Trinidad family traces roots to Bihar | india | Hindustan Times
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Trinidad family traces roots to Bihar

The Muslim family's origins were traced to Biharsharif, a small town in Bihar's Nalanda district.

india Updated: Jun 06, 2006 11:04 IST

It will be happy homecoming for a family from the Caribbean island nation of Trinidad & Tobago when they visit Bihar, the land of their forefathers.

Thanks to the efforts of the ministry of overseas Indian affairs (MOIA), the Muslim family's origins were traced to Biharsharif, a small town in Nalanda district.

The Trinidad family approached the ministry last month in the wake of a special drive launched by the ministry called "Tracing the Roots" for people of Indian origin (PIOs) abroad.

But finding the lost family was not an easy task for the ministry as there were no records.

The ministry had deputed Chandrasekhar Tiwari on the job. Tiwari camped in Biharsharif for a week and after painstaking research, found out relatives of the Trinidad family.

"A family in (Muslim populated) Baradari was traced and identified as a relative of the Trinidad family," an official of the tourism department here said.

According to Tiwari, in 1910 a Muslim woman Basiran, 25, along with her six-year-old daughter Katifan, migrated from Biharsharif to Trinidad, the home of cricket star Brian Lara.

Both Basiran and her daughter died decades ago but their family members did not forget the land of their birth.

The Biharsharif family traced by Tiwari is headed by the grandson of Basiran's brother.

"When the ministry offered to help PIOs abroad to trace their roots, the Trinidad family treated it as a god-sent opportunity to search their origins," the official said.

This family's case is not an isolated one. A large number of people from Bihar travelled to various parts of the world in the 19th century to serve as indentured labour on sugarcane and rubber plantations.

Large numbers are settled in Fiji, Mauritius, Trinidad, Suriname and elsewhere. Many are eager to locate the families of their forefathers in India.

The ministry has received several requests from PIOs to trace their origins in Bihar in the last two months.

There are over two million PIOs in the Caribbean islands - over 500,000 in Trinidad and Tobago, around 400,000 in Guyana, over 60,000 in Jamaica and over 2,000 in Barbados.

Mauritius is home to 700,000 PIOs while over 300,000 PIOs live in Fiji.

In view of the widespread diaspora, the Bihar government launched a special tourism package last year called Root Tourism aimed at those people of Bihari origin who might have a desire to retrace their roots and visit their native villages.