Mayotri Chand, 59, of Ba yesterday displayed an eye-watering drama to show how her great grandmother, originally from Uttar Pradesh in India, was kidnapped to Fiji on board the Leonidas.
This was part of celebrations to mark Girmit Remembrance Day at Nadi Civic Centre which involved a big number of people who are descendants of the indentured labourers from India.
Her great grandmother was among those on board the ship and ended up working in sugarcane farms across the country under the indenture system of the British administration.
“My great grandmother was just 19 years old when she was kidnapped with my grandfather, who was just six months old,” Ms Chand said.
“My great grandmother was promised a good job with better wages.
“She found she was being shipped to a totally different country and for days and nights without proper meals she finally arrived in Fiji on board the Leonidas in May 1879.”
Ms Chand was joined by the Naari Sangam from Varoka Tavarau in Ba.
She said their families made plans to visit Uttar Pradesh to reconnect with their relatives there.
“One day I hope to visit my origins and meet my great uncles and aunts who were left behind,” Ms Chand said.
“You know every time when I think about what my great grandmother went through under British rule in Fiji, it brings tears.
“I want to thank the FijiFirst Government for giving us the freedom to remember our forefathers and all the struggles they endured to build this nation,” she added.
Ms Chand said tracking their family in Uttar Pradesh would be quite difficult because they still don’t know their great grandmother’s name.
“This will involve so much research and we will go to any length to meet our blood relatives in Uttar Pradesh,” she added.