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Saturday, January 23, 2021

What's in a name? Indian village renamed after Donald Trump without authorisation

The Indian philanthropist who renamed the village in honor of America's president had no permission to do so.

Reading Time: 2 minutesThe event at the newly named “Trump Village” in a remote corner of India on Tuesday had all the hallmarks of a major unveiling: a ceremony, schoolkids singing inspirational songs and phalanx of media in attendance.

Indian children hold placards by the entrance gate of Marora, India, which has been unofficially renamed “Trump Village”. (Money Sharma/Agence France-Presse via Getty Images)

There was only one problem: The Indian philanthropist who renamed the village in honor of America’s president had no permission to do so — officials in fact asked his charity on multiple occasions to back off, but were ignored.
“We repeatedly asked them not to hold this event, but they did not listen,” said Mani Ram Sharma, the deputy commissioner of the district where the farming village of about 600 is located.
The drama surrounding the renaming of tiny Marora began last month when Bindeshwar Pathak, the founder of water and sanitation charity Sulabh International, announced during a speech in Virginia that he wanted to change the name of a village where he is building toilets to honor President Trump and improve bilateral relations between the United States and India.
The village elders — happy to have the attention, and perhaps the development dollars that came with it — gave their permission. Huge “Trump Village” billboards were erected with the president’s grinning likeness.
But Sharma quickly declared the rebranding “illegal” and ordered police to tear down the signs. “It was all fictitious and a fraud event by the organizers aimed at collecting money across the country and abroad,” Sharma said in an interview with the wire service IANS.
Nevertheless, Sulabh went ahead with a ceremony to inaugurate a new vocational center and some toilets it had built. Children waved signs with Trump’s photo and the words “Our Trump Village Will Be Clean!” while villagers sang songs praising the virtues of indoor toilet use.
“We are trying for permission [for the name change] but we don’t have it until now,” said Monika Jain, a vice president of the charity. She said she expected it to be granted “in the coming weeks.”
Also attending the event was Puneet Ahluwalia, the vice chairman of the Fairfax County Republican Committee and a member of Trump’s Asian Pacific American Advisory Committee.
Residents there know little about Trump or his policies, but they said they were happy to have their village named after him. “Why not — if it brings these facilities our way?” said Mehboobi, one of the women who received a freshly built commode.
This piece originally appeared on The Washington Post. You can read the full story here:  https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2017/07/18/a-philanthropist-renamed-an-indian-village-after-donald-trump-then-things-got-weird/?utm_term=.62f4bf010a8d

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