The Telegraph
Thursday , November 29 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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The Patna that grew up on the banks of Doon

Patna, Scotland
Patna, Bihar, India

Patna has a colonial cousin with the same name, and that too in Scotland.

Patna, the state capital, has grown manifold in its size and population compared to what it was in 1802 when its namesake village in East Ayrshire was founded thousands of miles away.

Interestingly, very few in the state had an idea that such a village existed till rural development minister Nitish Mishra chanced upon it a few days ago. “I came to know about the village from the British foreign and commonwealth office and would go there during my visit to the UK next month,” Mishra told The Telegraph on Wednesday.

Mishra said he would also explore the possibility of developing cultural ties between two Patnas so that people get an opportunity to explore the two places. Culturally, as presumed, Scotland’s Patna is certainly different from its Indian cousin.

It is not yet known whether any person of Bihar origin at all lives there on the banks of the Doon, a small river that flows through the village. The Doon is popular among anglers for its quiet flow within the village limits — not like the bustling city that has grown through the pages of history on the Ganga.

According to historical records, the village was founded by William Fullarton, who was born in Bihar’s Patna. His father was an employee with the East Indian Company. Fullarton had coal business in this part of Scotland. In fond memory of his birthplace, Fullarton gave the area a new name: Patna. It has remained a pristine village, around 650km north of London, all these years since inception.

“I have been informed that residents of Patna village of Scotland are quite keen to gather information about our Patna. During my visit to the UK, I would spend some time in the village to provide information about Bihar’s Patna to the residents of Scotland’s Patna,” Mishra said.

Mishra is going to the UK on December 8 to help improve synergies between the development activities in Bihar with the best practices in related field in Britain.

The British government has extended a formal invitation to the minister for undertaking this tour, which will end on December 20.

“While charting out my tour details, I had not planned to visit Patna village. But after coming to know about this place and the curiosity of its residents about our Patna, I have decided to go to the village,” Mishra said.

Patna in Scotland has an estimated population of 3,500 compared to around 20 lakh in Bihar’s Patna.

People of Bihar origin are found almost across the world, especially in the Maldives, Mauritius, the US and Canada, West Indies, some African nations, Southeast Asia among other places. People had moved to such places mostly as labourers and set up their own colonies. Some of them have done so well that their ancestors are now heads of states, business barons or even excelled in sports. While some of them converted to other religions, many families still follow rituals like Chhath. However, nowhere it was found that a village or town has been named after Patna, one of the important cities in the British empire.

About other points which he planned to highlight during his UK visit, Mishra said: “Introduction of the Right to Public Service Act, which allows people to avail certain government services within stipulated time, biometric cards for MGNREGA beneficiaries for weeding out corruption, organising special camps to deliver the benefits of housing scheme meant for the poor to bypass hundreds of middlemen who used to fleece money from beneficiaries are some of the points I would like to share in the UK.”

The minister, however, has not charted out the details of the presentation, which he plans to make during his tour. “I am giving the final touches to several aspects,” said Mishra, who was a Chevening scholar. He studied global political economy at the University of Hull before joining mainstream politics.

Earlier this month, the Bihar government entered into an understanding with Mauritius on the tourism sector in which people from the island nation would enjoy a guided package tour here. If such a tour is offered to Patna, Scotland, people from the picturesque village would get a taste of bustling densely populated city.