Thakur Ranjit Singh
Roy Krishna, Professional footballer and A League Phoenix striker from Wellington was honoured with the ‘Girmit Legacy Award in Sports, called, ‘Khelkood Ratan’ by the Auckland-based Fiji Girmit Foundation of New Zealand on May 10, 2019, in Auckland.
Krishna received the Award from former Governor-General Sir Anand Satyanand at the 140th Anniversary of Girmit.
Professor Brij Lal, recipient of the ‘Sahitya Ratan’ (Literary Award) had spoken about the Fiji Girmityas: Ordinary people who achieved extraordinary feats on the face of extraordinary adversities and difficulties. Their resolve and determination to succeed carried them to deliver Fiji-Indians where they are today.
This applies aptly to Roy Krishna, an ordinary person from a dusty sleepy village in Vanua Levu, Fiji. He has made his Girmitya great grandparents proud.
Today, their great-grandchild, who started playing Soccer by kicking balls made of plastic bags (as we do in village life), has reached the pinnacle of the game in Australasia.
Rated among the Best of the Best, he is a darling of millions of Soccer fans.
It appears the souls of Girmityas are blessing their descendants, as they have handed over their resolve, resilience and traits to the new generation.
Awards and Citations
Roy has received many Awards and recognition for his excellent skills.
But this is the sweetest of all – one presented by his own people not only in recognition of his Soccer skills alone but also for character, personality and traits that have been passed on by Girmitya forebears to the new generation of Fiji-Indians.
As a humble great-grandson of Girmityas, he is a scoring example.
It was decided to include Soccer in Girmit Legacy Award because the British introduced Soccer in Fiji. Therefore, it was appropriate to reward the Soccer Star in New Zealand and a proud Girmitya son.
The Rise of Roy Krishna
The Citation read, “During his first month in New Zealand just over 11 years ago, he spent most of his time crying alone in his room. At 20, the suffering of pangs of homesickness in the first few months almost ended his career. Like our Girmityas, he was lonely, away from the loved ones, but unlike Girmityas, he could communicate to his parents.
“In tears, he would plead with his mother to let him come home. Instead, Krishna’s father would gently take the phone and tell his son his destiny lay elsewhere, and one day he would create history.”
And how prophetic was his father, Bal Krishna.
Roy Krishna is Fiji’s first professional footballer who currently plays for Wellington Phoenix where he is on a history-making spree this year, winning the coveted Golden Boot, playing his 100th game and being the highest goal scorer in the current season.
Humble and Focused
He is a perfect role model for the younger people through a display of his character, both on and off the fields with great dignity, demeanour, and decorum, well aware of his social responsibilities –and his roots.”
In July 2018, Roy married Lisi Naziah Tora Ali, a Fijian model and Beauty Queen contestant. She flew from Fiji specially to be present at our Girmit Anniversary and witness her husband being honoured.
As an Indo-Fijian, Nazia Krishna is an epitome of Fijian legacy, representing the best of both worlds. Her father is a third generation Fiji Indian Girmitya descendant, while her mother is an ITaukei (native Fijian) from the Province of Ba.
That is a perfect picture of Fiji we all wish to see.
And Roy Krishna’s success story is a legacy that has been passed on to successive generations. Girmityas wished that, consciously and appreciatively, the new generation will inherit their legacy: a legacy of struggle, endurance, resolve, resilience and achievement.
Thakur Ranjit Singh is a Founder-Trustee of Fiji Girmit Foundation of New Zealand. He is is a Journalist, Media Commentator and Blogger at Fiji Pundit.
Former Governor General Sir Anand Satyanand presenting the ‘Khelkood Ratan Award’ to Roy Krishna, watched by his wife Lisi Naziah (left) Picture by Thakur Ranjit Singh