Welcoming a long lost relative
Guyana Chronicle
August 24, 2003

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“It is a matter of pride for all of us that a son of this soil has risen to such heights. We want to give him a feeling of homecoming” - Mayankashwar Sharan Singh, legislator

(BBC) - GUYANA’S President Bharrat Jagdeo is hoping to visit his ancestral village in India when he arrives on a state visit this weekend - but Indian officials are having trouble finding it.

"The description of the visiting dignitary's village sent to us by the Guyanese High Commission was of the early 20th century and things have changed drastically since then," district official MP Agarwal told the Reuters news agency.

"There are at least a dozen villages with 'Thakura' as the suffix or prefix. We have managed to shortlist three but are finding it difficult to zero in on the actual home," Mr Agarwal said.

Despite the difficulties, the Amethi district in Uttar Pradesh state is preparing a warm welcome for the 39-year-old president.

The BBC's Ram Dutt Tripathi in state capital Lucknow says the hamlet of Pure Tahakurain Nawavan, 150km east of Lucknow, has now been chosen for the ancestral visit of Mr Jagdeo today.

He says the President's ancestors belonged to the lower caste Lonia community.

State pride
Mr Jagdeo, who is making a six-day visit, is a descendant of workers who left India during British colonial rule.

About 50 per cent of Guyana's 700,000 population are ethnic Indians, descended from indentured labourers who began arriving in 1838.

Mayankashwar Sharan Singh, a legislator of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party in Uttar Pradesh, said the people of Amethi were preparing to welcome a long-lost relative.

"It is a matter of pride for all of us that a son of this soil has risen to such heights," Mr Singh said.

"We want to give him a feeling of homecoming."