Ranjan underlines significance of Girmit Remembrance Day

Ranjan underlines significance of Girmit Remembrance Day

TMB Report

Imphal: Union Minister of State for External Affairs Dr RK Ranjan graced the 143rd Girmit Remembrance Day marking the arrival of Indian workers as indentured labour, organised by Fijian High Commission held at ICCR auditorium New Delhi on Sunday.

Speaking on the occasion, RK Ranjan said that Girmitiya history and ties continue to connect the people of India and Fiji. He said that as Fiji commemorates the 143rd anniversary of the arrival of Girmits from the far-away shores of India, it is a solemn occasion to remember the strength and perseverance of the Girmits and cherish the shared historical ties between India and Fiji by celebrating the ties of kinship. The significance of Fiji’s Girmit Remembrance Day resonates both in Fiji and in India as well as with Girmitiyas around the world as we all are connected by our shared historical and cultural heritage, he added.

Dr Ranjan said that India’s migratory journey to foreign shore is a rich history of amazing accomplishments and many adversities and it stands out for resilience, fortitude, endeavor and success. When the Girmitiyas disembarked the Leonidas in 1879, they began a journey of hard work, hardship and a struggle to build a new life in a foreign land. They faced these challenges with grit and determination. But in doing so, they did not break ties with their cultural heritage even as they became one with the local peoples in their adopted homeland, he recalled.

It is a result of this closeness to their roots that we see, even today, Girmitiya culture manifesting in local dance, music and festivities in so many countries. It is a matter of pride that languages like Hindi and Bhojpuri are spoken and taught in schools in these countries. Even after the passing of more than a century since the Girmitiyas embarked on their journey, our coming together to celebrate Fiji’s Girmit Remembrance Day speaks of the preservation of their cultural richness, he continued.

The Union Minister maintained that since the independence of Fiji in 1970, India and Fiji have stood shoulder-to-shoulder with each other. It is a partnership based on mutual respect, cooperation and trust.

He said that as we all emerge out of the Covid-19 pandemic and endeavor to overcome its impact, India reaffirms its commitment to work even closely to build a more resilient and prosperous Fiji. India has promptly offered support in times of crisis and natural disasters, reflecting the importance and priority we attach to our cooperation with Fiji. Recently, on April 27, Prime Minister Bainimarama inaugurated the first children’s heart hospital in Suva established by the Sai Prema Foundation. On the occasion, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also joined Prime Minister Bainimarama with a video message. It is evident that the Indian Government accords the highest importance to its relations with Fiji, and it will continue to take this to greater heights in times to come, he added.

Observing that languages act as bridges between people of India and Fiji, the Union Minister said that plans are underway to hold the 12th World Hindi Conference in Fiji later this year. It will be an opportunity to also showcase the beautiful landscape of Fiji and share the culture and hopes and aspirations of the Fijian people with the participants from across the world, he added.

Dr RK Ranjan said that to commemorate this historic occasion, the High Commission of India in Suva has released a set of four commemorative stamps and first day cover on Girmit Remembrance Day 2022. These stamps were released on Saturday by the Prime Minister of Fiji as part of Girmit Celebration Programme organised by the Fiji Government, added the Union Minister.

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