By Brij V Lal
A Time Bomb Lies Buried discusses the debates which came about in Suva and London in addition to the politics and methods which led Fiji to independence in 1970 after ninety six years of colonial rule. It offers a vital history to realizing the crises and convulsions that have haunted Fiji ever seeing that in its look for a constitutional cost for its multiethnic inhabitants.
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Extra resources for A Time Bomb Lies Buried: Fiji’s Road to Independence, 1960-1970
The elite of the emerging Fijian leadership on scholarship in the United Kingdom came in contact and socialised with officials in places that mattered. Through informal and personal contacts, officials in London gained deeper and more sympathetic insights into Fijian thinking on critical issues, while a period in the United Kingdom increased Fijians’ already considerable respect and affection for English institutions and values. The Indo-Fijian leaders had no such opportunity and no such contacts.
51 On balance, the arguments were in favour, despite the difficulties this might cause with the anti-colonial movement at the United Natioms and the precedent that might be seized on by other UK territories anxious for similar treatment. Confirmation of a continuing link — its precise form to be determined later — was required to persuade the Fijians to enter a constitutional dialogue and, while other colonial powers would have to be consulted, a continuing link would doubtless please the Americans for whom strategic considerations were uppermost in deciding whether Pacific territories might progress to independence.
14 Fijians had their reasons for refusing to accept change, but London was also caught in a bind: it could not reverse the wheels it had set in motion and reject the legitimacy and foundations of an order it had nurtured so assiduously. Robert Norton has remarked on the irony of the CO's position: approving ‘the reinforcement of chiefly power and ethnic separation just as it was embark[ing] on the project of decolonisation throughout the empire’. 15 Some of Amery’s other recommendations were rejected.
A Time Bomb Lies Buried: Fiji’s Road to Independence, 1960-1970 by Brij V Lal