Mauritius prez gets rousing reception

Mauritius President Rajkeswur Purryag, who flew down to the state capital tracing his roots, got a rousing reception at his forefathers’ village Wajidpur, some 25 kilometres from Patna.

Braving the chilly cold weather, the locals made a beeline for the ‘son of the soil’ who is now the first citizen of Mauritius.

Flanked by his wife Aneetah Purryag, Rajkeswur reciprocated the gesture of villagers and, at one point of time, broke down after getting too emotional while addressing the gathering.

“There is so much of strength in the soil of Bihar that people of this origin have scaled new heights,” said Rajkeswur, who himself rose to become the President of Mauritius after serving as chairman of the National Assembly there. In fact, it was during Nitish’s visit to Mauritius in 2007 that Rajkeswur discussed the issue with the Bihar Chief Minister and said his forefathers belonged to a non-descript village Wajidpur in Punpun block.

The Patna district administration, after thorough search, identified Mahesh Mahto and Ganesh Mahto, who worked as construction workers, as the kin of Rajkeswur Purryag.
On Sunday, Mahtos and their family members were the cynosure of all eyes as the print and electronic media jostled with each other to shed more light on their lives.

The Mahtos touched the feet of the first couple of Mauritius and sought their blessings before gifting them a felicitation letter (grafted on a silver platter) and the traditional angvastram.

 “We also gave him a little soil and a bushel of freshly harvested paddy, as he can get almost every worldly thing, but nowhere will he get these ‘gifts’,” said Mahto.

Migration

The ancestors of Rajkeswur had sailed to Mauritius as sugarcane labourers in the early 19th century. It is learnt that one of his ancestor Prahladi Nonia had left Wajidpur four generations back to work as a labourer in the sugarcane field of Mauritius.

Earlier in the day, Rajkeswur paid floral tributes to the former prime minister of Mauritius Sir Seosagar Ramgoolam (who is also known as the Father of Mauritius) near Gandhi Maidan in Patna.

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