The contextual focus of this thesis is Indians in the Fiji Islands and it is essentially about:- Ethnic relations, that at one level (Fijian vs. Indian) have gone from bad to worse, and at another level (internal Indian relations) have improved considerably lately. - A profound Fiji Indian religious revitalization, that has been a major factor in the improvement of the latter relations. - Religion and religious practice as a focus for mobilization and collective production of identification. - The institution of a grandiose South Indian Temple, that has been built in the wake of the religious revitalization and since its construction has significantly contributed to the continuity of this process. - The identification with a grand, but alien, mother land, one that most have never seen, nor will they ever see-India.
The study, then, mainly focuses on religious practice, revitalization, mobilization and the collective production of identification, among Indo-Fijians. The religious situation of the Hindu Indian diaspora in Fiji has changed recently, basically due to increasingly political oppression. In the aftermath of two military coups of 1987 and a following severe decline in political and human rights, this community has experienced a substantial religious revitalization. Since the coups, communal feelings have been manipulated to promote anti-Indian nationalism among Fijians; moreover, a new constitution, racially biased against Indians, has been adopted. As a result, most Indo-Fijians no longer feels that they have a secure future in Fiji.
A recently built huge Hindu Dravidian Murugan Temple located in Nadi, Fiji, has become of fundamental importance for Fiji's Indians. Serving as an important landmark for the large and heterogeneous Indian population in Fiji, the Temple provides a host of religious, cultural, social, identificational and glorious assets.
Although I primarily focus on South Indian Hindus, many of the issues and conclusions are valid for the Fiji Indian community at large.