Gift of ancestral village soil awaits Trinidad PM

January 9th, 2012 - 1:33 pm ICT by IANS  

Navinchandra Ramgoolam Patna, Jan 9 (IANS) Excited residents of Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar’s ancestral village in Bihar have decided to gift her a chunk of its soil and a silver crown when visits them Wednesday.

Persad-Bissessar, whose ancestors migrated from Bihar to the Caribbean islands in the 19th century, will visit Bhelupur in Itarhi block of Buxar district, about 125 km from here. She is in India to attend the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas or diaspora meet.

“All villagers, including members of Kamla-ji’s extended family, have decided to gift her a chunk of the soil from her ancestral village that she could carry back home,” said Surendra Yadav, a village resident.

Yadav said it was also decided to gift her a ‘chandi ka mukut’ or silver crown. “We are collecting money from all villagers for it,” he said.

According to district officials, some villagers are busy cleaning the hamlet and others are helping local authorities in preparations for her visit.

Buxar District Magistrate Ajay Yadav, who visited Bhelupur Sunday, told IANS over telephone that the mood is upbeat and people are eagerly waiting to welcome the visiting prime minister. “There is a festive atmosphere in the village,” he said.

Persad-Bissessar’s ancestors are said to have migrated as Girmitiya labourers to Trinidad and Tobago, then a British colony in the Caribbean islands, in the 19th century.

According to an official record sent by the Trinidad and Tobago government to Bihar, Persad-Bissessar’s great-grandfather Ram Lakhan Mishra had left Bhelupur in 1889.

An official in Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s office said Persad-Bissessar, the first woman prime minister of Trinidad and Tobago, will meet her relatives during the visit.

District police have also tightened security.

Four years ago, Mauritius Prime Minister Navinchandra Ramgoolam had visited his ancestral village in the state’s Bhojpur district, about 60 km from here.

A large number of people from Bihar had migrated to the Mauritius, Fiji, Trinidad, Suriname, South Africa and other places in the 19th century to serve as indentured labourers on sugarcane and rubber plantations.

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