GOPIO Qld held it’s Girmit Diwas 2019 on 14th May 2019 at Queensland Vedic Cultural Centre, 198 Learoyd Road, Willawong . This year being the 140th anniversary was a significant day, GOPIO Qld believes that the significance of the day is in the date itself so they always hold Girmit Diwas on 14th of May every year. The venue Queensland Vedic Cultural Centres was well chosen and served the purpose well, GOPIO Queensland thanks president Jitendra Deo for making the hall available to GOPIO Qld.
The attendance of one hundred plus people on a Tuesday night, demonstrated that the hard work of spreading the word about Girmit by GOPIO Qld had finally borne fruits. Many people commented that they did not know a lot about Girmit , and that they had learned a lot by coming to these events organised by GOPIO Queensland.
The event began with a prayer by well-known Brisbane Pundit Sanat Pandey ji , Vinita Khushal president GOPIO Queensland welcomed the guests to the memorial service and made an emotional plea that we shall not forget( our ancestors and their sacrifices).
An especially choreographed Bharatanatyam depicting the hardship pain and eventually the triumph of the first arrivals was presented by Navya Rattehalli. The keynote speaker this year was the newly appointed Honorary Counsel for Fiji in Queensland, HE Hari Ragina, who spoke rather well on the subject and gave an insight of his upbringing in Ba, Fiji.
Bob Pillay brought a concept a panel discussion on Girmit, where by the panellist represented three generation the main question being “what Girmit meant to each generation”. Lekh Ram Sukh formerly of Ba, Fiji sang an especially composed song on Girmit at the request of Girmit Diwas coordinator Umesh Chandra, this song Shri Lekh Ram Sukh had sung at “Girmit Geeton Ki Shaam” held in Ba. Diwakar Prasad had made a historical speech at that event, Late Shri Anandli Lal Amin, Mrs Kanwal and Umesh Chandra all were in the organising committee of that event in Metro Theatre Ba, Fiji.
Following the presentations the wreath laying and floral tribute ceremony was conducted , the wreaths and flowers are laid at the cut out of the Plaque form the monument that GOPIO International was involved in erecting and inaugurating at Kiddpore Ghat in Kolkata. Umesh Chandra represented GOPIO Oceania chapter on the committee and had attend the inauguration on Jan 2011. The venue was sponsored by Brisbane Indian Times and Australian Indian Radio, the food was kindly sponsored by Cornerstone Law offices, tea, coffee and snacks were sponsored by Vinita Khushal of Bridges Family law and the sound system was generously donated by Sushen and Asha of DJ SV