Hailing Mauritius President Rajkeswur Purryag's visit to Bihar, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said it would strengthen people to people relations between the state and the Island country.
"People of Bihar have deep ties with their Mauritius counterparts with its 56 per cent population tracing their ancestry from our state," he said at a function to felicitate Purryag upon his maiden visit to his ancestral Wajitpur village in Patna district.
Kumar recalled the warm reception he had received during his visit to Mauritius six years ago and said the people there yearned to trace their roots in Bihar.
He said he saluted the Mauritian people of Bihari origin for their hardwork to build a modern nation.
The chief minister said Purryag's visit reflected the Bihari immigrant people's desire to trace their ancestors' land and it has come after the visit of the Prime Minister Navinchandra Ramgoolam a few years ago.
The state government has put up the bust of the former Mauritius prime minister Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam in Patna to apprise the people of Bihar of what height their brethren abroad have achieved, he said.
Similarly, when the incumbent Mauritius president expressed his desire for tracing his ancestral village, the state government found it out and made his visit to Bihar possible.
Purryag said he and the people of Mauritius always cherished their association with India and Bihar.
Apologising to locals for being able to spend only some time in the village, Purryag said he would return to spend quality time with them and his relatives.
He also recalled the struggle and sacrifices of his forefathers after being taken to Mauritius.
Purryag said, "Our forefathers were lured by Britishers to go to Mauritius for a better life where they could virtually lay their hands on gold mines.
"However, they found only stones and boulders when they reached Mauritius. There was abject poverty and nothing much to eat," the Mauritius President said, adding that they worked tirelessly to build a modern and developed Mauritius.
"Our forefathers provided good education to their children for success in life" and since then, successive governments in Mauritius had given stress on educational infrastructure, he said.
During his brief visit to Mauritius in early 20th century, Mahatma Gandhi expressed pain and anguish at the plight of the indentured labourers and their families, Purryag said.
Gandhi had then laid stress on giving education to their children, he said.
In the Mauritius president's honour, the Bihar government laid a foundation stone for a high school in the village where he was also felicitated in presence of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and other ministers.
Purryag's relatives in the village gave gifts like village soil contained in a silver 'lota' (pitcher), freshly harvested paddy and dhoti to the visiting President and his wife.