MARORA (India): A rural Indian settlement with little electricity or running water renamed itself “Trump Village” on Friday in an unusual gesture to the American president ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s trip to Washington.
A huge billboard declaring “Welcome to Trump Village” in Hindi and English, accompanied with a beaming portrait of the US president, was unveiled in the tiny hamlet officially known as Marora, in the largely agriculture northern state of Haryana.
Large posters of Trump adorned with marigold flowers were placed throughout the village of mainly mud-brick houses for a renaming ceremony, which was presided over by village heads and an Indian charity.
But despite the bold lettering greeting visitors at the arched village gateway, the name change is not official or sanctioned by the government. The symbolic gesture comes just days before Modi’s first meeting with Trump this weekend at the White House.
The water and sanitation group Sulabh, which has been installing toilets in the impoverished settlement, suggested the name change to the local council.
Sulabh founder Bindeshwar Pathak said the idea sprang to mind during a recent visit to the US.
“I was speaking there and I thought why not in the name of Trump?” Pathak said, adding other villages in the region had also been renamed in recent years.
Aziz Ahmed, a villager, said he was sure the new name would stick even without official approval.
Published in Dawn, June 24th, 2017