NFU launches books on Girmit

The National Farmers Union has launched two historical publications to commemorate the 125th anniversary of the arrival of the first Girmityas to Fiji on 14 May 1879: a souvenir magazine titled Girmityas and a book Children of the Indus which looks at the history of Fiji Indians from 1879 to present day (2004).

The magazine Girmityas published by the Girmit Divas Celebrations Committee of the National Farmers Union was launched on Saturday 8 May by a leading Fijian High Chief Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi, the Roko Tui Bau. It is now on sale at $10 at all Post Fiji bookshops and NFU branch offices throughout Fiji.

The magazine provides 218 pages of historical documents, articles, pictures and stories relating to the Girmityas and the Indenture Period. It also carries interviews, messages and articles on our pioneering forefathers and personalities who have contributed to the development of Fiji, and the progress of Fiji Indians.

The magazine is a must for descendents of Girmityas interested in their roots.

Children of the Indus is a book which provides a panoramic sweep of Fiji Indian history from the landing of the first Girmityas in 1879 to the overthrow of Mahendra Chaudhry’s government in the 2000 coup and events which have followed since. It provides an insight into the evils of Indenture and goes on to deal with each crisis the Indian community faced in the last 125 years of their sojourn in Fiji:

  • the truth about the 1920 strike when an armed assault was launched against a helpless community seeking a pay increase to meet the rising cost of living
  • Gross exploitation of Indian farmers under the CSR Co. of Australia and how they finally received justice under Lord Denning in 1970
  • The land problem and its impact on Indian politics
  • the struggle for equal rights from the early 1900s to present day including the three coups of 1987 and 2000; The overthrow of the Mahendra Chaudhry government and the on-going present day struggle against racism and a denial of the constitutional rights of the Indian community.

Children of the Indus is highly readable and provides a graphic insight into the attempts of an immigrant community to gain self respect and dignity lost in the degrading and dehumanising experience of Indenture, its struggle thereafter for recognition and equal political rights and the atrocities committed against an innocent community during the coups.

As an added bonus Children of the Indus is beautifully illustrated with rare black and white pictures of the Girmit era and the early Indian sojourn in Fiji as well as coloured pictures of more recent events and personalities.

Children of the Indus is also a must for all those interested in building an awareness of their roots and the struggle of their pioneering forefathers to carve a better future for themselves and their progeny in the land of their adoption. It is a story of pain, suffering, hardship but it is also a story of triumph, the grit of a community determined to rise above their servile station in life and to fight for equal rights in the land of their birth.

The book is available for $20 at all Fiji bookshops and National Farmers Union branch offices. Or contact Ph 3308602; email: flp@ connect.com.fj