He’s still with me and he is finally home: Dr Padma Lal

February 23, 2023 6:52 am

The ashes of the late Professor Brij Lal Fiji’s most famous historian are finally home.

His ashes were brought by Doctor Padma, the wife of the late Professor who was emotional as soon as she stepped out of the arrivals area yesterday.

Deputy Prime Minister Biman Prasad was at the Nadi International Airport to receive the family.

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Holding her tears back and speaking to the media, Dr Padma says her husband is here with her back in Fiji after more than 10 years.

“He’s with me, he is here with me, he’s still with me. I’m just glad we are finally able to meet his wishes.”

Professor Lal was declared a prohibited immigrant in 2009 and was living in Australia.

Lal’s wife was also not allowed to return; however, late last month, Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka revoked the prohibition order on her, allowing her to return her late husband’s ashes to Fiji.

She says she was in a state of shock when the message was portrayed to her that they were allowed back home.

“I was shocked to the point where I couldn’t, I had to collect myself for a couple of seconds before I could even say thank you. It was just an overwhelming moment, I just turned around to my sister-in-law who was there to mark 1 year of his passing and I said to her we will be able to take your bhaiya (brother) home.”

Deputy Prime Minister Biman Prasad says the country as a whole has finally seen justice.

“Injustice that was done to him and the family and particularly Dr Padma Lal who we welcome back to Fiji, I know it’s a difficult moment for her but as a country and a Government we believe justice has finally been done.”

Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka tweeted that one of his first actions in office was to make it possible for Dr Padma Lal to bring home from Australia the ashes of her distinguished late husband.

Rabuka says the burden of oppression is lifted from Professor Lal’s family.

Prof Lal died in Brisbane, Australia, on December 25th, 2021, at the age of 69, and the family always expressed a wish to have his final funeral rites in Fiji.

An event has been organized at Tabia Sanatan College this Saturday where final respects will be paid to the late Brij Lal before his ashes are interred.