The Girmitiyas who left India between 1879 and 1916 most likely did that in search of a better life, many hoped to get away from Indian famines that ravaged the country in the 19th Century; while others were tricked into a better future by the Recruiters. They left in groups of family members, while some left alone. Under economic stress, people on the move did not record a great deal of family history information in India. Oral histories have been passed on from generation to generation, therefore it’s extremely important to share and document such valuable information.
The records of the Indian Indentured Labourers or Girmitiyas are of world significance in documenting a period of movement which was initiated and managed by the machinery of colonialism. It must not be neglected that the Emigration Passes held by the National Archives in Fiji, The Latter Day Saints Family History Library in Utah and the National Library of Australia, together with every oral history passed down from generations, is the only source for genealogy search for the descendants of Girmitiyas worldwide.
We the descendants of the Girmitiyas have become an integral part of the former colonies that received them; and the records pertaining to our forebears are of irreplaceable social, cultural and historical significance.
These records hold answers to questions of social inequality, gender inequality, racism, crime and social injustices during the Colonial power. They comprise the most detailed record extant of the strategy of the Indenture system and the colonial powers and its consequences for the human rights of the labourers.
Once again I urge all descendants of the Girmitiyas/Indentured/Contracted Labourers to contemplate the importance of recording such data and passing it down.
This website contains references to books, articles, journals, documentaries which are irreplaceable, extremely valuable records that provides a tangible connection between India and Fiji, and equally important is the indelible connection between us – the descendants of the Girmitiyas and the countries other than Fiji, that we now have called home. Girmit.og would like to once again acknowledge and thank all the Contributors of the articles, books, journals, documentaries; and also the National Archives of Fiji for provided content to build this very large and equally treasured database.
It should be noted that our history has shaped our way of life; the study of any history is the study of humanity and to lose such an important part of our heritage would be to lose a unique part of our humanity. The Indian Diaspora to Fiji had a colossal impact on the local economy, the politics and the socio-cultural makeup of the colonies. The Indentured descendants have gone on to create new livelihoods and expanded their horizons beyond the colonies some taking their place in the world as renowned professionals.
The mass migration of Indians to Fiji and other colonies and the Girmit stories are compelling and demand the equal attention of the international community through the preservation and accessibility of our heritage. Together we all should do our part to ensure that we record/document and share all information in this regards and the best place to start – is our own homes, share it with your children, your students, and your community.
There is no excuse, we have resources, and it starts with this website, its starts with books, journals, articles written by descendants of the Girmitiyas of Fiji. We have valuable data so please share, treasure and respect.
I am 66yrs old and living in England. I have just found the answers to so many questions about my birthplace, my Indian heritage and what my grandfathers went through to ensure I am here and alive. This all brings me to tears.
I have even denied being Indian as I was born in Suva, Fiji. All these years I never suspected or knew anything about Girmits. Because of their blood and sweat and tears I am here.