India's part in the politics of Fiji's decolonization: from 'outworn slogans' to 'pragmatism and realism'

Robert Norton*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


United Nations (UN) demands for the unconditional ending of colonial rule troubled British officials confronted by local political difficulties impeding their efforts to establish self-government for Fiji, alarmed Indigenous Fijian leaders who initially resisted that reform, and encouraged the polarizing demand by Indo-Fijian leaders for a common franchise. India was initially at the forefront in maintaining UN pressure on Britain to move Fiji rapidly to independence with this franchise. Yet in the last two years of British rule, as ethnic tension in Fiji rose dangerously, India assumed the lead in urging moderation at the UN. India’s volte-face from antagonist to ally of the British helped open the way to the political accord on which Fiji’s independence constitution was based. The article highlights the major part played by the pre-eminent Indigenous leader Ratu Kamisese Mara in winning India’s support for a cautious approach to reform.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)172-193
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Pacific History
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2017


  • Common franchise
  • Decolonization
  • Fiji
  • India
  • United nations

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