Minister Reddy reminds Sanatanis ethos and values of forefathers

Minister for Agriculture, Rural and Maritime Development, Waterways and Environment Dr Mahendra Reddy speaks at the 60th Sanatan Annual Convention today. Picture: SUPPLIED

“WE have to cherish the seeds of Sanatan Dharm that our forefathers have inculcated among us by establishing various formal, non-formal and religious institutions that define contemporary Fiji today.”

Fiji’s Minister for Agriculture, Rural and Maritime Development, Waterways and Environment Dr Mahendra Reddy said this while reminding members of Shree Sanatan Dharm Prathinidhi Sabha of Fiji at the 60th Sanatan Annual Convention at Tuva Primary School in Sigatoka today to cherish the seeds that helped achieve that definition.

“We’re here to reflect on what specific ‘karmas’ that we as Sanatanis have to undertake to protect the ethos and founding values of that Sanatan organisation, and how we can map out a brighter future for our children going forward,” Dr Reddy said.

“Our success today, in all spheres of life, can be attributed to the sacrifices our forefathers made to establish these institutions when legal framework for such establishment was not clearly articulated.

“The emigration of Indians over the past two centuries was in response to demands for their services and skills that resulted in their settlement in all parts of the globe.”

According to Mr Reddy, the Sanatan Dharm Pratinidhi Sabha is the largest Hindu religious body and its roots can be traced back to their forefathers who arrived in Fiji from India to work on plantations.

He adds direct recruit from India begun in 1879 where the first lot of 463 immigrants landed in Fiji on May 14, it continued for the next 37 years and resulted in the arrival of more than 61,000 Indians to Fiji.

The Minister said this was not just a physical movement of people but they carried with them socio-cultural beliefs and practices – such as a predefined social identity, a set of religious beliefs and practices, a framework of norms and values governing family and societal relationships, food habits, and a distinct language.

The Sanatan Dharam Pratinidhi Sabha of Fiji has 28 local branches, hundreds of temples and mandalis, and it manages a number of primary and secondary schools and technical colleges.

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