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Bagish Jha | TNN | Updated: Jun 24, 2017


MEWAT: The world’s most powerful person and Marora, a tiny village in Haryana’s most backward district, now have something in common. The name Trump.

Marora was named Trump gaon (village), after US President Donald Trump, on Friday by Sulabh International to highlight its project to turn the village fully open-defecation free (ODF), or give it 100% toilet coverage.

The day, and the fanfare that accompanied the naming, brought a sense of occasion to Marora and its 2,000-odd residents, as well as a touch of irony. Given the US President’s views on the community, it’s unlikely that any other Muslim-dominated village anywhere in the world will be named after him. Eighty per cent of Marora is Muslim.

But on Friday, people of Marora stood in front of large posters of a smiling Trump and smiled for the cameras. It wasn’t a name they had heard before, forget his views. In the moment, it was a face that had brought fame to their village and that’s all that mattered. Trump will, however, only be a nickname, a publicity exercise to draw the world’s attention to Marora.

Village sarpanch Shaukat Ali said they were not bothered about Trump’s views on Muslims. “We are happy the new name will bring development to our village,” he said. “Sulabh has promised to construct a toilet in each house, an approach road to the school, a community centre and free education for children of widows,” he added. “In the village, more than 75% of families belong to below poverty level, so development is our only concern. As long as the name brings development to the village, we have no objection,” said Jabbar Khan, former sarpanch.

Marora has 165 families. Only 20 out of 165 houses have toilets. Residents hope Trump’s name will bring development to the village, which has only one primary school and no concrete road.

The nicknaming was done by Sulabh (the full name is ‘Trump Sulabh Village’) with the gram panchayat’s consent. Sulabh founder and chief Bindeshwar Pathak believes the move will help highlight India’s steps to improve sanitation at the global level and also give a fillip to Indo-US relations ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s meeting with the President Trump in Washington on June 26. “In India, people have multiple names, so Trump will be an additional name for the village,” Pathak told TOI.

Pathak had announced his intention to name an Indian village after Trump at a community event, attended by Republicans and Democrats, in the suburbs of Washington DC. “I was giving my presentation on sanitation when this thought came to my mind. I made the announcement and it was well received by people,” he said. An Indian-origin member of the US President’s Asian Advisory Committee, Puneet Ahluwalia, will soon visit Marora, he added.

Marora panchayat has three villages — Marora, Nizampur and Jhawa. Most villagers are landless labourers who earn their livelihood either working at fields or construction sites.

Marora is not the only village in Haryana to be named after an American president. In 1978, Daulatpur Nasirabad, a village in in Gurgaon, became Carterpuri after then US President Jimmy Carter visited with his wife.

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