AS the nation commemorates the 135th anniversary of the arrival of indentured Indians to Fiji, the NFP has called on all people to remember and reflect on the struggles and sacrifices made by our forefathers for equality, dignity and justice.
Party leader Professor Biman Prasad said people should not forget May 14 — the day that indentured Indians arrived on Fijian shores — but also one of the darkest days in Fiji's history when Fiji witnessed its first military coup in 1987.
"After 135 years since the arrival of the first Indians on Fiji's shores, the time is right, not only for the celebration of our rich history in this multicultural society, but for a reflection of the freedoms gained and lost on the journey," Prof Prasad said.
"Our forefathers operated on the basis of freedom, human rights, dignity and a virtuous living — the values that, over a period of time, guided our fight against the vices of the indentured system.
"Today however, we have forgotten and some would have us forget, those hard fought for virtues and principles in support of those who have taken our freedoms in the past."
Prof Prasad said this year was significant as it marked the 135 years of subsequent ending of Girmit era and the preparation for the restoration of lost freedoms and rights since 2006. "To mark this momentous occasion, the NFP would like to reiterate our need, as diverse communities of a great nation, to work together for our collective free and secure future.
"NFP, since its inception, has always worked for the sons and daughters of Girmitiya in highlighting their issues of concern and need. It is because of those considerations that we have also worked to promote multiculturalism for a secure shared future."
Prof Prasad said Girimit was a celebration commemorating the momentous event that forever changed the destiny and the landscape of Fijian society.
"In light of this, today's celebration should also be about a paradigm change, that is, we should move away from the rhetoric of the past and the way in which they reinforce the victim mentality so prevalent within the Indo-Fijian population in Fiji.