14 May 2014, it’s been 135 years, and we pay tribute to over 60,500* Girmitiyas, of Fiji. A day to reflect, respect and honour the thousands of people who came to Fiji between 1879 and 1916 in the 87 voyages from Calcutta and Madras. Take a minute to sincerely remember and honour the Girmitiyas who are not with us today. We are as knowledgeable as everyone in this world when it comes to our heritage, ancestry and history and we chose to learn about our history because it was and it will always be important to us.

The British and other European colonial powers started the Indian indenture system in 1838, as a cheap source of labour to their colonies after African slavery was abolished in 1833. Under this system some 1.2 million Indians were transported to the colonies between 1838 and 1916.  Some 60,500 Indians were transported to Fiji between 1879 and 1916, when the transportation of indentured Indian laborers was stopped.

The indenture system itself was abolished in 1921. The contracts of the indentured labourers, which they called GIRMIT or agreements, required them to work in Fiji for a certain period of time as specified in their agreements.

After 5 years of girmit they were free to return to India on their own expense. After 10 years of girmit, the colonial government was compelled to provide free passage back to India to every girmitiya and their children. In the case of Fiji 25,000 girmitiyas returned to India, many even before 5 years of indenture. However,the majority of the remaining 35,000 Fiji Girmitiyas remained in Fiji and it is argued that they were prevented from returning to India by the colonial government of Fiji and the Colonial Sugar Refining Company (CSR) of Australia. This was done to ensure continued supply of Indian labour to Fiji’s sugar industry, on which Fiji’s economy depended at that time. The majority of the Indo-Fijians are direct descendants of these exiled Girmitiyas of Fiji. This website is a homage to these Girmitiyas and their children.

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The British and other European colonial powers started the Indian indenture system in 1838, as a cheap source of labour to their colonies after African slavery was abolished in 1833. Under this system some 1.2 million Indians were transported to the colonies between 1838 and 1916.  Some 60,500 Indians were transported to Fiji between 1879 and 1916, when the transportation of indentured Indian laborers was stopped.

The indenture system itself was abolished in 1921. The contracts of the indentured labourers, which they called GIRMIT or agreements, required them to work in Fiji for a certain period of time as specified in their agreements.

After 5 years of girmit they were free to return to India on their own expense. After 10 years of girmit, the colonial government was compelled to provide free passage back to India to every girmitiya and their children. In the case of Fiji 25,000 girmitiyas returned to India, many even before 5 years of indenture. However,the majority of the remaining 35,000 Fiji Girmitiyas remained in Fiji and it is argued that they were prevented from returning to India by the colonial government of Fiji and the Colonial Sugar Refining Company (CSR) of Australia. This was done to ensure continued supply of Indian labour to Fiji’s sugar industry, on which Fiji’s economy depended at that time. The majority of the Indo-Fijians are direct descendants of these exiled Girmitiyas of Fiji. This website is a homage to these Girmitiyas and their children.

Find us on Facebook     Follow us on Twitter   Subscribe to our YouTube Channel

 

 

The British and other European colonial powers started the Indian indenture system in 1838, as a cheap source of labour to their colonies after African slavery was abolished in 1833. Under this system some 1.2 million Indians were transported to the colonies between 1838 and 1916.  Some 60,500 Indians were transported to Fiji between 1879 and 1916, when the transportation of indentured Indian laborers was stopped.

The indenture system itself was abolished in 1921. The contracts of the indentured labourers, which they called GIRMIT or agreements, required them to work in Fiji for a certain period of time as specified in their agreements.

After 5 years of girmit they were free to return to India on their own expense. After 10 years of girmit, the colonial government was compelled to provide free passage back to India to every girmitiya and their children. In the case of Fiji 25,000 girmitiyas returned to India, many even before 5 years of indenture. However,the majority of the remaining 35,000 Fiji Girmitiyas remained in Fiji and it is argued that they were prevented from returning to India by the colonial government of Fiji and the Colonial Sugar Refining Company (CSR) of Australia. This was done to ensure continued supply of Indian labour to Fiji’s sugar industry, on which Fiji’s economy depended at that time. The majority of the Indo-Fijians are direct descendants of these exiled Girmitiyas of Fiji. This website is a homage to these Girmitiyas and their children.

Find us on Facebook     Follow us on Twitter   Subscribe to our YouTube Channel

 

 

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