Prasad honors contributions of Girmityas

May 11, 2024 12:57 pm

Deputy Prime Minister Professor Biman Prasad says everyone is aware of the immeasurable and irreplaceable contribution the Girmityas and their descendants have made to the social, economic and political advancement of Fiji.

While launching the 2024 Girmit celebrations at the Girmit Cultural Center in Lautoka this morning, Prasad says they believe in recognizing and upholding the values and blessings of our ancestors to progress towards a new vision for Fiji.

More than 60,000 indentured labourers were brought from India to Fiji between May 14, 1879 and 11 November 1916 by the British Colonial Government.

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“If you look back to history, to kick start official commemoration of the struggles and sacrifice of our forefathers that started 145 years ago whether it be the cane plantations in the cane belts or the rice fields of Navua or Dreketi or Nausori, there is one unbreakable bond that was, is and will link our past, current and future generations. We are the descendants of the Girmityas.”

Prasad says during the celebrations we not on remember our ancestors and their struggles but we learn from history.

“This commemoration and celebration is not celebrating indenture or slavery as one political leader quite preposterously claimed a few days ago, it is a celebration of our forefathers’ determination to triumph over slavery or servitude and make Fiji their new home. And they succeeded because of the unshakable principles of dignity, equality, justice and self-respect.”

Prasad states the coalition government has recognised the invaluable contribution of the Girmityas and their descendants by declaring Girmit Day a public holiday last year.

The theme for this year’s celebration is “Journey of Girmit Descendants in Building New Fiji”.

The Girmit commemoration will be at the Lautoka Girmit Multicultural Centre from today until Monday while an afternoon event will be held at Subrail Park in Labasa today.