The descendants of today’s Indo-Fijian population were brought to Fiji by the British government as indentured labourers to work the sugar plantations, and are sometimes known as girmitiyas or girmit as a result. Indo-Fijians regard Fiji as their home. Although they were offered passage back to India after their term, most preferred to stay or could not afford to leave and through the years they have continued to work the land, becoming prominent in agriculture and also commerce. Today many Indo-Fijians continue to farm sugar cane on land leased from Fijian landowners, and also own many of the retail shops and professional services

Indians living in the rural areas have adapted well, some even speaking the local dialect and mixing well with the Fijians. There has been some intermarriage, but this has been minimal. Although Indo-Fijian people are initially more reserved than native Fijians, once you start talking to them they also love to spend time with you

The Indo-Fijian community has developed its own Fiji Hindi dialect, and as a result of their working conditions the traditional Indian caste system has become obsolete. The majority religion of Indo-Fijians is Hindu, although there is also a notable Islamic and Sikh population. Diwali and Holi holidays are celebrated, with many fireworks and light-covered houses being seen during the ‘Festival of Lights’. Indo-Fijian attire is similar to that of the native Fijians, but men wear dress pants instead of a pocket sulu while women will often wear saris. They have their own individual style of cooking that mostly centres around the Indian style of curry with roti served at almost every meal.

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