BY TUNISHA BANERJEE AND RISHA MONDAL:
The opportunity for academic exchange is one of the most alluring aspects of the “Fiji – India Relationship to strengthen further”. On this alluring opportunity, a press conference was organized to announce the current initiatives and future prospects to expand and strengthen Indo – Fiji trades in Bengal and beyond. Such a great initiative at the event was witnessed in the presence of His Excellency Yogesh Punja, Honorable High Commissioner of the Republic of Fiji to India along with Mr.HarshVardhan Patodia, newly appointed Honorary Consul of the Republic of Fiji in Kolkata on Thursday,4th July 2019 at The Lalit Great Eastern, Kolkata.
The session touched upon the great “Kolkata Memorial Project ” launched in 2011. This project marks a phenomenal relevance to the indentured laborers who left India and arrived at Fiji approximately 130 years ago. India’s contemporary rise to worldwide prominence and it’s strong ethnic ties with Fiji indicate that their relationship could be incredibly beneficial to the Fijian economy and the government. Speaking at the event, the Honorable High Commissioner showed his extreme keenness likely to showcase Fiji’s roots in the City of Joy,Kolkata and decided to collaborate with the MEA(Ministers of External Affairs), the Kolkata Port Trust and several diaspora missions introspecting the establishment of a proper Museum archiving and upgrading the Kolkata Memorial to make it an important tourist attraction for the country’s diaspora. Since there was and exists, overwhelming emotional sentiments and gusto ardor from all corners of the Indian Diaspora.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr.Yogesh Punja said, “We are extremely excited to be associated with the Kolkata Memorial Project. As an ode to the momentous history of Fiji and India, we have reached out to several organizations to revive the significant relationship between both the nations”.On igniting the roots in Kolkata he also added, “We have a plethora of upcoming projects with several major educational institutions like Calcutta University, Rabindra Bharati University which has been approached to help open a Rabindranath Tagore Centre in Fiji National Museum and Fiji Arts Council as well, with Jadavpur University’s support we aim to dig out archives pertaining to the Memorial Project, with the help of Presidency University and Sanskrit College, we aim to inculcate values, virtues, and ethics,we also have approached several cultural organizations like the National Library aiming to set up a Fiji corner showcasing a miscellaneous of Literature, art and writings from Fiji as a tribute to the country and the Indian Museum to help revive the emotional and historical link between both the nations”. The Netaji Bhawan Museum has also been approached to showcase the struggles, valor, and bravery during the Freedom Struggle in front of the Diasporas.
Apart from the cultural and ethical sectors, Fiji aims to dialect various other sections in improving the ties that bind both the countries as Mr. HarshVardhan Patodia said, “We tend to improve Fiji-India’s relationships in various sectors apart from culture and tourism in which we are working on a shared code between Air India and Fiji Airlines for enhancing connectivity between the nations, other sectors include agriculture, infrastructure, Solar power, Pharma, Healthcare facilities, timber”. In the entertainment sector, a rebate of 75% tax will be given to all the filmmakers and producers if a film is shot in Fiji and in sports, the consulate ardors to inculcate the same love and spirit of Rugby in India by introducing propose training and guidance. An astounding initiative in developing the above magnificence seems to tie-up the relation between “India -Fiji’ to even greater heights.
With an aim, the project initiates to promote Fiji in India and vice versa. Apart from inter-country trade, investments, and tourism, Fiji and India share many commonalities in terms of history, culture, language, and cuisines. Increased interactions and agreements with India can help the people of Fiji. As a result, Fiji would definitely grow as a steady, beneficial, economic, political, cultural international partner and most importantly understand the unique opportunities afforded to the Pacific nation in the presence of its ‘Indo-Fijian’ citizens.