This Article is From Jul 31, 2015

Why This 5-Year-Old is Called Jihad Hussein Obama

Five-year-old Baby Jihad will be an Indian citizen after the land swap

Masaldanga, Bengal: His name is Jihad Hussein Obama, and his story is no less unusual.

Five-year-old "Baby Jihad's" defiance shines in his image; he almost defines the fight of thousands of people for the right to live as Indians.

Jihad lives with his parents in a Bangladesh enclave in West Bengal.

On the night he was born in 2010, his mother developed complications for which she had to be taken to hospital. Alamgir, a neighbor, explains how the doctor on duty refused to attend to them because they were Bangladeshis.

The family stood their ground, bolstered by support from local activists.

"We asked them, if anything happens who will be responsible?" says the child's father. This seemed to scare them a bit, he said. Already, India and Bangladesh had begun informal talks to begin the process of counting these residents so that their statelessness could be addressed.

"Within three hours of our reaching the hospital, Jihad was born. They again said now you go but we said no, let her get better," the father says. It was three days later, when Jihad and his mother were well enough, that the family left.

Given the circumstances of his birth, the baby was named "Jihad". The "Obama" was a tribute to the US President, who was visiting India that year.

That incident will become history as today, Jihad and all future babies will no longer be enclave Bangladeshi residents, but proud Indians.

According to the India-Bangladesh land boundary agreement, signed 41 years after it was endorsed, the two countries will swap 162 enclaves, whose 50,000-odd inhabitants have been deprived not only of nationality, but also public services. India will gain access to 55 Bangladesh enclaves that house 14,000 residents.