Season 1, CHATROOM 12
The Evolution of Indo-Fijian Blues, or Bidesia
At the turn of the 20th century, the British took Indian indentured labourers to sugar plantations in Fiji. There, Indian women would sing “bidesia” — laments for a lost homeland. In this Chatroom, acclaimed Fijian poet-philosopher Sudesh Mishra speaks of bidesia, and about Fijian indigenous knowledge systems that place humans as part of the planetary assemblage.
Time Markers (mins: sec)
- 0:05 – Poem “The Hula Hoop”
- 1:16 – Sudesh on writing poetry during Covid
- 3:11 – Fiji’s history of indentured labour
- 3:56 – Bidesia by Saraswati Devi (Bidesia Project)
- 4:13 – Sudesh explains Bidesia, and connection with the blues
- 5:16 – Bidesia by Priyanka Kumari (Bidesia Project)
- 6:05 – Analogous to the blues
- 6:49 – Sudesh sings and explains a bidesia
- 8:23 – Western culture erases memory
- 9:15 – The con in a can of tomatoes
- 10:37 – Fijians are returning to old ways due to Covid and climate change
Coolitude Poetics Interview with Sudesh Mishra | Jacket2. https://jacket2.org/commentary/coolitude-poetics-interview-sudesh-mishra. Accessed 17 Feb. 2021.
Mishra, Sudesh. Lives of Coat Hangers. 2016.
Mishra, Vijay, et al. The Diasporic Imaginary and the Indian Diaspora. Asian Studies Institute, 2005.