Sukhdeo’s Avatar incarnates in Australia

A Correspondent

‘Aryan Avatars: From Prehistoric Nomads to Settlers in the Pacific’ was launched at Westin, Denarau in November 2014 at which author Mahendra Sukhdeo addressed a selected group of Fiji citizens and booksellers.

Fiji was in festive and self-indulgent mood as leaders of two major powers – India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping were visiting the South Pacific nation. Both leaders met with Fijian Prime Minister Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama.

“Despite his hectic schedule, Mr Bainimarama agreed to meet me and my wife Malti (former Head Teacher of Deenbandhu Primary School, Suva), at Westin-Denarau. He graciously received a copy of the book and autographed a copy for me. I was honoured and delighted by his gesture,” Mr Sukhdeo said.

University of the South Pacific Bookstore is distributing ‘Aryan Avatars.’

Sydney Launch

Sukhdeo’s Avatar incarnates- A section of the audience at the launchThe launching of the book in Billus Function Room at Harris Park in Sydney on January 17, 2015 drew an avid group of over 80 guests.

Describing the highlights of the Book, Mr Sukhdeo said that for the first time an attempt had been made to provide a critical narrative of the ancestral inheritance including a preview of Hinduism from prehistoric times.

“The Book raises a number of issues now aggressively discussed in India and amongst the Indian Diaspora. These relate to the origins of Indians, the birth of Hinduism, the contra mind-set of the Indians (pacifist or militaristic) and the dynastic legacy,” he said.

On Fiji, he said that the Girmityas were ascribed as ‘coolies,’ even when they became ‘khula’ (free) residents.

Pride in Girmityas

Sukhdeo's Avatar incarnates-Mahendra and Malti Sukhdeo at the Sydney eventIn an evocative address, he said that the Indo-Fijian Diaspora should be proud of the rustic wisdom and entrepreneurial acumen of the Girmityas.

“It was their knowledge and sacrifice that led the first and second generation Indo-Fijians to successfully navigate from proletariat with meagre wealth to a class of bourgeoisie, within a span of 30 years,” Mr Sukhdeo said.

According to him, the current regime in Fiji had initiated enlarged democratic governance based on secularism and common identity.

He hoped that his four years of research that went into the publication of ‘Aryan Avatar’ will not be in vain and that readers, whose ancestors have moved from one country to another as a part of the historic global translocation during the last three centuries, will resonate with the narrative of the book.

About the Book

Sukhdeo's Avatar reincarnates- Aryan Avatars Book Cover ‘Aryan Avatars: From Prehistoric Nomads to Settlers in the Pacific’ reflects on the inheritance of those Indo-Fijians who were shipped from Kolkata (Calcutta) as contract workers.

Their origins and indenture experiences are researched and meticulously described.

Describing the abolition of the indenture system as a ‘mistake,’ Mr Sukhdeo said that the scheme should have been allowed to continue as desired by the planters and Fiji’s colonial regime.

The Book also analyses the ethnocentric faults in Fiji’s politics and the trials and tribulations of the new breed of ‘Aryan Avatars.’

Mr Sukhdeo said that coup culture had reduced a dominant community to a minority status. “From now onwards, Indo-Fijians will prop up ‘iTaukei’ led governments rather than aspiring to be the centrepiece of governance,” he said.

About the Author

Mahendra Sukhdeo was born in Nadi and is a third generation Fiji Indian whose grandparents migrated as contracted labourers from a remote village near the India-Nepal border in early 1900.  He has BA Honours and postgraduate degrees in Education and Politics from Delhi and Bombay Universities. He was a cadet reporter at Times of India and upon return to Fiji in 1968, worked at the Suva City Council in various capacities and at the University of South Pacific as Research Fellow and Lecturer (Social Policy and Administration).

His other roles were as General Secretary, National Union of Municipal Workers; founding Vice- President, Fiji Labour Party; Councillor and Deputy Lord Mayor, Suva Council; Secretary, India-Fiji Friendship Society; Member, Fiji Museum Board; Member, Hotel and Catering Wages Council; and President, Suva Society for the Intellectually Handicapped.

Migrating to New Zealand in 1999, he worked in Auckland at Adult Education Centre (Manager) and Sky City Group (Administrator) before relocating to Australia. He is married and has four children.

Email: mahendranz@yahoo.co.nz; Website: aryanavatars.wordpress.com

About The Author

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