Mauritians will be able to track Bihar roots more easily

February 19th, 2008 - 5:11 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Navinchandra Ramgoolam

Harigaon (Bihar), Feb 19 (IANS) People of Indian origin living in Mauritius, most of whom hail from Bihar, will find it easier to trace their roots as the state government is going to open a single window system for them. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said a single window system would be opened through which Mauritians of Bihari origin could find out their ancestral roots in Bihar.

“Bihar will lend all possible help to Mauritians to trace their roots,” Nitish Kumar said in the presence of visiting Mauritius Prime Minister Navinchandra Ramgoolam late Monday.

Nitish Kumar, who visited Mauritius last year, said he understood the pain of Mauritians of Bihari origin who are keen to trace their ancestral lineage. His government would collaborate with Mauritius to prepare a comprehensive database of all persons from Bihar who had migrated to the Indian Ocean country in an effort to help them track their roots.

Mauritius government has initiated a move called “Trace your roots” to help people of Bihari origin, who are eager to trace their cultural roots and ancestral villages in Bihar, said Goorooduth Chuttoo, president of Bihar Roots Foundation, a special cultural cell set up in Mauritius to strengthen the ties between the people and their origins.

“Bihar Roots Foundation aims to help connect Mauritians of Bihar origin to the land of their ancestors, preserve ancestral language Bhojpuri and to strengthen the socio-cultural and economic ties with Bihar,” Chuttoo said here Tuesday.

Ramgoolam, who was elated after a warm and grand welcome here, said that the visit to Bihar was fulfilment of his long cherished desire. “My visit would open a new chapter of cultural ties between Bihar and Mauritius,” he said.

Goorooduth and his wife Vishwanee Chuttoo are part of a 30-member official delegation with the Mauritius prime minister, who arrived Monday on a three-day visit here.

Overcome by emotion after he landed, the Mauritius leader touched the ground after alighting from the aircraft and smeared mud on his forehead. Ramgoolam’s grandfather Mohit was one of the hundreds of labourers from villages across Bihar forcibly taken by the British to work in Mauritius sugarcane plantations in 1871.

The Chuttoo couple is upbeat to be in Bihar and said that their great grandfathers had sailed from India to Mauritius and had made important contributions to the socio-economic development of the country. “The people of Mauritius have an emotional bond with Bihar as nearly 70 percent people there are of Bihari origin,” he said.

Navinchandra’s father Seeoosagur Ramgoolam was the first prime minister of Mauritius from 1961 to 1982. He is considered to be the father of the nation as he led the island nation to independence from Britain.

Navinchandra’s grandfather Mohit belonged to Harigaon village in Bhojpur district.

A large number of people from Bihar, known as “Girmitiya” labourers, travelled to various parts of the world, including Mauritius, in the 19th century to serve as indentured labourers in sugarcane and rubber plantations.

Most of the indentured labourers were from Bhojpur, Gaya, Chapra, Gopalganj and East and West Champaran districts. About 60 percent of the 1.2 million population of Mauritius is of Indian origin, a large number of them from Bihar, with Bhojpuri as their mother tongue.

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