Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Fiji's Indian Population Collapsing

By MICHAEL FIELD -, 03 March 2010

LEAVING: Fiji's Indians are leaving the country in record numbers.

Fiji's ethnic Indian population is rapidly collapsing as people flee the coup plagued nation.

Data from last year's census, released today by Government Statistician Timoci Bainimarama - brother of Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama - shows Indians now make up only 37.5 percent of the 837,000 people.

In 1966 Indians made up 51 percent of the population.

Other bureau data reveals that last year over 5000 people emigrated from Fiji, over 80 percent of them Indian.

Commodore Bainimarama staged a military coup in 2006, overthrowing an indigenous dominated democratic government and was justified by the commodore on the grounds of ending race based politics in Fiji.

However his brother's data suggests that the Indians, who predominantly supported his coup, are still leaving.

The statistician said the "dramatic change of the ethnic composition of the population" started in the 1950s, gained momentum with Sitiveni Rabuka's 1987 coups and continued in the two further coups between 1996 and 2007.

Indigenous Fijians made up 56.8 percent of the population, 37.5 percent Indian and the remaining groups including Chinese made up 5.7 percent.

In the 11 years to 2007 the Indian population fell 25,020.

Mr Bainimarama said this was the result of a "continuing very high emigration rate for Indians.

"Since 1987, this is undoubtedly by far the most important factor."

Fertility among the remaining population was declining fast as well.

Some of the provincial data showed the drastic decline.

In the sugar growing Ba Province the Indian population was 94 percent larger than the indigenous population. By last year it was just 33 percent larger.

Earlier data shows that since Rabuka's 1987 coups over 100,000 Indians had left.

Indo-Fijians are mostly descendants of indentured labourers bought in by the British to work on CSR Australia owned sugar plantations.

Between 1879 and 1916 around 60,000 "girmitiyas", a corruption of a Hindi word for contract, came.

In the 1966 census Indians accounted for 51 percent of the population. Indigenous Fijians were just 42 percent - the rest made up of Chinese, Europeans, Rotumans and other Pacific Islanders.

Then under British rule, London colonial masters feared Indians would take over the country and in a long and complicated process measures were taken to ensure indigenous Fijians would never lose their land or political dominance.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sala BainiMarama! He should go Die in the Suer