‘Trace roots via records’

DESCENDANTS of indentured labourers (girmitiya) have been encouraged to turn to records available at the Fiji Museum and trace back their origins to India.

Speaking at the Muanidevo Sanatan School reunion carnival, India’s High Commissioner to Fiji, Vishvas Sapkal, said the origins of the current Fijians of Indian origin could still be traced back through records.

Mr Sapkal said between 1879 and 1960 a total of 65,000 girmitiya arrived in Fiji to work in the cane fields.

He urged farmers and their children to take advantage of the various programs available to them through the Indian High Commission to learn more about India and their origins.

He said the Indian Government, through its collaboration with the Fijian Government, now offered a lot of scholarships which allowed people a chance to study in India and a chance to know the country better.

Mr Sapkal said the “Know India Program” available to students in Fiji was a good platform to learn about the nation, its cultural and traditional values.

Apart from these forms of assistance, Mr Sapkal said the Indian Government had been working with its Fijian counterpart in other fields, saying India provided $4.7 million to assist Small Medium Enterprise operators and teach them how to grow their businesses.

He said the Indian Government provided farmers affected by Severe Tropical Cyclone Winston with vegetable seeds to assist them and their families.

He said India gave $2.7m to the Fijian Government as its contribution to the “Adopt a School” program after Severe TC Winston.

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