Today, as per request from an Instagram Story poll posted yesterday, I have a somewhat personal story. I consider this quite personal but to some, it may not be. So some you may not know that I am a Fiji Indian. Although Fiji Indians are quite similar to Indians we are a completely different race. I am constantly asked what is a Fiji Indian and today, after some research to ensure my accuracy, I have a post that explains what a Fiji Indian is. This is my attempt to bring awareness to my race and I hope I get asked less often about what a Fiji Indian is. I personally find it quite rude when people think I am from India so this also my attempt to clear things up amongst my peers. Under no circumstances was it my aim to diminish the Indian community or was it my aim to signify the Fiji Indian community. Both communities can and have worked together and neither is more important than the other. I obviously will not talk or explain everything in this post, so please don’t expect me to tell every single thing about Fiji Indians in this post; this is merely a summary of events that may interest you to do some research further into. Much Love ❤
I would like to start with saying that a Fiji Indian is not a Fijian from India or an Indian from Fiji. Continue reading to find out what exactly a Fiji Indian is.
The story starts before Fiji was colonized by Great Britain: planters tried to get some Indian labours from the British Consul. However, the request was rejected. After a few tries, eventually, some Indian labourers from New Caledonia were sent to Fiji. Their contract said that they have to do heavy work. The labourers knew their rights and refused to do the work and their contract was terminated in a mutual agreement with their employer. A few years later another group of Indians were sent to Fiji from New Caledonia. Most of the Indian labourers left but a good bunch of then stayed and married another Indian or a Fijian woman. The Indian labourers originally came from different regions and backgrounds from Indian and other neighbouring countries; the majority came from rural areas in both northern and southern India.
The sugar cane industry was promoted in Fiji to increase the stability of the economy, however, this was done without exploiting the indigenous labour. With protests about the use of imported labour from Soloman Island (now Vanuatu), a recruiting officer went around India (especially rural villages) for labourers and farmers. A total of about 61,500 labourers from India were sent to Fiji. They originated from different regions, villages and background and when they intermarried the ‘Fiji Indian’ identity was created. After working as a labourer (even with the agreement with their employer) for a while, the labourers were given the chance to go back to India or stay in Fiji. The one condition was that if they wanted to go back to India it would be on their own expenses. Therefore, the majority stay in Fiji. They weren’t given their wages and somehow managed to lease small bits of land and start a sugar cane farm fo their own; others started to do business with towns that were starting up.
It is as simple as that: a bunch of Indian labourers were sent to Fiji and they had to intermarry due to the shortage of India females and thus forming the identity ‘Fiji Indian.’ With this identity, another language was ‘born’: Fiji Hindi.
I hope you enjoyed this post just as much as I loved writing it. I did some much research and this is a summary. If you did like this post and the information provided in this post then I strongly suggest that you research into it. Under no circumstances was it my aim to diminish the Indian community or was it my aim to signify the Fiji Indian community. Both communities can and have worked together and neither is more important than the other.
Just in case you missed the previous post in this series here is the link: Life of Garam Samosa | Being an Introvert: The Transition and Tips for Being an Introvert at University. I am hoping to do more posts in this series in the future, so stay tuned 🙂
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As always, thank you for being the Samosauce to my Garam Samosa!!!