Feature

Family Remembers Ancestor’s Arrival, Works And Legacy

“Today marks 142 years since the first ship ferrying indentured labourers from India arrived into Fiji,” Mr Hussein said.
15 May 2021 15:08
Family Remembers Ancestor’s Arrival, Works And Legacy
From left: Niyaz, Hazeem Hussein, Wadood and Hamzah Hussein in India infront of Ali Hussain’s house in 2020. Inset: Ali Hussain

As Fiji marked the 142nd anniversary of Girmit Day yesterday, Hazeem Hussein of Labasa reminisced about the arrival of his grandfather from India.

His late grandfather, Ali Hussain, arrived on June 8, 1912 on the indentured ship SS INDUS.

“Today marks 142 years since the first ship ferrying indentured labourers from India arrived into Fiji,” Mr Hussein said.

“My grandfather was selling bangles in Labasa while he was an indentured labourer.”

Ali Hussain.

Ali Hussain.

He said his father, Ashik Hussain, was born and worked as a tailor, then as a teacher before establishing the business, A.Hussain & Hardware, in Labasa Town in 1973,” he said.

“After he passed away at the age of 57, I continued the business as the managing director and later my two sons (Asif and Hamzah) joined.”

He said today, there are four generations of the A. Hussain & Company Pte Limited in Fiji.

“Being pioneers from a respected family, the humble beginnings have enabled us to venture into many businesses,” the 62-year-old said.

“Last Year we had the pleasure of visiting the exact house where my grandfather lived prior to coming to Fiji as an indentured labourer.

“He lived in a town named Kotila in Azamgarh, state of Uttar Pardesh.”

Mr Hussein’s youngest son, Hamzah Hussein said he was proud of knowing his family history during his visit to India.

From left: Niyaz, Hazeem Hussein, Wadood and Hamzah Hussein in India infront of Ali Hussain’s house in 2020.

From left: Niyaz, Hazeem Hussein, Wadood and Hamzah Hussein in India infront of
Ali Hussain’s house in 2020.

“We are thankful to our forefathers for their contribution towards the economy of Fiji,” Mr Hussein said.

“I am glad they made the choice to stay back in Fiji so that we could see good days.”

Between 1879 and 1916, a total of 42 ships made 87 voyages, carrying Indian indentured labourers to work on sugarcane plantations in Fiji.

A total of 60,965 passengers left India but only 60,553 (including births and deaths at sea) arrived in Fiji.

Edited by Jonathan Bryce

Feedback: shratikan@fijisun.com.fj



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