By Brij V Lal
A Time Bomb Lies Buried discusses the debates which happened in Suva and London in addition to the politics and techniques which led Fiji to independence in 1970 after ninety six years of colonial rule. It presents a necessary historical past to knowing the crises and convulsions that have haunted Fiji ever when you consider that in its look for a constitutional cost for its multiethnic inhabitants.
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Additional info for A Time Bomb Lies Buried: Fiji’s Road to Independence, 1960-1970
That, of course, was not strictly the case, though the purpose of the visit was deliberately cloaked in secrecy and thus open to all sorts of interpretation. Feelings were inflamed against the Indo-Fijians, with troops being sent to the sugar belts to ‘protect’ farmers who wanted to harvest. Fijians were still reeling from the recommendations of the Spate and Burns commissions, feeling isolated, apprehensive and abandoned. Understandably, their attitude to change had hardened. 9 The problem of the racial divide was already known in London, and the CO had access to a wide range of informed opinion about the colony.
He was blunt in his assessment. ’10 Fijians feared Indian domination, and had hardened their attitude to change. Their confidence in British intentions had been shaken. They regarded the recommendations of the Burns Commission for internal reform within Fijian society ‘as an attempt to give the Indian community control of the land by breaking up traditional Fijian society’. It had to be remembered that it was the Fijians who had been the loyal community — the reference here being to the non-active participation of the Indo-Fijian community in the war effort.
30 These figures are extracted from Fiji Annual Reports. 31 Spate, O. H. K 1959, ‘The Fijian People: Economic Problems and Prospects’, Legislative Council Paper, 13/1959. 32 Other academic observers in the 1960s tended to confirm Spate’s findings. Among them were: Watters, R. F. 1969, Koro: Economic Development and Social Change in Fiji, Oxford University Press, London; and Belshaw, Cyril S. 1964, Under the Ivi Tree: Society and Economic Growth in Rural Fiji, Routledge and Kegan Paul, London. 33 Burns, Sir Alan et al.
A Time Bomb Lies Buried: Fiji’s Road to Independence, 1960-1970 by Brij V Lal