NATION

Bal Krishna Recalls 1970 Independence

“I was a naïve island boy from the copra sheds of Taveuni. All this talk of independence and a new flag had me hooked and I wanted to know what was going to happen on that day.”
26 Sep 2020 12:16
Bal Krishna Recalls 1970 Independence
Bal Krishna lives a simple life at his home in Laucala Beach. Photo: Shalveen Chand

October, 10, 1970, a day that will forever be etched in the memory of Bal Krishna.

He and his brothers and cousins lined up at Albert Park and waited for more than three hours to see Fiji get its freedom from Great Britain.

He was around 18 years old when the news of Independence filled the air.

“Everyone was talking about Independence. I wanted to know what the whole deal was. I recall waking up that day to be part of the celebrations at Albert Park,” Mr Krishna said.

“I was a naïve island boy from the copra sheds of Taveuni.  All this talk of independence and a new flag had me hooked and I wanted to know what was going to happen on that day.”

Mr Krishna said his cousin, former Chief Magistrate, David Balram, was part of the crew that went to Albert Park.

He recalls the traffic that day and how they made sure they were in front of the crowd. It was a three-hour wait but they did not mind.

Mr Krishna and his crew were 50 metres away from where the main pavilion was. He said they could see Prince Charles and Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara.

“I recall the flag being raised for the first time. It was a feeling that I cannot put into words. I was happy, there were tears in my eyes,” he said.

“There was this sense of patriotism and euphoria created by the fact that we were breaking away from our colonial rulers.”

50 years on, Mr Krishna lives a simple life in Laucala Beach at his home. He is still very active.

This Independence Day, Mr Krishna wishes that all Fijians come together united as one people.

“We have a beautiful nation. I hope that we can stand together not only on that day but remain united as one and not divided because of our differences,” he said.

A celebration is planned on October 10, 2020 at Albert Park for the 50th anniversary.

Edited by Selita Bolanavanua

Feedback:  shalveen.chand@fijisun.com.fj

 

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