I came from Basti in the year 1910. I deliberately left my mother and father and ran away and came to Fiji, I was lured away by someone painting a glorious picture of my being able to obtain work elsewhere. On arriving in Fiji I realised how well off I had been in India in comparison with the difficult times of girmit here. I was single when I migrated. The recruiter was from our own village and that is why he was able to persuade me. I told nobody that I was going. In Basti my father had a farm of something like 10 to 15 bigha hence I did not experience any difficulty at home. But I was young and attracted by the recruiter’s story. I came quite willingly, simply because I was drawn by the offer of money. In India one received three pence a day, in the new place a shilling a day was promised, a substantial increase.
In the interim depot before we were sent to Calcutta, each man had to cook for himself. There was no case of someone else doing your cooking. I stayed for fourteen days in the interim depot from where some people ran away. Then we went to Calcutta where there was a Hindu cook, but everybody ate the food that he cooked no matter what their caste. There everyone lost his caste and his religion. The same clinical thermometer was put in everyone’s mouth, whether a Hindu, Muslim, Brahmin or anything else. I remained three or four weeks in Calcutta with no work to do at all. The day we were to go on board the ship we received a dhoti, a blanket and a small shirt.