Fiji-Forgotten Land of Hindus

FIJI, September 20, 2019 (Pragyata by Anhad Jakhmola): Fiji or Republic of Fiji is an island nation situated near Australia and is considered one of the richest countries in the South Pacific Ocean. It is part of the Commonwealth of Nations. Fiji is home to diverse and multi-religious communities. The population is split primarily between two main ethnic groups: Indigenous Fijians (Melanesians) constitute approximately 57%, and Indo-Fijians constitute 38%. Most Indo-Fijians practice Hinduism, while the majority of indigenous Fijians follow Christianity. The largest Christian denomination in Fiji is the Methodists. The Methodist Church is supported by the majority of the country’s leaders and remains influential in the ethnic Fijian community, particularly in rural areas. Other ethnic communities include the Chinese, Rothmans, and other Pacific Islanders.

So, a brief understanding of history will show you that the problem Indo-Fijians face, especially Hindus, as the main target is down to colonial circumstances and religious clashes. From the beginning, Indo-Fijians have been viewed as “outsiders” by ethnic Fijians and for reasons spanning from politics, economics, and gradually, religious, it’s no surprise that Christianity took the lead against Hinduism. Most ethnic Fijians are Protestants and monotheist cultures will more or less face-off against a polytheist culture without thinking twice.

Hindu American Foundation in a report states that, “Fiji has improved its condition of differential treatment towards ethnic Fijians and the current administration has enacted many policies to curb private groups from trying to promote Christian beliefs and remove legislative measures that favoured ethnic Fijians in government as well as academic areas.”