External Affairs

An Indian Social Worker Wants to Build ‘Trump Village’ – in Rajasthan

Sulabh International founder and chief Bindeshwar Pathak said this move would further India-US ties.

Donald Trump, pictured here on the sand dunes of the Menie estate near Aberdeen, Scotland, in 2010. Credit: Reuters/David Moir

Donald Trump, pictured here on the sand dunes of the Menie estate near Aberdeen, Scotland, in 2010. Credit: Reuters/David Moir

For one family, the Trumps have a whole lot of things named after them – hotels, golf courses, residential buildings, wineries. And now, if a sociologist and social worker is to be believed, US President Donald Trump is going have something a whole lot larger in his name – an entire Rajasthani village.

On Monday (June 12), the Indian external affairs ministry announced that Trump will be meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi on June 26. Soon after that announcement, Sulabh International founder and chief Bindeshwar Pathak, speaking at an event in the suburbs of Washington DC, said, “I announce to name one village in India as Trump Village.” According to him, this would further India-US ties.

While this story has been picked up by several media outlets already, nobody seems concerned that Pathak has the right to change village names at a whim – that too to something that is bound to make very little sense to those who live in this unspecified Mewat village, which is currently “being developed”. Pathak and his NGO are well known for their work on sanitation – he was named the brand ambassador for the Swachh Railways Mission last year and Sulabh International has been granted consultative status by the UN Economic and Social Council. But none of that quite explains why Pathak thinks he can rename villages. A toilet, probably – but a village? And even if Sulabh International were in the process of naming things, Trump seems like an odd choice. He’s hardly famous for keeping things clean.

One things Pathak has got right, though, is that the US president likes things being named after him. In fact, if the US National Security Council (NSC) is to be believed, he just likes his name – apparently when the NSC needs Trump to read long documents, they make sure to include his name as many times as possible, because seeing his name keeps him reading. Going by that logic, maybe Pathak is right – if he wants Trump to be interested in India, the easiest thing to do is name something after him. “Bettering ties” still seems a little far-fetched, though. Would a ‘Trump village’ in India suddenly change the Trump administration’s stance on H1B visas, for instance?