A YEAR ago at the launch of the ‘Discover Your Roots’ project, the Uttar Pradesh Tourism Department may not have thought that the programme would one day become a good business opportunity.
A month ago, the department received a request from Rajdipaksingh Hurynag who originally belongs to Mauritius and is currently living in London. Hurynag wanted to trace his ancestral roots in the Mirzapur district. So the state-owned department swung into action for arranging an Ancestry Tour for him.
“When the project was launched, the department collected data of around 10,000 people from the UP State Archives who were sent to Mauritius, Fiji and Surinam from 1845 to 1916. The project was publicised through international and national websites, but there was no query for the entire year,” said Principal Secretary Tourism Om Prakash.
However, the department kept working silently on the project and traced the roots of around 18 people belonging to Balia, Azamgarh, Jaunpur, Basti and Mirzapur. The project got a kick when London’s Hurynag proposed to come to India for visiting his ancestral village in Mirzapur district. Now the UPTD has designed a tour for around 20 persons from Hurynag’s family who want to visit India by the end of this year. Under the tour, the department would make all arrangements for taking the family to Mirzapur from Lucknow and back. The department will charge 335 US $ for two persons, Om Prakash said.
According to colonial records at the Mauritius Immigration Archives, e-mailed by Hurynag to this correspondent, his great grandfather, Hurrynag- immigration number 315450 —departed for Mauritius in the second week of May 1865 from the Kolkata port..
“I have been trying to trace my Indian roots in Mirzapur since 2004. I conducted an extensive research on my ancestry and visited numerous Indian websites including the government’s portal and found out about the Discover Your Roots project of UP Tourism,” Hurynag wrote in the email, “I enrolled myself under the project by paying 150 $ as registration fee and submitted the details of my great grandfather. I was delighted to receive a reply from the department, which traced my ancestral roots. I intend to come to India to visit my great grandfather’s village maybe later this year. It will be a journey back home that my great grandfather was never able to make,” he added.
“It is so encouraging that people want to see, touch and feel their past. To find and touch the gravestones of your ancestors is a powerful thing. And it is also earning revenue for the dept,” said Om Prakash.