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Welsh Asian Heritage Project Update

This has been a busy month for the project. We have been out and about connecting with different communities, attending community events and recording Ugandan Asian stories of expulsion, migration and resilience including of people who came to the resettlement camp in Tonfanu, Tywyn, Merioneth after being expelled from Uganda in 1972.

Christopher Catling, Chief Executive Officer, Royal Commission on the Monuments of Wales and Judge Ray Singh.
Christopher Catling, Chief Executive Officer, Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales and Judge Ray Singh.

We are also excited to announce the continuation of our monthly seminars. Our next seminar titled From Girmit to Permit will take place on 18 April, 5.00pm to 6.30pm via zoom. 


Our monthly seminars provide a platform for wider debate around equality, migration, resilience, identity, culture and heritage.

Keynote speakers

Prof. Keshav Singhal MBE CBE will speak about the Girmitya project in Wales and Sue Tranka Chief Nursing Officer, Wales and Judge Ray Singh will share their memories and experiences of what it means to be a Girmitya descendent.

The story of Girmityas is also a story of triumph of human will and resilience over adversity, tyranny and gives a message of hope.

The term “Girmitya” is derived from the word “Agreement” (often pronounced “girmit” or “girmitiya”) and is associated with the indentured labour system that brought 1.6 million Indian labourers to various colonial countries during the 19th and early 20th centuries following the abolition of slavery in the British Empire.

Under this system, Indian labourers were recruited from regions in India, primarily from places like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. They were required to sign a labour contract, which was often referred to as the “Girmit” or “Agreement.” This contract bound them to work for a specified period (typically five years or more) under conditions that were often harsh and exploitative.

Most of them unable to return to their native land, continued working and settled in their adoptive lands, mostly Fiji, South Africa, Eastern Africa (namely Mauritius, Seychelles, Réunion, Tanzania, Kenya, and Uganda), Malaysia, Singapore, and the Caribbean (namely Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, and Suriname).

The first transportation of indentured labourers took place on 18th January 1826 at the behest of sugar plantation owners in colonial territories who hoped for cheap labour that could be exploited under similar conditions as slavery but with a veneer of respectability provided by an agreement. By 1838, 25000 Indian labourers had been shipped to Mauritius.

Recordings of these seminars will become available on the Commission’s YouTube channel shortly after each talk: https://www.youtube.com/c/rcahmw

Robin Chaddah-Duke in front of The Baital Futuh Mosque in Morden.
Robin Chaddah-Duke in front of The Baital Futuh Mosque in Morden.

Ramadan Kareem

We wish Ramadan Kareem to everyone who is fasting during this month of Ramadan. Welsh Muslim communities are busy serving local worshippers observing Ramadan. Many communal events are being organised to provide an opportunity for all communities to come and join in the Iftar – the breaking of the fast – at the end of the day.  Our Community Engagement Officer Robin Chaddah-Duke is joining several of these over the next weeks.

Ramadan is a month of fasting and abstaining from things considered to be impure for the mind and body.  It is estimated that 1.8 billion Muslims around the globe observe Ramadan.

Many colleagues of course carry on with their extremely busy working lives whilst fasting. Dr Abdul-Azim Ahmed from the Islam in Wales History Project shared with us how he was balancing work with fasting.  “Keeping on top of work and life duties while fasting can be difficult, but it is part of the challenge of Ramadan. To find an inner-strength and capacity you did not know you had. It is always good to remind myself I can also work well enough without several cups of coffee on hand”.

Dr. Ahmed is keynote speaker at our next seminar on  “Islam in Wales – The Story of Muslim Settlement in Wales”  which will beon 16th May online 5.00pm to 6.30pm.

Community of Interest

As always, we encourage you to join our Community of Interest on the link below to get updates and notifications including about our monthly seminars: http://eepurl.com/iALGp6

We also welcome volunteers to support us on all aspects of the project.

Perminder Dhillon,
Project Leader Welsh Asian Heritage Project:
Celebrating and Archiving the Experiences of Ugandan Asians.

Contact the project at WAHproject@rcahmw.gov.uk Tel: 01970 621 234.


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3 months ago

The Welsh Asian Heritage Project has been actively progressing. The project was officially launched on October 5, 2023, with a focus on recording stories, engaging volunteers, and establishing local partnerships. Many Many Thanks…

3 months ago

Really looking forward to the seminars!


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