A Pakistan where people want Modi as PM (Election Special)
It's true. People of this Pakistan want Narendra Modi to become prime minister of India.
More than 250 residents, including over 100 voters of a village called "Pakistan" in Bihar's Purnea district, are set to vote for the BJP to help Modi to fulfil his dream.
"We want Narendra Modi to become PM," said Hira Hembrum, a middle aged villager. Hembrum's view was supported by most of the villagers who are living in abject poverty and without basic amenities.
Pakistan is the name of a village in Singhiya panchayat, Srinagar block, about 30 km from Purnea town, the district headquarters.
"People in Pakistan are keen to vote for BJP to see Modi as PM," Haldu Murmu, another villager of Pakistan in Purnea, about 350 km from the state capital," was quoted as saying in local media.
What is interesting is that there is not one Muslim family in the village, which comprises mostly Santhal tribal households. There also is not one mosque in this Pakistan.
Murmu said they want to vote Modi to counter neighbouring country Pakistan's bid to disrupt peace.
"Only Modi can do it," he said.
Purnea goes to polls April 24.
According to a police official, government documents record the name of the village as Pakistan.
So how did the village get its name?
Elders in the village recall that the village was named soon after India's partition in 1947.
"Many Muslims who earlier lived here chose to leave for East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), when the country was partitioned. We decided then that the village could be named in their memory," one elderly villager said.
Pakistan village is poor and illiterate. The literacy rate in Purnea district is just 31.51 percent. There is hardly a literate person in Pakistan village, where proper roads, a school or a hospital is hard to come by.
However, anti-Pakistan sentiment dominate the village.
Murmu recalled that after 26/11, when 166 people were killed by Pakistani terrorists in Mumbai, the villagers had even considered changing the name of their village.
"When Ajmal Kasab was hanged to death two years ago, villagers celebrated by distributing sweets, singing folk songs and dancing," Murmu said.
In 2012, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar informed a visiting Pakistani delegation that there was a village named after their country in the state. The surprised delegates told Nitish Kumar that they had never heard of the village.
The chief minister showed the map of Pakistan village to the Pakistani delegates and explained that when all the Muslims of the village, then in Islampur district of Bengal, had migrated to East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), the villagers left behind decided to name a village in memory of those who left.
Prior to the the States Reorganisation Act of 1956, Purnea too was part of Islampur, which now lies in the state of West Bengal.
The Muslims who left the village for East Pakistan had handed over their property to Hindus in neighbouring areas.
(Imran Khan can be contacted at email@example.com)
(Posted on 13-04-2014)