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A Pakistan that worships Lord Ram

By M I Khan
October 20, 2015 08:52 IST
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M I Khan travels to the Purnea district in Bihar where he not only comes across a village called Pakistan, but finds that there is in fact, not a single Muslim family living there

IMAGE: According to the local block development office official, government documents record the name of the village as Pakistan. Photograph: M I Khan

Residents of this village in Bihar's Purnea district are divided between Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The village in question, interestingly, is called Pakistan. But it does not have a single Muslim family, or a mosque.

According to the local block development office official, government documents record the name of the village as Pakistan.

Village elders say the village was named so soon after Partition.

"Most Muslim families who lived here chose to move to East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) after Partition. We decided that the village should be named in their memory, a sentiment shared and supported by people of nearby villages," says Gosa Murmu, a local resident.

Most of the villagers are Santhal tribals who have been living here for decades without basic amenities, fighting for survival.

The literacy rate in Purnea district, under which this village falls, is just 31.51 per cent. One can hardly locate a literate person in this Pakistan barring a few school dropouts.

"We want development for the village and a positive change in our day-to-day life," says Jaddu Tudu, who is in his early 60s, adding, "We voted for Modi in the last Lok Sabha polls, but nothing has changed for us. There has been no development. The Nitish government has assured us help."

"What is the benefit in voting? Look at our thatched huts, the village without road connectivity, no drinking water and no electricity," adds Gosa Murmu.

"We have been living in abject poverty and without basic amenities for years," rues Jaddu Tudu.

Saryu Besra says he will vote for Modi "like I did in 2014 because he is a strong leader who will develop Bihar and the country." Manu Hasda, another villager, wants Nitish Kumar to continue as chief minister. "Nothing has happened here since Modi became PM. Why should we support him?" he asks.

IMAGE: One can hardly locate a literate person in this Pakistan barring a few school dropouts. Photograph: M I Khan

The inhabitants of this Pakistan are extremely religious and worship Lord Ram.

Their major festival is Bandana, which is celebrated in January.

Everyone in the village gathers at a place where they worship the Gosai (the Lord). There is much dancing to the tunes of tribal folk songs, and pork is served. The villagers obtain funds from the government for pig farming.

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M I Khan in Purnea
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