Political Activism: The New Mantra for Fiji Indians in Global Sydney

By Asha Chand.

Published by The Global Studies Journal

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Liverpool in Western Sydney is the heartland of Fiji Indian settlement anywhere outside Fiji with the community making the Western Sydney city’s largest migrant population at more than 5000.
Liverpool’s Northumberland Street exuberates the colours, fragrances, spices, root crops, vegetables, fish from Fiji waters as well as the laid back Fijian lifestyle with shop windows adorning notices on Fiji Indian events and entertainment. The street, frequented by the more than 30,000 Fiji Indians in
NSW is popular as mini Fiji, as almost the entire street is occupied by Fiji Indian owned businesses.
In the September 2008 local government elections, four Fiji Indians contested for positions on the local council, three as independent candidates and one with the endorsement of the state Liberal Party.
This paper explores if Sydney is the new refuge for building a home away from home for this twice removed community, once from India as indentured labourers in 1879 and then from Fiji at the height of coups and political turmoil in the years following the 1987 military coup. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate political activism which cost the community its livelihood in Fiji. Sitiveni Rabuka removed the Indian dominated government of Dr. Timoci Bavadra in 1987 to ‘safeguard’ indigenous rights in politics. Mahendra Chaudhry, a direct descendant of indentured labourers became Fiji’s first Indo-Fijian Prime Minister on May 9, 1999. A year later, he and most of his Cabinet were removed in a civilian putsch led by George Speight. Is political activism the new mantra for a community jostling for space and identity in a global city?

Keywords: Global, Sydney, Liverpool, Fiji Indian, Political Activism, Fijian, Space

Global Studies Journal, Volume 2, Issue 2, pp.119-130. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.143MB).

Dr Asha Chand

Lecturer in Journalism, School of Communication Arts, College of Arts, University of Western Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia


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