Ram Kehwa remembers the tough days from Girmit era

Ram Kehwa remembers the tough days from Girmit era

By Mansi Chand
Saturday 11/05/2024
75-year-old Ram Kehwa

As we celebrate Girmit day today, 75-year-old Ram Kehwa of Laqere, Labasa says he has spent his childhood among Girmityas and has seen the tough days his grandparents and relatives went through.

In an interview with fijivillage News, Kehwa says he still remembers that the drains that are now dug by tractors used to be dug by his grandparents using spades for months.

The 75-year-old says after a tiring day, they did not have the luxury to go home and rest but were supposed to get back on the sugarcane plantations.

Kehwa says he gets emotional when he listens to the Girmitiya Khatha on Radio Sargam as it reminds him of all the suffering his relatives went through in that era.

He says his grandparents used to tell him how they were tricked and brought to Fiji by saying it would be a change for good.

Kehwa says his grandmother Sita Ram used to beautifully sing bidesiya without instruments and cry as she realised she would never be able to reunite with her family in India.

Kehwa further says that his grandparents had to be on the sugarcane field by 4am and if they were late white men used to ride on horses to punish them for being late. Meanwhile, the theme for the 145th Girmit Day celebration is "Journey of Girmit Descendants in Building a New Fiji". The event will be held today till Monday at the Lautoka Girmit Multicultural Centre and also at Subrail Park, Labasa.

Monday will be a Girmit Day public holiday.

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