Girmit day celebrations at Labasa Campus was held on the 9th of May, 2023. It saw students, staff and community working together to ensure that there was an opportunity of learning and appreciations of the Girmitiyas in Fiji’s history. The celebration began with a Welcome by MC- Ms. Ulamila Naitini, followed by a prayer by USP Satsang Boys. The guests gave opening remarks, acknowledging the significance of the day and the importance of honoring the contributions of the Girmitiyas. They also spoke about the challenges faced by the Girmitiyas, including the harsh living, and working conditions and the separation from their families and communities.
Moreover, the program featured various cultural performances, including Indian classical dance, play and songs and poems by local artists that portrayed the struggles and triumphs of the Girmitiyas. These performances showcased the diversity and richness of the culture and traditions that were brought to Fiji by the Girmitiyas and how they have influenced the local culture.
A speech by Ilimaina Rasewai acknowledged the hardship and contribution of the Girmitiyas and how they have contributed to the development of Fiji’s society, culture, and economy. This brought tears to the eyes of the speaker as well as those present in the program. The highlight of the programme was an emotional, expressive, touching drama of an experience of the Girmitiyas leaving India for Fiji. This was performed by Nandani Sami, Sonali Bishwa who are students at the campus and members of the Santan Youth for Hindi and Culture. They also performed with Ulamila Naitini at the national celebrations in Suva and had their drama televised with newspaper headlines made on the 16h of May for both Fiji times and Fiji Sun. Together with that, the group performed at the International Girmit Conference held at ICT Conference, USP Laucala Campus on the 12th of May 2023. The campus event was a fitting tribute to the Girmitiyas, who had made significant sacrifices and contributions to Fiji’s development and progress. In this spirit Guest Speaker Mr. Shalendra Bishwa presented his book titled “Rejected Emotions” to the campus as a token of appreciation and an opportunity to let students know of struggles. It also highlighted the importance of preserving and promoting the cultural diversity and unity of Fiji, which is a hallmark of the nation’s identity and strength. The Girmit Day Celebration at USP Labasa Campus was a vibrant and colorful event that showcased the rich cultural heritage of the Indo-Fijian community.