Indo-Fijians in Fiji have preserved and promoted India’s rich culture, tradition and language, a senior diplomat has said.
Vinod Kumar, India’s High Commissioner to Fiji, said that the efforts of the community in this direction were impressive.
“It is pleasing to note that descendants of Indians who came to the country as indentured labourers or traders, have retained their cultural identity,” he said, speaking to a small group at the Nadi Centre for Special Education on October 27.
He said that it was encouraging to experience Indian culture flourishing in a country that is far away from the Indian Sub-Continent.
Mr Kumar was in Nadi to distribute musical instruments and religious books to three organisations.
The Indian Government established the Indian Cultural Centre in 1972 in Suva.
Stated to be the first of its kind outside India, it is currently marking its 40th anniversary.
“We have heard of Indian culture being lost after three or four generations wherever Indians had gone but it has been well preserved in Fiji. We are happy to assist various groups who need assistance in these areas,” Mr Kumar said.
Promoting fine arts
Indian Cultural Centre Director Dr Kamal Kishor Mishra shared similar sentiments, saying that the Indian Government would continue to assist people of Fiji in whichever way possible.
“For the last three years, we have been providing services to schools, colleges, music department at the Fiji National University, University of Fiji and cultural organisations and Ramayan Mandalis. We have also assisted Fijian Government- operated cultural centres in Suva, Nausori, Nadi, Ba, Labasa and Savusavu with different kinds of musical instruments and books,” he said.
About 75 students from Fiji are currently studying in India, pursuing courses leading to Bachelor and Masters Degrees.
India’s High Commissioner to Fiji Vinod Kumar with students and officials at the Nadi Centre for Special Education on October 27, 2012