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Mauritius President Breaks Down while Visiting Ancestral Village

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Wajidpur, Patna: The love and affection for one's native place would be so strong and powerful that it would emotionally break down even men in high places could be seen in action on Sunday when Mauritius President Rajkeswur Purryag bursts into tears as he addresses a large crowd at Wajidpur, the village from where the President's forefathers left for the island nation as indentured labors over 150 year ago.

Speaking at Wajidpur less than 20 kilometers from Patna, Mr. Purryag could not check his emotions when he said that he was filled with emotions on arriving at the land of his forefathers.

{gallery}newsimages2013/jan/010613{/gallery}In a touching moment during which both the President and his wife Aneetah were seen wiping tears rolling down their eyes, Mr. Purryag said that Bihar was his second home and he was thankful to Chief Minister Nitish Kumar who made it possible for him to trace his ancestors who came from Wajidpur village.

"I had come here once about 25 years ago but I was unable to trace my roots during the three-day visit of mine. Today I am standing here from where my great grandparents left for Mauritius as indentured labors," Mr. Purryag said.

"Our forefathers were lured by the British to Mauritius promising them gold mines but once they arrived there, all they got was stones and rocks. They had no money and nothing to eat but thanks to their sheer determination and hard work, they were able to build the modern nation of Mauritius that we are so proud of now. Our ancestors also made sure that their children were given the best education they could get and that is what I expect from the people of Bihar," he said.

The President and his wife also had the opportunity to meet with Mahesh and Ganesh Mahto, two distant nephews of the President.

With thousands of visitors coming from dozens of small villages in the district to fill the field that was hurriedly turned into a public meeting place, Mr. Purryag showered praise on the Chief Minister saying the state had made remarkable progress under his leadership and he looked forward to a modern Bihar in his future visit.

"I apologize for not being able to spend more time with you but I will come again and this time it will be for a much longer duration," Mr. Purryag said to the villagers.

During his visit to Wajidpur, the Chief Minister laid a foundation stone for a high school to mark the historical visit of the Mauritian President.

The villagers expressed their elation with the visit of the President by giving them gifts like a silver pitcher, fresh paddy from the field, samples of soil, and a dhoti and sari as a sign of their love and respect for their guests.

Earlier, Chief Minister and other VIPs welcomed the President and the First Lady of Mauritius at the Patna Airport.

After spending an hour at the Raj Bhawan, the couple, accompanied by the Chief Minister and Food and Consumer Protection Minister Shyam Rajak, visited the memorial built in honor of Sir Seewoosagar Ramgoolam at the Gandhi Maidan-Exhibition Road intersection where the guests paid floral tribute to the first President of Mauritius.

The President and his wife later left for New Delhi to participate in the Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas meet. Besides the Chief Minister, a number of senior government officials were present at the Patna airport.

It may be recalled that in 2010, the then President of Mauritius Sir Anerood Jugnauth and his wife Lady Sarojini Jugnauth had visited Bihar. Also, in 2007, Mauritius Prime Minister Navinchandra Ramgoolam had visited his ancestral village in Bhojpur district.