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The Gujaratis of Fiji, 1900-1945 : a study of an indian immigrant trader community 1978

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THE GUJARATIS OF F I J I , 1900-19̂ -5: A STUDY OF AN INDIAN IMMIGRANT TRADER COMMUNITY KAMAL KANT PRASAD B.A., U n i v e r s i t y o f H a w a i i , 1966 M.A., U n i v e r s i t y o f W a t e r l o o , I969 A THESIS SUBMITTED I N PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY i n THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Department o f H i s t o r y ) We a c c e p t t h i s t h e s i s as c o n f o r m i n g t o t h e r e q u i r e d s t a n d a r d THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA June 1978 (c) Kamal K a n t P r a s a d , 1978 In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the Head of my Department or by his representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. Department of History The University of British Columbia 2075 Wesbrook Place Vancouver, Canada V6T 1W5 ABSTRACT This study concerns the Gujaratis of F i j i who comprise an important trading community within the large Indian population but who have not received extensive attention from scholars. It covers a time-span of forty- five years, from the beginning of this century to the end of World War II. During this period, which characterizes the crucial formative phase of their settlement in F i j i , Gujaratis "belonging to various castes and from diverse backgrounds came to F i j i where they gradually became a noticeable and important trader element within the predominantly agricultural Indian population. In the process, they also acquired a negative image which is comparable to that of the dukawalla (shopkeeper) in Africa. Although other Indians were already residing in F i j i since 1879, as indentured laborers or as descendants of these laborers, Gujarat! contacts with F i j i began after 1900. Lack of sea routes between Western India and F i j i , and the prohibition of recruitment of laborers for F i j i in Bombay Presidency, provided l i t t l e incentive for travel between the two areas." Moreover, Gujaratis who wished to travel to F i j i could only do so through the two sanctioned emigration ports, Calcutta and Madras. Rather than venture:it-ihto - an unknown area, most Gujarati immigrants went to East Africa where mercantile communities originating from Western India were long established. F i j i simply did not offer lucrative prospects until isolated groups from Gujarat proved the contrary. What caused Gujarati migration to Fiji? First of a l l , groups which found l i t t l e fame and fortune in Africa began to turn to opportunities in other countries. Secondly, deteriorating conditions in Gujarat in the early twentieth century caused population movements to other parts of India and abroad. Failure of the monsoons, famines, reduction of landholdings among families, and the subsequent drop in agricultural productivity merely i i i i i hastened the process. Thirdly, as opportunities in urban centers, especially Bombay, became limited, more and more Gujaratis left India in search of opportunity to supplement meager resources at home. Fourthly, British colonial territories which contained powerful white communities soon began to restrict the entry of Indians which initiated the push toward new frontiers such as F i j i . By contrast, F i j i welcomed 'free' immigrants because of the skills which they introduced; i t maintained an open door policy toward this category of migrants until 1930. Gujarati penetration into F i j i was part of the movement of 'free' immigrants into the colony. The other two types of 'free' immigrants were Punjabis and 'returnees' (ex-indentured Indians who returned to F i j i after having^, been repatriated to India). Gujaratis came mainly to ply skills which they acquired in their homeland. Until 1920 isolated caste groupings carved out a particular area of operations in which they effectively utilized traditional caste skills. Most immigrants came for a stay of two years after which they had hoped to return to their homeland. However, this period was too short for the accumulation .of- large savings. The more important phase of Gujarati migration to F i j i took place after 1920. The breakdown of F i j i ' s isolation from the rest of the world in the 1920s and the extension of sea routes between F i j i and India facilitated movement between Gujarat and F i j i . The survival of the sugar industry and developing needs' the agricultural sugar belt of F i j i where the majority of Indians were residing opened new avenues for Gujaratis who had the aptitude to move with ease into entrepre- neurial roles. Their tenacity in trade and commerce became more noticeable during the depression years when the arrival of more Gujarati immigrants made i t difficult for local Indians to enter that sphere of activity. Consequently, in the 1930s> attitudes toward the unrestricted entry of Gujaratis changed in favor of stringent immigration controls. In the final analysis, the Gujarati immigrants introduced a different lifestyle and successfully maintained i t . They also had the necessary expertise, the organizational know-how, and a considerable degree of group solidarity to assume roles which other Indians were incapable of doing. Though they did not adhere rigidly to the hierarchical social structure of their homeland, these immigrants were s t i l l linked to their respective jati nuclei in Gujarat through caste ideology and caste behavior. However, occupational specialization, based on the notion of pollution and purity, had l i t t l e relevance in F i j i . A wide range of opportunities was available to a l l immigrants. Gujaratis settled mainly in urban areas because of their commercial orientation, and where their activities had the maximum potential for success. Their social l i f e was built around the shop rather than around caste and religion, but the introduction of families in the 1930s obliged them to pay closer attention to the needs of the household, especially in the matter of religion. In effect, Gujaratis continued to exist as a marginal group within the Indian community; until 19̂ 5 they remained beyond the mainstream of Indian cultural, social, and political l i f e in F i j i . TABLE OF CONTENTS v page Abstract i i Table of Contents v List of Tables v i i List of Maps v i i i Abbreviations ix Acknowledgements :>°-v Chapter I. INTRODUCTION 1 II. 'FREE' IMMIGRATION TO FIJI UNTIL THE END OF INDENTURE (1900-1920) 19 III. FIJI AND INDIAN IMMIGRATION AFTER INDENTURE, 1921-19^+5 62 IV. THE GUJARATI EMIGRANTS TO FIJI AND THEIR SOCIAL BACKGROUND 119 V. THE SETTLEMENT PATTERNS OF THE GUJARATI COMMUNITY 17^ VI. SOCIAL LIFE IN THE NEW ENVIRONMENT 226 VII. THE ASSERTION OF THE GUJARATI IDENTITY 270 VIII. CONCLUSION 326 vi page Notes Chapter I 16 Chapter II 55 Chapter III I l l Chapter IV 168 Chapter V 222 Chapter VI 267 Chapter VII 322 Bibliography 339 Appendix 353 v i i LIST OF TABLES page Table 3.1 Main Components of Indian Population 31 3.2 Racial Components of F i j i ' s Population, 1881-1946 84 3.3 Increase i n Punjabi and Gujarati Immigration from 1911 to 1930 93 3.4 Indian Immigration between 1930 and 1938 104 4.1 Passport Applications by Area and Year, 1918-1920 130 4.2 Passport Applications by Area, Caste," and Occupation, 1916-1920 132 4.3 Passport Applications by Area and Year, 1928-1938 l6l 4.4 Passport Applications by Area, Caste,, and Occupation, 1928̂ 1938 1°3 5.1 Gujarati Business Registrations, 1924-1945 (Including Particulars of Operation, Location, Nature of Business) 210 6.1 Indian Business Registrations, 1924-1945 (including Particulars of Operation for Each Cultural Group) 263 v i i i LIST OF MAPS page Gujarat before 19̂ 7 x Gujarat—Administrative Divisions 196l xi The F i j i Islands x i i Suva City x i i i ABBREVIATIONS G. I. Census of India C. & I. Commerce and Industry—Emigration Proceedings C.O. Colonial Office C.P. Council Paper ( F i j i , Legislative Council) C.S. Colonial Secretary (Fiji) C.S.O. Colonial Secretary's Office (Fiji) C.S.R. Colonial Sugar Refining Company E. H,L.v(0.) Education, Health and Land (Overseas) Emigration Proceedings F. C.R. F i j i , Census Report, 1911, 1921, 1936, 19̂ 6 F, & I. Filed and Indexed Papers (Emigration Proceedings) F.I.R. F i j i , Immigration Report H. E.O. Huzur English Office I. E.P. India, Emigration Proceedings 1.0. India Office 1.0. R. India Office Records J. & P. Judicial and Public Department (India Office) K.S.S. (KSS) Kshatriya Seva Samaj (Fiji) L. & 0. Lands and Overseas as part of Education, Health and Lands M.G.A, (MGA) Muslim Gujarati Association (Fiji) M.L.C. (MLC) Member of Legislative Council (Fiji) P.P. Parliamentary Paper (United Kingdom) R.A. Revenue and Agriculture (Emigration Proceedings) R.A.C. Revenue, Agriculture and Commerce (Emigration Proceedings) R.S.I.A. Report of the Secretary for Indian Affairs, F i j i 5.1. A, Secretary/Secretariat for Indian Affairs, F i j i Source: Census of India 196l: Vol. V, Gujarat, Pt. 9: Census Atlas (Delhi:Manager of Government Publications, 1966), Map 2A. cn o o CD o CD cn cn o H ON H O o pi 1 C_i. d - I—1 •• MD CN ON O CD PS cn Pi cn > d - l - 1 PJ cn GUJARAT ADMINISTRATIVE DIVISIONS, 1961 I N T E R N A T I O N A L B O U N D A R Y Z O N A L B O U N D A R Y S T A T E B O U N D A R Y D I S T R I C T B O U N D A R Y T A L U K A B O U N D A R Y •10 O 5fe ( S a n a s k a n t h a j S v ' . J i P o t o n V •', .v.^«rolu..Vv:i.;-:.vij0rw,|or - V . ' . ..>.-• Opr . . . . • • H a n J . .... v , - : ; - V . v B h i l o d a S a m l : . . " y C h o n o s r a * . y ^ n o 9 o f . J 'H I M A T N A G A R . .... . . - r \ P r c n t l •Calol / • J . ' . /K~dj7 ' S ^ ^ i V .. , V'"\ • M0d0.9S:..NVe9!lr°J J a i p u r V i r o m g a m . . i - / , ° « n 9 0 " > V ^ ' " ^ * ' - . A H M E D A B A D * "X \ s<~-S~ • . - • SHalvod) ' • i^Sw ! , :Bolao!r,or' ..v . .--Jhal |:. » •; -v, . ' . M e h m e d a b g d ' I V - - . . m n ' u i . a ' i - S \ R E f i D R A N A G A R , * " ' ™ - ° 5 < - a - ' -'' - S 0 D H R A - ' * '' l> D h o l k a i ' S o n t r a m p u r ® l . P a n c h m o h a l s ) D o h a d - < a •. v . . y t > D h a n d h u k a Kalyanpi j f ; ' * G o n d a l i ' Vamkdndornâ .••VanthQli .•'Keshod": . s> , S a y l q : ' " L l m b d i ^ > \> ( C h o t i l o " ' ~ • R A J K O t . r'~\ t ) K o t d a S o n g o n i (, • ~ . . . > u ,«J^asdcry" ' ^ B a b r a fiadhadq-. , i <£fc,2& J A M N A G A R ^ P a d d H d ' r i „ , • > L o d M k a . 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V 1— ^ \ (0 — ' i > \ ^ 1 « ^ SI j o ' i s . { r> ; a .v - / 2 < 1/ ? >̂ IS • * 18 15 Z , 0 • Source: Report of the Commission of Enquiry into the Natural Resources and Population Trends of the Colony of F i j i , C.P. ;l/60, Map. 1. x i i i Source: J. S. Whitelaw, "Suva, Capital of F i j i , " South Pacific Bulletin (July 1964), p. 33. xiv ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS It is rare for a visitor to F i j i to leave without having some form of encounter with its leading Indian merchants and traders—the Gujaratis. Even the local residents—Indians, Fijians, Europeans, Chinese, etc.— rarely escape contact with the Gujarati community in the major urban centers; simply put, in F i j i , one does not remain oblivious to the presence of Gujaratis residing in the midst of other Indians and other races, Though the community is small in number, i t is s t i l l very noticeable because of its concentration inuurban areas and entrenchment in commercial activity. The visitor's most lasting impressions of Gujaratis are formed in the 'marketplace'' atmosphere of the numerous Gujarati-operated shops and duty- free emporiums which offer attractive bargains. This encounter is essentially economic in nature and hardly differs from the type of relationship which exists between local residents and Gujaratis. In effect, the 'marketplace' relationship largely determines how one views the Gujarati presence in F i j i . My own encounters with Gujaratis are by no means recent, and certainly of a varied nature. It was in Lautoka (Fiji), an important sugar center, that I had my i n i t i a l contacts with that community. For many urban-based Indians, contact with Gujaratis on a regular basis was unavoidable, especially in the case of those who conducted business alongside Gujaratis and who also had them for neighbors. My father, Ramsamujh Prasad (1901-1966), who had established his roots in Lautoka in the late 1910s had witnessed both its development and the influx of many Gujarati immigrants. Indians with similar economic aspirations were quickly drawn together which made i t easy for my father to cultivate a wide circle of Gujarati friends and acquaintances. Later when he moved to Suva he s t i l l displayed a liberality toward them, and established a rapport with that community, which was, perhaps, unique XV for a person from a North Indian background. This relationship provided me with the f i r s t glimpses of immigrant Gujarati l i f e and culture. Growing up in Suva was for me a totally different experience from that in Lautoka. Suva lacked the Indian quality which was prevalent in other towns, and the relationship between Gujaratis and other Indians was formalized and, above a l l , economic. It was in Suva that I acquired a new perspective toward Gujaratis, and over a period of time developed prejudices, which were as much a part of a different upbringing as they were an indica- tion of changing attitudes among a younger generation of Indians whose sympathies and loyalties lay with F i j i . Thus when I commenced my research on the immigrant Gujarati community in 1973 1 had many misgivings about my ability to complete the project, largely on account of the way I felt toward them. However, exposure to Gujarat, its rich history and culture, its interesting political development, the hospitality of its people, and the readiness with which Gujaratis accepted me (during my travels and stay there between December 1973 and February 1975) eventually led me to a better appreciation of the Gujarati presence in F i j i . Needless to say, this thesis would not have been completed had i t not been for this transformation. The debts which I have incurred for a l l the assistance received while completing the thesis are more than I can acknowledge. Though my father is not alive and cannot be thanked personally, I feel that the least I can do is to dedicate this thesis to his memory. It was his friendship with Gujaratis in F i j i which made i t possible for me to move with relative ease within the community. To his Gujarati friends—in particular P. K. Bhindi, Devidas Fakir Morriswala, S. B. Desai, D. N. Patel, Narainji Sida—and other informants'in F i j i (listed in my bibliography on pages 34-6-48), I owe my sincere gratitude for their cooperation and courtesy. The Department of History at the University of British Columbia xvi provided financial help by way of two teaching assistantships during 1971-73. My research in England in November 1973 was financed through a special grant from the late Dr. Walter H. Gage. The research in India between December 1973 and March 1975 (including living expenses, travel from Canada to India) and the subsequent trip from India to F i j i were funded by the Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute. The University of British Columbia awarded me a Summer Research Scholarship in 1976 toward the completion of the dissertation, I also wish to make special mention of my family and close friends for their hospitality, encouragement, kindness, and financial support which enabled me to complete my research in F i j i . Without aid from any Canadian source the research in F i j i was conducted under the most trying circumstances. In Lautoka Phyllis and Radha Naidu shared their simple abode with me, Rosabella, and Sonya. No less in importance were uncles and cousins for their generosity. My brother, Ashok, in Suva loaned me much of the money for travel and research expenses. My sisters, in-laws, and other relatives a l l helped in their own way. But for my wife, Rosabella, I would not have made i t through the whole ordeal. She has faithfully acted as my personal secretary and typist throughout my graduate career. If she had not been the sole bread-earner for the better part of the period between November 1975 and August 1978, at the expense of her. ownracademic interests", I could not have devoted full-time attention to this thesis. As for our daughter, Sonya, I can only hope that she will understand, one day, why i t was sometimes necessary to turn the entire household into a study. The research in England, India, and F i j i was facilitated by the cooperation of various archives and libraries (listed in my explanatory note to the bibliography on pages 339-40). Miss D. Keswani of the Indian National Archives took particular interest in my research, because of her xvii own work on Overseas Indians, and also provided letters of introduction to directors of archives in Gujarat and Maharashtra. In India and F i j i , senior government officials granted me permission to examine unclassified material and records which were not covered under the existing rules of accessibility. In India, many people went out of their way to be helpful. The staff of the Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute in New Delhi was always obliging. Dr. R. K. Dharaiya, of the Department of History, University of Gujarat, acted as my "Indian supervisor" in accordance with the terms of my fellowship. Much advice and encouragement also came from Professor S. G. Misra and his colleagues in the Department of History at the M.S. University of Baroda. Others to whom I am indebted include Dr. Sureshbhai Joshi who struggled against time to give me a rudimentary knowledge of Gujarati, the Ramakrishnans for their constant concern for my family's health and welfare, Dr. R. D. Parikh who provided many leads to informants and much stimulating discussion on Gujarat, R. B. Desai who introduced me to the Khatris in Navsari, and the Pandhya family in Vallabh Vidyanagar for their assistance in the Gharotar region. Dhawal S. Desai kindly acted as my interpreter and guide during my travels and fieldwork in South Gujarat and Saurashtra (Kathiawar). Nalin A. Pandhya assisted me with interviews in Vallabh Vidyanagar and Dharmaj. Almost a l l interviews were conducted in either English, or Hindi, or Gujarati without the use of a tape recorder. Dr. Peter Harnetty directed this thesis and had the tedious task of reading the two drafts. His critical supervision, as well as the readiness with which he allowed me to express my ideas freely, made this thesis a reality. Among other South Asianists at the University of British Columbia, both Dr. John Wood and Dr. Fritz Lehmann always expressed interest in my research. Dr. Wood was particularly responsive to my problems and needs in xviii his capacity as Resident Director of the Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute in New Delhi in 1973-75. Finally, I also thank Dr. Edgar Wickberg and Dr. R. V. Kubicek for giving me a wider perspective to my training as a historian. Dr. Wickberg's work on Chinese migration provided much insight into the whole process of Asian immigration. The responsibility for any oversight and error in presentation, interpretation, and judgement remains entirely mine. Kamal K. Prasad Vancouver, B.C, October 1978 CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION The movement of Indians to other parts of the world antedates the establishment of any government-regulated emigration scheme. Trade provided the f i r s t impetus to this migration beyond India. The existence of a maritime and commercial connection between the western Indian seaboard and the southern coastal regions of East Africa from the fi r s t century A.D, reveals the extent to which Indian merchants had carried their trade to other parts of the world though permanent settlement was not their intention. The East African connection remained unabated, when fir s t the Arabs and later the European powers, especially the Portuguese, vied for ascendancy in the extensive net- work of Indian Ocean trade from the fourteenth century onward. The main stimulus to Indian emigration from Western India occurred in the nineteenth century with a further revival of trade after the establishment of the Omani sultanate in Zanzibar, and with the advent of the British in East, South, and Central Africa. Another phase of Indian emigration began with European colonization of Ceylon, Burma and other parts of Southeast Asia. The earliest emigration, implying settlement, took place as a movement of Tamil laborers from the southern regions of the subcontinent to the Straits Settlements in the late eighteenth century. The heyday of Indian emigration began with the abolition of slavery in the British colonies in 183^ which provided the fi r s t great impetus to the movement of laborers under the indenture system. Between the 1830s and the 1930s, that i s until the end of the worldwide depression, about thirty million Indians migrated from India to the British possessions and colonies. 1 The various means and migratory schemes consisted of unassisted labor migration under the indenture system, intracontinental movement of plantation workers under the kangani or maistry system, assisted 1 2 immigration of 'specialists' (policemen, clerks, interpreters, priests, teachers, lawyers, doctors, and miscellaneous categories of skilled workers) under contract to various colonial governments, and unassisted intercontinen- tal movement of unskilled workers, The years between 183^- and 1908 constitute the period of unrestricted indentured emigration, followed by increasing regulation until the abolition of the indenture system in 1920 and the enactment by the Government of India of the Indian Emigration Act of 1922 which placed strict controls on the emigration of unskilled laborers from India. Between 1923 and 1929 emigration continued while India s t i l l enjoyed the prosperity engendered by the wartime boom. After 1929, the dampening effect of the worldwide depression created a reverse migration of overseas Indians back to India and this continued unabated until the end of World War II. A new wave of emigration from India began after 19^-5 with the movement of ex-servicemen who had fought abroad with the allies. Students, skilled and unskilled workers, and professionals began to migrate more frequently as countries liberalized their immigration laws to permit the entry of nonwhite peoples. Political developments in Asia and Africa in the 1950s and 1960s produced new trends in Indian emigration with the creation of a shifting Indian population which went to countries willing to receive them. The indenture system transported Indians mainly to the sugar producing tropical British colonies in the West Indies and the Pacific. This scheme also drew them to Africa to construct railroads. Perhaps the largest movement of Indians occurred under the kangani and maistry systems to Ceylon and Malaya. Because of the contiguity of these areas to India, large numbers of Indian laborers were not averse to spending short periods on the plantations in those colonies. With the emergence of immigrant communities beyond India, colonial governments soon required the services of 'specialist' immigrants to facilitate their administration of these communities residing within their jurisdiction. Pockets of Indian population which grew out of the government- 3 regulated immigration schemes soon attracted other Indians from various parts of India who travelled independently, without assistance from any government, in search of fortune. 'Unassisted' immigrants preferred areas which were easily accessible through existing sea routes and which already harbored sizeable communities of their countrymen. 'Unassisted' immigrants also ventured into other areas such as England and North America with which Indians had had very l i t t l e contact but which s t i l l offered numerous opportunities for study, economic gain, and settlement. The recent exodus from Africa and the constant movement of Indians to other hospitable parts of the world merely indicates the increasing complexity and immensity of Indian emigration. The establishment of immigrant communities outside India may be considered a significant part of the study of British imperial, history but has been receiving the widespread attention of scholars from other disciplines. The.experiences of Indian migrants in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries has widened our understanding of Indian society and culture, and has increasingly presented new problems of research to social scientists in their study of plural societies and minority groups. Much of the existing literature on overseas Indians has centered on those parts of the world where they have already established a permanent pattern of settlement. Areas such as Mauritius, East and South Africa, F i j i , Guyana, Trinidad, Malaya, England, and to some extent Canada have served as a laboratory for examining overseas Indian societies. Various scholars including C. Kondapi ( l 9 5 l ) , I. M. Cumpston (1953), 3 Hilda Kuper (1960)^ Usha Mahajani ( i 9 6 0 ) , 5 Burton Benedict (1961), 6 Morton Klass ( l 9 6 l ) , 7 Adrian C. Mayer (1961), 8 K. L. Gillion (1962), 9 George Delf (1963), 1 0 Rashmi Desai (1963); a l K. S. Sandhu ( l 9 6 ? ) , 1 2 Barton Schwartz, ed. (1967), 1 3 Robert C. Gregory (1971),^ and Hugh Tinker (1974) 1 5 1 f> and (1976), have applied varied methodological approaches in the study of these migrant societies emerging either under the indenture and plantation systems (Mauritius, F i j i , Trinidad, Guyana, and Malaya) or in the 'unindentured' areas (mainly South and East Africa). Themes which appear in the existing studies deal with the nature and structure of Indian emigration, economic exploitation under the plantation and indenture systems, caste as an organizing principle among overseas Indians, social organization among immigrant peasant societies, racial conflict in plural societies, minority groups and ethnic interaction on the political level, and the more recent Asian (Indian) problem around the world. Few of the mentioned works provide a systematic treatment of Indian traders who f e l l into the general category of nonlahor migration excluded in the indenture and kangani systems. This deficiency "becomes apparent when examining the negligible literature on Indian traders in migrant societies. Rashmi Desai's work on Indian immigrants in Britain provides some insights into the role of Gujaratis in establishing Indian enterprise there. A few recent studies of Indians in East Africa by H. S. Morris (1968)1'7 and J. S. Mangat (1969)18 also show the significance of investigating Indian trader communities attracted to the host countries by the opportunities for trade and commercial exploitation. The purpose of this study is to investigate the movement of 'free' (as opposed to'.indentured)_r.emigrants whose intention in leaving India was pursuit off opportunity and trade. More specifically the focus is on the Gujaratis of F i j i who comprise a trader community which has not been subjected to extensive scrutiny "by scholars. This study embraces a time span of forty- five years, from the beginning of this century to the end of the Second World War. It i s this period which characterizes the crucial formative phase of Gujarati immigration and settlement in F i j i . During this forty-five year span significant numbers of Gujaratis from various castes and diverse backgrounds came to F i j i and gradually became entrenched in their present role as a visible and important trader community within a predominantly agricultural Indian population. In the process they acquired a distinctive and persistent negative image comparable to the dukawalla (shopkeeper) in 5 Africa. F i j i contains a large Indian population—in excess of fift y per cent of the entire population—consisting mainly of descendants of immigrants who came from diverse parts of India from 1879 either under the indenture system or as 'free' immigrants. Yet the diversity of the regional Indian cultures which is s t i l l apparent in Fi j i ' s Indian community has "been largely ignored or superficially treated. The common practice of treating Indians as one administrative unit has "been carried over into research on Indians in F i j i without much effort to systematically analyze the regional components which went-into the making of the immigrant society and culture. Accordingly, regional groups such as the Gujaratis and South Indians have "been superfi- cially mentioned or simply treated as part of the all-inclusive Indian category without much focus on their separate cultural identities, distinct from other Indians in terms of origins, social "background, language, occupational orientation, and settlement characteristics. The standard approach by scholars to f i t a l l Indians within the rigid framework of the 'indentured' area studies distorts our understanding of Fiji ' s Indian society. This approach will not suffice, just as the argument that the data on other Indian groups apart from indentured immigrants are incomplete cannot be taken seriously. The regional approach to South Asia has opened new areas of • 19 research and greatly enriched studies of India and its people. Such an approach in the study of Indian immigrant societies is long overdue, especially in the case of F i j i . Indians in F i j i f i r s t began to receive scholarly attention in the 1940s, but s t i l l with scanty mention of the Gujaratis who had become the predominant 20 immigrants in the 1930s. John Wesley Coulter (19^2) in his pioneering study examined the Indian immigrants in terms of the threat which they presented to the indigenous Fijians. In his introductory panoramic description of the community he referred to Gujaratis as "Bombay tailors 6 busily plying their trade" (p. l ) , and later as immigrants from Bombay Presidency who were merely "attracted to the islands by rumors of high wages and favorable economic conditions generally" (p. 79). Implicitly, the Gujaratis were also included in his disparaging remarks about "Asiatic shopkeepers" for their role in causing Indian indebtedness (p. 99). Coulter's subsequent work in 19&7 w a s merely an elaboration of his earlier study which he now supplemented with new data, more maps, and numerous 21 tables. The background of "the economic and political rivalry between the native Melanesians and tens of thousands of Indian colonists who are out to possess the land" was consistent with his impressive ti t l e The Drama of F i j i . Gujaratis did not fare any better than they had done in earlier works. Coulter described them as "traders, shoemakers, barbers, laundrymen, and jewelers"" who "emigrated because they could earn a better living in F i j i than in Gujerat" (p. 84). He also commented briefly on their standoffish- ness, their shrewdness, their profitable businesses, and also their ability to "combine to fight non-Gujerati competition" (p. 169). Coulter, of course, did not deviate from the standard and obvious remarks that have been made about other marginal communities such as the Marwaris in Bengal or the Jews in New York. The official treatise on F i j i ' s Indian community was A. ¥. McMillan's o p pamphlet (1944) which was intended for use by senior officers of the Government Service, but which was subsequently withdrawn from circulation in response to objections raised about its contents. McMillan classified the Indians into three groups: indentured laborers and their descendants; Gujarati traders and artisans; Punjabi farmers and dairymen. He included some faulty information about the Gujaratis or 'Bombaywallas* whom, he described as only originating from a very small area near Surat. This observation contained the common misconception that a l l Gujaratis came from Surat without taking into account those who had originated in Kathiawar and 7 Central Gujarat. Nevertheless, McMillan's other observations about the lack of family immigration among the Gujaratis, the strong links which they main- tained with their homeland, and their ability to move into 'untouchable' occupations which local Indians generally avoided, provided good insights into that community. W. E. H. Stanner ( l953) 2 ^ did. not specifically concentrate on F i j i but included i t as part of his study of three British dependencies in the South- west Pacific. In an otherwise competent and impressive work, Stanner did not conceal his bias against the Indians, perhaps relying too heavily on the official version of the community's development. He questioned the F i j i Indian war effort, commented on the Indian living conditions, and was certainly more sympathetic toward rural Indian farmers with their problems with debt and the f a l l in agricultural productivity. His scathing remarks on the "blatant tax evasion by Indian merchants" was perhaps directed toward the rapacious "Bombaywallas" who did not regard F i j i as a home but rather as a place in which to make money rapidly (p. 178). Stanner helped to reinforce the negative image of the Gujaratis which began to emerge in F i j i at that time generally. The most important studies of F i j i Indians appeared in the 1960s. 24 Adrian C. Mayer (1961) concentrated on broadening the knowledge of F i j i Indian society by describing the rural part of i t within the framework of the usual 'indentured' area studies. Mention of the Gujaratis was made mainly in his section on the economic activities which dominated the l i f e of the settlements which he examined. Unfortunately, Mayer did not adequately cover the Gujarati impact on the rural scene. Rather the rural Gujarati shopkeeper merely provided the norm for comparing the non-Gujarati shopkeepers in the settlements (pp. 4 6 - 4 7 ) . His other observations f e l l within the standard characterization of Gujaratis as a separate cultural group with a strong business orientation which maintained strong links with India, kept their 8 traditional occupations as tailors, shopkeepers, and jewelers, and readily combined to fight any non-Gujarati competitor. It seems that Mayer relied heavily on material which had already appeared in K. L. Gillion's doctoral dissertation in 1958. The coverage of Gujaratis was even less in his short 26 comprehensive history of the F i j i Indians (1963). He included brief sketches of important personalities such as Manilal Doctor and A. D. Patel, but simply alluded to the growing influence of the India-born Gujaratis vis-^a-vis the Fiji-born Indians with only a fleeting analysis of their position in the overall economic power structure in F i j i . on K. L. Gillion (1962) has produced the most comprehensive work on the operation of the indenture system in F i j i . Its deficiencies were not so much errors in judgement and interpretation as the result of a concern to toe the official line, which is perhaps understandable i f one took into account that the circumstances and times in colonial F i j i dictated such an approach. The merits of his study also become somewhat obscured by deficiencies in his treatment of nonlabor migration to F i j i . His chapter on 'free' immigrants comprises six pages (pp. 130-35)• To delve into the reasons for this oversight would be mere speculation and Gillion cannot be faulted for not doing what he had not intended to do in the f i r s t place. Both his focus on the indenture system and the limited time span of his study pre- cluded any scrutiny of emigration records which went beyond the perimeters of 'indentured' area studies. Gillion relied only on oral sources to provide a brief sketch of early Gujarati emigration without any use of emigration records in Bombay and Baroda for the period between I916 and 1920. Hence, there are errors in his description of the origins of the Gujarati immigrants. Apart from a few names of the earliest immigrants and the dates of their arrival, supplemented by a brief sketch of the career of Manilal Doctor In another chapter, the Gujaratis are, once againplaced within the standard characterization as a group who maintained close ties with their homeland, 9 remitted money, were thrifty and hardworking, and possessed a strong sense of group loyalty (p. 134). The rural dimension of F i j i ' s Indian population which provided the 'indentured' area framework for Mayer's and Gillion's works was obviously 28 the most fertile field for further research. Barton M. Schwartz (1967) examined the endogamous patterns of marriage and caste among a minute segment of the rural Indian population as part of a larger anthropological approach to the pan-Indian dimensions of caste in overseas communities. Although other cultural and linguistic categories such as Nepali, Punjabi, and Tamil are included in his analysis, the rural Gujarati shopkeeper is noticeably absent. This omission tends to leave gaps in his otherwise significant generalizations. Two more recent studies of F i j i Indians serve as good illustrations of a broadening concern to place the Gujarati community within its proper perspective. I. S. Ghauhan (1969) in his yet unpublished doctoral dissertation on political processes among the Indians of Labasa (in Vanua Levu) threw new light on Gujarati "trader leadership" based on a system of important trade relationships which emerged between the trader in Labasa and the large wholesaling Gujarati outlets in Suva. Ghauhan also provided valuable insights into the operation of the Gujarati shop and i t s role in the extension of a wide network of credit. He had, in effect, ventured into a new area which holds tremendous potential for future scholars, and which is certainly an important contribution to a fuller understanding of the Gujarati community. The other study by Ahmed Ali (l977)3° is the fi r s t of a two-part brief historical sketch of Indian immigrant society between 1879 and 1939. Although Ali deals with material already covered in other broader studies, he basically concentrates on the more salient features of Indian immigration and settlement—the indenture period, the changing character of immigrant society, 10 'free' immigration, and the strike of 1920. The section on 'free' immigration is centered on Punjabis and Gujaratis. The heavy reliance on the records in F i j i on 'free' immigration may have sufficed All's purpose to provide a cursory glance of Gujaratis and Punjabis and to lend more depth to the topic. But the records are incomplete, which, in effect, necessitates a profile of the Gujarati community with a strong official bent. This bias tends to reinforce other observations and generalizations of the author. Ali is correct in saying that Gujaratis added a new dimension to F i j i Indian society in terms of their specific economic role, but, he is off the mark when he states that they "came as entrepreneurs."-^" This generalization presupposes that Gujaratis were already engaged in entrepreneurial roles prior to their arrival in F i j i . It is actually an imprecise categorization because i t bypasses some of the more relevant facts about the social hack- ground of the Gujarati immigrants as well as that of indentured immigrants which help explain why Gujaratis were more successful in assuming entre- preneurial roles in F i j i . His other statement that " i t was their aim to monopolize this aspect of the economy" (meaning trade and commerce) is again based on a faulty premise. The Gujaratis were indeed noticeably entrenched in small-scale retail trade and in certain occupations, and in fact did acquire a monopoly of certain trades, hut i t does not necessarily follow that this was a l l part of a calculated design from the moment they had arrived in F i j i . The problem i s more complex and definitely requires further elaboration and clarification as do his other observations in reference to Gujarati exclusiveness and clannishness, their closely-knit businesses and the tendency to undercut non-Gujarati business rivals, their frugality and thriftiness, and their leanings toward nationalist politics in India. The image of the Gujaratis which emerges in the existing literature is by no means complete, and above all,certainly a negative one. There has been no attempt to explain the sociology of Gujarati immigration. What has persisted is a skeleton without much meat. It will not suffice to compare Gujarati immigration to a chain reaction—namely, one immigrant called another; nor will i t do to describe the Gujarati community in relation to that section of that community which traced its origins in F i j i to the indenture system. For the past forty years scholars have been consistently implying that had i t not been for Gujaratis other Indians would have made more progress in the economic sphere. This interpretation is too simplistic and has generally obscured a proper evaluation of the role of the Gujarati within the F i j i Indian community. This study of the Gujaratis in F i j i will form a contribution to the vast subject of Indian immigration generally. It will also help to identify significant changes in one segment of Indian society in a new environment. But its particular intention is to rectify gaps and glaring deficiencies in the treatment of Gujaratis in F i j i . This study focuses on such themes as the pattern and peak periods of Gujarati immigration, the origins of the migrants, their motives for leaving India, their settlement characteristics in relation to other Indians in F i j i , the social structure of the community, and their economic activities. It will also test the validity of a number of hypotheses: that Gujaratis came to F i j i with certain occupational expectations just as the failure of these expectations had precipitated their departure from India; that Gujaratis acquired an economic role in F i j i because they had an inherent ability to organize and to be organized; that the cultural cohesiveness and social organization of the community enabled i t to respond effectively to the pressure of changing conditions in the new environment; that the Gujaratis merely existed in the host country but seldom displayed signs of belonging to i t because of the strong and persistent sense of cultural continuity with their homeland. The major sources of data used in this study can be broken down into three parts: 12 1. Archival and official material available in libraries and archives in England, India, and F i j i comprising official correspondence, government legislation and parliamentary debates, reports, official pronouncements, and policy statements, Of particular significance are: (a) Indian emigration proceedings and records in London and New Delhi; (b) passport registers in the Political Department records of the Government of Bombay and unclassified original passport applications (also in Bombay); (c) police files of the Huzur English Office in Baroda; (d) immigration and business records in Suva. 2. Interviews, f i r s t among Gujaratis with established links with F i j i , in Kathiawar (Saurashtra), Kheda (Kaira), Baroda, Navsari, Bilimora, Bulsar, Gandevi, Chikhli, and Bombay; second, among Gujaratis in Suva, Nausori, Nadi, Lautoka, and Ba (all in F i j i ) . ^ In India the interview technique was designed to obtain information mainly on the nature of the link with F i j i , dates and estimates of ;one''srimmediateifamilycmembers who emigrated to F i j i , and reasons for emigrating to F i j i , whereas In F i j i the same technique yielded information on further estimates of a particular caste grouping, the group's perception of Its early immigration and settlement, its reasons for settling in a particular locality, the response to economic opportunities and occupa- tional preferences, the problems of maintaining cultural identity, attitudes toward other Indians and races, and the response to education and politics. 3. Published literature and other unpublished material on the general topic of Indians overseas which provided the background and conceptual framework of this study. A brief historical background to the introduction of Indians through the indenture system is provided in Chapter II, so as to put the subsequent and main section on unassisted immigration, between 1900 and 1920, in its proper perspective. This chapter examines the nature of 'free* emigration from India to F i j i while focusing on these problems? who were the fi r s t 'free* 13 immigrants and why? What groups can be distinguished? When do Gujaratis and Punjabis f i t into the pattern of unassisted emigration from India? It also attempts to determine the peak periods of unassisted immigration to F i j i in the light of favorable economic and political conditions, the presence of an established Indian community, and emigration policy in India and immigration policy in F i j i . The primary concern is with the contention that 'free' emigrants invariably followed not only in the wake of indentured laborers to F i j i , but also on account of certain expectations- which motivated them to leave India. Chapter III discusses Indian immigration in the postindenture period, between 1921 and 1945. There are three sections in this chapter: the fir s t deals with the search for an alternative system of emigration from India to replace the indenture system; the second is concerned with the socio- economic conditions in F i j i which s t i l l attracted immigrants inspite of the failure to find an acceptable alternative to indentured laborers; and lastly the actual process of 'free' Indian immigration is examined, in i t i a l l y between a period of unlimited controls between 1921 and 1930. and later during the implementation of immigration restrictions between 1930 and 1940. This section on 'free' immigrants constitutes the most significant part with its emphasis on Gujaratis, and to some extent Punjabis, who had become the predominant force in emigration from India to F i j i . Both Chapters II and III provide the background through which Gujaratis are examined in fuller detail in subsequent chapters. Chapter IV concentrates on the Gujarati immigrants and their social background. The main problems dealt with are the areas from where they originated in Gujarat, the principal emigrant groups and their position in Gujarati society, and.their motivation in migrating. The analysis of the immigrants is carried in two parts: f i r s t during the indenture period until 1920; second after 1921 in the postindenture period. Chapter V is about Gujarati settlement in F i j i from the time of their arrival until 1945. From the outset the pattern of Gujarati settlement had a strong correlation with their occupational and trading activities, but i t was also linked to their preference for urban areas. The chapter focuses on the areas in F i j i which were preferred for settlement and also examines the factors involved in the choice of a particular locality in town. These factors include the Gujarati preoccupation with trade and commercial activity, the local demand for the traditional skills of certain Gujarati castes, better economic opportunities in urban areas, and political security, This chapter attempts to provide answers to the more pertinent issues: Where did each caste grouping settle eventually and what pattern of existence did they follow? Why is i t that some Gujaratis only settled in those areas and towns with a large Indian population? Did they open up and exploit hinterland (as they had done in East Africa) or did they only restrict themselves to urban areas? Chapter VI is essentially concerned with a discussion of Gujarati social l i f e in F i j i . It begins with a brief comparison of Gujaratis with other Indian groups in an effort to show how the disruptive tendencies of the colonial environment on caste affected mainly those immigrants who came under the indenture system rather than the Gujaratis who maintained strong ties with their homeland. Second, this chapter grapples with the problem that, although Gujaratis were bound to a strong sense of caste ideology, they did not arrange themselves rigidly according to any hierarchical structure of their homeland. Third, the discussion centers on the Gujarati shop as the focal point in social and economic relationships, f i r s t within the immediate caste grouping, then between groups with similar economic interests, and finally with other Indians and races. Fourth, the chapter also shows that Gujaratis were concerned with the organization of family l i f e only after the arrival of women and children at which point i t became necessary to maintain in-group solidarity and exclusiveness and stricter adherence to ritual paraphenalia. Chapter VII deals with a number of topics relating to the Gujarati identity in F i j i . The first section analyzes their innovative role in the emergence of Indian enterprise and their negative image which arose from that capacity. The next section discusses the factors which prevented any Gujarati effort at integration into F i j i Indian society. These factors include their strong attachment for their homeland, their cultural chauvinism, their reluctance to bring families and to duplicate the Gujarati household, their business practices with a strong preference of business .partners from their own castes, and the lack of a sense of isolation from Gujarat. The third section is about their struggles with problems in the new environment, especially those dealing with community cooperation, welfare associations, and education. The last part describes the Gujarati response to politics. This chapter attempts to explain how Gujaratis asserted their identity in F i j i in terms of the problems they confronted. Finally, Chapter VIII provides a synopsis of relevant issues and their discussion in a l l the chapters. It also presents generalizations in regard to Gujarati immigration, settlement, l i f e in the new environment, and their identity in the host country. The study will conclude with some general remarks about their progress since 1945 and their future status in F i j i . NOTES 1Kingsley Davis, The Population of India and Pakistan (New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1951), p. 98. 2 G. Kondapi, Indians Overseas, I838-I949 (New Delhi: Indian Council of World Affairs, 195lJ] ^I. M. Cumpston, Indians Overseas in British Territories, 1834-1854 (London: Oxford University Press, 1953). ^Hilda Kuper, Indian People in Natal (Natal: University Press, i960). ^Usha Mahajani, The Role of Indian Minorities in Burma and Malaya (Bombay: Indian Institute of Pacific Relations, i960). Burton Benedict, Indians in a Plural Society: A Report on Mauritius (Colonial Research Studies No. 3̂ » London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1961). 7 Morton Klass, East Indians in Trinidad: A Study of Cultural Persistence (New York: Columbia University Press, 196l). Adrian C. Mayer, Peasants in the Pacific: A Study of F i j i Indian Rural Society (Berkeley/Los Angeles: University of California Press, I96I), 9 yK, L. Gillion, Fiji's Indian Migrants: A History to the End of Indenture in 1920 (Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1962). "^George Delf, Asians in East Africa (London: Oxford University Press, 1963). 11Rashmi Desai, Indian Immigrants in Britain (London: Oxford University Press, 1963). 12K. S. Sandhu, Indians in Malaya: Some Aspects of their Immigration and Settlement, 1786-1957 (Cambridge: University Press, 1969). 1 3Barton Schwartz, ed., Caste in Overseas Indian Communities (San Francisco: Chandler Publishing Company, 1967). "^Robert C. Gregory, India and East Africa: A History of Race Relations within the British Empire, 1890-1939 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1971). 1^Hugh Tinker,.. A New System of Slavery: The Export of Indian Labour Overseas, I83O-I92O (London: Oxford University Press, 1974). 16 17 l 6Hugh Tinker, Separate and Unequal: India and the Indian i n the Br i t i s h Commonwealth (Vancouver: University of Br i t i s h Columbia Press, 1976T 17 H. S. Morris, Indians i n Uganda (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1968). 18 J. S. Mangat, A History of Asians i n East Africa, c. 1886 to 1945 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1969). 19 A good case for the regional approach i s made i n D. A. Low, ed., Soundings i n Modern South Asian History (Berkeley/Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1968), Ch. I. See also Robert I. Crane, ed. . Regions and Regionalism i n South Asian Studies: An Exploratory Study (Durham (N,C.): Duke University Program i n Comparative Studies on Southern Asia, 1967). 20 John Wesley Coulter, F i j i : L i t t l e India of the Pacific (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1942). 21 John Wesley Coulter, The Drama of F i j i : A Contemporary History (Rutland, Vermont/Tokyo, Japan: Charles E. Tuttle Co., 1967). A. W, McMillan, Notes on the Indians i n F i j i (Suva: Government Printer, 1944).' E. H. Stanner, The South Seas i n Transition: A Study of Post-War Rehabilitation and Construction i n Three British Pacific Dependencies (Sydney: Australian Publishing Company, 1953). 24 Mayer, Peasants i n the Pacific, cited i n note 8 above. 2-%. L. G i l l i o n , A History of Indian Immigration and Settlement i n F i j i (Unpublished Ph.D. Dissertation, Australian National University, 1958). Adrian C. Mayer, Indians i n F i j i (London: Oxford University Press, 1963). 2 ^ G i l l i o n , F i j i ' s Indian Migrants, cited i n note 9 above. 2 8Barton M. Schwartz, "Caste and Endogamy i n F i j i , " i n Schwartz, Caste in Overseas Indian Communities, pp. 213-35• 2 ^ I . S. Chauhan. Leadership, and Social Cleavages: P o l i t i c a l Processes among the Indians i n Labasa, Fijj:Islands (.Unpublished Ph.D. Dissertation, Australian National University, 1969). 30Ahmed A l i , "Aspects of F i j i Indian History, 1879-1939: A Society i n Transition—1," Economic and P o l i t i c a l Weekly, Vol. XII, No. 42 (October 1977), PP. 1782-1789. 18 31 J The same generalization i s found i n Michael Ward, The Role of Investment i n the Development of F i j i (Cambridge: University Press, 1971), p. 43, n. 40. -^Lack of research funds prevented fieldwork i n Labasa, but Gujaratis with extensive links with Labasa were interviewed i n Suva. CHAPTER II 'FREE' IMMIGRATION TO FIJI UNTIL THE END OF INDENTURE (1900-1920) The study of the Indian community in F i j i begins with the indenture system. Though indentured laborers formed the overwhelming bulk of the Indian migrants to F i j i until 19l6, they were also joined by 'unassisted' or 'free' immigrants. These 'free' migrants fi r s t began to arrive in small numbers at the turn of the century but gradually became an important strain within the Indian population. 'Free' immigration was the inevitable out- growth of indentured immigration. This chapter, then, is about 'free' immigration until the abolition of the indenture system in 1920. It focuses on the groups who came, their motivation, the .conditions in F i j i which they encountered, and their response to the opportunities in the new land. Above a l l , i t i s about the Gujaratis who also came to F i j i from Western India and their specific place within the nascent 'free' immigrant society which emerged prior to 1920. It is f i r s t necessary to provide a brief introduction to F i j i , i t s geographical and physical characteristics, i t s early history, i t s indigenous population, and its economic and political development prior to the arrival of the Indians. The.Fiji Islands constitute an extensive archipelago scattered over a wide area between latitudes 15° and 20° south of the Equator with the 180th meridian passing longitudinally through the group.''" The islands are centrally situated in the Northwest Pacific, to the northeast of Sydney (Australia) and to the north of Auckland (New Zealand), and surrounded by other island clusters including Tonga, New Hebrides, Samoa, and New Caledonia. There are in excess of 500 islands and islets in the F i j i archipelago of which 322 are suitable for habitation, and of which only 106 2 are inhabited. 19 20 The larger islands are volcanic i n origin and include V i t i Levu, Vanua Levu, Taveuni, and Kadavu (Kandavu). V i t i Levu and Vanua Levu constitute 87 per cent of the total land area of 7,040 square miles. Both these islands have similar topographical features, While the coasts are fringed with f e r t i l e land,, . the interior i s very mountainous forming a system of highlands and swiftly flowing rivers. The major river systems i n V i t i Levu have cut steep winding valleys i n the interior, and have also built up the f e r t i l e plains and deltas which presently form the core areas of settlement and commercial agriculture. Vanua Levu, on the other hand, contains less extensive h i l l country, and proportionally smaller areas of r o l l i n g plains and f l a t land for agriculture. F i j i does not enjoy climatic uniformity. The two large islands contain clearly defined climatic divisions: that of the windward wet zone i n the southeast and the other of the leeward dry zone i n the northwest. The r a i n f a l l i s heaviest i n the windward regions averaging over 120 inches annually. Hence, there i s a sharp contrast i n vegetation between the two climatic zones i n V i t i Levu and Vanua Levu. Except i n those areas which are heavily cultivated, the windward side i s covered with dense subtropical rain forest. By contrast, the dry zone contains patches of sparse forest i n open grass and reed covered areas. Extensive mangrove swamps abound at mouths of the river systems, offering a natural ecologigal habitat to numerous forms of marine l i f e as well as providing timber for fuel and house-building. The strong correlation between climate and agriculture i s certainly evident i n F i j i . The original inhabitants, who alone bear the rac i a l categorization of Fij i a n , are essentially of Melanesian stock but also reveal a Polynesian strain i n the eastern parts of the F i j i group. There are no precise estimates of the F i j i a n population prior to concentrated contact with the Europeans in the nineteenth century. The population i n the latt e r part of the nineteenth century had been placed at a low figure of 100,000 to a high of 300,000. But 21 like other island populations in the Pacific, the Fijians were subjected to the ravages of European diseases, alcohol, firearms, and intermittent warfare. The measles epidemic of 1 8 7 5 reduced the population size considerably and when the fi r s t official census was taken in 1 8 8 1 , the Fijian population was placed at 1 1 4 , 7 4 8 . Traditional Fijian society possessed a rich cultural heritage punctuated with ceremony and tradition. It was founded on a complex system of land ownership based on customary tenure and communal ownership, The primary and largest social unit of Fijian society was the yavusa whose members comprised direct descendants of a legendary or deified ancestor. Patrilineal descendants of the founder formed lineages within the yavusa called the mataqali (matangali), further subdivided into smaller local units called the i tokatoka. Though the i tokatoka formed the main criterion for land ownership, i t was the mataqali which was legitimized as the landholding unit by the British after 1 8 7 4 . Fundamental to the Fijian system of land ownership were the inalienable and equal rights of a l l the corporate members and future genera- tions of ther mataq a l i , a concept which s t i l l prevails. The .'European'discovery of, and contacts with, F i j i progressed through various stages. First came the explorers—Abel Tasman in 1643, James Cook in 1774, and William Bligh in 1 7 8 9 and 1792—who either sighted or charted some of the islands. After the i n i t i a l contacts, European mariners and navigators generally avoided the islands for two..main reasons: the trea- cherous reefs which made navigation difficult and the formidable reputation of F i j i ' s inhabitants. The second stage began as a trading contact at the beginning of the nineteenth century when European vessels came fi r s t in search of sandalwood, and later for beche-de-mer and coconut o i l . Whalers also frequented parts of the island group. Trade linked F i j i to the important ports in the Orient, New England, and the Pacific generally. At this point the islands did not seem attractive to white settlement-, except to the 22 original '-birds of passage' who included "beachcombers (whites turned native), survivors from wrecked vessels, castaways and other derelicts, and deserters 3 from sandalwood ships.As in the case of other areas, these types have since gained notoriety in history on account of the havoc which they created among island populations through their licentiousness, the traffic in firearms and alcohol, the introduction of diseases, and their disturbing role in local warfare as mercenaries to leading chiefs. The limited phase of European contact culminated with the arrival of missionaries in the 1830s who added further stresses and strains to Fijian society with their conflicting religious ideologies, although these influences were ultimately beneficial. Permanent settlement did not occur until the latter half of the nineteenth century. In the 1850s knowledge of F i j i increased with a corresponding growth of foreign influence through the visit of naval vessels. Rumors of British annexation brought immigrants from Australia and New Zealand who came as traders, planters, and speculators in search of easy profits. The cotton boom of the 1860s attracted a new breed of planters who required large tracts of land with an assured labor supply. The intensity of land purchases from Fijians far exceeded the influx of white settlers who numbered anywhere from 1,200 to 2,000 by 1870. Large estates emerged on the smaller islands and then spread to the coastal regions of Viti Levu and Vanua Levu, but mainly in the Rewa Delta in Viti Levu. The efforts of the planters to exploit F i j i ' s resources were supplemented by the establishment of trading houses in Levuka to provide a wide range of financial and mercantile services to the white community. While the cotton trade was essential to the economic security of the growing community of planters and merchants, i t had an adverse effect on the large-scale cultivation of other commercial crops. The cotton trade was also tied to the whole problem of law and order in F i j i because of the planter hunger for more land and the alarming traffic in Polynesian labor to augment 23 scarce Fijian labor. Both European settlers and Fijian chiefs desired some form of central authority to prevent a confrontation between whites and Fijians and to permit settlers to further their economic objectives. The collaboration between an apprehensive white community and Fijian chiefs to form a stable government was undermined by one crisis after another. First, the planter community was ill-prepared, through a lack of agricultural diversification, for the collapse of the cotton trade in 1870 and the accompanying depression. Second, factional elements within the settler community continually vied for ascendancy under the government of Cakobau (Thakombau), a powerful chief who styled himself 'King.' Third, the Fijians remained as bystanders and watched in dismay while the faction-ridden and incompetent administrators and legislators led the government in i t i a l l y into bankruptcy and eventually toward anarchy. Finally, the collapse of Cakobau's government threatened the security of Britain's 'informal empire' in the , 4 Pacific, consequently precipitating British intervention in F i j i in 1874. Britain's approach to the Fijian problem was an innovative exercise in indirect rule, in fact a forerunner of the experiment in Africa. From the outset, Fijian interests remained paramount and made an integral part of colonial policy by the f i r s t substantive governor, Sir Arthur Gordon (later Lord Stanmore), especially after a measles epidemic decimated the indigenous population. Gordon reduced the amount of. land in European hands and restricted further land sales, thereby consolidating absolute Fijian control over their lands through native institutions. Moreover, he devised a system of native taxation and administration which reinforced the inherent link between Fijians and their traditional leaders, the chiefs. Above a l l , rather than acquiescing in the demands of settlers to tap Fijians as a labor force, Gordon's policy was aimed at protecting Fijian society from the evils of a money economy. Instead he proposed the introduction of indentured laborers from India, augmented by a scheme to expand the existing agricultural base of the economy 24 under the auspices of large-scale capitalism attracted from abroad. Indentured Indian immigrants were introduced into F i j i as a means of supplying the labor requirements of plantations and the Colonial Sugar Refining Company (hereafter, the C.S.R.), a large Australian capitalist concern which had been lured to F i j i to develop the sugar industry. The Indenture system appeared as a logical sequence to the abolition of slavery and was designed as a convenient way to utilize cheap Indian labor to help develop the economies of British colonies. The system was introduced in F i j i along the lines of the immigration schemes of Trinidad and British Guiana. Recruited emigrants were given a free passage to F i j i to serve a contracted period of five years, and only entitled to repatriation without cost after remaining as indentured laborers for a further five years. A provision was also incorporated into the scheme to permit laborers who had served their period of indenture to remain in the colony as permanent residents. The fir s t 481 indentured emigrants arrived from India in 1879- Between 1879 and 1899, 18,853 indentured Indian laborers were introduced into F i j i . Taking into consideration 4,509 births, 4 ,278 deaths, and 5,991 departures (of laborers who had completed their term of indenture), and 2,275 new emigrants, the Indian population of F i j i was estimated to be 15,368 in 1900.^ The overwhelming bulk of the migrants had come from the eastern parts of United Provinces (present-day Uttar Pradesh) and Bihar. Some Punjabis had been recruited in the early years of the 1880s, and Nepalis were also despatched in the 1890s. In 1902, another emigration agency was opened in Madras and the fi r s t South Indian ('Madrassi') laborers arrived in 1903. There was virtually no recruiting in Bombay Presidency. The only known cases of recruiting there took place in Ahmedabad in 1883-84. Again the figure was negligible. The main reason was that the Government of Bombay objected to recruiting for F i j i . Basically, the composition of the popula- tion was 'north-Indian' up until the arrival of laborers from Madras. 25 From 1900 onward, the number of Indians who had served their period of indenture but had opted to stay on plantations was becoming noticeable. Besides this group there were nonindentured emigrants who had come to F i j i on their own and not under any immigration scheme. Though the number was small, the estimates of the 'passenger' immigrants were given in the yearly immigra- tion reports of F i j i . In 1900, 32 such arrivals were recorded and in 1901 the official estimate of Indians who came into F i j i direct from India or through 7 the other colonies as passengers was estimated at 100. Most of these immigrants were 'returnees' who had lived in F i j i as indentured laborers previously and had been repatriated to India, but now had decided to return to the colony. These immigrants entered F i j i without any difficulty provided that they complied with the normal emigration and health formalities in India as well as in F i j i . The rise in the number of 'passenger' immigrants in 1901 can be attributed g to the arrival of 20 Parsi artisans. These Parsis represented the fi r s t batch of Gujarati artisans who came to F i j i . They had been induced to emigrate by Thomas Hughes, a recruiting agent of the G.S.R., who had been visiting India at the time. Since the Parsi artisans were residents of Bombay Presidency, where recruiting for F i j i was prohibited, and f e l l within the classification of laborers, Hughes had f i r s t to obtain permission for them to migrate. The Government of India did not raise any objection but the cooperation of the Government of Bengal had to be secured since a l l categories of emigrants to F i j i departed through the Port of Calcutta. However, the Government of Bengal saw no objection to the 20 Parsi artisans going to F i j i provided that they complied with normal health regulations at the point of 9 di sembarkati on. By the end of 1907, approximately 300 of these 'passenger' emigrants had arrived in F i j i on emigrant steamers from Calcutta. Yet the numerical strength of Indian immigrants who had arrived in F i j i under none of the 26 provisions of the Indian Immigration Ordinance of F i j i was placed at 1,000.11 One reason for this increase was the establishment of a regular route between Calcutta and New Zealand which allowed Indians to travel on ships other than the emigrant steamers. Traffic between India and Australia must also have been on the increase, judging from the Indian Government's stipulation in 1904 to Indian students, merchants, and other travellers proceeding to Australia 12 to arm themselves with passports to facilitate their entry. Thus, the only plausible explanation for the discrepancy between the accountable 300 'passenger' immigrants and the estimated total number of immigrants not covered by the immigration ordinance in F i j i would be that Indians who went to other areas in the Pacific, such as New Zealand and Australia, were proceeding to F i j i in nonemigrant ships. Furthermore, i t is difficult to say who they were. Information obtained orally as well as the existing research on that period has provided some insight into the origins of this category of immigrants. The Census Report of F i j i for the year 1911 has thrown some light on this problem also. 'Unassisted' immigration had already gained some momentum prior to 1905. Three types of 'free' immigrants had arrived at that stage. The largest single group comprised former indentured laborers who reemigrated to F i j i . They had welcomed repatriation in anticipation of establishing old ties and joining families. But conditions at home had changed during their absence. Some longed for the lax social milieu of F i j i inspite of their traumatic experiences under indenture; others were under pressure to share their meager savings with numerous relatives; many were simply rejected because of the shame which they brought upon their families. Punjabis constituted another group. In 1904,,70 Punjabis came to F i j i 13 after spending some time in New Caledonia f i r s t . J They were Jat Sikhs from Jullundur district who had gone to New Caledonia to seek their fortune. Faced with unfavorable conditions they decided to go to F i j i where they 27 did not make much headway either. The majority were finally repatriated to India via New Caledonia, but those who chose to remain for some time included Hazara Singh, Jaimal Tara Singh, and Thakur Singh. Many of the later Punjabi immigrants f i r s t heard about F i j i from other Punjabis who had travelled extensively in the Pacific. Punjabis who returned from their travels were instrumental in providing much publicity about the areas which they visited, including F i j i . The Punjabi immigrants were not very educated and came mainly from the agricultural sections of the population. The third type was the Gujarati. Of course, the Parsis who arrived in 1901 would be included in this group. There were no other cases of Gujarati emigration to F i j i until 1904.when two Sonis, Chunilal Ganji and V i r j i Narshi, 14 arrived from Calcutta. Apparently, they had heard about F i j i in Natal and made arrangements through a number of influential Indians in F i j i to go there. Both Chunilal and Vi r j i were from Porbandar in Kathiawar and were goldsmiths by trade. They proceeded to F i j i under the assumption that there was much money to be made among the Indians. In 1905, another Soni from Jamnagar, by the name of Lakhu Premji heard about F i j i and the large Indian population there. It is difficult to ascertain how he obtained this informa- tion but the source seemed to have been Chunilal or V i r j i . He arrived in 1905 and lived in the town of Navua for two years. But during this time he found the conditions in F i j i quite harsh and subsequently returned to his homeland.1-' These Gujarati immigrants, as in the case of the Punjabis, were not educated. They had been attracted to F i j i by the desire to ply their skills in making jewelry and to improve their economic status generally. Punjabis and Gujaratis continued to arrive in F i j i between 1905 and 1910. Among the Gujaratis was another group of Sonis who came from Porbandar in 1908. There were no official estimates. Between 1908 and 1909 another Gujarati caste grouping made some penetration into F i j i . In 1908, Narotam 17 Karsandas arrived and he was followed by Motiram Narsey a year later. Both 28 were from Navsari in Baroda State and "belonged to the Khatri caste. Though they were weavers by caste, they made their living in F i j i as tailors. After 1910 both Narotam and Motiram established "business concerns which enabled other members of their caste to come to F i j i . Only one other Gujarati caste category arrived before the decade was over. The only known case was Dullabh Kalyan, a Mochi (shoemaker) from Mahuva Taluka in Navsari, who arrived in 18 1910 and returned to India after a stay of over 2 years. The inward flow of 'free' migrants was affected by two important developments—one in India and the other in F i j i . In 190? the Government of India made i t mandatory for a l l Indians who wished to travel abroad "to 19 provide themselves with passports." This was intended to he a protective measure to induce Indians to procure the necessary travel documents before proceeding to such countries as Canada, South Africa, Rhodesia, Australia, and New Caledonia which had introduced stringent immigration rules governing the entry of Indians, Perhaps in anticipation of the influx of people who had formerly gone to those areas, the Government of F i j i brought the Indian Immigration Ordinance No. XVII of 1909 into effect, The Ordinance was specifically designed to stop the influx of undesirable persons who were destitute and would become "a charge on the colony" i f they were not indentured,2^ In.:spite of these measures, the number of 'free' emigrants who came after 1907, and before the f i r s t census was taken, had increased to a figure of 21 approximately 1,600. This was an increase of 600 for a three-year period, at an average annual rate of arrival of 200 immigrants of this type. Together with the immigrants who had completed their period of indenture, as well as those who were born in F i j i , they presented a very interesting profile in 1911. Within this ten-year period the whole structure of the Indian community 1 "began to change. When the fi r s t census was taken in 1911, the population had 29 increased from l6,ll6 in 1900 to 40,286, of which 25,975 were listed as 22 nonindenttired. Though Madras was opened as another emigration recruiting depot, Calcutta s t i l l remained the principal center from which most categories of emigrants came. In fact, Madras supplied no emigrants in 1904 and 1908. Moreover, 1907 and 1909 were lean years in which the recruitment of indentured emigrants had fallen well below a thousand for both ports. The India-born immigrants, indentured and 'free,' originated mainly from United Provinces, Madras, Bengal, Central Provinces, Central India, 23 Punjab, Rajputana, Bombay, and Nepal. It must be assumed that the Gujaratis were included in the figures for Bombay Presidency because no separate category for them was provided. Numerically, they comprised a minute community—in the vicinity of 153 o r less out of a total nonindentured 24 population of 25,975. Furthermore, only 39 Gujaratis can be accounted for i f occupational categories are taken into consideration. These would include 21 goldsmiths and silversmiths, 12 tailors, and 6 bootmakers and saddlers. Goldsmiths were in great demand judging from the large amounts of gold jewelry which was being taken to India by repatriated Indians. Perhaps the others could be found in the commercial categories as hawkers and shopkeepers. The Census revealed that farming s t i l l remained the main type of occupational activity for Indians. Out of a nonindentured population of 25,975 (l6,000 males and 9,975 females), 10,357 were engaged In some form of agricultural activity. From 1905 to 1909, the Native Lands Ordinance permitted settlers to acquire leases up to a period of ninety-nine years subject to approval of the Governor's council. Freehold land also became available, and while the Ordinance was in effect about 20,184 acres of land were purchased hy settlers (Indians and Europeans). This brought the area under freehold t i t l e up to 434,799 acres out of a total area of 4,581,000 acres. Agricultural activity was centered around the cultivation of rice, sugarcane, bananas, tobacco, maize, and beans. This was done according to 30 the climatic conditions of the districts where the nonindentured population had settled. Most of the Indian settlements emerged around the river basins and in the sugarcane growing areas, but basically on Viti Levu, the main island of the F i j i group. The major area of settlement in the other island— Vanua Levu—was Macuata (Mathuata). The location of sugar mills at Navua, Rewa, Labasa, Lautoka, Penang, and Ba was instrumental in attracting large pockets of Indian settlement. The largest mill was constructed in Lautoka in 1903 in response to the G.S.R.'s expanding operation in F i j i . The commercial and industrial sectors of the population were drawn to the town areas adjacent to the mills. Six per cent of the adult male nonindentured population was engaged in some form of commercial venture. Others who did not have enough capital outlay for a store went into hawking, and there were as many hawkers as shopkeepers. At this stage Indians owned very few large-scale business concerns. Only 21 commercial concerns 27 incorporating wholesale and retail business activity were in operation. The largest number of shopkeepers emerged in Lautoka and Nadi where the 'free' population was quite prosperous. In Suva, the capital of F i j i , there was a 'free' Indian population of 28 3,000 who were gradually replacing Polynesians as laborers. English- speaking Indians were also congregated here and sought employment as shop assistants, municipal workers, and clerks in European firms. The town was controlled by Europeans financially and politically, but i t offered numerous possibilities to Indian settlers. All 'unassisted' immigrants had their f i r s t contact with F i j i here. Merchants came here because of the port facilities; English-speaking Indians came because Suva was the seat of power and they formed the nucleus around which political activity was initiated; skilled and casual workers came to f u l f i l the various labor requirements of a growing community. The sugar/industry in the colony was experiencing a remarkable pace of 31 economic expansion. The operation of the G.S.R, had almost reached monopoly proportions, and the output of i t s mills in F i j i had reached 40 per cent 29 of the company's combined operations in the South Pacific. In an effort to minimize its capital outlay and maximize its profit-making capabilities, i t initiated a program of decentralization of its monolithic estates into smaller holdings which were leased to private white planters. They, in turn, worked and managed the plantations with.a smaller and less burdensome labor force. Land was made available on a smaller scale to a growing class of Indian tenant-farmers within the proximity of mills, Invariably, this would not only dictate the pattern of Indian settlement but would also guarantee a labor force to meet the requirements of the crushing season. The economic expansion produced a corresponding rise in indentured immigration. Between 1910 and 1914, over 10,000 immigrants were introduced 30 to work the estates. A scheme of introducing 'free' emigrants had been contemplated but was abandoned because of uneasiness about the competitive 31 capabilities of the 'free' immigrant. Most planters were of the opinion that 'free* immigrants made bad laborers, but were basically apprehensive of the competition which Indians provided, This fear was well founded because by 1912 the Indian shopkeeper had completely undermined the European shop- 32 keeper in the countryside. 'Free' laborers would have been more acceptable but the Government of India was averse to any systematic emigration to F i j i for labor purposes other 33 than the indenture system. Apparently, some laborers from Surat had gone to Calcutta sometime in 1911 to volunteer for F i j i , raising the possibility of recruitment In Surat to provide some solution to F i j i ' s labor problems. The Indian Government made enquiries with the Government of Bombay which remained adamant about supplying excess labor to other countries when i t did 34 not consider Surat to be "a congested district."^ The Bombay Government could not agree to the proposal on the ground that labor emigration was 32 "not conducive to the economic interest of the l o c a l i t y . " Early i n January 1912 a l l parties concerned—the India Office, the Colonial Office, and the Government of F i j i — w e r e informed of the undesirahility of permitting labor 35 recruitment i n Surat d i s t r i c t . Though the F i j i Government directed most of i t s attention to the colony's labor requirements, i t did make some effort to oversee the increasing flow of 'unassisted' emigrants. I t did this i n part to dictate the pattern of Indian settlement but also because of i t s concern over the native question. However, the government seemed to realize that there was a need for a special class of Indians who could assist the authorities i n tackling the adminis- trative responsibilities of governing the nonindentured population. I t introduced clerks and interpreters and, i n 1912, recruited a contingent of 37 Punjabi policemen from Hong Kong for the local force. The Indian community i n F i j i generally lacked trained priests to attend to their religious needs. The majority of the population were Hindus belonging to a number of sects, but many Indians classified themselves as either Sanatani (that i s , adherents of Sanatan Dharma, the more orthodox Hindu sect of F i j i ) or Samaji (followers of Dayanand Saraswati, the founder 38 of the Arya Samaj sect). Muslims constituted just over a tenth of the population, belonging either to the Sunni or Shia sects. Among the Hindus, the Samajis were better organized and displayed a great degree of self - reliance i n social matters. They were pioneers i n the f i e l d of Indian education i n F i j i . The Sanatanis, by contrast, were concerned with the tenets of religion; but their leader Totaram Sanadhya became the most forceful 39 c r i t i c of the indenture system i n F i j i "before the arrival of Manilal Doctor. Few Indians were attracted to Christianity, and the conversion rate by the three dominant groups—Catholic, Anglican, and Methodist—was marginal. In 4 0 1911, there were only 314 Indian Christians i n F i j i . The authorities were aware of the religious needs of the Indians. In 33 April 1912, the F i j i Government wrote to the Government of India "to seek advice and assistance" in procuring "a few well educated Brahmin and Muhammadan 41 priests to minister to the religious wants of the people," It was not prepared to incur any lia b i l i t y "for the support of these priests," but added that their "co-religionists" in F i j i would support them. This request seemed confusing to the authorities in India who had very l i t t l e information available on the ethnological composition of the Indians in F i j i . Accordingly, a few months later the Government of India wrote to the F i j i Government inquiring 42 about the "caste of the Hindus and the sect of the Hindu priests required." Few officials in F i j i had any such understanding of the Indian community and they were unable to take any definite action on the request from India. There was a great need for religious teachers and the F i j i Government's interest in this field helped to publicize i t . In 1913, the f i r s t Arya Samaji 43 teacher, Swami Manoharanand Saraswati, arrived. He had lived in Burma for some time and was aware of the need for trained Hindu priests in F i j i . Within four years of his arrival, the Arya Samaj movement made tremendous headway in the field of education. Under his guidance the Arya Pratinidhi Sabha was founded, and in 1917 the organization launched a Gurukul primary school on the western side of Viti Levu, quite close to the town of Lautoka. Political activity among Indians coincided with the growing awareness of their religious needs. Until 1910 there was a marked absence of organized political activity. Leadership was provided by a few nonindentured Indians who acquired popularity through their expertise in English or their association with either of two main Hindu sects. This group included such personages as Peter Grant (a Christian), Totaram Sanadhya (a Sanatani Pandit), \ 44 Babu Ram Singh and J. P. Maharaj (both Arya Samajis). These influential Indians were based in Suva and were well versed in matters affecting Indians in the Colony. They moved into action in 1910 when an apprehensive European community attempted to introduce a literacy test for ratepayers who voted in 3^ the Suva Municipal Council elections. Moreover, important events in India were also followed closely and influenced the actions of Indian leaders in F i j i , Indian newspapers which came to F i j i provided much coverage on the debate on the indenture system, especially after Gokhale introduced a motion in the Indian Legislature in 1912 which called for the abolishment of the system. This group gradually became the unofficial spokesmen of Indians in F i j i . But they lacked political or legal experience and the majority could not speak English—the language of the government. Consequently, they established contact with Gandhi and related their problems to him, Gandhi, who was in South Africa at this time, agreed to send a 'Hindustani' lawyer who could assist the Indians in F i j i . The difficulties of the Indians there also came to the notice of Manilal Doctor who had come to Gandhi to seek assistance and 46 counsel about the possibility of setting up a practice in South Africa. Manilal, a subject of Baroda State, was an articulate English-educated lawyer who had had considerable exposure to colonial politics and the problems of Indian laborers in the colonies. He had resided in Mauritius from 1907 to 1910 where he quickly became a leading advocate of Indian rights. Actually, Manilal harbored intentions of proceeding to F i j i where he wished to further 47 his career in law and politics. He became more resolute about F i j i when he read about Gokhale's and Malaviya's speeches against indentured labor in 48 the Indian Opinion (of South Africa). Manilal Doctor arrived in Suva in September 1912 amid much fanfare. Within a short time he had made a lasting impact on the authorities. The retaliation was drastic and certainly motivated by fear that the Indian community would be influenced by events in India. The authorities introduced "a proposal to restrict the emigration of Indians introduced into F i j i otherwise than by indenture."^ In late November 1912, the India Office wrote to the Colonial Office voicing its concern on this issue. The pending 35 v i s i t of a deputation from India to inquire into the condition of laborers i n F i j i prompted the India Office to stress the undesirability of making " "any drastic change i n the F i j i legislation affecting Indians. "-5° Fortunately, the Colonial Office agreed and, a few weeks later, cautioned the F i j i Government not "to proceed with the proposed ordinance."^ 1 Further action was not taken, but the hysteria behind i t s genesis revealed the F i j i Government's apprehension over any outside influence on immigrant affairs i n the colony. By 1914 the Indian population of F i j i had reached 51,605 of which 35 , 6 4 4 52 were nonindentured. The indentured population had not shown any considerable increase—about 1,600 i n a two-year period—and the figure would have been much lower i f 6,595 indentured laborers had not been introduced. More Indians were gaining freedom from indenture and further recruitment to boost the diminishing number of indentured Indians was running into serious problems. -Criticism of the system had reached a peak i n India. In F i j i missionaries, and nonindentured Indians under the leadership of Manilal, became outspoken as well. At the end of 1913 "two commissioners from India, James McNeil, I.C.S,, and Lala Chiman Lai, arrived to examine the conditions of the laborers. Though their report pointed to the advantages of the system, they advocated changes which were long overdue—namely, better working and social conditions 53 supplemented by increased medical and educational f a c i l i t i e s . Furthermore, the commencement of the war i n 1914 forced the Government of India to suspend indentured emigration temporarily i n order to concentrate on the war effort. Between 1911 and 1914 nonindentured emigration increased steadily. The pattern had been established gradually. The economic expansion i n F i j i and the growing needs of the Indian population generated conditions which attracted more 'unassisted' emigrants into the colony. The three types which have been mentioned previously continued to arrive. Punjabis came under the impression that work would be readily available. Those who were not content 36 returned to India or made some attempt to go elsewhere. Punjabis were known to have travelled as far as South America. One such country was Argentina where some emigration from Punjab had taken place directly. In 1912 a group of 45 Punjabis approached a well-placed European lawyer in Suva to make arrangements to get them to Argentina, but allegedly lost a large sum of money in the process through fraud. This incident did not deter another group of about 20 Punjabis from coming to F i j i in 1914. By this stage an extensive network of contacts had been established through the visit of Punjabis to many parts of the world. Those who came to F i j i were f i r s t attracted to the possibilities there through information transmitted to them through fellow villagers who had gone to Australia and New Zealand. The Gujaratis had also established a network of contacts in the countries of the South Pacific. Travel to Australia and New Zealand was on the increase and news about the opportunities in F i j i filtered back to the villages from which the fir s t Gujarati emigrants came. Sonis s t i l l constituted the largest single group to come into the colony. Between 1911 and 1914 the number of goldsmiths and silversmiths increased from 21 to 51 (which included Sonars who came from other parts of India as well). The Khatris also found ample scope for their trade, and in 1911 Narotam Karsandas Khatri established the fir s t Gujarati tailoring shop in Suva under the business name of Narotam. He was followed by Motiram Narsey who started his own business concern under-the name of M. Narsey. Within a short time, other members of their caste began to arrive, including Gopal Anandji and Jagjiwan Bhukendas. Moreover, relatives and family members arrived to help in the management of the two businesses. Motiram was. joined by his eldest son Jamnadas, and Narotam invited his cousin Tribhovan Ratanji to join him. By introducing relatives into their businesses, i t was possible for them to leave--these concerns in safe hands while making periodic visits to India. Other groups followed in the wake of conditions created i n i t i a l l y by 37 the Sonis, and later by the Khatris. Gujaratis of the occupational castes and cultivators from South Gujarat began to show interest in F i j i . In 1911 Nana Lakhman (sic) who was a Koli by caste, came to F i j i but returned to 57 India in 1915. This could have been an isolated incident because Kolis at this time, generally preferred going to New Zealand where they had started a small settlement in Auckland. Most of them were engaged in the fruit and vegetable business. F i j i was in close proximity to New Zealand, about a thousand miles northeast of the latter, and a direct shipping service, which linked the two, permitted movement of Gujaratis to either of these places. A year later the fi r s t Nav (barber) named Nathubhai arrived, and in 1914 Dahya Hansji, a Mochi (shoemaker) joined other Gujaratis living in Suva. A l l three groups mentioned were from South Gujarat—Nana Lakhman and Dahya came rQ from the Navsari Division of Baroda State. Large-scale trading activity in Suva was s t i l l controlled by Europeans, although petty Indian shopkeepers had made substantial gains in other areas. The success of these shopkeepers could be attributed to their ability to manipulate conditions in the country areas to their advantage to a greater degree than their European counterparts. Those Indians who had dealt with European shopkeepers for a long time shifted their patronage to Indian shop- keepers quite readily. Many Indians s t i l l suffered from the stigma of their indentured or 'coolie' status—a position which they were reminded of in their dealings*, with Europeans generally. The 'overseer and coolie' relationship permeated many facets of the relationship between Europeans and Indians. Farmers who dealt with European shopkeepers complained of the treatment they received. The latter were often quite insensitive to the feelings of their customers, frequently using offensive terms to refer to their indentured status. These shopkeepers also bought the produce of Indian farmers quite 59 cheaply and sold them to other Indians at exorbitant prices. When Indian shopkeepers offered competition, they found l i t t l e difficulty in attracting 38 a c l i e n t e l e . Many o f t h e s e p e t t y s h o p k e e p e r s had r i s e n f r o m t h e r a n k s o f t h e i n d e n t u r e d l a b o r e r s t h e m s e l v e s and were n o t o n l y known t o t h e p e o p l e t h e y had d e a l i n g s w i t h h u t a l s o o f f e r e d b e t t e r c r e d i t f a c i l i t i e s . Moreover, t h e s o c i a l r e l a t i o n s h i p w h i c h d e v e l o p e d i n t h i s case was l e s s s t r a i n e d t h a n t h a t i n w h i c h I n d i a n s had d e a l i n g s w i t h Europeans. I n d i a n s h o p k e e p e r s a l s o made b e t t e r arrangements f o r o r g a n i z i n g t h e s a l e o f e s s e n t i a l g r a i n s and l e n t i l s w h i c h f ormed t h e s t a p l e d i e t o f I n d i a n s . The l a r g e r I n d i a n c o m m e r c i a l c o n c e r n s — a b o u t 19 i n number a t t h e b e g i n n i n g o f 1914 c o m p r i s i n g b o t h w h o l e s a l e and r e t a i l b u s i n e s s — ^ were s m a l l e r v e r s i o n s o f t h e European f i r m s based i n Suva. There was a marked absence o f an I n d i a n t r a d i n g c l a s s who p o s s e s s e d t h e c a p i t a l as w e l l as t h e e x p e r t i s e t o o f f e r any c o m p e t i t i o n t o t h e s e f i r m s on a l a r g e s c a l e . W i t h i n t h e e x i s t i n g group o f I n d i a n merchants were J . P. Maharaj and Ram Roop who, b a s i c a l l y , were p r o d u c t s o f t h e i n d e n t u r e system. A g a i n , t h e s e merchants s i m p l y f i l l e d t h e vacuum w h i c h e x i s t e d between I n d i a n s and Europeans. The l a t t e r group e n c o u n t e r e d l i t t l e t h r e a t f r o m them, because t h e y o r t h e i r h e a d q u a r t e r s i n A u s t r a l i a s u p p l i e d t h e m e r c h a n d i s e w h i c h i n t u r n was s o l d t o I n d i a n s . I t was c e r t a i n l y a t r a d e r e l a t i o n w h i c h Europeans c o n t r o l l e d . T h e r e was d e f i n i t e l y a need f o r a c l a s s o f merchants who c o u l d a d e q u a t e l y p e r f o r m an i m p o r t a n t f u n c t i o n w i t h t h e e x p a n d i n g community w h i c h was i n c r e a s i n g l y t h r o w i n g o f f t h e s h a c k l e s o f i n d e n t u r e . O n l y one s u c h merchant had t h e p o t e n t i a l as w e l l as t h e e n t r e p r e n e u r i a l s k i l l s t o a c q u i r e t h i s r o l e . T h i s was V e e r a p p a M o o t h a i y a P i l l a y who came t o F i j i f r o m Madras a s an ' u n a s s i s t e d ' e m i g r a n t p r i o r t o t h e war. P i l l a y ' s c o m m e r c i a l l i n k w i t h Madras, t o g e t h e r w i t h h i s a b i l i t y t o move i n t o t h e w e s t e r n a r e a o f V i t i L e v u where t h e m a j o r i t y o f t h e S o u t h I n d i a n p o p u l a t i o n was l o c a t e d , made h i m an i m p o r t a n t f a c t o r on t h e economic s c e n e . He s e t h i m s e l f up as a g e n e r a l merchant and r e c r u i t e d s k i l l e d a s s i s t a n t s f r o m a c o m m e r c i a l b a c k g r o u n d , f r o m Madras. V. M. P i l l a y was t h e f i r s t I n d i a n merchant who i m p o r t e d goods on a 39 large scale from India. His exclusive concern for the needs of the Indian population served as an example for other Indian businessmen including Gujaratis. Both Appabhai Patel and M. N. Naidu, who came in 1914 and emerged as formidable merchants later, followed the pattern which Pillay had established, Manilal's presence in F i j i received some publicity in Baroda where there was common knowledge of the large settlement of Indians in F i j i . Prior to Manilal only one other person from that region had attempted to come to F i j i . In 1908, Dahyabhai Shankerbhai Patel, from the village of Dharmaj in Petlad District, had applied for a passport to proceed to F i j i via Australia. Dahyabhai was a general merchant and commission agent in his village who was interested in opening an import and export agency in F i j i , Though Dahyabhai received his passport to travel to F i j i he emigrated to East Africa instead,^ After Dahyabhai, noibody from the area, north of Baroda City, showed any interest in F i j i until Manilal went there. Late in 1913, Appabhai Lalubhai Patel, a primary school teacher from the village of Dharmaj, made plans to travel to Australia to seek his fortune. While in Baroda City he met Manilal's relatives who furnished him with a letter of introduction, in case he proceeded to F i j i . Appabhai reached Australia in early 1914 during midwinter and found the cold conditions unbearable. Coming from a strict vegetarian background, he was also taken aback by the sight of red meat displayed in a butchershop situated directly in front of the lodging house where he lived while in- Sydney. He befriended some Punjabis who suggested that he should go to New Zealand where he could have the company of other Gujaratis. Appahhai proceeded to New Zealand but confronted similar conditions to those in Australia. His Gujarati friends then told him about the possibilities in F i j i . After spending a month in New Zealand, he boarded a steamer which was bound for F i j i . Upon his arrival in Suva he contacted Manilal who offered him employment as his clerk. Appabhai refused "because he had designs of 40 opening his own business. He remained in Suva but economic necessity soon forced him to seek employment as a clerk in a bakery owned by Alfred Herick (commonly known to Indians in Suva as 'Alu Saheb1). Working as a clerk in Herick's bakery not only provided him an excellent opportunity to develop his business acumen but also brought him into contact with leading members of the Indian community. The Gujarati Sonis of Suva befriended him and affectionately nicknamed him 'Bapa.'' J. P. Maharaj, whose business was close to Herick's bakery, became his close friend, a relationship which materialized into a major business partnership a few years later. Appabhai remained in Herick's employment for six months only after which he decided to open his own trading store, stocked with goods imported mainly from Calcutta. As his business grew, he turned to his homeland to recruit his relatives and friends—people whom he could trust—to help him turn his small business into a network of trading stores located in a l l the 'sugar towns' of Viti Levu.^ The nonindentured Indian population of F i j i increased rapidly between 1914 and 1917. At the end of 1914 i t was 37,754 (71 per cent) out of a total Indian population of 53,356 and by the end of 1917 i t had reached a figure of 52,091 (85 per cent) out of the total of 6l,153.^3 The number of indentured laborers was rapidly declining, especially at a time when indentured migration suffered a series of setbacks. First, the Indian Government halted emigration temporarily in November 1914 but allowed its resumption early in 1915. During 1915 F i j i received the last large shipment of indentured laborers from both Calcutta and Madras. Then in March 1916 a motion was introduced in the Imperial Legislative Council of India which advocated the abolition of indentured emigration. A year later the Indian Government enacted a special measure under the Defense of India Act to prohibit indentured emigration to the British Colonies so as to enable itself to attend to the labor require- ments of the military campaign in Mesopotamia. Recruitment was suspended for 41 the duration of the war and for a two-year period thereafter. F i j i received it s final batch of indentured emigrants in 1916. None of these measures contained any provisions for the control of 'unassisted' emigration in which individuals left India under rules and regulations governing the issuance of passports. While the Government of India reviewed the whole question of emigration, its chief concern was with the control of the emigration of unskilled workers. But at the outbreak of the war i t also took up the question of emigration under the passport system. The system of passports was introduced in 1900 to enable Indian students 64 in England to visit foreign countries. Passports eventually replaced certificates of identity as valid proof that a person was a British subject or a British protected person of a Native State. Basically, they were intended to provide adequate identification and protection at a time when a number of countries introduced stringent immigration rules and regulations governing the entry of Asians. Between 1901 and 1904 the Governments of Gape Colony, South Rhodesia, and the Commonwealth of Australia had enacted measures to curtail unrestricted entry of various categories of Indians. The adverse conditions faced by Punjabi immigrants in New Caledonia and the decision of the Government of Canada in 1907 to restrict Asian immigration, soon obliged the Indian Government to formulate a uniform set of rules and regulations governing emigration through the passport system. The Indian Government fi r s t made i t mandatory for a l l British Indian subjects or subjects of Native . States who wished to -travel to foreign countries to procure valid passports before their departure from India. Then in 1909 i t imposed a time limit of five years on validity of a l l passports. Later, in 19l6, the government also empowered its Local Governments and Agents to issue passports "without de-reference to the Government of India." D It had taken this step to facilitate the issuing of passports, thus enabling itself to concentrate on the problems of indentured emigration. By 1917 the passport system became a permanent 42 fixture of 'unassisted' emigration under the Defense of India (Passport) v i 6 6 Rules. Increased 'free' emigration coincided with the Indian Government's moves to suspend indentured emigration. The formulation of clear-cut passport guidelines generally complied with the concern to provide adequate protection to Indians travelling abroad but also enabled the government to maintain vigilance over their movement. As a rule the authorities were hesitant to hamper the movement of Indians to other areas because they had no intention of interfering directly with the liberty of Indians wishing to leave without assistance from anybody. In the fi r s t place, 'unassisted' emigration was not plagued by the innumerable difficulties which indentured emigration presented. The experience of the Government of Bombay on 'unassisted' emigration spoke for itself. From Bombay there was considerable emigration to East Africa and Zanzibar which was confined to clerks and skilled artisans who moved to and fro quite freely, sometimes with their families, without any degree of supervision from the local government. Secondly, there was general satisfaction with the record of the Crown Colonies on the question of 'free' immigration. The authorities acknowledged that colonies which imported Indian laborers under indenture had "never opposed the entrance of free Indian immigrants of the mercantile or other class," though the main 68 preference was for cultivators and artisans. Accordingly, a consistent ' policy was maintained toward 'free' emigration which s t i l l remained unchanged even when a new Emigration B i l l to control emigration was introduced in the Indian Legislative Council in 1922. After the abolition of the indenture system in 1920 the critics of emigration wanted controls on the movement of unskilled labor to prevent any revival of indentured emigration. By contrast, advocates of 'free' emigration thought that this rigid categorization covered a large number of persons such as clerks, who went around as assistants of merchants, and who would be ^3 greatly inconvenienced i f additions were made to the passport provisions. The government was not keen on placing restrictions on 'free' emigration because i t would he "unjustifiable interference with the liberty of the subject," a point which was firmly reiterated during the debate on emigration 69 in 1922. Its stance was based on the simple premise that 'free' emigration presupposed a certain amount of "intelligence, money, and enterprise" which enabled the individual to decide for himself. Thus, the authorities consistently granted passports to a l l individuals who went through a process of i n i t i a l scrutiny and satisfied certain conditions. They did not take into consideration the immigration policy of the countries for which they issued passports or advise the intending emigrants about the conditions prevailing in the colonies. The authorities only warned them of the risk they would incur of being refused admission i f emigrants failed to f u l f i l the conditions in the 70 immigration policy of the country in question. During World War I and after, F i j i s t i l l maintained an open-door policy "for the entry of a l l British subjects who desired either to travel or to 71 settle down." In this, F i j i was unique and stood in direct contrast to other British territories and possessions in the Pacific. Australia had already enacted measures restricting Asian immigration, and in 1914 New Zealand imposed a dictation test on persons desiring to enter the country. The authorities there brought the education test into effect to prevent any influx of "ex-indentured Indians and their descendants" from F i j i into New Zealand. In 1919 a written test was introduced which required an emigrant "to write out and sign in a European language an application submitted to 72 him by the Collector of Customs at the port of arrival in the Dominion." Fij i ' s attitude toward unassisted emigration reflected a modification of i t s earlier position in 1912 when i t attempted to restrict any other type of emigration except that of indentured laborers. The Government, being the official spokesman of the sugar interests, tried to impress upon the Indian 4 4 Government that the colony's prosperity was tied to the labor supply from India, and desired the resumption of emigration after the war. Indian attitudes, as a result of the agitation against indentured labor and inspite of the favorable criticisms of the McNeil-Chiman Lai Report, had hardened toward any form of emigration "based on fraudulent recruitment," which 73 involved the "slavery of men," and "resulted in the prostitution of women." J Alternatives were sought, and the interested parties—the sugar concerns, the British Government, the Indian Government, and the F i j i Government— became embroiled in a series of maneuvers to devise some scheme that would satisfy a l l parties, including Indian public opinion. The focus was on the permanent settlement of Indians and the possibility of encouraging agricul- 74 tural settlers with families. The key in F i j i ' s bid for resumption of assisted emigration was to show how the condition of Indians was considerably better in F i j i than in India. The main concern was to convince Indian authorities that immigrants were being accorded "exactly the same legal, political and religious rights, privileges, and duties as are afforded to other 75 inhabitants of whatever race." The increasing prosperity of Indians in F i j i was a crucial factor In the argument for the resumption of emigration. This was intricately related to 'unassisted' emigration because 'free' immigrants entered F i j i without any costs to the colony and made positive contributions to its economic . development. The F i j i Government pointed to Indian business concerns which i t claimed were thriving, and to the increased earning and purchasing power of 'free' Indians.which was now prompting "Indians of the mercantile class" 76 to come to the colony. It was simply in no position to place any restrictions on the entry of 'unassisted' immigrants in: spite of previous efforts to that effect in 1912. Such a move could have brought serious repercussions and would have proved adverse to the government's intention to attract more Indian settlers. The Indian critics of the indenture system would have 45 certainly used the issue to justify their arguments against colonies which discriminated against Indians. The Indian Government, which had already developed a hardened attitude toward the resumption of indentured emigration, would have been very difficult to deal with during the deliberations on the scheme for permanent settlement of Indians in F i j i . Moreover, F i j i already had adequate measures to prevent the entry of undesirable immigrants; i t would have jeopardized its chances of receiving more 'assisted' immigrants, i f tighter measures, similar to those in Australia or New Zealand, were enacted to control the entry of other Indians. A number of factors provided the impetus to 'free' emigration to F i j i after 1915. These include the reopening of the shipping routes between the Pacific and India; prohibitive measures in other British possessions and territories which restricted the entry of Indians and the absence of such laws in F i j i ; dissatisfaction with conditions in India which forced an increasing number of repatriated ex-indentured emigrants to return to F i j i ; revision of rules and procedures for issuing passports which placed the passport system under the jurisdiction of Local Governments in India and enabled intending travellers to obtain passports more readily; the hesitation on the part of the Indian Government to restrict emigration under the system of passports on the ground that this would be direct interference with the liberty of Indians wishing to leave without any assistance from anybody. Above a l l , the Government of F i j i , in its attempt to secure the resumption of assisted emigration from India, helped to publicize F i j i as an Ideal place for settlement, and went to the extent of asking the Indian Government "to second men from the Indian public services" to work as clerks and interpreters in F i j i . 7 7 The measures, and the subsequent ban, against indentured emigration had the effect of attracting Gujaratis, in particular, to F i j i . The arrival of these immigrants became more pronounced from 1916, although a few had arrived 46 prior to that. The push toward F i j i from Gujarat was s t i l l a preserve of the Sonis and, to a lesser extent, the Khatris, "but other Gujarati caste groupings began to make their presence felt as well. From the Baroda Division of Baroda State the movement toward F i j i was s t i l l insignificant, Only one other Gujarati of the same caste as Appabhai came to F i j i between 1914 and 1916, This was Chimanbhai Patel from Bhadran, an important village of the Charotar area (present-day Kheda District), situated east of Baroda City. The majority of the Gujaratis were from the southern parts of British and Princely Gujarat. A few Kolis arrived in 1915 and joined the ranks of the Indian hawkers in Suva. The following year, no less than 124 Gujaratis 78 made applications for passports in India to proceed to F i j i . A few applica- tions came from individuals who were intending to return to F i j i after a short visit to India. One such person was Gopal Anandji who had induced Ranchhod Bhagwan, another Khatri, to join him. Accompanying them were Motiram Narsey and his younger son Jivan. The largest contingent consisted of various agriculturalists who wished to work as cloth merchants, hawkers, and fruit and vegetable vendors in F i j i . Kolis, who f e l l into the general category of agricultural laborers, comprised a significant portion of this group. Seventeen Sonis from Porbandar, Junagadh, Navanagar, and Bhavnagar also applied for passports to travel to F i j i . There were only a few applications from persons belonging to the artisan castes—Dhobi (washerman), Mochi (shoemaker), and Darji (tailor). Agriculturalists again constituted the largest single group of applicants in the following year—80 out of a total of 145 passport applications for F i j i . ^ The overwhelming majority were from South Gujarat—from Surat District in British Gujarat and from the Navsari Division of Baroda State. In 1917, the number of Sonis who wished to travel to F i j i doubled as well— the push being from Porbandar, Junagadh, and Jamnagar. There were 12 Khatri applicants but few applications from persons belonging to other artisan castes. 47 The only Mochi in the latter category was Dullabh Kalyan who had lived in F i j i from 1910 to 1913» "but there were no Dhobis and Navs. For the fi r s t time, Muslim Gujaratis began to show interest in the area but the number was minute—2 out of the entire total. For some Gujaratis, F i j i offered the means to circumvent immigration restrictions elsewhere. This was the tendency among the Kolis who generally had relatives in New Zealand but could not go there because of the literacy test. These immigrants came to F i j i with the hope of acquiring some knowledge of English before proceeding to New Zealand. Some Kolis and agriculturalists undertook the journey to F i j i only when their relatives or friends there 80 agreed to provide financial assistance. This group, as a whole, either became hawkers or performed some type of agricultural labor in F i j i . Emigration among the Sonis and Khatris became more organized after 1916 and did not occur in the same manner as the haphazard movement of agricultural laborers. Between 1915 and 1917, the fir s t Gujarati emigrants, who had come to F i j i before the war, had returned to their homeland and had given consider- able publicity to the opportunities in F i j i . Others returned to rejoin their families. The immensity of the distance which the Sonis had to travel between F i j i and Gujarat convinced them that i t would be financially less burdensome to take their families with them to F i j i . The presence of Chunilal Ganji in Porbandar in 1916 generated considerable interest in F i j i . Toward the end of 1916, he made plans to return with his wife and four-month old daughter. Jadavji Bhimji and his wife, and five other Sonis from Porbandar, accompanied him. In 1917, 32 of 40 Sonis who applied for passports 81 were from Porbandar, including 3 families. Manilal's wife, Jayakumari, and 82 their infant son, were among the five or six families who went in 1917. The Khatris also encouraged friends and relatives to go to F i j i where there was a good scope for tailors. Motiram Narsey, Gopal Anandji, and Narotam Karsandas were in Navsari in 1916 as well; they provided the impetus for 4 8 increasing Khatri emigration to F i j i . Narsey and Anandji returned to F i j i that year with 2 more Khatris, and in 1917 Narotam Karsandas returned accompanied by 11 other Khatris—friends and relatives—who intended to work for either the Narsey or Narotam business concerns. Ghimanbhai Patel had also asked his brother Manibhai in Bhadran to join him. The authorities in F i j i interpreted the influx of Gujaratis as an indica- tion of the growing prosperity of Indians. They had noticed the movement of shopkeepers and hawkers to the western districts of Viti Levu. In the Immigration Report for 1917, the authorities drew particular attention to the more expensive manner in which the average Indian dressed himself and his family, and-also to the increasing number of Indians who owned horses and vehicles. They were quite impressed with the inititative Indians had taken in developing the town of Namoli in Lautoka. Indians owned most of the trading stores there, and toward those areas of the town where the indigenous population resided they had acquired additional land on which they had built more business premises— jewelers, bootmakers and tailors being represented as well. Some were also investing their savings in "vehicles (both horse- drawn and motor) which were running for hire and being patronized." Further, evidence of this prosperity, as witnessed by the authorities, was the great demand for goldsmiths and silversmiths. They certainly noticed the "increase in the number of the jeweller class" who were "visiting the Colony and carrying on their calling." But the authorities failed to realize that the demand for Sonars could have been prompted by lack of banking facilities in the western areas or that many Indians were merely looking for alternative 8 4 forms of investment from savings which they would otherwise bury. Much to • their surprise the official mind in India was less exuberant about the rosy picture of the Indians in F i j i . The few years preceding the abolishment of indenture were critical for the future of 'free' emigration to F i j i . During this time Gujarati immigrants 4-9 continued to arrive steadily reaching a peak in 1918. The thrust was s t i l l from the agricultural districts of Navsari Division in Baroda State. The high number of prospective emigrants (218 in 1918) seeking passports for F i j i raised the bogey of indentured labor in Baroda State. The authorities there conducted a high-level inquiry into the entire process of emigration. They examined the factors which caused emigration and could not find any evidence of indentured emigration among the residents of Baroda State who went abroad. Their chief concern was to establish a "Bureau of Emigration" with some DC authority to regulate emigration from the State. Though they had limited success in this matter, they, nevertheless, displayed a sentiment toward the question of indentured emigration which had become uniform throughout India, This sentiment was an inauspicious sign for F i j i . The pattern of Gujarati emigration in 1919 was indicative of the impending crisis in F i j i . There was a considerable drop in passport applications from 86 Gujaratis that year (almost by half from the previous year). The agricul- tural class of Gujaratis seemed somewhat hesitant to leave India. The issue of passports had been halted temporarily in Baroda to enable the authorities there to establish the machinery for keeping a closer watch on the movement of Gujaratis from the laboring class whom the authorities believed were being recruited as indentured laborers in F i j i . Careful official scrutiny certainly acted as a deterrent. In addition, the Government of New Zealand introduced a more stringent literacy test which caused prospective emigrants to reconsider the wisdom of proceeding to F i j i where they had hoped to acquire some knowledge of English before going on to New Zealand. Those who went to F i j i generally recognized a demand for their skills. Perhaps this accounted for the rise in the number of applications from Gujaratis of the artisan and serving castes—washermen, bootmakers, barbers, carpenters, masons,' and tailors. Khatris, for the first time, forged ahead of the Sonis who showed the biggest drop of a l l groups. They followed in the wake of the conditions which their caste-fellows had created. Gopal Anandji, the Narsey family, and other Khatris who were operating tailoring shops encouraged friends and relatives to come as their businesses expanded. Family emigration was restricted to the more established and successful Gujaratis. Appabhai had now expanded his business and entered into a partnership with J. P. Maharaj and Chimanbhai Patel. He had returned to India in 1918, and in the following year made plans to take his wife, and several relatives, including two brothers-in-law from Nondhna In Broach, with him to F i j i , The political stalemate between the Governments of India and F i j i over the indenture system became an important factor determining the flow of immigrants to F i j i . The Governments of India and F i j i reached an impasse over the type of Indian emigration scheme which would be agreeable to both sides. The scheme of 'aided' colonization as espoused by the Inter- Departmental Conference in London was rejected by both critics in India and the two major sugar companies in F i j i — t h e Colonial Sugar Refining Company 87 and the Vancouver-Fiji Sugar Company, Moreover, the official mind in India challenged the F i j i Government's characterization of Indian immigrants as being prosperous. Though officials agreed with the contention that Indians were doing exceedingly well in the colonies, they did not consider i t "necessary for an Indian to go through the process of indenture in order to 88 arrive at this favourable position. " G. F. Andrews, who had become one of the most outspoken critics of indentured emigration, visited F i j i in 1917. He discovered that a large section of the agricultural population had remained unaffected by prosperity and was facing difficult times under the strain of rising prices. In a scathing report, which his critics accused of being highly biased and inaccurate, he showed how Indians had remained untouched by social and political progress in the colony. In 1919, Andrews reiterated his stand that "the F i j i Government cannot be expected to do f u l l justice in larger 51 matters of Indian interest, because i t s financial prosperity i s closely 89 bound up with the interest of such a monopoly as the C.S.R." 7 Unfortunately for the F i j i Government's position, Andrew's assessment of the situation was accepted by the Colonial Office, the India Office, and the Indian Government. Later that year the Government of India recommended the discontinuance of 'assisted' emigration and concentrated on freeing "every Indian in F i j i from indenture." The Government of F i j i , as well as the C.S.R,, the major sugar concern, responded to this challenge in a number of ways. The Governor of the Colony tried to discredit Andrews, pointing to the biased nature of his report which "cast an unjust and unmerited slur not only upon the employers of labor 90 and the Government but upon the European community of this Colony." To the Colonial Office, he wrote: "The prosperity enjoyed by Indians who are not under indenture indicates that steady habits of industry and some knowledge of agriculture were acquired during the period of indenture. A system that can produce such results does not appear to merit undeserved 91 condemnation." But the overall response from England was not favorable. The Colonial Office, recognizing the need for change, sent a new Governor to F i j i who initiated the move toward the cancellation of a l l outstanding indentures. Toward the end of 1918 the Planter's Convention (in F i j i ) passed a resolution supporting a system of immigration "which provides for 92 absolute freedom on the part of the labourer ahd employer." In August 1919 the Legislative Council of F i j i adopted a motion to cancel a l l indentures effective August 1, 1920. The new Governor laid the groundwork for an unofficial mission to visit India to argue, before the Indian public, F i j i ' s case for more Indian settlers. Fearing a boisterous challenge in the forth- coming session of the Indian Legislature, the Indian authorities expressed their misgivings about the unofficial mission which they believed would face a monumental task unless a l l outstanding indentures were cancelled on 52 December 31, 1919 (the date suggested by Andrews) and a system of 'free* emigration to F i j i under wholesome conditions established.^ The Viceroy reiterated this position in his speech at the opening of the Imperial Legislative Council at Simla on September 3, 1919. The unofficial mission from F i j i embarked for India in late 1919. The general mood in India was not one of accommodation but reflected opposition to any proposal from the mission unless the F i j i Government cancelled a l l indentures. At this time, Thomas Hughes, a high ranking official of the C.S.R,, was in England on a separate mission to the Colonial Office to present his suggestions "for a new system of aiding Indians to settle elsewhere in the British Empire as colonists" and "promoting free colonization within the 94 Empire." The Colonial Office was definitely impressed by Hughes' construc- tive proposals which i t felt could strengthen the F i j i mission's position in India provided that the Government of F i j i took the initiative in convincing a l l skeptics of its sincerity in improving the conditions of Indians in F i j i . On January 3, 1920, the Indian Government issued a press communique'' containing the contents of a telegram from the Governor of F i j i to the Colonial Office. It ran as follows: January 2, 1920. On unanimous advice of the Executive Council and with the concurrence of Council of Planters and majority of elected members I have issued orders cancelling a l l indentures of East Indian labourers from this day.95 A week later another telegram arrived outlining the F i j i Government's plans to remove some of the political disabilities of the Indians there through the introduction of communal representation on an elective basis. The F i j i Government recognized the political expediency of deliberating with the Indian Government in an atmosphere of goodwill and reconciliation. However, i t was denied this initiative when on January 15, 1920, discontentment over rising prices, and the demand for high wages, resulted in a strike followed 53 "by extensive rioting, embroiling the Colony in labor disturbances for the next two years, The f i r s t strike lasted a month and i t received extensive coverage in India, especially after the expulsion of the alleged ringleaders, including Manilal Doctor and his wife, from F i j i . The Indian indignation was best expressed by Gandhi who considered i t "inadvisable to stimulate even 96 'free' emigration to F i j i . " 7 Within a short time, the Indian press became very critical of the F i j i Government's handling of the situation, once again forcing the Government of India into reexamining its position on encouraging any form of emigration to F i j i . F i j i was no longer assured of a labor supply unless an alternative scheme of emigration could be devised to replace the indenture system. But the abolition of the indenture system in 1920 had l i t t l e effect on 'free* emigration from India, In fact, by this stage, 'free' Indians who came to F i j i without assistance from any government had become an important part of the immigrant community in F i j i , Though the indenture system had been in operation since 1879, 'passenger' or 'free' immigration f i r s t gained momentum after 1900. The inward flow was influenced by immigration restrictions in countries which had previously accepted Indians readily and by the lack of similar controls in F i j i . The main types of 'free' immigrants were ex- indentured laborers, who had been repatriated to India and who reemigrated to F i j i ; Punjabis who came after encountering unfavorable conditions in other areas such as New Caledonia; and Gujaratis from a few caste groupings who came in search of opportunity or to ply their traditional skills. The growth of the sugar industry in F i j i and the subsequent development of towns also acted as an incentive to 'free' immigration. Other inducements came from the changing structure of Indian immigrant society and from the need for a commercial class of Indians to perform an important function within the expanding community. Between 1910 and 1914, the economic expansion in F i j i and the growing needs of the Indian population continued to attract 'free' 54 immigrants, especially Gujaratis and Punjabis. Moreover, the administrative responsibilities of the government resulted in the introduction of another category of 'free' Indians to perform clerical duties. Furthermore, the lack of trained priests among the community led to the arrival of religious dignitaries with their conflicting ideologies. Indian leaders in F i j i lacked political and legal expertise which soon brought a Gujarati lawyer and other aspiring reformers who merely added to the strains and stresses within the community. The main incentives after 1917 came from Fi j i ' s open- door policy toward 'free' immigration, the reopening of shipping routes between the Pacific and India, and the revision of passport rules in India which facilitated emigration under the passport system contrary to the general assumption that the Indian Government had no interest in unofficial emigration. As for Gujarati emigration, i t became more pronounced after 1916. Agricultural castes showed the most interest in F i j i but encountered considerable official surveillance in such areas as Baroda-State. Only a few Gujarati caste groupings, such as Sonis and Khatris, had become established by 1920, but these groups were instrumental in laying the necessary groundwork through which other Gujaratis came to F i j i after 1920. NOTES •"This introductory section on F i j i from p. 19 to p. 24 i s based on the following sources: Sir Alan Burns,, F i j i (London:-- Her Majesty's Stationery Office, I 9 6 3 ) ; Colony of F i j i : A Handbook (Suva: Government Press, 1957); R. A, Derrick, A History of F i j i , Volume I (Suva: Government Stationery Department, 1946~7; R. A. Derrick, The F i j i Islands: A Geographical Handbook (Revised edition, Suva: Government Press, 1 9 5 7 ) ; P e t e r France, The Charter of the Land: Custom and Colonization i n F i j i (Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1969); J. D. Legge, Britain i n F i j i , 1858-1880 (London: MacMillan & Co., 1958); Norma McArthur, Island Populations of the Pacific (Canberra: Australian National University Press, I 9 6 I ) ; R. Gerard Ward, Land Use and Population i n F i j i , Overseas Research Publication No. 9 (London:Her Majesty's Stationery Office, I 9 6 5 ) . 2 There i s no consensus on the exact number of islands i n the F i j i group. The figures cited here are derived from Burns, F i j i , p. 16, and Derrick, F i j i Islands: Geographical Handbook, p. 3; but most sources have opted for the more conservative estimate of 300. 3 ^The term "birds of passage" has been used here rather l i b e r a l l y , but i t was originally drawn into the o f f i c i a l lexicon i n the early part of this century to describe Australian o f f i c i a l s of the C.S.R. who had no permanent stake i n the colony. Later, c r i t i c s of the Colonial C i v i l Service extended the term to expatriated white officers who enjoyed generous benefits i n contrast to local officers. See Ahmed A l i , " F i j i : The Arrival of Communal Franchise," Journal of Pacifi c Studies, Vol. I (1975), PP. 26-27. 4 Britain's intervention i n F i j i was neither a part of some grandiose imperial design nor a watershed i n British expansion i n the mid-Victorian period. I t certainly was an act of p o l i t i c a l expediency, and meets the c r i t e r i a of the 'Robinson-Gallagher thesis' of the 'informal empire' extending into the 'formal empire.' A l l the necessary conditions were present i n F i j i : the labor t r a f f i c which posed the whole problem of law and order i n the Pacific; the unchecked activities of whites which upset Britain's relationship with indigenous rulers; and the unstable conditions which jeopardized the Interests of B r i t i s h commerce (here to mean trade between F i j i and other British areas of influence i n the Pacific such as Australia and New Zealand). See J. Gallagher and R. Robinson, "The Imperialism of Free Trade," The Economic History Review, 2nd Series, Volume VI, No. 1 (August 1953), PP. 1-15; and Legge, Britain i n F i j i , p. 133; see also J. W. Davidson and D. Scarr, eds., Pacific Island Portraits (Canberra: Australian National University, 1970) for a study of the r i v a l r y between Cakobau and Ma'afu; Ethel Drus, "The Colonial Office and the Annexation of F i j i , " Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, Vol. 12 (1950), pp. 87-110; W. David Mclntyre, The Imperial Frontier i n the Tropics, 1865-1875 (New York: St. Martin's Press, 196?) . - f r i j i Immigration Report (1900), F i j i Legislative Council Paper No. 28 of 1901, p. 13; hereafter.referred to as F.I.R., C.P. by year and number. K. L. G i l l i o n , F i j i ' s Indian Migrants, p. 49 . 55 56 7F,I.R, (1901). C.P. 20/02, p. 14. ^Indla, Emigration Proceedings (hereafter I.E,P.), Revenue, Agriculture and Commerce (hereafter R.A.C.), March 1901, A. No. 12-15, Pile No. 24. "A" Proceedings (Printed Papers) are also available in the India Office Records, London. 9 Under-Secretary, Government of Bengal, to Secretary, Government of India, No. 1365, Calcutta, March 14, 1901, I.E.P., R.A.C., March 1901, A. No. 13. ^°This figure was calculated from the F i j i Immigration Reports, 1900 to 1907. These reports contain figures for 'passenger' immigrants from Calcutta only. 1:LF.I.R. (1907), C.P. 21/08, p. 28. 12 Government of India Resolution No. 12-80-5, October 18, 1904, in Procedure Regarding Passports, Huzur English Office, Baroda, 145/70A; hereafter referred to as H.E.0. 13 This information was obtained orally from Bakshi Singh Mai of Suva, F i j i ; also, see Gillion, op_. cit. , p. 131. 14 Gillion, p. 133, places 1906 as the year of their arrival. The general consensus of the Soni community of Suva is that the fi r s t two immigrants arrived in 1904. Interview with P. K. Bhindi, prominent Soni businessman and politician (April 25, 1975). ^-'interview with Narainji Sida, grandson of Lakhu Premji Soni (August 8, 1975)• l6 Gillion, op_. cit. , p. 133. "^Interview with Jayantibhai Badshah, Navsari, Gujarat (July 28, 1974). Jayantibhai was born in F i j i in 1929. His family returned to Navsari in 1947 where he is now a prominent businessman. l8Dewan to Resident, Baroda, December 27, 1917, No. 1272, H.E.O. l45/l6. ^Notification No. 1011, January 1, 1907, H.E.O., Baroda, 145/70A. 20F.I.R. (1909), C.P. 28/10, p. 26. 2 1Calculated from the F i j i Immigration Reports for 1908, 1909 and 1910. 2 2 F i j i , Census Report (l91l), C.P. 44/11, p. 32; hereafter referred to as F.C.R. 57 ^F.C.R, (1911), p. 32. 24 Ibid., p. 32. Other figures i n this paragraph, and also i n the next paragraph, are from the same source. 25 S. A. Waiz, ed., Indians Abroad Directory, 1934 (2nd edition, Bombay: The Imperial Indian Citizenship Association, 1934), p. 206. 2 6F.I.R. (1911). C.P. 48/12, pp. 22-23. 2 7F.I.R. (1911), pp. 22-23. 2 8F.I.R. (1912). C.P. 29/13, P. 19. 29 yA. G. Lowndes, ed., South Pacific Enterprise: The Colonial Sugar Refining Company Limited (Sydney: Angus and Robertson, 1956), Appendix 11, PP. 435-37. 30 Derived from the F i j i Immigration Reports between 1910 and 1914 inclusive. C.P. 22/11, C.P. 48/12, C.P. 29/13, C.P. 57/l4, C.P. 20/15. 31 Report on the Committee on Emigration from India to the Crown Colonies and Protectorates, Cd. 5194 (1910), Appendices, p. 60; hereafter referred to as Sanderson Committee Report. ^ 2 F i j i Times, April 18, 1912; also, cited i n G i l l i o n , p. 157. -^Telegram to Secretary of State for India, No. 280, October 11, 1911, I.E.P., Commerce and Industry (hereafter C. & I . ) f November 1911, A. No. 4-5. •^Government of Bombay to Government of India, No. 6480, November 4, 1911, I.E.P., C. &I., December 1911, A. No. 409. -Proposal for labor recruitment i n the Surat Dis t r i c t , January 5, 1912, I.E.P., C. &I., January 1912. B. No. 22/23, No. 15. 3 ^ J . McNeill Lai, Report on the Condition of Indian Immigrants i n the Four Colonies: Trinidad, British Guiana or Demerara, Jamaica and F i j i , and i n the Dutch Colony of Surinam or Dutch Guiana. Part II (Simla: Government Central Press, 1914), p. 262 (also known as the Red Report). Same source as n. 13. 38. 39, Agra: F i j i " ) . 58 ^F.CR. (1911). G.P. 44/11. 4l Colonial Secretary's Office (hereafter C.S.O.) to Secretary, Government of India, Suva, April 18, 1912, 9004/1911, I.E.P., C. & I., August 1913, B. No. 37/38, File No. 75. 42 Under .Secretary, Government of India, to Colonial Secretary, F i j i dated Simla, June 22, 1912, No. 4794-75, I.E.P., C. & I., August 1913, B, No. 37/38, File No. 75. 43 Sanadhya, op_. cit. , p. 35. 44 Ibid., pp. 24-25; also, see Gillion, F i j i ' s Indian Migrants, p. 158. ^Proceedings of the Council of the Governor-General of India, Vol. 50, pp. 363-71, 392-96; also, see R. P. Patwardhanand and D. V, Ambekar, eds., Speeches and Writings of Gopal Krishna Gokhale. Vol. I: Economic (Bombay: Asia Publishing House, 1962), p. 349. 46 Hiralal Gupta, Mauritius Aur F i j i Pravasi Bhartiyo ka Agranela Dr. M. Manilal (Bombay: Esquire Press Ltd., 1954), pp. 36-37. In Hindi. ("Dr. Manilal, Leader of Indian Migrants to Mauritius and F i j i " ) . See also Hugh Tinker, "Odd Man Out: The Loneliness of the Indian Colonial Politician— The Career of Manilal Doctor," The Journal of Imperial and Common-wealth History, Vol. II, No. 2 (January 1974), p. 235. 47 'Tinker, "The Career of Manilal Doctor," p. 237. 48 Gupta, op_. cit. , pp. 38-40. ^9I.E.P., C. & I., January 1913, A. No. 1, File No. 5. •5°India Office (hereafter 1.0.) to Colonial Office (hereafter C.O.) dated London, November 22, 1912, I.E.P. , C. &I., January 1913, A. No. 1, File No. 5. ^C.O. to Governor of F i j i , dated London, December 10, 1912, F i j i No. 320, I.E.P., C. &I., January 1913, A. No. 1, File No. 5. 52F.I.R. (1914), CP. 20/15, p. 13. -̂ Red Report, Part II. _. 54 Sanadhya, op_. cit. , pp. 20-21. interview with B. S. Mai and other Sikhs in Suva, F i j i . 56F.I.R. (1913), G.P. 57/14, p. 15. 59 -^Passports, No. 489 of 1918, H.E.O., Baroda, 145/22. 58Passports, No. 1020 of 1918, H.E.O., Baroda, 145/23. 59 ' Sanadhya, op_. cit. , p. 28. 6°F.I.R.(1913), p. 15. interview with Ghunilal M. Patel, Dharmaj (September 8, 1974). ^Interview with Ratilal A. Patel, youngest son of Appabhai, Ba, F i j i (June 16, 1975). 63F.I.R. (1914) and (1917). CP. 20/l5, C.P. 75/18. 64 Information regarding Passports, etc., required for students, merchants and others going to foreign countries, H.E.O., Baroda, 145/5. ^Foreign and Political Department Telegram to Local Governments, Administrations and Political Orders, No. 792-G, dated May 10, 1916, I.E.P., G. &!., December 1916, B. No. 67. ^See Foreign and Political Department Papers relating to the Passport Rules issued under the Indian Passport Act (XXXIV of 1920), I.E.P., Revenue and Agriculture (hereafter R. & A.), March 1923, B. No. 12, File No. 35/12. ^General Department, Government of Bombay to Government of India, Bombay Castle, January 1917, Confidential No. 12, I.E.P., G. & I., March 1917, B. No. 5- 68 Secretary of State (India Office—hereafter referred to as 1.0.) to Governor General of India. August 10, 1917, Public No. 93, India Office Records (hereafter I.O.R.), London, Judicial and Public Department (hereafter J. &.P.) 2396/1917. 69 Extract from Legislative Council Debates, March 21, 1921, Vol. I, No. 13 in I.O.R., London, J. & P. 2396/1921, No. 53. 7°First Assistant Resident to Minister of Baroda State, February 21, 1920, No. 2139, H.E.O., Baroda, 145/75- 7 1Secretary of State (1.0.) to Governor-General of India, August 10, 1917, Public No. 93, I.O.R,, London, J. & P. 2396/1917. 7 2Passports—Rules and Regulations, Precedents and Procedures, No. 9760, H.E.O. , Baroda, 145/71. 60 -^Secretary of State (1.0.) to Governor-General of India, September 21, 1917, Public No. 117, I.O.R., London, J. & P. 3292/1917. 74 "Note by J ames McNeill on Assisted Emigration," May 21, 1917, i n Report on the Inter-Departmental Conference on Assisted Emigration from India, I.O.R., London, J. & P. 3120 A/1917. 75C.O. to 1.0., July 26, 1917, No. 35794, Enclosure, Public No. 117, I.O.R., London, J. & P. 3292/1917. 7 6F.I.R. (1917), G.P. 75/18, p. 13. 77 Extracts from Home Department, Establishment A Proceedings, June 1918, No. 195-199, I.E.P., C. & I., November 1918, No. 5, Filed and Indexed. 7 8Passport Registers, P o l i t i c a l Department, Bombay, No. 6 of 1912-1916, No. 7 of 1916, No. 8 of 1916-17. 79 Passport Registers, P o l i t i c a l Department, Bombay, No. 8 of 1916-17, No, 9 of 1917-18; and Passports, H.E.O., Baroda, 145/8, 145/17. 80 Only those who could raise their passage money, often incurring some amount of debt, were able to make the journey. This involved travel by train to Calcutta or Bombay. The route from Calcutta was direct, but ships from Bombay went only as far as New Zealand where immigrants faced additional expenses u n t i l they could find a ship to take them on to F i j i . 8 lPassport Registers, P o l i t i c a l Department, Bombay, No. 8 of 1916-17, No. 9 of 1917-18. 82^ bid. 8 3F.I.R. (1917), G.P. 75/18, p. 13. 84 Position of Indians i n the West Indies and F i j i , I.E.P., C & I., July 1917, B. No. 1. 85Dewan, Huzur Office, to Resident, June 10, 1917, No. 2817, H.E.O., Baroda, 145/75. ^Passports, H.E.O., Baroda, 145/25A, 145/25B; and Passport Registers, P o l i t i c a l Department, Bombay, No. 10 of 1918-1919, No. 11 of 1919, No. 12 of 1919-20. 8 7Acting Governor of F i j i to C.O., September 30, 1918, F i j i No. 352, i n I.O.R., London, J. & P. 4522/1915- 8 8I,E.P., C &!., July 1917, B. No. 1. 61 8Q C. F. Andrews, F i j i Indentured Labour: A Supplementary Statement ( C a l c u t t a : Modern Review, 1919), p;. 11. 90 F i j i Times, November 14, 1918; a l s o , see Enclosure No. 11, Annex 2, I.E.P., C. 41,, January 1920, A. No. 7. ^ G o v e r n o r of F i j i to C.O., February 27, 1918, No. 56, Enclosure No. 6, Annex 1, I.E.P., C. & I . , January 1920, A. No. 7. ^ G o v e r n o r of F i j i to C.O., September 30, 1918, No. 352, Enclosure No. 8, I.E.P., C. & I . , January 1920, A. No. 7. 9 % o t e s , I.E.P., C. & I . , January 1920, A. No. 13. ^Thomas Hughes to CO., London, December 27, 1919, i n I.E.P., C & I . , May 1920, A. No. 5- 95p r e s s Communique, D e l h i , January 3, 1920, No. 1, I.E.P., January 1920, C & I . , A. No. 32. No. 8. ^ E x t r a c t from Young I n d i a , March 3, 1920, I.E.P. , C & I . , November 1920, CHAPTER III FIJI AND INDIAN IMMIGRATION AFTER INDENTURE, 1921-1945 The abolition of the indenture system in 1920 was indicative of an increasing sensitivity on the part of the Government of India and the leading nationalists about the issue of emigration during a period of considerable political change. This sensitivity reflected a new awareness of the place and importance of India and Indians within the British Empire, certainly influenced by the Indian contribution to the war effort, Montagu's declara- tion in 1917 concerning reforms and a promise of dominion status, and the inclusion of an Indian representative in the Imperial War Cabinet. It made Indians feel that unless the stigma of 'coolieism' was removed permanently, India would always occupy an inferior status in its dealings with other parts of the British Empire, which would be inconsistent with its political objectives."*" The indenture system left a very bitter legacy because of the inhumane treatment of laborers. It created a general animosity toward colonial governments which had condoned many of the abuses in the system. Furthermore, i t made Indians acutely aware of the unequal treatment of their countrymen in many;parts of the British Empire in matters concerning the franchise, the administration of immigration laws, the right to own land and to trade under 2 the same conditions as other settlers, and the claim to British citizenship. Above a l l , i t led to the decision to bring emigration under strict government control and to convince the rest of the British Empire that India was no longer prepared to condone emigration of Indians for labor purposes even as a temporary measure. The attempt to attract Indian settlers to F i j i under an officially sanctioned system of emigration is discussed in the f i r s t section of this chapter. Subsequent sections of the chapter deal f i r s t with the socio-economic 62 63 conditions in F i j i which continued to attract Indian immigrants, and then with the kinds of migrants who came in the 1920s and 1930s. This chapter will show that i t was not only the hitter legacy of the indenture system and the sensitivity of Indians on the emigration question, but also the Indian Government's perception of the situation in F i j i which thwarted any attempt to devise an alternative scheme of emigration to the indenture system. Though Indians no longer came to F i j i under an officially sanctioned system, 'unassisted' or 'free' immigrants continued to migrate to the colony. Factors such as the survival of the sugar industry, Fij i ' s lax immigration laws, increasing opportunities for economic advancement, and the breakdown of F i j i ' s isolation from the rest of the world are also examined in terms of their effect on Indian migration to F i j i after 1920. Another important concern of the chapter is the impact of Punjabi and Gujarati immigrants, especially the latter, on Indian society in F i j i . It will be shown that the exuberance which allowed this category of immigrants to enter F i j i at random in the 1920s was shortlived. Because these recent immigrants began to surpass local Indians in the economic sphere, immigration controls were quickly introduced to curtail their entry. The labor troubles in F i j i and the impending racial crisis in Kenya in 1920 did l i t t l e to change Indian attitudes toward emigration. The unofficial mission from F i j i , which came to conduct deliberations for renewed emigration to F i j i , - soon discovered that the sentiments of both the Government of India and the leading nationalists on the emigration issue were identical. The Indian press was also hostile but the most scathing attacks came from Gandhi 3 who was very vocal on the emigration issue throughout 1920. The labor disturbances had evidently raised serious doubts about the future of Indians in F i j i . The situation in F i j i appeared to be critical, as seen by the F i j i Government's response to the strike. The slump in the sugar industry and a 6k substantial rise in the cost of living caused considerable dissatisfaction among the predominantly agricultural Indian population, but also had put tremendous strains on wage earners who resided in the urban centers. In anticipation of large wage increases, employees of the Public Works Department and the Municipal Council went on strike in Suva. Later the strike spread to Nausori and Levuka and soon engulfed the sugar-growing areas in Rewa and Navua. Fortunately, the northwestern regions remained calm, perhaps due to the offer of the C.S.R. to pay an additional bonus for every ton of cane harvested. The strike lasted a month and presented the F i j i Government with k its f i r s t major labor dispute. Rather than treat i t as such, the government was quick to associate i t with Indian nationalist agitation and embarked on a 'pacification' program which included a show of force by naval vessels from New Zealand and Australia. The most alarming development was the polariza- tion of races with animosities becoming quite apparent between Indians and Europeans. Native Fijians were recruited to augment the police force and the government also received considerable assistance from "loyal Indian British Subjects," under the leadership of Bhadri Maharaj and Peter Grant, to contain the dispute. Reaction in India was particularly hostile. The Indian press was incensed over the riots and the treatment of the strike leaders, as were the leading nationalists. Gandhi was appalled by the treatment of Manilal and Jayakumari whom he regarded as an 'adopted daughter,' and certainly a political protege (after a l l , she had actively participated in his nascent satyagraha movement in Natal in 1913)- Even more disconcerting, especially to the Indian Government, was the F i j i Government's disparaging attitude toward strikers in a despatch to the Colonial Office in which i t had depicted them as "an inferior class," (women, of course, were of the "lowest classes") in comparison with Indians "belonging to the north-western districts" who had not participated in the strike. 6 5 Though suspicion and caution characterized the Indian Government's attitude toward the mission from F i j i , i t was eventually left to the British Guiana and F i j i Emigration Committee of the Indian Legislative Council to 7 consider and report on the emigration proposals for F i j i . There were actually two emigration proposals before the Indian Government—that which had been presented by the F i j i mission and another by Thomas Hughes, a high- ranking official of the C.S.R. who came to India to offer his assistance to the mission. The scheme of the F i j i deputation entailed a system of both free and assisted emigration which included the encouragement of Indian settlement, no restrictions on emigrants desiring to work under any particular employer, and no financial charge to the Indian treasury ih operating the scheme. Above a l l , the colonial government agreed to bear half the cost of repatriation of an Indian desiring to return after a stay of three years and the entire cost after seven years. However, this scheme was not as comprehensive as that advocated by Hughes. In contrast, Hughes wished to restrict the recruitment of 'colonists' to Madras because religious objections to emigration were less there than in Northern India. He also felt that the labor requirements of the Assam tea estates could produce strong economic objections to emigration Q in Northern India. In a conscious effort to align official policy with the prevailing nationalist sentiment on emigration (Surendra Nath Banerjea was, after a l l , chairman of the Emigration Committee), the Indian Government adopted a tough stance against the deputation from F i j i . The Emigration Committee's report, released in March 1920, had urged the government to press for "political and economic equality" for Indians in F i j i and to send a deputation to F i j i "to 9 test the scheme and especially to the question of the adequacy of wages." Therefore, the Indian Government was not willing to settle for any assurance other than that "by ordinance with the approval of the Colonial Office that 66 the position of Indians in F i j i would he equal to that of any class of His Majesty's subjects."1^ Moreover, i t was only prepared to sanction emigration i f the report of the proposed deputation to F i j i proved to be satisfactory. After consultation with the authorities at home, the mission from F i j i readily provided these guarantees which were as much the logical response to nationalist hostility in India as they were part of a calculated effort to convince Indian authorities of changes which were in store for the Indians in F i j i . Essentially the F i j i Government agreed to refrain from tampering with Indian rights or altering them to the detriment of that community; the Indians in F i j i would be entitled to the same trading and commercial privileges as the Europeans; there would be no modifications of the existing municipal rights; and the proposed political concessions, allowing two elected Indian representatives in the Legislative Council, would not be withdrawn. Later, in July 1920, i t reiterated this pledge to the Colonial Office "to give the guarantee asked for (including the general guarantees by Ordinance)."1"'" Though the official mood in F i j i should have paved the way for the early resumption of emigration, the Government of India did very l i t t l e to hasten the process. There was a certain degree of ambivalence in the manner in which the Indian authorities tackled the problem. While they welcomed the proposals for the new emigration schemes, they were far more perceptive to the demands of Indians who advocated a policy of caution. Hence, the official policy reflected the general Indian sentiment which contained a great distrust of colonial governments under the control of planters whose only concern was to secure an adequate supply of Indian laborers without attending to their material and psychological needs. There was actually no immediate solution to the emigration question. Public opinion in India was s t i l l embittered by the F i j i Government's actions during the labor disturbances. Speculation about an exodus of Indians from F i j i to their homeland was also being widely publicized in India. At a time 67 when Indians in F i j i were feeling very apprehensive over their predicament, the Indian press and the Indian public concentrated on rights and privileges on the assumption that the eradication of disabilities would invariably lead to the betterment of the community there. The Indian Government also showed more concern for its public image rather than acting on the F i j i question at an opportune moment. Public indignation in India and the decision to wait for the report on the cost of living from F i j i were largely responsible for the delay in sending a deputation to F i j i . In the meanwhile, the situation in F i j i continued to deteriorate after the disturbances. Faced with unemployment and poverty, many ex-indentured Indians began to consider repatriation to India as the only alternative to their predicament in the colony. There were actually 11,000 Indians who 12 registered with the government for repatriation to India. Disillusionment over the government's callous attitude during the disturbances merely intensified the desire for repatriation. The drift toward India began gradually in 1920 but by the end of the year 4 , 7 4 l ex-indentured Indians 13 had returned. J Adding to a l l the confusion was growing speculation about a mass exodus from F i j i which the Indian Government was now anxious to prevent. Scrutiny of the report on the cost of living in F i j i quickly convinced Indian authorities of the serious economic grounds for dissatisfaction among the Indians there. The colonization scheme soon gave way to a more pressing 14 need "to enquire into conditions and ascertain the causes of discontent." The Indian Government could no longer evade any responsibility in this issue because F i j i actually had no alternatives to Indian immigration—proposals to employ Chinese laborers and to import surplus Tamil labor from Ceylon were rejected by the Colonial Office. Above a l l , i t was also anxious to clear up an embarrassing situation which the nationalists at home were effectively using to their advantage. Bad publicity surrounding the predicament of destitute repatriated 68 Indians in Calcutta provided additional incentive to prevent the threatened exodus from F i j i . In 1920, 6,544 immigrants returned to India from the colonies and in 1921 the figure doubled,1^ Over half the repatriates within this two-year period were from F i j i . Many returnees were experiencing numerous difficulties in readjusting to their old environment. Large numbers of repatriated immigrants were unable to find employment because of unfavorable economic conditions in India. After years of absence in the colonies some were also unable to"revert to a traditional pattern of existence which they now found intolerable. Others who had returned to resume their old kinship ties in their villages were hard pressed to share their savings with their kinfolk. Those who returned as paupers or had l i t t l e to offer were invariably ostracized. Uncomfortable and bitter in the old surroundings, many discontented repatriates drifted toward Calcutta with high expectations of returning to the colonies. In Calcutta, the authorities conducted a careful scrutiny of the repatriates who wished to leave India again. Those, who had adequate funds and possessed the proper travel documents departed as 'passengers' to their destinations. The destitutes and the less fortunate were permitted to leave only after the governments of British Guiana l6 and F i j i intervened on their behalf. All hopes of sending a deputation at an early date were shattered when the situation in F i j i erupted again. In February 1921, laborers in the sugar industry went on strike against the G.S.R. The strike started at Ba, soon engulfed a l l the sugar districts in northwestern Viti Levu, and subsequently spread to Labasa in Vanua Levu. Sugar mills in Navua and Nausori were not affected. It lasted six months until the end of August. Essentially, 17' workers struck for higher wages and better living conditions. The response from both the sugar company and the government was predictable. While the C.S.R. rebuffed claims for higher wages, though promising to provide "chief articles of food and clothing at the lowest possible cost," the F i j i 69 Government maintained its usual firm stance and deported strike-leaders, notably Sadhu Bashist Muni, a controversial social reformer, whom i t accused 18 of being "in collusion with non-cooperationists in India." If there was indeed no immediate solution to the emigration question, then this impasse stemmed from the fact that both governments were at loggerheads. The F i j i Government simply did not want Indian authorities to interfere in the domestic affairs of the colony, nor was i t prepared to 19 entertain any deputation associated with the nationalist movement in India. On their part, the Indian authorities regarded this attitude as nothing short of a calculated effort by the F i j i Government to whitewash their conduct in suppressing the riots. While they were generally willing to comply with the wishes of the colonial government, they were also very sensitive to public opinion, especially at a time when the new emigration b i l l was being debated in the Indian Legislative Council. Nevertheless, the Government of India agreed to restrict itself to an inquiry "into the suitability of the Colony for settlement by Indians and the question of land grants for deserving 20 Indian officers and men." The deputation to F i j i finally selected in December 1921, consisted of G. L. Corbett (former Deputy Secretary in the Department of Commerce and Industry), Venkatapathi Raju (a member of the Indian Legislative Council), Govind Sharma (a member of the Legislative Council of the United Provinces), and Lieutenant Hissam-ud-din Khan who was to ascertain whether conditions in F i j i were suitable for the settlement of Indian soldiers. It arrived in early February 1922 and remained in the colony for about two months, visiting the principal cane-growing regions and other areas which had the potential for Indian settlement. From the outset the visit was marred by controversy which became more Intense when the deputation released its interim recommendations. Sympathizing overtly with the Indian workers, the deputation expressed a deep sense of outrage at the C.S.R.'s reduction of 70 21 the dally wage of cane workers "by 40 per cent. First, i t recommended the repatriation of every Indian who was "legally entitled to free passage to India" (in spite of the plight of repatriated immigrants in Calcutta). Second, the deputation called for a living wage for workers on the lines suggested by the Inter-Departmental Conference in London in 1917; priority to be given to unemployed Indians to work on the projected trunk road across Viti 22 Levu; and better land provisions for Indians wishing to settle permanently. Unfortunately, the F i j i Government could do very l i t t l e to allay the deputation's misgivings. There was l i t t l e difficulty in agreeing to discharge a l l l i a b i l i t i e s toward repatriation, but i t balked at establishing a statutory minimum wage for workers in an effort to remain impartial in the dispute. Perhaps there was no precedence for such legislation in other British colonies. As for the C.S.R., i t even rejected the deputation's advice to operate "without profit or even at a loss," which was a realistic suggestion considering the company's 'charitable' gesture toward New Zealand earlier; the company also accused the Indian members of being biased and "entirely unfit to conduct the enquiry," and protested vehemently to the Viceroy for 23 fear of an adverse final report. But the more serious development was the position adopted by the European community which was angered by the utterances of the Indian members of the deputation and by their visible display of sympathy toward the Indian workers. Many planters had experienced the crippling effects of the economic slump and could not maintain their estates without an adequate supply of agricultural laborers. Some planters had turned to the native Fijians who demanded high wages and sometimes proved to be erratic workers. Without adequate upkeep, .choice farm lands were soon covered with dense vegetation. As the crisis intensified, numerous planters reacted by selling their livestock and, in extreme cases, sold a considerable portion of their landholdirigs to cover losses. The sugar outlook continued to remain gloomy indeed, and the company's 71 lockout of its workers produced much anxiety over the possibility of the industry collapsing entirely. There was increasing bitterness toward the deputation and the entire Indian community. Both Europeans and native Fijians questioned the motives of Indians during a period of economic distress which affected a l l segments of the population. The local press was also very critical of the deputation, in effect articulating the growing opposition "to any renewal of immigration of Indians to F i j i with a view to extensive land settlement and to equality of political status of Indians and 24 Europeans." Obviously, this change, of attitude seriously undermined the F i j i Government's proposals for renewed immigration. It was the the general feeling of despondency among the Indian community which influenced the judgement of the deputation more than any other factor. The deputation completed its inquiry by the middle of March, but also delved into the causes of the discontent contrary to assurances given by the Indian Government. Its members discovered no signs of political agitation, concluding that Indians in F i j i had three major grievances: inadequate wages to maintain a decent standard of living; an unsatisfactory land policy with l i t t l e provisions for permanent Indian settlement as agriculturalists; dispropor- tionate or lack of political representation aggravated by the government's lethargy in providing even the promised communal seats in the Legislative 25 Council. Furthermore, the deputation did not favor the immigration of Indians as laborers and, above a l l , saw limited possibilities for Indian colonization. Realizing that repatriation would not be economical, i t simply advised the F i j i Government "to provide for the settlement of the Indians" already in F i j i who had "gained experience of the local conditions."2^ Thus, the report to the Indian Government f e l l heavily against any resumption of sponsored emigration unless remedial measures were taken to eradicate the major disabilities of Indians in the colony. However, i t was favorably inclined toward the settlement of Indian soldiers but regarded this a risky undertaking because of the hostile European sentiment. Surprisingly, the deputation's comprehension of the economic issues in F i j i was very superficial; rather, i t concentrated on the disabilities of Indians in F i j i to justify its opposition to renewed sponsored emigration from India. In settling the F i j i question the Government of India adhered rigidly to the contention that the deputation had gone there "to examine the possi- bilities for Indian colonization" and "not to guarantee a labor supply. 1 , 2 7 In December 1922, i t informed the authorities in F i j i of the decision not to reopen emigration unless the problems of wages, political status, and land settlement were resolved. This position was strongly reiterated in March 1923, but in return for concessions to the Indian community the F i j i Government demanded 10,000 new immigrants, excluding women and children, 28 within a two-year period, Rejection of the counter-proposal from F i j i was inevitable, in effect dashing a l l hopes for renewed sponsored emigration. The fate of the entire emigration question was finally settled by the passage of the Indian Emigration Act of 1922 which placed stringent controls on the emigration of unskilled workers from India. Essentially, the Act reflected a dual concern to prevent the erratic movement of cheap Indian labor abroad and to force colonies which required Indian labor to liberalize legal rights for their Indian residents. It empowered the Indian Government to permit organized emigration, but only under terms and conditions to be reviewed by a standing emigration committee which was especially constituted 29 from both houses of the Indian Legislature. Thus the Act had a direct bearing on emigration to Mauritius, British Guiana, and F i j i . F i j i ' s attempt to attract Indian settlers under an officially sanctioned system of 'free' emigration was not successful;. Emigration to Mauritius was resumed briefly in 1921 and terminated in the following year. By 1926 British Guiana remained the only colony to receive immigrants, but hardly any significant movement from India occurred. As for nonlabor emigration, the 73 government continued to maintain a policy of noninterference. The Act did not place restrictions on skilled artisans or 'free' emigration under the passport system. The legislative controls placed upon labor emigration meant that F i j i could no longer rely on the two main areas—United Provinces and Madras—for fresh supplies of Indian..migrants. These two areas had served as the major recruiting grounds during the indenture period but after 1920 there was a drastic shift in the pattern of migration. Throughout the 1920s the United 30 Provinces witnessed a dramatic decline in migration overseas. With the termination of Indentured labor there was hardly any incentive or inducement to leave. By contrast, Madras and other areas of South India became the chief recruitment pool for seasonal labor, under the kangani system, for the neighboring countries of Ceylon, Burma, and Malaya. Moreover, Indian laborers adapted quite readily to the climatic and physical conditions in these regions and encountered less hostility and ill-treatment there than they had experienced in F i j i or other British colonies which had received indentured labor. Judging from the uncertainty of the immediate postiridenture years in F i j i , i t is also difficult to understand the F i j i Government's relentless efforts to obtain fresh supplies of laborers from India. The economic situation in F i j i after 1920 was not conducive to any renewed large-scale Indian settlement. Gone was the optimism which grew out of the wartime boom based on. the phenomenal growth of the sugar industry and on the inflated price of sugar. The abolition of indentured emigration from India in 1920 ensured the demise of the plantation system in F i j i and, in effect, shattered the dreams of the planter community. Uncertainty in the world sugar market led to a drop in sugar prices which offset the high profit levels, though not the importance of sugar, of the preceding war years for most growers in F i j i . The colony also witnessed an economic slump, accompanied by an acute 74 labor shortage, a decline in sugar production, a scarcity in essential commodities, and an alarming rise in the cost of living. The two major labor disturbances created much distrust between Indians and the other races which eventually led to growing opposition to any extensive Indian settlement in F i j i . Fortunately for the local Indian community, very l i t t l e emigration from India took place which could have aggravated the situation. The Indian community was also entering a transitory phase, confronting numerous hurdles in the adopted homeland. Some of the main challenges were intricately related to the quest for political and social equality with other races, diversification into other types of occupation in addition to farming, and a growing desire for more land. The Census of 1921 revealed new trends in the growth of the Indian population. The structure of the community was changing rapidly (see Table 3.1 below). Taking into consideration natural increase, deaths, new arrivals and departures between 1911 and 1916, while the indenture system was s t i l l in operation, departures through additional repatriation after 1916, and 'free' immigration, the Indian population was estimated at 60,634. T A B L E 3.1 MAIN COMPONENTS OF THE INDIAN POPULATION 1911 1921 India-born 29,063 72. Wo 33,156 54.66$ Locally-born 11,069 27.46$ 26,810 44.22̂ Others 154 0.387̂  668 1.10# TOTAL 40,286 Source: F i j i Census Reports, 1911 and 1921. 60,634 75 The small increase in the India-horn group between 1911 and 1921 can be attributed to repatriation (10,017 out of 16,613 immigrants who came between 1911 and 1916 returned to India) and to the minor contribution through 'free' 31 immigration. There was also an uneven sex ratio in this group which indicated that i t would be outnumbered eventually by the local component with its younger age factor and a more balanced sex ratio. The India-born component continued to face depletion throughout the 1920s, primarily through repatriation. Up until 1925, nearly 52,000 were 32 entitled to return to India at the expense of the F i j i Government. The immediate postindenture figures for repatriation were quite high (about 4,000 per year) but began to level off to an annual rate of 1,000 until 1 9 2 9 . 3 3 By 1923, 24,665 of a l l Indians with repatriation rights had claimed their free passage to India, and by the end of 1929 the total figure rose to 34 39,806. There was definitely a steady movement of the India-born toward India. Had i t not been for a burst of immigration into F i j i prior to the depression, the numerical strength of this group would have shown further decline. The community was s t i l l North Indian in character, judging from the birth places of the India-born. Over half traced their origins to the United Provinces and only a quarter to Madras Presidency. Other groupings included the Bengalis, Punjabis, Rajputs, and Gujaratis. There was a large group of Indians with no designated birthplace in India. Also noticeable was the decline in numbers of Bengalis, Punjabis, and Rajputs who may have left because of the prevailing unstable conditions, but the numerical strength of Gujaratis or persons with origins in Bombay Presidency had doubled, from 153 in 1911 to 324 in 1 9 2 1 . 3 5 North and South Indians were divided along linguistic lines as well as on a sectarian basis.. This was a by-product of the indenture period when there was very l i t t l e interaction between the two groups. The only possible 76 semblance of unity was the common feeling of having originated in India. Religion could have acted as a unifying force (over 85 per cent of a l l Indians were Hindus), but there was growing polarization among the sectarian groups. The Sanatani and Arya Samaji comprised the dominant sects, the former paying more attention to a conservative ritualistic tradition. In contrast, the Southerners comprised a separate group with a distinct linguistic and ritualistic tradition. While the Northerners' main festivals were Ramlila, Holi, and Divali, the Southerners concentrated<on the Mariamma festival. Most minor groupings such as the Bengalis and Gujaratis f e l l into the general category of Hindus. Other significant religious groupings were the Christians, Sikhs, and Muslims. The Indian community retained its dominant agricultural base in the postindenture period. The end of the estate system ensured the rise of the independent Indian farmer, as Europeans withdrew from the cultivation of sugarcane while turning to pastoral farming and coconut growing. Experiments in cocoa, tea, and rubber cultivation resulted in failure because of hurricanes, the acute shortage of labor, and an unprofitable return on investments. Planters who had leased estates from the C.S.R. relinquished their rights and moved out of the sugarcane districts. Furthermore, a major portion of a l l freehold land under European control became idle. Europeans s t i l l retained control of over 55 Pe^ cent of a l l freehold land in the colony 37 but started leasing land to Indians. Very l i t t l e land of this type passed into the hands of Indians as direct ownership. The absence of the indigenous population from any large-scale commercial farming, especially in the sugar industry, also assured the Indian's position as the dominant agriculturalist. The Fijian was the supreme landowner in- F i j i , possessing recognized customary tenure over more than 80 per cent of a l l land. 3 8 Since the government was committed to a policy of preserving native land tenure, i t virtually assured the permanence of Fijian 7 7 ownership of a l l land that was not freehold or under government control. The Fijian was tied to his village with complex communal obligations. His chief agricultural pursuit was the cultivation of foodcrops—coconut, yam, taro, banana,- sweet potatoes, breadfruit, tapioca, pineapple, kava root (yaqona), etc.—for home consumption. The growth of bananas for export 39 constituted the Fijian's only substantial commercial enterprise. However, the Fijian was quickly becoming aware of the changes around him; he was extremely perceptive of the material benefits derived from the commercial economy of the towns. The drift to urban centers began gradually as villagers left at varying intervals to become wage earners in towns, on large farms, and in the sugar mills. Here they worked as casual and agricultural laborers-, clerks, sailors, carpenters, boat builders, and domestic servants. The withdrawal of European planters from the sugarcane districts left the G.S.R. as the largest single landowner associated with the sugar industry. The C.S.R. survived both the labor troubles and the f a l l in sugar prices. Moreover, i t s financial position remained intact despite the difficulties during the economic slump as exemplified by profits which rose steadily from £300,000 in 1919 to £400,000 in 1921. By its own admission, the company in F i j i "enjoyed the most spectacular monetary success in its history between 1914 and 1924," providing 50 per cent of the total profits for the C.S.R.'s 41 entire operations in the South Pacific. It i s interesting to note that when the C.S.R. in F i j i terminated its operations in 1923 as a subsidiary of the company in Australia, i t "repaid the ordinary capital to the parent company," returned its fixed assets at almost a third of its original value of £3,500,000, and paid in excess of j£l,000,000 to miscellaneous shareholders 42 as premium and other cash benefits. Additional benefits were realized through the transfer of surplus assets. The sugar company was certainly in a position to pay its Indian workers more without any substantial loss to the shareholders, but consistently maintained a policy of low wages which 78 some sources cited as a major cause of the rise of rural Indian indebtedness.^3 The Company's prime objective in the postindenture period was to stop the erosion in sugar output and to retain a high monetary return for i t s investment. Thus, i t introduced the scheme of tenancy farming which virtually assured the survival of the sugar industry. Two factors contributed to the consolidation of the company's position. One was the closure of its two competitors' mills in Penang and in Navua in 1922. The Penang operation passed into the hands of the C.S.R., and the Vancouver-Fiji Sugar Company's mill at Navua was dismantled. Moveable assets from the latter were transferred to the parent company in Vancouver and the LL land was sold to the F i j i Pastoral Company. The failure of the Navua mill clearly indicated that the windward (wet) side of the main island was climatically unsuitable for sugarcane cultivation. The closure of the mill resulted in the movement of many residents to other areas. Those who remained turned to rice cultivation. The other important factor was the C.S.R.'s decision to create a new class of tenant farmers on its estates. This innovation took place between 1923 and 1924. The company realized that 'independent' tenant farmers, under constant supervision to curtail erratic cultivation and land wastage, could provide enough sugarcane to sustain the industry. Large estates were divided into economically viable and manageable farms of about 11 acres (some farms were smaller) and leased to individual family units, based on the conviction that an individual (single) family farm of eight acres or more would provide an adequate means of livelihood. J There was l i t t l e scope for agricultural diversification because of the company's policy of encouraging 46 sugarcane cultivation only. The company also recruited the services of another cane supplier. This type of farmer was the 'contractor' who was generally a leaseholder of non-C.S.R. lands (freehold, Crown, and native) but entered into a similar economic relationship with the company as the 79 47 tenant farmer. Both contractors and tenant farmers emerged as the principal cane growers as the company withdrew from active farming. The C.S.R. played an important role in shaping the pattern of Indian settlement in the postindenture period. The emphasis on single-unit farms led the rapid expansion of settlements on company lands contiguous to the 'sugar towns' hut within the limits of the cane regions. Settlements were unlike the village units of India, consisting of scattered homesteads on farms with undefined "boundaries. Houses were constructed on the least arable patches of land, in accordance with the company's instructions, to ensure maximum utilization of land for cane cultivation. These settlements lacked cohesiveness based on caste groupings. Authority stemmed mainly from the company which regulated the tenant's finances, provided technical 48 assistance, and even advised on domestic and family matters. The sense of isolation was overcome by cooperative cane harvesting and through contact with the towns linked by the company's tramlines. While sugarcane cultivation provided the principal source of livelihood, rice growing provided an important avenue for diversification, especially in the wetter regions where cane growing was unsuccessful. During the indenture period rice growing had been initiated by 'free' (ex-indentured) Indians near plantations in the cane regions. The government had also provided incentives to rice growing. After 1920 the focus of rice growing shifted to the delta plains and flat-lands surrounding the towns of Navua 49 and Nausori. Here, i t eventually became the main form of agricultural activity among Indian farmers, predominantly in Navua where the closure of the sugar mill necessitated this change-over. Rice proved to be a profitable crop because of the high consumption by Indians. Demand exceeded supply producing a heavy relaince on imported rice as well. To meet the high demand and consumption of the local crop, many farmers in the wetter regions turned exclusively to rice cultivation. 80 Mixed-crop farming was also "becoming an important aspect of agricultural activity, including the cultivation of vegetables, root crops, maize, pulses, and tobacco. Some of these items were marketable commodities. Indians faced competition from Chinese farmers whose concentration on green vegetables 50 enabled the latter to dominate the market in vegetables. Cotton and pineapple growing offered attractive commercial possibilities but the area devoted to their cultivation was small. The British Cotton Growing Association had reported favorably on the quality of F i j i cotton, inducing Indian cotton growers to export small .quantities of ginned and baled cotton to the United Kingdom under the guidance of the F i j i Government.̂ "'" Commercial pineapple growing by Indian farmers for export to New Zealand was restricted to small farms near Suva. There was some interest from Canada in launching canning operations but this was only at an experimental stage in the 1920s. Cattle grazing and dairy farming constituted other forms of limited activity associated with the utilization of land. The possibilities for commercial ventures were limited since the-better pastoral lands were in the hands of Europeans. Though Indians owned twenty of the twenty-two dairies which supplied milk to the Suva locality, these were small concerns operating on poor pastures in comparison to those receiving direct government assistance. The government was more keen on developing this as a European sphere of activity. Incentives were given to European ex-servicemen in the form of land grants and the establishment of a butter factory to develop this industry in the Tailevu area. J Livestock farming also attracted the attention of Indians but was dominated by Europeans at this stage. Indian farmers preferred grazing leases on sloping lands which were close to cane regions and often indulged in grazing cattle on unfenced European lands. Apart from the dispersed pattern of Indian settlement in the cane regions, there was a high concentration of settlers in the vicinity of the 'sugar towns' and districts on the leeward side of "both islands. The towns of Navua and Nausori, and Suva the capital—all located on the windward side of Viti Levu—also attracted large pockets of Indian settlement. Ba in Viti Levu, andMacuata in Vanua Levu, emerged as the principal areas of Indian settlement of the cane regions. Suva, the capital of F i j i , had the largest concentration of urban dwellers. While the overwhelming bulk of Indians were rural dwellers on farms, only the commercial and industrial sections of the community resided in towns. „ It was in the towns that occupational diversity could best be observed. According to the 1921 Census there were 854 persons involved in commercial activity including traders, merchants, shopkeepers, shop assistants, and 54 restauranteurs, Of the 3,179 persons in the 'industrial' category, tailors, barbers, cabmen, bootmakers, jewelers, goldsmiths, silversmiths, carpenters, furniture-makers, fitters, painters, drivers (locomotive), and blacksmiths constituted the largest groups. Some of these groups such as tailors, goldsmiths and silversmiths, bootmakers, and barbers had a preponderance of Gujaratis. The total number of wage earners was estimated at 5,000, but figures declined steadily after 1921 as more Indians turned to farming. Other peripheral groups that would be indicative of occupational mobility included booksellers, commission agents, wood vendors, photographers, masons, laundrymen (mostly Gujarati), printers, plumbers, butchers, lumbermen, and cinema operators. To many Indians an improved financial position meant more social status. This was a period of limited education facilities for Indians. Of the 14,000 Indian children of school age in 1925 only 3,500 were receiving any form of formal education of whom about half were attending the small number 57 (about 22) of government-assisted Indian schools. There was an acute shortage of trained teachers. The situation was aggravated by cultural, 82 religious and linguistic differences, lack of government initiative, and the dispersed nature of the Indian population. The government, of course, "blamed i t on the inability of Indians to "combine for continued and organized constructive work."^ This assessment contained an element of truth but there was a more sinister force in operation, namely, that the official mind in F i j i was not yet reconciled to any rapid development in Indian education. Moreover, the Government's expenditure on education went predominantly to the support and expansion of European and Fijian education, It was not until 1929 that a government-sponsored training center for Indian teachers was 59 established. The push for economic betterment, the aspiration toward better social status, the shift from manual labor, and the quest for political rights were a l l manifestations of the long and arduous march to advancement through various avenues. Numerous factors contributed to the opening of avenues for advancement— the breakdown of the plantation system, the rapid growth of dispersed Indian settlements, the withdrawal of Europeans from active farming, the accessibility of land for farming, and the emergence of a consumer economy centered in the towns but catering to the requirements of an expanding agricultural hinterland. An expanding population added to the problems of administration. As the responsibilities of administration grew more complex, the government began to pay more attention to developing the existing network of communication lines in the colony. Until 1921 the colony lacked a unified system of roads linking a l l the towns to the capital in Suva. That year the government initiated a major road project across Viti Levu which was finally completed as a coastal road in the late 1930s, linking the capital to the northwestern sugar centers.^ A good land transportation system facilitated the movement of capital, trade goods, and people in search of work and opportunity. Throughout the 1920s F i j i ' s isolation from the outside world continued 8 3 to be broken. Regular steamer communication existed between the colony and Australia and New Zealand on a monthly basis transporting cargo, passengers, and mail. In addition, there were a number of cargo lines from F i j i and the United Kingdom on a two-monthly and quarterly basis, and a Royal Mail Line service to Vancouver via Honolulu on a two-monthly basis. The plying of 'repatriation' ships between India and F i j i assured contact with India. A regular passenger service between Bombay and Sydney after 1920 brought Western India closer to F i j i . Direct cable communication were established between F i j i and Canada, Australia, and New Zealand as well. By 1930 the network of steamer communication had extended immensely—there was now a regular route to the United Kingdom via the Panama Canal, and ships from San 6l Francisco to Sydney called at Suva regularly. These communication networks consolidated trade links with other countries and provided a steady outlet for the colony's export commodities— sugar, bananas, and copra. Sugar was exported to the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Copra went to the United Kingdom and various foreign countries—the United States, France, and Germany. The banana export market was restricted to New Zealand. F i j i depended largely upon imports for its basic necessities; Australia, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and the United States were the principal suppliers. Imports from India were marginal (about 3 "to 4 per cent of the total) consisting predominantly of Indian necessities—drapery, wheat, leather goods, jute bags, edible oils, grains, rice, and spices. In..spite of expanding local communication networks which provided some semblance of linkage between the capital in Suva and the sugar centers, society in F i j i remained highly compartmentalized. There were three main racial groups linked to separate economic functions. These groups are shown in Table 3.2 (p. 84). Indians remained entrenched in the sugar industry; Fi.jians were traditionally rooted in their village agriculture; Europeans T A B L E 3.2 RACIAL COMPONENTS OF FIJI'S POPULATION, 1881-1946 1881 1891 I9OI I9II 1921 1936 1946 Chinese * 305 910 1,751 2,874 % - - - 0.2 0.6 0.9 1.1 European 2,671 2,036 2,459 3,707 3,878 4,028 4,594 % 2.1 1.7 2.0 2.6 2.5 2.0 1.8 F i j i a n 114,748 105,800 94,397 87,096 84,475 97,651 118,070 % 90.0 87.3 78.6 62.4 53.7 49.2 45.5 Indian 588 7,468 17,105 40,286 60,634 85,002 120,414 % 0.5 6.2 14.2 28.9 38.5 42.9 46.4 Part-European 711 1,076 1,516 2,401 2,781 4,574 6,142 % 0.6 0.9 1.3 1.7 1.8 2.3 2.3 Rotuman 2,452 2,219 2,230 2,176 2,235 2,816 3,313 % 1.9 1.8 1.9 1.6 1.4 1.4 1.3 Other Pacific 6,100 2,267 1,950 2,758 1,564 2,353 3,717 Islanders % 4.8 1.9 1.6 2.0 1.0 1.2 1.4 A l l others 156 314 467 812 789 204 514 % 0.1 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.5 0.1 0.2 TOTAL 127,486 121,180 120,124 139,541 157,266 198,379 259,638 TOTAL PERCENTAGE 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 ^•Included with 'All others' Source: F i j i Census Report, 1946 85 controlled the flow of capital and displayed more economic diversity which strengthened their grip over Suva, the nucleus of a l l administrative and commercial activity. The colony contained a l l the major characteristics of a 6? plural society. ^ Because of the peculiar distribution of the Fijians, the Indians, and the Europeans, each group lived in relative isolation from the other, with Suva and the 'sugar towns' providing the only points of contact. Each race also adhered to its own lifestyle • based on different linguistic and cultural traditions. The Europeans and Fijians had more in common, both possessing a strong Christian tradition, than did either of these races with the Indians. The isolation of each group from the other was to some extent self-imposed—the 'European standoffishness,' the Indian belief that he was superior to the backward Fijian—but i t was largely superimposed by the structure of the economy, by the physical and climatic conditions which dictated the pattern of land usage, and by the limitations on the accessi- bility of land. Though Indians owned property and conducted business worth =£300,000 in 64 the early stages of the postindenture period, the scope of their activities was marginal within the context of the entire economic l i f e of the colony. Indians dominated agricultural activity as independent farmers, but their entry into retail and wholesale trade was modest because Europeans controlled the two major commercial concerns and branches, the two banks, the inter- island and overseas shipping houses, the sugar mills, and the capital to launch secondary industries in Suva after their departure from active farming, Moreover, Europeans dominated the political l i f e of the colony which enhanced their economic position. Indians, on the other hand, remained on the periphery because of their strong agricultural background and their focus on sugar. Many lacked the capital, the entrepreneurial skills, and the foresight to enter a new sphere of economic activity. Land restrictions and lack of avenues for political participation-also limited the scope of the 86 opportunities. Fifty years of indenture seemed to have instilled a feeling of defeat and an 'inferiority complex' which hampered any progress. Furthermore, leadership was lacking and came largely from India, while there was also a marked absence of a professional class of local Indians including doctors, lawyers, and teachers who could provide some semblance of 6CI leadership. Some of the gaps, especially in the area of commercial activity, were f i l l e d by fresh streams of immigrants from India who provided some competition to European activity and to the growing number of small Chinese business concerns. These immigrants, especially from Gujarat, with their capacity to move easily into any form of commercial activity assured an Indian monopoly over the small retail and wholesele trade in the 'sugar towns.' Immigrants who came to F i j i in the postindenture period could hardly be regarded as strangers to the islands. They consisted of Punjabis and Gujaratis who already comprised small but noticeable groupings within the Indian community. By 1921 there were already 324 Gujaratis and 449 Punjabis out of a total Indian population of 60,634 residing in the islands.^ Yet they had already become an important part of the more prosperous class of Indians. The Gujaratis were business-oriented and were engaged in some form of commercial activity—shopkeeping, hawking, tailoring, bootmaking, - - laundering, and, most of a l l , in the jewelry business as wandering silver- smiths and goldsmiths peddling their wares in the town bazaars and the isolated Indian settlements-. Some went into farming and even worked as laborers on the government roadworks. Few Gujaratis became indentured laborers. The Punjabis were as enterprising and versatile as the Gujaratis. Displaying a f l a i r for independence they were most reluctant towork as farm laborers. They made excellent policemen, but were renowned in F i j i as independent farmers whose perseverence and hard work helped to turn tracts of unproductive swampland into workable farms. Some revealed a natural 8 7 aptitude for commerce and moneylending, and encountered l i t t l e difficulty in acquiring a share of the expanding land transportation business. Their tenacious work habits were admired and respected by the authorities. The third type of immigrant was the 'specialist' who had l i t t l e difficulty in peddling his skills, in most cases his knowledge of English, to either other Indians or the government. There was always a need for clerks, interpreters, petty officers, and general office workers to f i l l the lowest echelons of the c i v i l service. The largely illiterate Indian population also needed its share of charlatans, quacks, teachers (mostly untrained), holy men (sadhus), ministers of religion, social reformers, opportunists, fortune- seekers, and men whose mere presence within the community provided some therapeutic consolation for a l l the bitterness of the indenture period. Many 'specialist' immigrants were highly admired for being 'self-made men' and made good 'bush-lawyers' (a common term in F i j i to describe a glib person whose knowledge and 'thespian'attributes enabled him to acquire a sizeable following to whom he acted as legal, domestic, and social advisor). They shaped as well as dictated the pattern of social and political behavior, and were both the object of envy and admiration because of their seemingly sophisticated and affluent lifestyle,- These men formed the nucleus of the 'middle class' Indians who utilized their skills to acquire land, enter new business ventures, and aspire to a higher level of political participation. Some were regarded as agitators and highly detested by an apprehensive European community. The fourth category was the 'returnee* who had previously claimed his repatriation right to India. In the i n i t i a l years of the postindenture period this was the largest group of Indians to come to the colony. Many of these immigrants had been products of the indenture system whose links with F i j i had been suddenly severed by the termination of their contracts, by the abolition of the indenture system, and by the labor troubles. Some had been 88 •born i n F i j i and o b l i g e d to r e t u r n to I n d i a w i t h t h e i r parents. The m a j o r i t y had been eager t o e s t a b l i s h and resume o l d f a m i l y t i e s , to spend t h e i r o l d age i n t h e i r a n c e s t r a l v i l l a g e s , and to d i e i n the country of t h e i r b i r t h . They had sought acceptance from t h e i r o l d f r i e n d s and f a m i l i e s only to be r e j e c t e d and o s t r a c i z e d . E v e n t u a l l y , t h e i r wanderings had taken them to C a l c u t t a where t h e i r p i t i f u l c o n d i t i o n had induced I n d i a n and F i j i a n a u t h o r i t i e s to a l l o w them to r e t u r n to the colony. Because of t h e i r a g r i c u l - t u r a l background and t h e i r previous experience i n the c o l o n i a l environment these immigrants found acceptance q u i t e r e a d i l y i n F i j i . They helped t o cushion the impact of . r e p a t r i a t i o n and were seen as a p o s s i b l e l a b o r p o o l f o r the sugar m i l l s , f o r the expanding government road works, and i n other miscellaneous c a p a c i t i e s as general workers. G u j a r a t i and P u n j a b i immigration seemed t o have been g r e a t l y i n f l u e n c e d by a number of f a c t o r s . The prime m o t i v a t i o n emanated from the e s t a b l i s h e d p a t t e r n of contact w i t h F i j i . Though the colony was not a h i g h l y a t t r a c t i v e area f o r i m m i g r a t i o n — G u j a r a t i s p r e f e r r e d going to East and South A f r i c a 67 whereas Punjabis d r i f t e d toward Canada and the United S t a t e s — i t s t i l l c ontained s i z e a b l e communities of the two groups who were f r e e to come and leave as they pleased without any i n t e r f e r e n c e from the l o c a l a u t h o r i t i e s . Moreover, the l a r g e r I n d i a n community d i d not d i s p l a y any h o s t i l i t y toward t h e i r presence. T h e i r acceptance w i t h i n the l a r g e r group removed the f e e l i n g of s o c i a l and c u l t u r a l a l i e n a t i o n , and i n d i r e c t l y o f f e r e d some inducement f o r f u r t h e r m i g r a t i o n to F i j i . I n other words, F i j i was accepted as a safe area f o r d o m i c i l e w i t h ample o p p o r t u n i t i e s f o r everybody. The members of t h e i r immediate groupings as w e l l as the l a r g e r I n d i a n community would not only welcome them but a l s o p a t r o n i z e t h e i r businesses. F i j i ' s l a x immigration laws provided much inducement as w e l l . F i j i had maintained a l i b e r a l p o l i c y toward' ' f r e e ' immigration during the indenture p e r i o d . The p o l i c y remained u n a l t e r e d a f t e r 1920 a l l o w i n g immigrants to 89 enter at random with a valid passport issued at the point of their origin. Unrestricted entry was permitted "by the Immigration Ordinance of 1909, provided that the immigrants did not f a l l under the classification of destitute and undesirable. 'Free' immigration of this type was regarded as beneficial for the colony's development. Moreover, these immigrants, mostly Gujaratis and Punjabis, placed no burdens on the colony's treasury because of their financial independence. Though they were not the ideal immigrants, namely agriculturalists with families, for whom the government clamored so desperately, they seemed quite preferable at a time when European opposition to large- scale Indian settlement in F i j i was on the increase. The main inducement came from the opportunities for economic advancement as well as from the knowledge that many Indians had undertaken successful business ventures in the islands. Though the colony possessed its share of peddlars, hawkers, bootmakers, jewelers, laundrymen, tailors, shopkeepers, and other businessmen, there was room for more immigrants who aspired to join the ranks of the petty entrepreneurs. Some of their skills were simply lacking within the larger agricultural Indian community. This vacuum simply enabled both Gujaratis and Punjabis to move with ease into an economic role for which they had ample skills and the perseverence for success. Among the Gujaratis Appabhai Patel's flourishing business concerns in Lautoka, Ba, Sigatoka, and Nadi had become by 1920 the training ground for members of his caste from such diverse areas as Nondhna in Broach and Dharmaj in Kaira (Kheda) who came to F i j i as shop assistants. By the early 1920s the Khatris had monopolized the tailoring business in Suva. Other organized tailoring concerns had also emerged and began to match the two pioneering families for enticing immigrants from Navsari and the neighboring areas in South Gujarat. In .1919. one such concern.had been-initiated by Gangaram Hari, a Darji (tailor by caste) from Navsari. Some Khatris and Kolis were also attracted to the restaurant business catering to a growing demand for Indian 90 delicacies and sweetmeats. Indian restaurants (lodges) and miscellaneous categories of food vendors could be found throughout Suva and a l l the sugar towns. The Sonis had not yet institutionalized their activities, preferring to remain as wandering jewelers or hawkers. Some were now making an attempt at farming and shopkeeping. Whatever each group did, and no matter how small the concern was i t acted as an incentive for others to follow, once stories of success and wealth had filtered to the villages in India. An examination of passport applications from prospective Gujarati emigrants in 1920 and 1921 provides a good insight into the nature of Indian 68 immigration to F i j i in the immediate postindenture period. In 1920 agriculturalists from the Navsari Division of Baroda State were the largest category of passport applicants (23 out of a total of 40 from the state alone). From Bombay Presidency the main applicants were masons, carpenters, shoe- makers, and hawkers (32 out of a total of 53)' So'hi and Khatri applicants were negligible. The following year Khatris regained their position as the dominant caste and occupational grouping to apply for passports to F i j i . There were Khatri applications of which 28 originated in Navsari. Other significant groups were the Mochis (9) and the Sonis (6). Muslim Gujaratis began to show an increased awareness of F i j i (8 applications from Broach). Later, in 1928 and 1929, when emigration to F i j i was at its peak, Khatris emerged as the largest single caste grouping to make passport applications for 69 F i j i (36 passports of a total of 213 issued). There was also a larger representation of Gujarati caste groupings among the applicants who included Dhobis, Navs, Darjis, Mochis, a l l categories of Kanbis including Patidars, Sonis, Muslims (mostly barbers and cultivators), and miscellaneous 'Patel' categories listed as traders, shopkeepers, and vendors. Family immigration only took place among the Patidars, Sonis, and Khatris who were the more established Gujarati groups in the colony. The Punjabis were similarly motivated as the Gujaratis but many came 91 to F i j i with the intention of proceeding eventually to New Zealand. The Agent-General of Immigration in F i j i was "besieged "by numerous requests from Punjabis desiring to travel to New Zealand for permission to land in the islands. But he felt compelled to warn the Protector of Emigrants in Calcutta that they were proceeding to F i j i without securing the adequate 70 endorsement for New Zealand. The majority came from three areas in the central and eastern districts of Punjab—Jullundur, Amritsar, and Ludhiana— but there is no precise estimation of their exact numbers. They were Jat Sikhs who were quick to grasp any opportunities for independent farming. Inspite of their lack of education, they moved with ease into shopkeeping, also turned to moneylending, and grabbed a share of the land transport business in taxis. Prominent names among the group that came in 1922 include Shankar Singh, Moti Singh, Vazir Singh, Mehar Singh Pandri, and Mulcha Singh. A year later they were followed by Spooran Singh, Shanhan Singh, Battan Singh, and Phuman Singh, a l l of whom became prominent men among the Punjabi community, spearheading their economic advance and directing their religious activities which culminated in the construction of a Gurdwara in Samabula in 1924. The most prominent Punjabi business was P.S.V. Singh & Company, starting first at Suva, later branching to Nausori some twelve miles away, 71 and then spreading to seven other areas. Most Indian emigrants followed three main routes originating in Calcutta and Bombay. The traditional route was through Calcutta which served as the principal port for despatching a l l Indentured emigrants. Ships which were chartered to transport repatriated Indians from F i j i commenced their journey in Calcutta as well. It was a direct route which enabled cargo and passengers to reach F i j i in the shortest possible time. There was another direct route between Calcutta and Auckland, operated by the Union Steam Ship Company of New Zealand which permitted immigrants who had the necessary immigration clearance for New Zealand to stay there for a short period before 92 proceeding to F i j i . The more recent route consisted of a direct passenger service between Bombay and Sydney operated by the Peninsular and Orient Lines. Though i t was not very popular with Gujarati immigrants initially, i t totally eliminated the train trip to Calcutta. However, i t necessitated a sojourn of two weeks in Sydney which added immensely to the cost of the entire 72 journey. The three routes from India provided some measure of choice, but the most frequented and popular one was through Calcutta on the chartered repatriation ships. This route removed the element of uncertainty prevalent in the others. Indians often used the other two routes to circumvent immigration laws i f there was a possibility of doing so in Australia or New Zealand. There is no precise assessment of the exact number of the four types of immigrants who entered the islands. Except for the year 1921, when 1,136 repatriated Indians reemigrated from Calcutta, the average annual inward 73 flow can be estimated at no more than 200 until 1927. The abolition of the indenture system had removed the necessity of maintaining a separate administrative machinery for compiling statistics and other pertinent information on Indian immigration. Census reports in India omitted total emigration figures, and authorities there were hard pressed to provide 74 statistics without some form of international census cooperation. In F i j i , i t was not .until the creation of a Secretariat for Indian Affairs in 1927 that information on immigration was again collected in a systematic manner. Between 1927 and 1930, there was a sharp increase in immigration. During this three year period 2,544 immigrants entered the colony with the largest 75 contingent arriving in 1928. The authorities in F i j i had established a special immigration fund in 1927, with the approval and blessing of Europeans, to assist a select number of stranded repatriated families to reemigrate to F i j i . This experiment was initiated in 1928 when two steamers were chartered to transport the families. News of these direct sailings provided an impetus 93 to other categories of emigrants to come to Calcutta to secure a berth for the colony. Of the 783 immigrants who arrived in the second steamer 462 76 were Punjabis, The scheme proved to be successful but was not repeated the following year. In 1930 the government decided to postpone the scheme of assisting repatriated families to F i j i , Early in the year a steamer had brought 827 immigrants of whom only 125 were returning repatriates; 360 77 Punjabis and 342 Gujaratis comprised the other immigrants who disembarked. Circumstances in F i j i now dictated the implementation of some effective measure to check the large influx of these two groups. The official estimate of the population in 1930 placed the Gujaratis at 1,200 and the Punjabis at 2,000. T A B L E 3.3 INCREASE IN GUJARATI AND PUNJABI IMMIGRATE ON FROM 1911 TO 1930 1911 1921 1930 Gujarati 153* 324* 1,200 Punjabi 809 449 2,000 "^Listed under Bombay Source: F i j i Census Reports, 1911 and 1921. Report of the Secretary for Indian Affairs, 1930- The recent wave of immigration tilted heavily in favor of males, and few Punjabis and Gujaratis entered the colony as family units. Among the 360 Punjabis who had just arrived, there were only 2 females and 2 children. On the other hand, the Gujaratis had a higher rate of family migrants. Compared to the Punjabis, 282 Gujarati males entered the colony along with 78 25 females and 35 children. These figures, which were basically the norm for immigration of this type since 1927, Disturbed not only the authorities who were trying to rectify the imbalance in the Indian sex ratio but also the locally born Indians who felt the dominance of the India-born component in almost a l l aspects of their l i f e . The need for a more restrictive immigration policy arose from a number of considerations. The colony was already experiencing the disruptive impact of the worldwide depression with a f a l l in sugar and copra prices. Fear of unemployment and the possibility of crop failures, as happened in 1929 when severe storms'curtailed cotton yields from which cultivators never recovered, plagued the of fx cial mind. Moreover, the colony was not self- sufficient in food production. Subsequently, the situation was further aggravated by a sharp increase in .the Indian population, by the complicated land issue with increasing Indian demand for more land utilization, and by the changing pattern of the colony's labor requirements. Though the position of Indians had generally changed from 'laborers to primary producers,' an increasing number of Indians were being drawn into the labor force as wage earners on the government road works, as farm workers in the sugar industry during the planting season; and as mill workers during the crushing season. But as wage earners they were competing with Fijians who now showed more inclination to leave their villages to work as casual laborers in the three port towns, as road workers for the government, and as artisans in the water- transport industry. Apprehensive of this urban drift, the government wished to minimize the possibility of any major competition between Fijians and Indians resulting not only from the pressure of increasing population but also from the limitations of the labor market. There was another deepening concern. Throughout the 1920s the India- born segment of the Indian population continued to influence many aspects of Indian social and political l i f e in F i j i . In politics the local Indians, largely through the influence of the Arya Samaj, s t i l l turned to India for 95 guidance. After the departure of Manilal there was no western-educated leader to mobilize support for unified action on any issue. The indenture system which had been the basis for concerted action before 1920 was no longer there to arouse the Indians. Issues were more localized now dealing mainly with problems of land usage, imposition of a poll tax, and representation in the legislative and municipal councils. The Indian Government tried to exert some influence by seeking the appointment of an Indian Agent but the concept of external Interference in local affairs seemed unacceptable to the authorities in F i j i . However, the F i j i Government did create i t s own Secretariat for Indian Affairs in 1927 to guide policy on a l l 79 matters concerning Indians. Another prevailing view was that Indians should develop leadership patterns, derived from Indian models, and based on the panchayat system. Its chief advocate hoped that a body of local leadership would emerge, devoid of outside influence, which would eschew politics and 80 concentrate on the social betterment of the community. Unfortunately, these expectations did not materialize because Indians concentrated on their political status. A small group of Indians, taking their cue from the opposition which the Indian Government had mounted earlier against communal representation in F i j i , began to make demands for a common electoral r o l l based on the equality of Fijians, Europeans, and Indians. To the authorities, as well as to many Europeans, this concept of equality seemed inconsistent with the low level of social progress which the Indians had achieved. They were particularly alarmed when Indians turned once again to nationalist politicians in India for guidance. When two Gujarati lawyers, S. B. Patel and A. D. Patel, arrived between 1928 and 1929 and immersed themselves immediately in the politics of associations and boycotts, official and other concerned observers regarded this as another aspect of outside influence which needed curtailment through tighter immigration controls. Europeans, of course, were more blatant in 96 their disgust over political developments in the colony and warned Indians to 81 either "keep under" or "clear out." The political crisis, aggravated by the Indian boycott of the Legislative Council in November 1929, was just one aspect of the problem. By 1930 the Indian community was badly splintered by disputes between the Samajis and the Sanatanis who clashed over the tenets of religion and on social behavior. These cleavages emerged basically from the influence exerted by a more virulent breed of immigrants—teachers, priests, missionaries, politicians, and social reformers—who attempted to dictate the actions of a particular social and cultural group. Disputes arose, as one group sought to gain ascendancy over the other, on four main issues—education, social' behavior politics, and economic disparity. The trouble fi r s t surfaced in 1924 when South Indians rejected Hindi as the medium of instruction for Indian education. In many of these disputes the (Arya) Samajis emerged as the main force to reckon with. They quarrelled bitterly with the Sanatanis ."whom they accused of conservatism, and dismissed as opponents of progress within the community. They also accused members of the Indian Reform League (formed in 1924 under the leadership of Indian Christians) of deviating from accepted social behavior by their public display of "dancing, liquor drinking and meat 82 eating." As each group aspired for ascendancy, i t was the local Indians who found themselves pitted against the sophistication of the India-born politicians, the religious exponents, and the social reformers. Nowhere was this competition and confrontation more apparent than in the economic relationship between the two main segments of the community. The authorities viewed with some apprehension the growing resentment among the .local Indians against unchecked Gujarati and Punjabi immigration. The sharp increase in immigration corresponded with the upsurge in trading activity. Trading licences increased from 1,554 in 1928 to 1,900 in 1929.. 84 In 1930 there were 1,004 Indians engaged in some form of shopkeepxng. While Punjabis became prominent in farming, the land transport business, and in money-lending, the Gujaratis monopolized hawking, shopkeeping, tailoring, laundering, hairdressing, and jewelry manufacture. Punjabis and Gujaratis rarely employed locals. The latter group relied heavily on the available labor pool in their own villages in India to operate their concerns in F i j i returning regularly to their homeland to recruit assistants. Though the authorities believed that this group was performing a useful economic function in the colony by engaging in the untouchable professions which the local Indians seemed to avoid, they were also convinced that both Gujarati and Punjabi activities were detrimental to the development of local Indian Q r enterprise. Above a l l , these Indians were not permanent settlers but were only concerned with accumulating large savings to provide them with a comfortable lifestyle, upon their return to their homeland. In addition to their economic power, they also had better access to services available to Indians. Even in such a simple matter as liquor permits the Gujaratis and 86 Punjabis held 52 of the 87 permits issued to Indians. Therefore, the authorities tended to sympathize with local Indians who pleaded with leaders in India to help curtail this type of immigration in order to alleviate the O n unemployment problem and to remove the 'obstacle' to their progress. In June 1930» the F i j i Government introduced the f i r s t of a series of controls on immigration. It requested the Government of India "to take steps to prevent the issue of a passport, or visa, valid for F i j i " to any male unless he was accompanied by his wife, or produced evidence that he was a bona fide resident of F i j i , or obtained the written consent of the F i j i 88 Government. This measure was designed to ameliorate the disproportionate sex ratio by checking the influx of unattached males and unmarried Punjabis who could become "a discontented element in the community" during "a time of economic depression." In May 1931 another directive was issued to encourage suitable family migration and to warn intending male immigrants, 98 without guaranteed employment and who would he unable to make a deposition QQ of %50, of the dangers of admission being refused. By this stage the government had decided that the colony was incapable of absorbing "many more Bombay trader-artisans" and the "batches of male Punjabis at the rate of 300 to 400 a year." As a corrective measure, the Secretary for Indian Affairs advocated the implementation of a fixed quota of 500 immigrants of a l l classes conditional . upon an outward flow of