GRFDT talk on ‘Indian Diaspora in the Aftermath of 2006 Military Coup in Fiji’

GRFDT talk on ‘Indian Diaspora in the Aftermath of 2006 Military Coup in Fiji’

GRFDT has organized a talk entitled ‘Indian Diaspora in the Aftermath of 2006 Military Coup in Fiji’ on 8th December 2017, Friday in Room No. 226, School of International Studies (SIS-II) at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi. Prof. Biman Chand Prasad was the distinguished guest-speaker to deliver the lecture on the issues of Indian Diaspora communities in Fiji and the consequences of 2006 Military coup in Fiji. Prof. Biman has a long academic experience and has been working on many international issues with various international agencies. He has been associated with multiple international organizations such as the Asian Development Bank, UNESCAP, CLGF, WTO, AusAid and Pacific and governments in the Pacific region. Currently, he is the Director of Fiji Institute of Applied Studies (FIAS) and Parliament leader of the National Federation Party, Fiji. The talk was started with the formal welcome by Dr. M. Mahalingam, President, GRFDT.

Prof. Biman Chand Prasad has discussed the changing dynamics of migration and Diaspora in the present context of globalization. He mentioned about the significance of migrants and Diaspora communities for the homeland, India and analysed the political role of Indian government in addressing its substantial number of migrants and Diaspora communities abroad. He started his lecture with the historical trends of the Indian labourer in Fiji focusing on plantation industry workers. He also shared few narratives of the migration experiences of his parents who were from Gonda, Uttar Pradesh, India. He briefly talked about the background of the earlier military coups happened in Fiji. Furthermore, he pointed out the 2006 Military coup in Fiji and its repercussions in the lives of Indo-Fijian people. He discussed the adverse effect of the Military coup on Indo-Fijian which has created the environment of fear and insecurities. They have continued to live in fear and insecurities of being migrants from India. Therefore, the aftermath of 2006 Military coup resulted in the out-migration of Indo-Fiji to Australia, Canada, United Kingdom and various other countries.

One the issue of the homeland-host land issue, Prof. Prasad informed that the Indian community in Fiji is facing identity crisis on the issue of homeland and host land. They are materially and non-materially associated with their roots in India. Mostly, they learn Hindi in schools and colleges and commonly speaks too. However, they do not have political support in Fiji even in the case when they got elected Prime Minister of Indian origin in Fiji. The Indian-Origin Prime Minister neither took up their issues nor supported them. In the present context, the Indo-Fijians are in a doubtful condition of seizing their rights due to their migratory status by the formation of new government in Fiji. Due to lack of political support in Fiji, the situations of Indo-Fijian are precarious. Therefore, they are dealing with many socio-economic and political issues in Fiji They are not even assured for the support by the Indian government. However, Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Fiji in 2014 during the initial days of his governance. He promised to forge the relationships with Fiji which could provide hope to the Indo-Fijians, but the current government of Fiji is not showing any positive actions towards it. The current Government of Fiji does not have political-philosophical agenda to come forward for the strategic relationships with India. Although, it is important to study whether India is with Fiji and comparative analysis of India with China.

The present government of Fiji has nexus with China more than India. The overwhelming number of Chinese in Fiji has been strong Diaspora communities like Indians in Fiji. China has been overhauling their socio-economic and political stake over Fiji. They are contending elections for political participation and emancipated for the rights of the Chinese in Fiji. This resulted in the low negotiating power of Indo-Fijians with the government of Fiji. Since last many years, the socio-psychological problems has been increasing among Indo-Fijians. A significant number of young Indo-Fijians have committed suicides due to insecurities of employment, career, rights and secured future. They are facing psychological trauma of uncertainties about their secured future. The recent trend shows that they are running away from Fiji to other countries like Australia, Thailand, United Kingdom and others. Prof. Biman highlighted the reasons for the problems associated with migrants like Indo-Fijians. He argued that Fiji is not an independent country like India which can ensure the rights of the migrants. The migrants, minorities and ethnic groups do not have to negotiate power with the Fiji government.

During the discussion, there were many questions were raised related to whether Indo-Fijian want to come back India, whether they have any tangible investment in India, role of India in securing their situations in Fiji, whether they have any associations or groups to association with India, linguistic identity of Indo-Fijian, whether the Hindi language has instrumental value to the lives of Indo-Fijians etc. Prof. Biman has further discussed many issues such as corruption, lethargic system, lack of common setting in Fiji, welfare and social securities for the Indian Diaspora communities in detailed. He also emphasized that India’s role is significant to secure the identity and rights of Indo-Fijians. India should strategically involve with the Fiji government to safeguard the Indo-Fijians.

The talk ended with the formal vote of thanks by Dr. M. Mahalingam, President, GRDT.


Report by Monika Bisht, PhD Scholar, NUEPA, New Delhi.


Time and Place:

Date:   Friday, Dec 08, 2017
Venue:   Jawaharlal Nehru University
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