Professor Michael Wesley, Dean of ANU College of Asia & the Pacific, has launched a book Bearing Witness: Essays in honour of Brij V. Lal.
Given his profound and unrelenting contribution to Asian and Pacific history, editors Doug Munro and Jack Corbett wanted to celebrate the achievements and life of Professor Lal.
Since 2015 Professor Lal has been living in exile in Australia after he condemned the Fijian government for the coup of 2006.
Professor Wesley commented that Bearing Witness is much more than a collection of essays, but a deep exploration into Professor Lal’s scholarship and spirit.
“The book is simultaneously the story of a remarkable man, a remarkable life journey, and a varied, rich and transformative set of intellectual, moral and cultural contributions to the world,” Wesley told audiences.
“Born in rural Labasa to illiterate parents, Brij’s is a story of a restless intellect, great passion, dollops of good luck, and a ferocious appetite for grinding hard work.”
“What stands out from these pages are his moral clarity, his courage, but also his deep pain at being cut off from his homeland.
“And through this remarkable life journey was a scholar, an intellectual, an aesthete whose writings were truly profound and transformative,” said Wesley.
“Brij certainly leaves us all a gigantic challenge – how can we continue to build Asian and Pacific history to be of a stature befitting the giants who went before?”
Bearing Witness: Essays in honour of Brij V. Lal is available for free download on ANU Press.
Image: Stuart Hay