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By Pashchiema Bhatia
Years ago, thousands of Indians were brought to Fiji as indentured laborers (Girimitiyas) by signing contracts and with the promise of allowing them to return back to their homeland after the expiration of those agreements, yet only few could return. Willingly or unwillingly, many had to stay in Fiji. Almost all the Indians who signed the agreements were illiterate and couldn’t understand the terms and conditions written on those papers.
As almost all the Indians brought to Fiji as indentured laborers were illiterate and could not speak English, they used to mispronounce the English word “agreement” and eventually the distorted word “Girmit” became popular and the people who signed the agreements came to be known as “Girmitiyas”.
It all started after the end of slavery when availability of cheap labor became problematic. In 87 voyages that were made to Fiji between 1879 and 1916, some 60,600 Girmitiyas arrived. These people had to face a lot in their initial days and the confounding thing is that there is no acknowledgement of their struggles in the history of Fiji. They not only had to struggle in working as laborers in plantations but were also tortured. The food given to them was rationed. Also, the women were seen as a subject of lustful advances of Europeans.
According to the agreement, they were supposed to return to India at the expenses of their employer after working for five years but Europeans were never habitual of adhering to contracts. Eventually after 5 years, when the agreements got expired, Girmitiyas were free to return to their motherland India but at their own expense. As most of the Indians working as indentured laborers could not afford the expenses, they had no choice but to stay.
Related Article: Sikhism in Fiji: Samabula Sikh Temple
Fiji Indians or Indo-Fijians
Girmitiyas not only contributed to the economic development of the country but also forwarded their ethics of working hard to their descendants. The Indians in Fiji are known for their dedication in work.
After the Girmits got expired, Girimitiyas started settling in the country by developing their small businesses. These personal initiatives of Indians soon started challenging the already existing commercial enterprises at that time. Indians started migrating to Fiji as free agents and by 1925, there were several commercial enterprises owned by Fiji Indians.
To remain rooted to their culture, Indians in Fiji have been building temples since they arrived which serve as a sacred venue for Indian marriages and various other cultural events. The Arya Samaj in Fiji advocated Hinduism and education. Various schools were started by Arya Samaj to promote girls’ education.
After facing many obstacles, political participation of Indians was also accepted. The descendants of Girmitiyas sprang up to influence the political and cultural facets of Fiji.
To know how Indo-Fijians made their way from indentured laborers to politically and economically impacting citizens read my previously written article on Girmitiyas titled “May 14 is marked as Indian Arrival Day or Girmit Day in Fiji”
Pashchiema is an intern at Newsgram and a student of journalism and mass communication in New Delhi. Twitter: @pashchiema
Today marks the 114th birth anniversary of Harivansh Rai Bachchan, a renowned Indian poet. He is popularly known for his poem ‘Madhushala’.
Early life of Harivansh Rai Bachchan
Harivansh Rai Bachchan was born on the same date in 1907 in the village of Bahupatti, United Provinces of Agra and Oudh in British India. From the year 1941 to 1957, he taught English at the Allahabad University, and after that, Bachchan spent the next two years at St. Catharine’s College, Cambridge, completing his PhD W.B. Yeats. Interestingly, when Harivansh Rai started writing, instead of using his real surname, Shrivastava, he started using Bachchan.
Career of Harivansh Rai Bachchan
It must be noted that Harivansh Rai Bachchan was well fluent in many languages including Hindustani and Awadhi. Though, Bachchan did not know how to read Persian script, still he was very much influenced by Persian and Urdu poetry. Omar Khayyam was one such personality who influenced Bachchan big time. Some of the most celebrated works of this stalwart are Madhushala (1935-36), Agneepath, Khadi Ke Phool (1948), Dhaar Ke Idhar Udhar (1957), Jal Sameta (1973), etc. Bachchan was awarded with the esteemed Padma Bhushan in the year 1976.
So, on the occasion of 114th birth anniversary of one of the greatest poets of India, we must pay a heartfelt tribute to the legendary Harivansh Rai Bachchan for leaving behind his golden words!
Keywords: India, Artists, Poets, Harivansh Rai Bachchan, Literature.
The Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh is setting up industrial corridors along both sides of Lucknow-Faizabad-Gorakhpur four-lane national highway within the 65 km periphery of the Ayodhya Development Authority's (ADA) jurisdiction.
The industry hub, spread over 100 acres, will form part of Ayodhya Master Plan-2031 that is being prepared by the ADA.
According to ADA Vice Chairman Vishal Singh, the master plan is expected to be finalised next month and will be sent for state government's approval.
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Unlike other development projects, the ADA will not acquire land from farmers.
"Industrialists will directly buy plots from land owners and ADA will provide infrastructure. The industrial hub will cover an area of 100 acres," he said.
The new master plan extends from the Ring Road with proposed industrial corridors along both sides. Around 114 development projects approved by the state government have been incorporated in the master plan.
Amid construction of the Ram temple, Ayodhya is undergoing a makeover with modern infrastructure and facilities. The town soon will have grand gates called 'Ram Dwaars' at all entry points along with gardens with invoking the ambience of 'Treta Yug'.
another proposal to include villages of Basti and Gonda districts under the ADA.Unsplash
Also read: Ram Mandir to be built in Ayodhya by 2022
Principal secretary, housing and urban development Deepak Kumar said that project deadlines will be met on a war footing.
There is another proposal to include villages of Basti and Gonda districts under the ADA. (IANS/PR)
Keywords: Ayodhya, Industrial area, Development projects
The Singara or Beautiful Chennai turned into Venice with roads waterlogged and several homes getting inundated owing to the heavy rains that poured throughout Friday night and Saturday morning.
The rains and the subsequent inundation have put normal lives out of gear in the city.
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The weather department has warned of more rains issuing a red alert for several districts including Chennai, one of the smart cities.
More than 20 districts in Tamil Nadu experienced continuous rains.
The government has declared a holiday for educational institutions in 23 districts on Saturday.
Several localities in Chennai went under water and subways have been closed for traffic due to flooding.
Traffic has been diverted in several places due to waterlogged roads.
With increased water inflow, the shutters of the Chembarambakkam lake were raised to let out surplus water.
In the districts, several acres of paddy fields went under water damaging the crops.
Fishermen have been advised not to venture into the sea.Unsplash
Also read: record rainfall cripples life in Chennai
Meanwhile the weather department has predicted heavy rains for Chennai, Tiruvallur, Kancheepuram, Chengalpattu, Tenkasi, Tirunelveli and Thoothukudi districts.
Fishermen have been advised not to venture into the sea.
Chief Minister M.K. Stalin is expected to meet Governor R.N. Ravi to brief him about the measures to mitigate the problems faced by the people due to heavy rains. (IANS/PR)
Keywords: Chennai, red alert, M.K Stalin