Gujaratis in Fiji

Gujaratis In Fiji

Gujaratis in Fiji

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Unlike the bulk of Fiji's Indian population, who are descendents of Indian indentured labourers brought to Fiji between 1879 and 1916, the Gujarati came to Fiji as free immigrants beginning in 1904. While the indentured labourers, on becoming free, generally took up farming, the Gujaratis were traders and craftsmen. In the Indo-Fijian population as a whole, the caste system disappeared within a few years of indenture, but the Gujaratis still maintain it and very rarely marry outside their caste. The Gujaratis continue to maintain strong links with India, usually sending their sons and daughters to be married there while the rest of Fiji's Indian population have little contact with their country oforigin.

Arrival of Gujaratis in Fiji

The first Gujaratis in Fiji were two goldsmiths (of the Sonar caste), who arrived in Fiji in 1904 from Natal, but were originally from Porbandar in the Kathiawar district of Gujarat with the support of Totaram Sanadhya. Four years later, other goldsmiths arrived, and they were soon followed by tailors, barbers, launderers and shoemakers from Surat and Navsari who were mainly of the Khatri caste. Between 1916 and 1920, of the 752 Gujaratis who applied to migrate to Fiji, 336 were from Surat, 296 from Navsari and 120 were from Kathiawar. Patels, began arriving in 1914, and came mainly from Baroda State and the Nadiad district of the Bombay Presidency, and although most of them were farmers in India, they became grocers, drapers and laundrymen...
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