Girmit

The story of 20th century Indentured Labour

Currently in development – this project is the third part of our ‘Defining Moments’ trilogy.

Defining Moments projects, aim to mark significant historical anniversaries and moments in time, which reflect on the rich and complex inter-relationship between Britain and South Asian communities globally

2016 Dr. Blighty – Soldiers of the Empire and The Great War – Centenary

2018 Never Set Eyes – The largest Mass Migration in History – Anniversary

2020 Girmit – Abolishment of Indentured Labour – Centenary

GIRMIT – a corrupt form of the English word agreement – will focus on the British-Fijian indentured labour diaspora in the UK today and its history. It is a profoundly neglected part of British history, which remains relatively unknown outside of academic circles.

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.

The Fijian Community, despite its contribution to UK society through the NHS, the British Army and other sectors, remains invisible. Similar to the Windrush Generation, Fijians have deep associations with the UK. This is a once in lifetime opportunity to capture the memories and stories of this diverse British community at an important moment of the anniversaries of the Independence of Fiji and the abolition of indentured labour.”