Guest Info

Rajendra Prasad is a lecturer at the University of the South Pacific: MA Linguistics, PGD Linguistics, and BEd Literature and Language. 

His publications include ‘From Hindustani to (Fiji) Hindi and Back to Fiji Baat?’, ‘Language and Law in Fiji’, and ‘It takes an island and an ocean’. 

Rajendra is currently researching multilingual education in Fiji. He is a 2020 PhD candidate working on a descriptive analysis of the verb morphology of Fiji Hindi.

About the Show

The India-Fiji relationship has recently strengthened through high-level visits and collaboration in trade, investment, defence, and security. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s historic visit in November 2014 marked a significant milestone after three decades. Rooted in shared history, cultural ties, and economic interests, their political relations reflect a commitment to advancing mutual interests within the region. However, a poignant question arises: Is this just a political gimmick to influence the masses or a genuine effort to honour the history and hardships of our people?

Step into a profound exploration of Fiji’s hidden history and the intricate tapestry of hyphenated identities. In this insightful episode of the Girmit Diaries, Aaisha Khan unearths the unspoken stories of indentured labourers and the silent strength they exhibited through the generations.

In a candid conversation with USP lecturer Rajendra Prasad, a fourth-generation Indo-Fijian, she confronts the notion that shame silenced the narrative of indentured history. Prasad’s perspective brings to light a different truth – that survival daily consumed their focus after the indenture’s end. These resilient ancestors harboured the foresight that their struggles would pave the way for a brighter legacy, even if they lacked the energy to share their stories amidst their challenges.

Their dialogue transcends time, touching on the present-day nuances of identity. They delve into the term ‘vulagi,‘ echoing across generations as a label for Indo-Fijians. Prasad’s insights expose how such labels can unconsciously impact the diaspora, calling us to consider the weight of our words.

As Fiji Language Week approaches, they ponder the place of Fiji Hindi – a bridge between cultures – within this celebration. Does its inclusion detract from the Fijian language or enhance the richness of dialogue?

Join them as they seamlessly intertwine these discussions with the heartbeat of the Girmit Diaries. Aaisha Khan leads a compelling exchange with Rajendra Prasad, exploring shared Indo-Fijian heritage with authenticity. Prasad’s pride in dual identities resonates deeply, reflecting the profound connection between heritage and self.

As they navigate the corridors of identity politics, they uncover the divergence between political narrative and the reality etched in grassroots experiences. Their voyage transcends time, unravelling the impact of identity-based marginalisation on the individual psyche shaping perspectives that span generations.

Embark on this journey of revelation, where echoes of the past resound with contemporary wisdom. Tune in to honour the strength of those who endured, gain insights from the perceptive Rajendra Prasad, and ignite a newfound appreciation for the hyphenated identities that define us today.

Produced by Global Indian Series for the Global Indian Network.

Script by Rajan Nazran
original idea: Rajan Nazran

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