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Mauritius to celebrate Bihar Day on June 17

The people of Mauritius have an emotional bondage with the Indian state as nearly 70 per cent people in the island nation are of Bihar origin.

india Updated: Apr 24, 2007 18:05 IST

In a move to showcase Bihar in Mauritius, a Bihar Day will be celebrated in that country in June to mark the contributions of Bihar origin people in the making of the island nation.

"Bihar Day will be celebrated in Mauritius in June to showcase the positive and close cultural roots between the two places," Mauritius High Commissioner to India Mookkhswur Choonee said in Patna.

The Bihar Day celebrations in Mauritius will be the first of its kind outside India. It will help attract investments to the state and establish people-to-people cultural exchange on a big scale.

Choonee was here on a visit to invite Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to inaugurate the Bihar Day celebrations in Mauritius and discuss details with officials.

"Bihar Day celebrations in Mauritius will open new opportunities for strengthening of roots of Indian origin people of Mauritius," Choonee said.

The mega five-day Bihar Day celebrations (June 17-21) will be organised by the Global Organisation of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) in collaboration with the government of Mauritius.

"Nitish Kumar has accepted the invitation and will visit Mauritius to attend the celebrations," Choonee said.

He said it was a known fact that "our great grandfathers had sailed form India to Mauritius and had made important contribution to the socio-economic development of the country.

"The people of Mauritius have an emotional bondage with Bihar as nearly 70 per cent people in Mauritius are of Bihar origin," he said.

"We still speak Bhojpuri, tune in to Bhojpuri songs and above all, we are proud of the land of our ancestors," he said.

He said his ancestors too had migrated from Bihar. "They were probably from a village in Bhojpur district."

The Bihar government had announced early this year that it would install a life-size statue of former Mauritius prime minister Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam, who originally hailed from Bihar.

Ramgoolam, who belonged to a village in Bihar's Saran district, was the first prime minister of Mauritius from 1961 to 1982. He is considered the father of the nation as he led his country to independence from Britain.

Choonee last year announced that Mauritius would develop Ramgoolam's native village as a historical and tourist destination.

A large number of people from Bihar, known as the Girmitiya labourers, travelled to various parts of the world, including Mauritius, in the 19th century to serve as indentured labourers in sugarcane and rubber plantations. Most of these people were from districts like Chapra, Gopalganj, and East and West Champaran.

First Published: Apr 24, 2007 15:58 IST