Bangla village waits for its famous son-in-law
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For a full month now, the tiny village of Bhadrabila on the banks of the Chitra river in Bangladesh's Narail district has been waiting eagerly for its famous son-in-law, Pranab Mukherjee, the first Bengali President of India.
The visit will take place on Tuesday, and will no doubt leave the moffusil habitat of no more than 150 people with many reasons to cheer and gossip and gloat for the next several days or weeks.
The 8-km stretch of road that connects Bhadrabila with Narail has received a new layer of asphalt, and the modest three-bedroom brick house where Mukherjee's wife Shuvra was born, a fresh coat of paint. A Kali temple nearby has been spruced up.
Bhadrabila first realized that its famous son-in-law would visit his shoshurbaari (father-in-law's home) when a team of officials from the Indian high commission and security agencies showed up in the first week of February. Village residents have not been able to stop talking about it since then, officials in Dhaka said.
The helicopter carrying the President and his wife will land on the Narail Boys High School ground; the Mukherjees will then drive the eight kilometres to Bhadrabila.
Among those waiting eagerly will be Arati Devi, a childhood friend of the first lady's who studied with her in Tularampur. Several relatives, including Kalipada Ghosh, her half-brother, will be there.
For the first lady, it will be a homecoming of sorts, even though her parents had moved to Tularampur 14 kilometres away from Bhadrabila when she was very young. The family's tin house in Tularampur still stands, officials said. The President's wife — eldest of four brothers and four sisters — moved to India with her family in 1952, five years after Partition.
Shuvra Mukherjee visited Narail in 1996 along with her daughter to attend the funeral of a relative. Her husband, however, could not accompany her then. This time, Mukherjee and his wife will spend about half an hour in Bhadrabila, speaking to relatives and other residents.
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