14 May 2014, it been 135 years, and we pay tribute to over 60,500* Girmitiyas, of Fiji.
A day to reflect, respect and honour the thousands of people who came to Fiji between 1879 and 1916 in the 87 voyages from Calcutta and Madras.
Every year on this day, I have requested every Fiji Indian to share, document history, and to do their part so that our rich history is not forgotten. Needless to say the many articles and social media posts, by the contributors of www.girmit.org who have raised many issues on this subject, and the indeed a commendable effort on their part in generating awareness on the British aphorism for slavery that uprooted so many Indians and subjected them to an existence of atrocious living. Despite all that, we are grateful that they sacrificed a lot from the time they left India and struggled each day to earn a living in Fiji. We wouldn’t be where we are today, had it not for these martyrs.
And today, I will ask you to sincerely dedicate a minute and think about the most important part of our history a past which has indubitably shaped our present and our future.
Take a minute to sincerely remember those Girmitiyas who are not with us today. If you feel within yourself that your past has had some significance in what and where you are today, then please go home tonight and talk about it with your children, your grandchildren, talk to a colleague sitting next to you at work and tell them about our humble, hardworking and dutiful forebears, tell them that you are proud of your history and today, 14 May, is an important day when we the Fiji Indian people all over the world respectfully honour our forebears who came to Fiji from India as Indentured Labourers.
We are as knowledgeable as everyone in this world when it comes to our heritage, ancestry and history and we chose to learn about our history because it was and it will always be important to us.
Rest in Peace our forebears the Girmitiyas
We shall not forget.