By Brij V. Lal, Peter Hendrie
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Extra resources for Bittersweet: An Indo-fijian Experience
Eliot The world of the girmitiyas was a complex one, full of turmoil and tension and uncertainty, goodness, greed and curiosity. Old habits had to be discarded and unfamiliar challenges faced. New experiences posed problems requiring creative responses. A new vocabulary had to be learnt, an unfamiliar geography explored, a new terrain mastered, new pragmatic social relationships established. The girmitiyas dealt with the challenges in their own way, modifying thought and behaviour, incorporating resilient threads from an old and frayed fabric into a new and unique garment.
Yaro: ‘On the Thursday before Ramsamujh’s body was found I saw him towards dusk going in the direction of his father’s house. I was outside my house for a call of nature. Ramsamujh was about two chains [40 metres] off. He was alone. At [the] same time I saw Baijnath, Rajkumar Singh and Kallu going along another track leading towards Seorattan’s house, converging on Ramsamujh’s track. Accused Rajkumar Singh had [an] axe on [his] shoulder. ’ Not so, according to the scaled sketch drawn by George Heimbrod, a registered surveyor commissioned by the Crown.
Mustafa! How was it with him? He fell a martyr! Where? In the plain of Mariya! When? On the 10th of Muharram! Secretly? No, in public! Was he slain by night? No, by day! At what time? Noontide! Was his head severed from the throat? No, from the nape of the neck! Was he slain unthirsting? No! Did none give him to drink? They did! Who? Shimr! 39 22 BITTERSWEET There was something mysterious about the festival. People thought they saw blood in the tinsel mausoleum and heard soft wailing noises at night.
Bittersweet: An Indo-fijian Experience by Brij V. Lal, Peter Hendrie