News

If you are looking for the very latest Nutkhut news, you’ve come to the right place.

Nutkhut is committed to supporting our freelancers and we’re determined to keep our community connected!

We’ve teamed up with leading Bollywood Choreographer Jay Kumar and would like to invite you to join our twice weekly virtual Bollywood dance classes, in real time, via Zoom!

Jay will lead these fun, family friendly sessions, providing a fantastic way to stay fit and connected.

Join our social media channels for session time and day updates!

We look forward to seeing you Play the Nutkhut Way! 

 

Nutkhut have been commissioned by London based Certain Blacks to create 3 x 4 minute dance films for the Newham Unlocked Festival on 15 and 16 August 2020.

Saans (Breath) by Ajay Chhabra, takes us through 3 stages of a woman’s life.

Through the footsteps of a child, we enter a world of joy and playfulness in one of London’s oldest outdoor markets, Queens Market, to a world of peace and memory.

The film will premier as part of this unique online festival to a global audience and feature Sujata Banerjee, the UK’s foremost leading Kathak dancer and choreographer.

The theme ‘Dance like Nobody is Watching’ will absorb CCTV footage into the narrative for each film.

Newham Unlocked is an action-packed weekend of exciting dance showcases featuring talented performers popping up in everyday locations and streamed online, courtesy of Mayor Rokhsana Fiaz and Newham Council.

Mayor Fiaz added: “We will work with a range of partners that already contribute to Newham’s cultural offer, as well as those that will be locating in Newham in the coming years. By 2022 some of the world’s leading arts and cultural institutions will be at the heart of London’s brand new cultural destination, East Bank at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, which will include BBC music studios, a Sadler’s Wells dance theatre, the London College of Fashion and a new Victoria & Albert museum.

Ajay Chhabra, writer and director of the film said, “It’s an honour and privilege to create a short film in London’s much treasured, Queens Market, a place that I’m familiar with since childhood. The memories of shopping here as a child with my mother come flooding in”.

Saans by Nutkhut pays homage to the disproportionate numbers from South Asian communities, who have lost their lives as a direct result of Covid-19.

For further details and press enquiries please contact:  emma@nutkhut.co.uk

Nutkhut is undertaking an exciting new history project about Fijian indentured labour and we’re offering free oral history training to members of the public as part of this project.

Project Girmit is Nutkhut’s Arts and Heritage initiative focusing on the indentured labour system in Fiji between 1870 and 1920.

After slavery was abolished in 1833, the British and other European powers started the indenture system to source cheap labour for their colonies.

Over 60,000 Indians were transported to Fiji between 1870 and 1920 as part of a legitimate but enforced mass migration.

Through the project, we’re looking to delve into this forgotten but essential part of history by sharing personal stories.

This is why we’re offering free oral history training to those interested in building a new skill and being part of this unique project.

We’re especially interested in hearing from people of Mauritian, Trinidadian and Guyanese heritage, as well as British-Fijian heritage, whose ancestors were indentured labourers.

The training will broadly explore the following:

  • What is oral history and understanding memory
  • Who to interview
  • Approaches to questions
  • An introduction to recording equipment
  • Dos and don’ts of interviewing
  • Practice interview
  • Documentation, including summarising, transcription, copyright, archiving

 

This oral history training will be delivered over Zoom on two consecutive mornings from 9.30am to 1.15pm, with half an hour breaks in the middle of the morning.

If you’re interested in taking part in the free oral history training with us, all you need to do is fill in this form and tell us why you would benefit from the session.

We’re keen to get started with the training soon, so please don’t hesitate to complete the form if you’re interested. We need all forms back by 22 August 2020.

The free session will be an enjoyable way for you to learn a new skill to add to your experience and understand more about the project.

If you have any questions, please email louise@nutkhut.co.uk

Click here to complete the oral history training application form.

This year marks the centenary for the end of Indenture, a system of bonded labour that was instituted following the abolition of slavery. 2020 also marks the 50th anniversary of a new beginning, Fijian Independence.

Following the abolition of slavery in the 19th century, a new system of labour was introduced. Indentured labour first appeared on the Indian Ocean islands of Reunion and Mauritius in the 1830’s, eventually resulting in two million young Indians being transported across the world.

When children witness change – big change like famine, pandemics, political unrest, and war – the effects can often have a dramatic influence on who they become and the way in which they navigate through life.

So to mark this long-forgotten and unknown history, our story is told through the eyes of a young child.

Lalli Maharaj was 10 years old when he experienced and witnessed famine. Born in a land that time forgot, the geographical heartbeat of central India, a Peepul Tree stands proud and below this tree is where Lalli was born. As the 19th century drew to a close, Lalli experienced the devastating effects of famine. Compelled to help his family and his community, he left his ancestral home and boarded a sailing ship in the Port of Calcutta, which he travelled on for three months, eventually arriving in Fiji in the South Pacific. He had unwittingly became an indentured labourer.

Lalli was barely 14 years of age when he started cutting sugar cane for 15 hours a day, six days a week. This went on for five years. He had left his own home, 7,000 miles away, where the crops had failed and the land was dry and arid, to travel to an island of abundance, where the soil was rich and the harvest of sugar cane was plentiful.

Supported by an ecology of plantation owners, financers and botanists who were all invested in farming sugar cane, the world’s fastest growing commodity was booming and Lalli was a small part of that giant global jigsaw. The cane would be turned into sugar and eventually find its way to the sugar bowls of Victorian England and the wealth creation to the boardrooms of London.

By the end of the First World War in Europe, Lalli had completed his Girmit – his agreement. He decided to branch out and set up a small shop in the farming heartlands of Fiji selling tinned fish, rope and basic provisions, eventually purchasing a plot of land in Flagstaff, Suva, the Capital city of Fiji. Flagstaff soon became synonymous with Lalli Maharaj.  His work ethic was legendary and his emphasis on education to make change was instilled in his children. By the time the Second World War began in the Pacific, he had transformed the lives of many by sharing his wealth and supporting the wider community as a philanthropist. The family’s growth and prosperity mirrored Fiji’s growth and prosperity.

Lalli Maharaj has left an incredible legacy. With his roots deeply ingrained and nourished in Fiji, his heritage has spread its wings far and wide. Lalli’s descendents, who number in their many hundreds, now live in the UK, Canada, USA, New Zealand, Australia, Fiji and India.

Lalli Maharaj was my Great Grandfather.

By Ajay Chhabra

 

Girmit is a Defining Moments project, which aims to mark significant historical anniversaries and moments which reflect the rich and complex relationship between Britain and South Asian communities globally.

For more information please visit the Nutkhut page about the Girmit project.