|Fiji is also the land of the toils & tears, struggles and sweat, bondages & bloods, pains & hardships, endurance and industry, achievements and triumphs of the characteristic indomitable Indian spirit of adventure of a great people, we now recall as the Indian girmitias.
Surendra Nath Gupta
My View of Fiji Islands
Fiji is a small island state with a small population of about 8 or 9 lacs of which approx 37% are people of Indian origin. It is the only country outside India where Hindi is one of the official languages. There are four Hindi FM radio stations broadcasting Bollywood music, other Hindi programs and Ram Katha by Murari Baapu & others etc from morning till late night. Two ISKON temples, one Subramanya Temple besides scores of small temples make it look like little India.
Climate here is moderate and very pleasant throughout the year with all round greenery and sparkling bright colored flowers. It is surrounded by pacific ocean and beautiful beaches. It is rightly called Honeymooners Paradise among Europeans & Americans.
This is the land referred to in our scriptures as “Ramneek Dweep (attractive island)”. It was in this land that the cursed Kalia Naag was ordained to find its abode when Shri Krishna ordered Kalia to get away from the Yamuna of Gokul. There is a Kalia naag temple in Labasa city of Fiji and also the ISKON temple in Lautoka city is named Krishna-Kalia temple where unlike all other ISKON temples in the world the central temple has the Vighra (idol) of Krishana dancing on the Kalia naag. People in Rakiraki town believe that Kalia naag still lives there, occasionally comes out and is climed to have been seen by a few.
Goswami Tulsidas ji too, in his Ram Charit Manas, while describing the opulence of Shri Lanka had stated that Lanka was even better than the bhog-bhoomi of naaglok. I quote:
भोगावतीजसअहिकुलवासा, अमरावतीजसशक्रनिवासा |
तेहितेअधिकरम्यअतिबंका, जगविख्यातनामतेहिलंका ||
It is the Naag-Lok where Lanka's king Raavan used to come for fun and romance. His illegimate son Ahi-Raavan once ruled this place. Raavan's son Meghnath also had married the Naag kanya 'Sulochna' of this land.
There are reasons for me to believe that Fiji of today is the place referred to as Naaglok situated in Paatal lok. Perheps our ancient scholars, described the lands in southern hemisphere as the Paataal lok where in Fiji Island was one place frequently visited for enjoyment tourism because of its romantic climate and permissive society. Even today the society in Fiji is quite open and permissive. Also, it used to be land of very many snakes and serpents till the end of 19th century when the British occupied this island in 1872 and they brought indentured laborers from India to work in Agricultural farms and imported Nevlaas (goose) to finish the snakes.
Fiji is also the land of the toils & tears, struggles and sweat, bondages & bloods, pains & hardships, endurance and industry, achievements and triumphs of the characteristic indomitable Indian spirit of adventure of a great people, we now recall as the Indian girmitias.
The unfortunate adventurists, who were lured with false promises of heavens in Fiji to board the black ghettos of Leonidas and who, ignoring the social, cultural and traditional barriers, crossed the Laxman Rekha of Kala Paani, when they arrived, they found nothing short of a deep hell here. Faced with the stark reality of a certain death, they decided to challenge death and embraced the agony of toil and hard labor. They turned this hell into what Fiji is today. The Ramayana and the Mahabharata were replayed in the heroic struggles of the heirs to those great epics. It is the inspiring story of a remarkable people who went in search of their destiny to the nether reaches of the planet.