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SUVA. Fiji (Fiji Times, Aug. 22) – A new museum made entirely of mud blocks - with corrugated roofing - has been built to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the arrival of the first South Indians to Fiji.

Run by the Then India Sanmarga Ikya (TISI) Sangam, the museum is located at the Sangam Village at Lovu in Lautoka.

While the first segment of the museum, built with mud blocks from the Rotary Village in Ba run by Dijendra Singh, is complete, there are already plans in the pipeline for an extension.

"It gives me great pleasure to see that steadily, slowly but surely the concept of Sangam Village is evolving," chief guest at the museum's launch, former Leader of the Opposition, Jai Ram Reddy said.

"This project holds great possibilities and I congratulate all those who conceived the idea of a Sangam village and worked with dedication and a strong sense of purpose."

Mr Reddy told about 100 people at the opening on Friday that like in all great journeys, the first step was important. He also unveiled a statue of the founder of Sangam, Sadhu Swami Kuppuswamy.

The statue was donated by Anil Mani, a Sangam member in Sydney, Australia, who also paid for the freight costs.

"I count it as my good fortune to have seen and listened to Swamiji during my young days at the Shri Vivekananda High School," Mr Reddy said.

He said Swamiji's teachings had a profound effect on him and his family. "I hope that you will make this a village where people of all races, and culture can come, meet and call it home."

The Sangam organisation said it would seek funding for computers, television sets, sound systems, cameras and other things to develop the museum and an archive system.

The museum contains farm implements and furniture from early indenture years, old books, old Sangam files, models of South Indian temples and temple wares among other things.

August 22, 2005

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