Introduction / History
The British Raj had a big problem to solve in the 1870s. The Fijian Islands were willing to become part of their empire, but they had to have a stable economy. So Governor Sir Arthur Hamilton Gordon came up with a way to make money and finance this new colony. Finances would come from sugar plantations. The governor knew that the Fijians would be incensed if they were suddenly forced to work the plantations, after agreeing to become part of the British Empire. So he decided to bring laborers in from their South Asian colony, India.
South Asian sugar workers started coming to work at the sugar plantations in the 1870s. Sikhs from India's Punjab were relative latecomers. They came to Fiji from 1900-1930. According to one Sikh web site, "The Punjabis have established themselves irreversibly, firmly and successfully in Fiji." It would be unusual to see a Sikh working in the sugar fields today. Some have been elected to Fiji's Parliament, and many now own businesses.
What Are Their Beliefs?
The Diaspora Punjabi reflect the three major religions of their homeland: Hinduism, Islam, and Sikhism. Most of the Diaspora Punjabi speakers are Sikhs who are mostly atheists.
Sikhism is a monotheistic religion that was founded in northern India during the sixteenth century. Its teachings have combined the elements of both Hinduism and Islam in an attempt to find one god who transcends all religious distinctions.
The founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak, was a man of strong convictions and high morals. Sikhs have been taught to defend the defenseless, thus the sword that they are required to have on their person. Their faith began in part as a rebellion against the inequality of the Hindu caste system. Thus, Sikhs believe in the equality of all humanity. They hope for one God who transcends all religions.
Those who have heard the words of Jesus have been drawn to Him. Since the 1970s, many Sikhs have put their faith in Christ, especially in Canada, and in their homeland, India's fertile Punjab State. But there are few Sikhs who follow Christ in Fiji, largely because there are few missionaries who have gone to them.
* Pray for the Lord of the Harvest to thrust out workers specifically to the Sikhs in Fiji.
* Pray for these Sikhs to hear and respond to the Word of God, and turn to Jesus, the God who transcends all "religion."
|Profile Source: Global Prayer Digest / Keith Carey|