Trinidad PM left ‘lifetime’ of memories for ancestral villageJanuary 12th, 2012 - 9:49 pm ICT by IANS
Bhelupur (Bihar), Jan 12 (IANS) Not only her relatives, others too in this Bihar village were busy Thursday discussing how Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar left them with emotions and a “lifetime” of memories after her first ever visit to ancestral land.
After festivity, excitement and happiness, no food was cooked Wednesday night in the ancestral home of the first woman prime minister after she, clad in a bright red sari, visited and met over a dozen of her kith and kin.
Persad-Bissessar’s ancestors migrated from Bihar to the Caribbean islands in the 19th century. She was in India to attend the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas or diaspora meet in Jaipur, Rajasthan, but did not lose the opportunity to return to her roots in Bihar.
“The entire family at her ancestral house skipped food as none was cooked after Persad Bissessar’s chopper flew away - to show sadness like when a daughter leaves her parents’ house after marriage,” said Jagdish Mishra, her uncle who is eldest among relatives in the village in Buxar district.
“It was beyond our imagination that ‘pradhanmantri beti’ or ‘daughter PM’ shared emotions with us. After she left, women of the family decided not to cook food to express their sadness,” Mishra told IANS over phone.
Persad-Bissessar’s aunt Janaki Mishra said even the children refused to touch food after she left. “It was a lifetime memory for us. How can we forget her sentiments for us,” she said.
Jagdish and Janaki said they had informed ‘daughter PM’ about the problems faced by them. “She was neither speaking Hindi nor Bhojpuri but we told her through a translator and presented a request letter in Hindi,” he said.
Thousands of people, including from the village as well as neighbouring areas, gathered for a glimpse of her Wednesday. The moment she arrived, there was a roar of applause and cheering for the ‘pradhanmantri beti’ or ‘daughter PM’, officials said.
“She was welcomed by villagers in traditional style, with women singing folk songs and conducting rituals to mark the visit of a daughter to her village,” district official Bharat Bhusan said.
“An emotional Persad-Bissessar, her eyes welling up and voice choked, told the jubilant crowd that she was lucky to visit the land of her roots and the village of her ancestors,” said Nishant Verma, another official.
Persad-Bissessar, accompanied by her husband Gregory Bissessar and a 25-member delegation, paid homage to her ancestors. “She stayed for over two and half hours. Most of the time she was seen smiling, laughing and in a happy mood,” Verma said.
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.
“She thanked villagers and reminded them of the close relations she shared with them for generations. She recalled that other descendents were living in this village,” an official said.
She was offered traditional Bihari dishes — litti chokha, chura and tilwa. “Villagers also presented her a Banarasi sari, bindi and other items given to a daughter when she leaves her parents’ house,” the official said.
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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Tags: ancestral home, ancestral land, ancestral village, beti, bhojpuri, bihar, caribbean islands, festivity, first woman, janaki, kamla, kith, lifetime memory, neighbouring areas, persad, pravasi bharatiya divas, rajasthan, request letter, sari, trinidad and tobago