The Bihar government has sought records of lakhs of indentured labourers who had migrated from villages of the state to far-off Mauritius in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi made the request before authorities at the Mahatma Gandhi Sansthan in the island country which he is touring as part of a 10-member delegation from the state, a release said here.
The Mahatma Gandhi Sansthan has 2055 registers containing names and details 4.54 lakh indentured servants, called "girmitiya" in local parlance, who had been brought to Mauritius from the port at Kolkata. The Deputy CM said the state government would like - with the help of records - to identify the villages from where people had migrated to the far-off land and later made it their home.
He also recalled the "close ties between Bihar and Mauritius" and pointed out the grand welcome accorded to the then Premier Navin Ramgoolam by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar when he visited the state in 2007. He also said that a crossroad in Patna has been named after Ramgoolam's father and former Mauritius PM Sir Seewoosagar Ramgoolam.
The delegation from Bihar, which is headed by Assembly Speaker Vijay Kumar Chaudhary and comprises other leaders like legislative council acting chairman Haroon Rashid, ministers Shravan Kumar and Rajiv Ranjan Singh among others also called on current Mauritian Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth and extended him the invitation for a visit to Bihar.
(With inputs from agencies.)