May 11, 2021

Maori News & Indigenous Views

Fijians Celebrate Girmitiyas

2 min read

The descendants of the brave and courageous Girmitiyas (slaves from the Central-South- East -Asian-Indian Continent) are celebrating and remembering the 132 anniversary of their tempestuous seafaring journey to Fiji said Alton Shameem JP, the New Zealander-Fijian Community, Multi-Cultural, Ethnic, National and International Leader, Founder/ Chairman and President of Fiji Club of New Zealand (FCoNZ), Young Executive Club (YEC), Fiji Council New Zealand (FCNZ), New Zealand Association of Certified Public Accountants (NZACPA) and the All Ethnic Congress (AEC),

Celebrations are being held in towns, villages and cities in Fiji, New Zealand, USA, Canada and all countries were the Girmitiyas descendants are domiciled to honor and reflect upon the hardship, brutality, oppression, subjugation, humiliation, terrorism inflicted upon them, the challenges and sacrifices they made with their blood, sweat and tears for their descendants, and the economic and social development of Fiji for all the Fijians.

Never so much was done by so few and we owe our ancestors the Girmitiyas (slaves) for our successes, freedom and achievements, and acknowledge that we are standing on their shoulders, that their spirits are with us and to be preserved and passed on to the future generations said Alton Shameem.

The much sought after book Tears in Paradise by Rajendra Prasad gives a fuller historical and factual account of the Girmit (slavery) period in Fiji to present time, a must read book indeed for all Fijians and others

My great-great grandfather Rahmatullah Khan was on board the fourth ship Poona II that brought the Girmitiyas (slaves) to Fiji on June 19, 1883 said Mr Shaheem.

Mr. Rahmatullah Khan was 20 years old, served his Girmit (slavery) and became a successful and wealthy person, community leader, benefactor, the first Indian of Afghan-Indian-Pashtun descent to hold the post of President of the Indian Cane Farmers Association, and one of the founders of the famous Lautoka Mosque in the main island of Viti Levu, Fiji.

The Rahmatullah Khan School in Maro, Sigatoka was build with his contributions and other donors in his honor for being a visionary and dedicated community leader for all sections of the community, and for the education and wellbeing of the people of Fiji

We will always remember, cherish, value, respect and honor our great, brave, courageous ancestors the Girmitiyas (slaves) and all they have done for us and our motherland Fiji said Alton Shameem.

1 thought on “Fijians Celebrate Girmitiyas

  1. Many thanks for printing this article.

    Alton Shameem JP
    Fiji Council New Zealand (FCNZ)
    All Ethnic Congress (AEC)
    Fiji Club of New Zealand (FoCNZ)

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