Monday, September 15, 2014

Fiji Elections: We need home-grown solution as Western media still jaundiced to Fiji

Fiji Elections: We need home-grown solution as Western media still jaundiced to Fiji
Thakur Ranjit Singh

As Fiji approaches the historical 2014 election on 17 September, 2014, one thing is evidently clear: there has been no indigenous, i-Taukei Fijian leader in Fiji’s history, who could ever win the hearts of the migrant Indo-Fijian community in Fiji, as much as Bainimarama has done. Despite all the venom of western media and his opponents, Vorege Bainimarama has been the most visionary leader that a multi-racial and multi-ethnic Fiji has seen. Ratu Sir Lala Sukuna, Ratu Sir Kamiseses Mara, Sitiveni Rabuka, Mahendra Chaudhry and Laisenia Qarase have been left behind in the scrapheap of history, as Bainimarama looks for a home grown solution in a multi-racial fledgling democracy, plagued with ethno-nationalism and divisive politics.

He may not be perfect-but he is the best Fiji has seen so far. And in the process, expect some collateral damage, as any history-in-making produces.

FRANK BAINIMARAMA-the most popular ever Indigenous Fijian leader to the migrant Indo-Fijian community. The most visionary I-Taukei leader ever that Fiji has seen for a multi-racial country which is struggling with its democracy.
Every man and his dog, with their Western concept of failed democracy in Fiji had painted Frank Bainimarama as a villain and a selfish, self-centred man. The latest one is Nick Naidu, who represents an almost defunct organisation, the Coalition for Democracy in Fiji in Auckland.

Naidu’s claims on TV 3 interview on 15 September 2014 substantiates the reason why Frank Bainimarama is sceptical and suspicious of a free press in general and Western concept of press freedom in developing Fiji, in particular.
Naidu claims that Bainimarama is a person who only thinks of himself and nobody else. If Naidu and TV 3 had bothered to read that morning’s NZ Herald’’s article by its ethnic reporter, Lincoln Tan, they may think twice about airing such blinkered and jaundiced interview.

According to Tan, Nadi (Fiji) taxi driver Vinod Kumar said he "cannot wait" to have his say on who will form the next Fijian government.
The 55-year-old grandfather, whose son Shanil lives and works in Auckland, is "90 per cent sure" he will be voting for Frank Bainimarama and his Fiji First Party when the polls open on Wednesday.

"The West just don't understand, they think just because we had a military coup that makes Frank a bad person," Mr Kumar said.
"But life for us ordinary folks has improved so much under him. The roads no longer have potholes, crime is down and more children are going to school because schooling is now free."

He said small things, such as free school buses for students, go a long way because most in Fiji were "generally quite poor".
Mr Kumar said many Fijians were excited at the prospect of voting and election rallies were attracting crowds of thousands.

FRANK BAINIMARAMA-  a man for all people, seen here when he visited the Golden Temple in Amritsar, India. Lord Krishna in Bhagavat Gita said "when there is atrocity, and good and saintly are mistreated by demons, then I take a form of human and come to take away your pains and give justice" Your truly thinks, Bainimarama is one such form, who is seen as a savour of Indo-Fijians in Fiji.
That shows the diametrically inconsistent White mainstream media in New Zealand which is still somewhat jaundiced and unsure on Fiji issues. My journalism studies at Auckland University of Technology (AUT) in 2009 and 2010 revealed in my research papers that some of NZ media, who hardly employ ethnic reporters, were very opposed to happenings in Fiji just because Fiji had kicked away an unsuitable concept of Western Democracy, has kicked out some NZ reporters and did not at all miss the step-brotherly treatment given by NZ and Australia. Fiji marched along oblivion of Ostrich syndrome and snub by these neighbours. Fiji got other friends and ignored these two countries which now appear to be mending the bridges they burnt.

TV 3 failed to ask and Naidu failed to volunteer the information that democracy has become a dirty word in Fiji, especially among the Indo-Fijians who were starkly mistreated by previous ethno-nationalist and blatantly racist governments, masquerading as a democracy.  NZ and Australia, as supposedly civilised First World neighbours failed to keep a tab on the wrongdoings of Qarase regime which virtually had rendered Indo-Fijians to a third-class status. It was only the blessings of 2006 takeover of Qarase regime that gave back Fiji some hope.

If today I could call myself a Fijian and enjoy dual citizenship of NZ and Fiji, and still have that dignity as a Fiji citizen, it is because of the same Frank Bainimarama that the Western World takes all opportunity to project as some villain, because he rejected western imported failed system against a home-grown solution. What Fiji needed was an understanding of the world and a local solution to its fundamental problems. Fiji cannot be blamed for befriending China, Russia, Cuba and Korea when its neighbours, founded on bible and Christianity never showed much love for their neighbour.

FRANK BAINIMARAMA visited Auckland on 9 August, 2014, and huge crowd flocked to see him. He was mobbed by people, as if he was a Bollywood star. But all the White New Zealand mainstream media saw and reported on was a handful of protesters. NZ media has always been seen as too white, and too prejudiced to Fiji. With changing demography and population make-up of New Zealand, its media still does not reflect the colour of the nation in its newsrooms.
So many good things have taken place in Fiji, and consequently the credibility, authenticity and mandate of Coalition for Democracy comes into question for not knowing their Fiji. The leaders of other parties’ visited Auckland, nobody heard or saw. When Bainimarama visited Auckland on 9 August, 2014 at Vodafone Event Centre the place was overcrowded with people and Frank Bainimarama was mobbed like a Bollywood star. The blinkered Mainstream media in Auckland were blind to some 2,000 supporters but only saw a handful of protesters.

So many people know what perhaps Nick Naidu and TV 3 need to know about this popular Fijian leader. Frank Bainimarama rescued Fiji from chasm of racism and divisive politics, camouflaged as democracy. Fiji needs a home-grown solution, no more of imported failed western concepts. The elections in 2014 is a step in that direction. And when history is in making, as was USA’s 200 years ago, we are bound to have some collateral damage.

[About the Author: Thakur Ranjit Singh is a post graduate scholar in honours in Communication Studies from Auckland University of Technology. From a system which could give him a relevant job, he has started his blog sites, FIJI PUNDIT ( and KIWI PUNDIT ( and publishes what the other media does not tell] 

Monday, September 1, 2014

Ganesh Utsav at Ram Mandir in Auckland marks His birthday

Ganesh Utsav at Ram Mandir in Auckland marks His birthday

Thakur Ranjit Singh

Shri Ram Mandir Charitable Trust introduces Indo-Fijian Hindus to Ganesh Chaturthi, and celebration of birth of Lord Ganesh. All are invited to the festivities at Ram Mandir in Henderson on Saturday and Sunday 6th and 7th September, 2014.

Ganesh is widely worshiped as the god of wisdom, prosperity and good fortune and traditionally invoked at the beginning of any new venture or at the start of travel
For Indo-Fijian Hindus, celebration of birthdays of deities come naturally, especially the elaborate ways of over a week celebration of Ram and Krishn. However, birthday of Lord Ganesh, which is marked during Ganesh Chaturthi has not been celebrated as elaborately as birth of Ram and Krishn. This may be because Ganesh Chaturthi is mostly widely celebrated in  Maharashtra, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Goa, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Odisha, Kerala and Chhattisgarh. In Fiji, the majority of Girmitiyas came from Indo- Gangetic plains, from Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and nearby areas, hence it did not get that much prominence in Fiji. But things are changing with a globalised world and all are now getting an insight into birthday of Ganesh.

Ganesh Chaturthi is the Hindu festival celebrated on the birthday (rebirth) of Lord Ganesh, the son of Shiv and Parvati. It is believed that Lord Ganesh bestows his presence on earth for all his devotees during this festival. It is the day when Ganesh was born. Ganesh is widely worshiped as the god of wisdom, prosperity and good fortune and traditionally invoked at the beginning of any new venture or at the start of travel. The festival, also known as Vinayak Chaturthi ("festival of Ganesh") is observed in the Hindu calendar month of Bhaadrapad, starting on the shukla chaturthi (fourth day of the waxing moon period). The date usually falls between 19 August and 20 September.

Baby Ganesh
During the festivity, there are traditions and rituals that people perform during the Ganesh Chaturthi Hindu festival. People begin preparing months in advance by making check lists, selecting eco-friendly idols, reading up yummy recipes and thinking of innovating decoration ideas to celebrate the festival on a grand scale. Hindus also follow the rituals in Bringing Home the Ganesh Idol, many of whom choose to perform the Ganesh Staphna (Installation of the Idol) by themselves including performing the Ganesh Visarjan (Immersion)

For the first time for Hindus in Henderson, Auckland, Shri Ram Mandir Charitable Trust (SRMCT) is organizing Ganesh Utsav at its (partly completed) Ram Mandir complex at 11 Brick Street, Henderson, Auckland. For the convenience of people, arrangements are made for a Samohik (combined) Pooja of 2 days.

This will be held on Saturday 6 and Sunday 7 September, 2014. The programme begins on Saturday 6 at 7pm with Bhajans, Sthapna at 8pm, followed by cultural items at 8.45, rounding off with mahaprashad (dinner) at 9.30 pm.

Ram Mandir and Community Centre, as it will look after completion.
On Sunday 7th September, pooja is from 9-11am, with Sampuram Yagn at 11am, prasad and mahaprashad at 12pm and Visarjan at 1pm. This will be through a bus trip for devotees to take Ganesh murti for visarjan at sea. Devotees need to register for the bus trip.

For the first time, SRMCT is organizing this Samohik Pooja of multiple families, sitting in rows of 10, performing pooja collectively. For a contribution of $201, each family gets a reserved numbered pooja space, a 5 inch Ganesh Moorti, all pooja samagri for 2 days, singhasan and pooja vedi for families to take home.

Singhasan, Ganesh Murti and Pooja Vedi will belong to the devotees after Pooja

Each day, devotees will have to bring 21 laddoos, flowers, prashad, dubh grass and individual or combination of 108 items, comprising of almonds, cashew nuts, sultanas, mishri (candy), flowers or dubh grass.
Pradhan Acharya is Pundit Nand Lal Shastri and his assistant is Pundit Vishal Joshi. Booking is necessary and can be through Umesh (mobile 022 681 1763) or any Trustee.

Devotee families are urged to be part of this historic occasion where we all get together for a collective celebration and prayers. Do not be disappointed, register quickly as we have only hundred numbered and reserves spaces. For further information visit SRMCT’s website at or contact the Executive Trustee Pravin Kumar at


[About the author: Thakur Ranjit Singh is blogger at KIWI PUNDIT and FIJI PUNDIT, is a media commentator and Volunteer Media Liaison Officer for Ram Mandir Charitable Trust]