The more sensible and practical ones tried to create fleeting niches of happiness, even in the crowded and ugly ‘coolies lines’ as the following song from Fiji shows:

Source:  Fiji Sun, 15 May 1979. 

The six foot by eight foot CSR room
Is the source of all comfort for us.
In it we keep our tools and hoe,
And also the grinding stone and the hearth.
In it is also kept the firewood.
It is our single and double-storey palace,
In which is made our golden parapet

Abdul AzizI left India because I was told that I would receive a shilling a day for work in Fiji and that after five years when my girmit was …[more]
BhageluI left India because it was a time of distress in the country. There was therefore a willingness on my part to accept the offer of a job. I …[more]
BujawanMy original home was Gonda in India. I was lured by recruiters when I was about twenty-five years of age. I could read a little in those …[more]
ChinsanI came to Fiji through my own arrogance. There was trouble at home and I walked out. I met someone and asked him to give me work. He …[more]
Debi SinghI lived with my wife and mother in India. One day I decided to visit my aunt in Basvelli. My mother gave me some money to buy some …[more]
Devi SinghI was working in Calcutta and remitting money to my village in Agra. In Calcutta I was a watchman earning 4/- per week. I had been …[more]
Din MohammedI 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 …[more]
GafurI was a student in Bombay and was on my way home when I met some men who asked me if I were interested in work. They took me …[more]
GayadinI had a quarrel with my brothers and so left home. I had been in Surinam before coming to Fiji. I worked in Surinam for about six years and …[more]
Govind SinghI came on Chenab I, from Babalpur and was 19 or 20 years old when I arrived in Fiji. Two or three of us were wandering around the …[more]
HusseinI was an assistant teacher at a school and I hit a girl who I was to marry in a week’s time. We had already bought all the provisions for the …[more]
JaganI left because of a problem with my marriage. My wife was 12 years old. Whenever I approached her she resisted my advances. Hence, I …[more]
KananI am from Malabar. I am not a Hindustani. I served my indenture in Fiji in Navua. It is difficult for me to relate why I came. Everyone who …[more]
LakhpatI came to Fiji in the year 1911. I was born in Kanpur, Madhya Pradesh, but my parents came from Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh. I was about 15 ..[more]
LotanI came from Basti when I was 28 years old. I left India because there was a shortage of work there, so four of us got together and decided …[more]
MahabirI was about 16 and used to work as a lohar. Then I met a man who asked me whether I was looking for a job. When I answered that I was, …[more]
MahadeoI was sixteen when I came to Fiji. I was unmarried and an orphan; my parents had died in some epidemic. In India I had made a living …[more]
MangaiaI came with another man as his brother. We quietly fled from our homes. My brothers gave me a rough time so I wanted to leave India. I …[more]
PahaladI was on a journey to Kanpur to work on the Ganges and met an arkati who took me in a buggy to a recruiting depot. At that time I was …[more]
PanchamI had no intention of coming to Fiji, or going away to any other island. It was the season of cheat, a time of extreme heat, and the time …[more]
Rahim BukshI was young and working on the railroad in India. One day I went out to do some shopping and I met a Muslim recruiter who gave me some …[more]
Ramraj MaharajI was a sturdy 16 year-old on my way to the town where there was a recruiting depot, and met an arkati who suggested there was …[more]
SamjhawanI arrived in Fiji in 1910. With others we were sent to Lautoka which we reached on a night when hurricane winds were raging. Our first …[more]