Two days after Navinchandra Ramgoolam was sworn in as Mauritius prime minister for a second consecutive term, people from his ancestral village in Bihar on Thursday celebrated by playing with colours and distributing sweets.
Ramgoolam, in his third stint as prime minister, is an icon for youths in Bhojpur district's Harigaon village, about 60 km from Patna.
College student Deepak Kumar said: "I am proud of him and consider him my icon. My village is his ancestral village."
Raj Kumar Singh, in his late 20s, said Ramgoolam was an ideal for the youth to follow. "Ramgoolam has inspired the young generation in the village," he said.
Mukesh Prasad, another village youth, said the villagers were upbeat after they got the news that Ramgoolam had again become the prime minister of Mauritius.
The swearing in ceremony was held in the Mauritius capital St Louis on May 11, and the jubilation was palpable.
"We always keep our heads high and share stories circulated by village old men about his ancestors," said Mukesh Prasad.
Villagers recalled how Ramgoolam impressed them when he visited the village two years ago and announced $250,000 for the development of roads and for building a hospital. A public reception was organised in his honour at the village.
"He is a big man but touched the soil of the village, smeared some mud on his forehead and described Bihar as his motherland," Raj Kumar Singh said.
He said the Malaysian prime minister spoke in Bhojpuri, the language of about 60 percent people of his country.
Ramgoolam first became prime minister from 1995 to 2000. He was elected again as prime minister in 2005.
A large number of people from Bihar travelled to various parts of the world, including Mauritius, in the 19th century to serve as indentured labourers in sugarcane and rubber plantations.
Ramgoolam's grandfather Mohit was among those taken by the British in 1871. Most of the workers then were from Bhojpur, Chapra, Gopalganj and East and West Champaran. About 60 percent of the 1.2 million population of Mauritius is of Indian origin.