120 years marked

Lautoka Girmit Centre students Asmita Ram (left) with Akrati Dutt and Isha Nadan at the commemoration event marking 102 years since the arrival of the last Girmitiyas onboard Sutlej V. Picture: SHAYAL DEVI

IT is important for descendants of the girmitiya to maintain a connection to their past, says Local Government Minister Parveen Kumar.

He made the comment while speaking at a commemoration event in Lautoka marking 102 years since the arrival of over 800 girmitiya on board the vessel Sutlej V.

Mr Kumar said similar programs had been organised in Suva and Labasa.

“On November 11, 2016, the Girmit committee in association with municipal councils marked the 100 years of the arrival of the last girmitiya boat, Sutlej V,” he said.

“It is significant that we in Fiji mark these events to ensure that the lives we lead today has a concrete and lasting connection to our girmitiya past, our shared girmitiya history.”

He said it was important to know about the lives and legacy left behind by the forefathers of Fijians of Indian descent.

“They suffered a lot, of this there is no doubt. They were punished, verbally and physically, women were abused physically and sexually.

“There are many lessons to be learnt from their struggles and we need to continue to pay respect.”

The indentured system came to an end in 1916.

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