brother Chawwa, who stayed back here, Purryag said, “Their memory is embedded in my blood. My forefathers went to a distant place but kept Bihar and India alive in their hearts.”

Purryag said the relations between India and Mauritius is not that of two nations but that of two brothers. Villagers Mahesh Prasad Noniaand his brother Ganesh are related to the Mauritius president. They touched Purryag’s feet and presented him with a silver casket containing the village soil, a branch of paddy and a dhoti.

Speaking in chaste Hindi, the Mauritius president laid stress on education and asked villagers to send their children to school. “If you want to get rid of poverty, you must ensure that your children get proper education.” He recalled that when his great grandfather and others went to the island, they worked very hard, lived in huts and ate “basi chawal (stale rice)”. Still, they made Mauritius a prosperous nation. He quoted first President of Mauritius Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam, who had his roots in Harigaon in Bhojpur district, that education should be the first and last priority.

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