The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Mauritius help for hamlet

Patna, Feb. 19: Mauritius prime minister Navinchandra Ramgoolam today pledged to help not only his ancestral village Harigaon in Ara, but entire Bihar.

Ramgoolam, who is on a three-day Bihar visit, today visited Harigaon to a rousing welcome. Though the “son of the soil” reached his ancestral village, security reasons and narrow lanes prevented him from visiting the half-pucca mud house belonging to his grandfather.

Accompanied by Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, Ramgoolam accepted greetings from the villagers with folded hands and showed his gratitude with a slight bow.

Choosing to speak in Bhojpuri yet again, Ramgoolam announced a welfare grant of Rs 1 crore.

“I wish to offer a grant of Rs I crore for welfare of the village. I am thrilled to come here and feel that I belong here,” he said.

The Mauritius prime minister inaugurated a pond named after his grandfather Mohit Mahato, a high school after his father Seeosagur Ramgoolam and a hospital after his name.

“I am feeling emotional. The tie with my homeland goes beyond just one birth.”

If Ramgoolam was happy, Nitish seemed overjoyed. “Wherever people of Bihar re-visit, they leave their mark. Let’s hope that the Bihar Diaspora continue to excel.”

Nitish reminded all of Ramgoolam’s journey from the Bihar village to the shores of Mauritius. “Some from Bihar left for Surinam and are making their presence felt there. Bihar’s people can be successful anywhere.”

Just when Ramgoolam was about to leave, Nitish Kumar applied gulal on his forehead to celebrate Holi weeks ahead of the festival. An overwhelmed Ramgoolam waved to villagers before leaving.

Ranvijay Mahato, Ramgoolam’s relative, said: “It was a family reunion without tears. We were touched by Ramgoolam’s humility and are proud to call ourselves his fellow villagers.” Harigaon was like any other village till Bhojpur administration found that Ramgoolam’s grandfather Mohit Mahato was from there. A stone discovered from an old well had the name of Ramgoolam’s forefather Ramsharan Mahato.

The state has planned to develop Harigaon as a model village with a hospital, school and concrete roads.

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