I’m proud to be a Bihari, says Mauritius president
WAJIDPUR (PATNA): Mauritius President Rajkeswur 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 grandfather Lakshman 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 Nonia and 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.
Purryag had been trying to locate his roots for about 25 years. He said when he came to Bihar some 25 years ago, he tried to find out his roots but failed. Later, when Bihar assembly speaker Uday Narayan Choudhary and after that Bihar CM Nitish Kumar visited Mauritius and met him, he again requested them to locate the place of his ancestors. “I am too happy to place my feet on the land of my ancestors. I will never forget this moment and will come here again,” he said.
Praising the leadership of Nitish Kumar, Purryag said, “Ever since he (Nitish) took over the reins of Bihar, the state has been drawing global attention. Bihar is moving on the path of progress. You should remain united, shun casteism and take Bihar to newer heights.”
Earlier, he said, he was ashamed of calling himself a Bihari. During his visits to India, he never revealed his Bihar connection. “But today I feel proud to be a Bihari,” he said amid cheers.
The CM announced to open a high school in the village in Purryag’s name. The village tank would also be named after him since Purryag himself had laid the foundation for its renovation work.
Source: Times of India