NEWS

‘We Are family’

The Fiji Girmit Foundation New Zealand acting president and trustee, Harnam Singh Golian, says they will continue to support the people of Nasilai as they are family. He said this
15 Oct 2015 10:49
‘We Are family’
Padma Wati Charan (right). Photo: Luisa Qiolevu

The Fiji Girmit Foundation New Zealand acting president and trustee, Harnam Singh Golian, says they will continue to support the people of Nasilai as they are family.

He said this during a talanoa session at Nasilai Village in Rewa during the thanksgiving visit by a delegation from the Fiji Girmit Foundation New Zealand and Girmityia descendants from NZ and Fiji yesterday.

The visit was to acknowledge the villagers and chiefs of Nasilai whose ancestors provided valuable assistance in the rescue operations which helped in saving 438 lives after the sinking of ship Syria on the Nasilai reef on May 11, 1884, where 59 Girmitiyas lost their lives.

The meeting was somewhat sombre and emotional as the delegation including the descendants presented their sevusevu together with a memorial plaque to the villagers. The delegation and villagers later proceeded to the beach facing the reef where the Syria sank.

Mr Golian commenting on how they proposed to assist the village, said: “We have made few arrangements with the Indian and New Zealand High Commission in helping Nasilai Village with their Village Hall Project and other facilities.”

“The villagers have requested to continue with the building of the monument in remembrance of the Girmit since it was stopped during the 2006 coup,” he said.

He said they had also made a request to the Government to set aside May 14 as a public holiday to remember the Girmits and the Nasilai ancestors.

“This is to educate our younger generation on its wonderful history,” he said.

Fiji Girmit Foundation New Zealand treasurer Krish Naidu said another request they had made to the Government was to embed Fiji Girmit history into the education curriculum.

“We feel that the younger generation needs to learn more of their own history particularly with those from the Indentured labourers,” he said.

“This would also show the generous help and sacrifice made by the iTaukei people of Nasilai in helping our forefathers which clearly demonstrates what two cultures have done to each other despite the differences,” he said.

 

Padma Wati Charan remembers great grandfather

At 66 years of age, Padma Wati Charan does not have any memories of her great grandfather but she was thankful to be reconnected to the history of the Girmityias.

Because her great grandfather, Thankur Kuldip Singh, was one of the 497 passengers that reached Fiji in 1884 on board the vessel Syria which ran aground on the reefs of Nasilai Village in Rewa.

Mrs Charan was part of the Girmit thanksgiving delegation that visited Nasilai Village in Rewa yesterday.

“If it wasn’t for the generous help of the people of Nasilai; we would not have been here today,” she said.

“We will continue to thank the forefathers of the people of Nasilai Village for their help in saving the lives of our forefathers more than a 100 decades ago,” she said.

Mrs Charan said 59 passengers lost their lives.

Feedback: luisa.qiolevu@fijisun.com.fj

Subscribe to E-Edition
pacific island top up
Rewa Fiji Dairy Ltd
Subscribe-to-Newspaper
Fiji Sun Instagram
Fiji Plus
Subscribe-to-Newspaper
error: