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Friday, January 13, 2012

A Premier from Bhelupur, Buxar - Trinidad connection

It is one of those places which has great mythological reference and relevance.  This is the place known as ‘Tapovan’ – ‘Vyaghrasar’ – the modern day Buxar is considered to be a derivative of VyaghraSar – the tiger face of Rishi Vedshira, due to a curse of Durvasa Maharishi.  Mythology has it that Sage Vishwamitra had his hermitage on the bank of holy river Ganges here.  The killing of demoness Tadaka by Lord Rama is also believed to have occurred here.   

An ancestral village called Bhelupur got spruced by residents voluntarily completing nearly 4,000 sq feet long road in 48 hours, ready to welcome a famous person.   Yes a person from this soil, who has risen to the ranks of Premier of a Nation – how joyous it would be !   Bhelupur is a village in Buxar district of Bihar state, falling in the the administrative jurisdiction of Itarhi Community Development Block, and is about 125 km from Patna, the capital city of Bihar. The banks of the Hooghly are dotted with memorials and monuments  which have poignant tales to tell – one which was revived by that famous person. 

It is  Kamla Persad-Bissessar  -   the Prime Minister of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, the seventh person to hold this position.  She was sworn as PM in May 2010, and is the country's first female Prime Minister.  She heads the United National Congress and leads a coalition of five parties.  She was the first woman to serve as Attorney General, acting Prime Minister, Leader of the Opposition of Trinidad and Tobago.

She is here seeking to  reconnect with the land of her ancestors in Bihar by underlining a "relationship of heart" with its people this week. The place was bustling with activity as she addressed a  huge gathering on 9th Jan 12 at Bhelupur village under Itarhi block of Buxar district - from where her forefathers had migrated to the Caribbean island 123 years ago.   Persad-Bissessar said she had become the PM of a country because of the blessings of her ancestors and the people from their land. "Whatever I am today, it is because of my forefathers," she said. "It is in my genetic make-up and DNA." In an emotionally-charged speech, the visiting PM said her ancestors had left the country at a time when there was no cellphone or social networking sites.  "They, in fact, could not even read and write but... they carried with them their quintessential culture and values of their community and land," she said.  Calling herself a granddaughter of the village, Persad-Bissessar stayed at the village for about 90 minutes along with her husband Gregory Bissessar and a 20-member delegation from her nation.

India Today reports that after  she became PM, a Trinidad- based researcher delved into the records of the national archive there to find out that a man called Ram Lakhan Mishra, son of Bhawani Swaroop Mishra, had reached Trinidad on October 24, 1889. Ram Lakhan and his descendants preserved the ticket of that ship on which he had travelled.  The search into the  land records of 1912 and revenue ceiling records of 1969 in Bihar revealed of  Bhawani's descendants still lived in Bhelupur.

The PM  offered floral tributes at the memorial and  planted a sapling to mark her visit, but it was the words that revealed her and, perhaps, the sentiments of millions of 'people of Indian origin' the world over.  It is really great that a person descending from a family which had migrated from Bihar, has risen to become the  first woman head of the Caribbean nation.

She was honoured by the Govt. of India at the Pravasi Diwas in Jaipur and later flew to Bihar to visit her ancestral village.   She touched the feet of President Pratibha Patil when they met. "I was told that you in Rajasthan greet people by saying Ram Ram. We in Trinidad say Sitaram ," she said.  She also spoke of the similarities in custom and culture between the two countries and wanted to  enhance  cultural exchanges with the country, as people in Trinidad and Tobago.  

Trinidad & Tobago is well known to all Cricket lovers.  Trinidad  is the larger and more populous of the two major islands and numerous landforms which make up the island nation of Trinidad and Tobago.  Trinidad and Tobago  is a Republic, an archipelagic state in the southern Caribbean, lying just off the coast of northeastern Venezuela and south of Grenada in the Lesser Antilles. It shares maritime boundaries with other nations including Barbados,  Guyana and Venezuela. The island of Trinidad was a Spanish colony from the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1498.   

Cricket is one of the most popular sports of Trinidad and Tobago.  The legendary Brian Lara hails from this place.  The other famous West Indian cricketers would include – Ian Bishop, Mervyn Dillon, Larry Gomes, Logie, Deryck Murray, Stollymeyer, Wes Hall.  There the other bunch of youngsters who play for WI – the likes of Darren Ganga, Adrian Barath, Darren Bravo, Dwayne Bravo, Lendl Simmons, Denesh Ramdin, Ravi Rampaul,  all come from here as also the billionaire who epitomizes modern day T20 -  Kieron Adrian Pollard  who recently made a ton at Chepauk in the One dayer

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

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