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Lal Documents Grandfather’s Struggles

Lal Documents Grandfather’s Struggles
Brij Lal signing a copy of his book.
May 17
11:00 2017


Minister for Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations Jone Usamate launched fellow MP Brij Lal’s book ‘Forgotten Struggles of Fiji Girmit’ at the University of the South Pacific TAFE Centre.

Mr Lal said the constant encouragement from his wife, Meena, about his grandfather’s history and; a family reunion two years ago prompted him to write.

“I remember my father taking my brothers and I to our grandfather’s graveyard in Vatubogi, Bua, and explaining everything he knew of the struggles of my grandfather. This gave me the inspiration to do research and write this book,” said Mr Lal.

The forward of the book was written by an educationist, unionist, former politician and social worker, Krishna Dutt.

He said some of the highlights of the book about Indians being already in Fiji before the indentured labourers arrived were not common knowledge in Fiji.

“The first Indians to arrive in Fiji were those who came on ships to collect sandalwood in Bua in 1805,” he said.

“There was a dispute on the ship and an Indian jumped off the boat, swam to the shore and stayed back in Bua.

“The second lot was 31 Indians brought from New Caledonia to work on an estate in Taveuni.”

He said the book was a good documentation of what transpired of his grandfather and was a challenge for his children and grandchildren to keep updating their history.

Mr Lal said it took five months for him to write the book; and two years of research had finally paid off with the publication of the book which was launched last Friday.

Edited by Rusiate Mataika


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