With mention of Mauritius, I get reminded of my grandfather. He was the first who got me introduced to some Mauritian medical students. They were studying in Calcutta Medical College when I was in Presidency College for my Intermediate Science. It was sometime between 1955 and 1957.Those young men had told my grandfather about their ancestry from some villages around Dawath and Kwath that happened to be near Bodarhi, the village of my mother, where I had some years of my childhood with my mother. I don’t remember how my grandfather came in touch with those young men. Perhaps it was through one Arya Samaji educationist who happened to live in College Street those days. My grandfather had a great ability to network with many people. Unfortunately, I could learn that trait from him. My grandfather got emotionally attached with those students because they came from our home district. The young men perhaps went to their ancestor’s villages also.
Very lately, Yamuna keeps on asking me to visit Mauritius. I had been telling her about story of those old days when many from Bihar went there as contract workers to work in the sugarcane fields that were being developed by the western masters. The descendants have prospered, and are affluent living adapting to western style. However, culturally they have kept alive some of the old rural rituals and religiosity of Bihar, and also the Bhojpuri language. They do also celebrate ‘Chhath’ in a famous water body of Mauritius.
With the visit of Nitish Kumar, a mature statesman, things will improve. The visit will not only serve the developmental goal of the state, but also go a long way to establish a close relationship between its people for mutual benefits. Bihar government has committed to open an assistance center that will help finding the ancestral background of any family of Mauritius that seeks that. A ‘Bihar Bhawan’ in Mauritius and a ‘Mauritius Mahal’ in Bihar is expected to come up. However, both the government must not be miserly in these projects. Its size and architecture must be as good and as large as the intention.
I have some more ideas:
1. I wish Nitish Kumar would have gone with a group of good chefs who could in ‘Bhojpuri Week’ prepare ethnic Bihari cuisines such as Litti /chokha, dalpuri/ gurmha, baddi/ phulawar and ghughani/ horha on one side and sweets such as Khajjha, Khajjhuli, Khurma, lakatho, lawanglata and piao to sweeten the atmosphere. I am of an opinion that one can reach to the heart of the people more easily through their bellies.
2. A group of women from Bhojpuri region would have accompanied Nitishji. It would have served to strengthen the brotherly bondages; and these women would have laid foundation to have marriage relations in future.
3. I would also request Mauritius and Bihar governments to create some voluntarily agreed bed/breakfast facilities with the willing families to receive the guests from Bihar and Mauritius.
It is really unfortunate that the national dailies have hardly covered the Nitish Kumar’s visit of Mauritius, though they have all the resources to cover Sanjay Dutt and Prativa Patil episodes in many paged features day after day. Bihartimes.com has been the pioneer in covering Nitish Kumar’s vist in detail.
P.S: I tried to get to some links of the newspapers of Mauritius to find out about their coverage of Nitish Kumar’s visit, I failed. I wish if someone who succeeded would let me know.
I requested one of my readers in Mauritius to send some clippings that she collected painfully and forwarded. And I feel obliged.