Girmit Foundation launches Christchurch Chapter

In homage to the Girmityas of Fiji (Photo Supplied)

Shirish Paranjape
Christchurch, August 9, 2022

The launch of the Christchurch Chapter of the Fiji Girmit Foundation New Zealand was held on July 30, 2022, at the Templeton Community Hall.

The event also marked the beginning of the Foundation in Te Waipounamu (South Island).

A huge crowd braved heavy rains and windy conditions to attend the event, which had a mix of history and tradition, with planning the path ahead.

Traditional Welcome with Drums and Shehnai (Photo Supplied)

Traditional welcome

The evening started with a welcome Bharat Natyam dance performance by Michelle Permal; lighting of diyas and candles and a Shehnai and Drums recital. This was followed by the singing of the National Anthems of India, Fiji and New Zealand.

Bas Deo, Coordinator of the Christchurch Girmit Programme and Jagat Singh were among the Cantabrians who addressed the gathering, while Foundation President Krish Naidu delivered the keynote address.

Fiji Girmit Foundation New Zealand President Krish Naidu lighting the traditional lamp (Photo Supplied)

Mr Deo said that the inauguration of the Christchurch Chapter is a significant move to make the younger generation aware of the Girmit era.

“We Indo-Fijians have learnt the ethics of hard work, determination, human values of simple working people and preservation of religion, culture and language. I am very excited to work with the national body to hold this important event annually on a much larger scale. I will engage with our younger generation,” he said.

Al Noor Mosque Imam Gamal Fouda (left) reciting verses from the Holy Quran.
Journalist Thakur Ranjit Singh is on the right (Photo Supplied)

A special moment at the ceremony was an interfaith prayer, which included not only the Hindu prayer but also Islam, with verses from the Holy Quran recited by Gamal Fouda, the Imam of Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch.

The Girmit Story by Kirti Sharma (Episode 1) was screened to provide an overview of the arrival of indentured labourers from India in 1879.

A section of the audience (Photo Supplied)

Krish Naidu and Jimmy from Jalsa Fiji Radio were the Masters of Ceremonies. It was an evening of remembrance, recognition and celebration.

Shirish Paranjape is Christchurch correspondent of Indian Newslink.

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