Sunday, June 2, 2013

Indian Ghettoes and ethnic enclaves in Auckland?


Indian Ghettoes and ethnic enclaves in Auckland?

Thakur Ranjit Singh

My distrust and contempt for the Indian business community was formed from early days in 1950 – 80 as a child and adult when I grew as a third generation Girmitiya Indo-Fijian on a cane farm in Rarawai, Ba. I witnessed the neo-Girmit our people suffered under the free-settler migrant Indian business community from India. World is a testament to the fact that wealth and fortunes growth of business community in Fiji (and other Third-World countries (read Uganda) where they settled) WERE INVERSELY RELATED TO THE POVERTY OF GENERAL POPULATION. This gave rise to political discontent by the indigenous people as happened in Uganda in 1970s and political upheaval in Fiji in 1987 and following years, particularly in 2000. Therefore when I see migrants and business community from India introducing such poor human traces and social justice of India in New Zealand, FIJI PUNDIT can no longer remain silent, and hence this article. This is my reflex action as Satyamev Jayate stance, where truth shall prevail. [Await my other article: GURU-BUSTERS] 

When first shiploads of Indentured Indian labourers were off-loaded in Fiji in 1879, it created an opportunity for the British and Australian colonisers to gain out of their exploitation, after slavery has ended. Indenture was a new version of slavery, but worse. This also gave room for Indian businessmen in India’s more progressive states like Gujarat and Maharashtra, to take business and financial advantage from this opportunity. Indenture and shipment of Indians from its poorer populous agriculture-based states of India provided an opportunity to such businessmen to follow these Indians.
The result now is multitudes of such millionaires in Fiji and other parts of Africa and former British colonies. While life for such businessmen was difficult and struggle at first, it also made the businesses into millionaires within one generation when the offspring of Indentured labourers are still reeling in poverty after four to five generations.

These Indian businessmen were still in touch with their families and business contacts in India, and hence could source cheap Indian goods which were sold at huge profits and margins, comparing rupees with British pounds in those days. That is history, and like the untold History of Girmit, the exploitation of our Girmitiyas by free-settler Indian business community also remains untold.

Having experienced their stance in Fiji, when I migrated to New Zealand a decade ago, I was wary of Indian businessmen, as my forbears in Fiji were short-changed by them. And when Indian leadership in Auckland, formed a lynch-mob to punish me for calling some home-truths about India, I lost all respectability for such people. These are group of influential so-called community leaders, Indian politicians in NZ and media, which gang-up to shut people like yours truly. That is what gave rise to this Satyamev Jayate blogsite, FIJI PUNDIT and my battle with hypocrisy and aim to speak what others are afraid to say. They ganged up to shoot the messenger (read FIJI PUNDIT....... http://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=207937644965682419#editor/target=post;postID=2063838836524626424;onPublishedMenu=overview;onClosedMenu=overview;postNum=20;src=postname). Hence I only have contempt for those who try to bring their home culture to New Zealand.

What is noticeable as a media student for me is that Indian media in Auckland is that they subscribe to the model of media we call PROPAGANDA MODEL. Generally, media is perceived as an agent to expose corporate, community and government misconduct and aggressively portray themselves as spokesmen for free speech and the general community interest. Contrary to this misconception, Propaganda Model argues that media is in the pockets of rich, mighty and influential. And that leaves most of us common mortal Indians without a voice, as media no longer fights for our rights or speaks for us, as it becomes a lapdog of the rich and the influential. Indian media is Auckland is in dire need for community touch, journalistic principles and is no longer a watchdog of common people. They are mere money-making machines for their owners.

It hurts to see so much of us Indians in news for wrong reasons, because of the vices of India in human rights and social justice have been imported to New Zealand. When I migrated to New Zealand some 10 years ago, I thought I was going to a “clean” First World Developed nation. I never thought that I was going to a country where we now have developing Indian ghettos and ethnic enclaves aided and abetted by silent Indians and partisan media which fail to highlight social ills, and remain silent so they do not lose their advertising dollars.

Indians comprise only some 2.5% of New Zealand population, but for the amount of reported cases of deviant behaviour in news, we are very high. In other words, People of Indian Origin comprise only some 107,000 people in a country of 4.3 million, yet the cases of negative reporting and our adherence to culture back home brings the whole community in disrepute.
There are reports that many elderly migrant parents, (over 400 Indians) sponsored by their children under a family reunification scheme, are being left to fend for themselves in New Zealand.

On the heels of this negative story implicating Indians, NZ authorities are looking into complaints about an Auckland restaurant chain allegedly paying an "Indian salary".

FIJI PUNDIT has been reliably informed that this is just the tip of iceberg. Many other Indian (and Indo-Fijian) business should be on the radar of New Zealand authorities for abuse of human rights and breach of laws granting justice and fair wages to workers.

It is now a challenge for Indian leadership in Auckland to stop having big conferences, business and other awards, singing praises of their business contribution to NZ, and concentrate on moral decay we are introducing in New Zealand. I understand Bhartiya Samaj is already calling on Indian organisations to pitch in to celebrate Indian Independence Day later in August.

I wonder, with such damning track record of vices, moral decay, lack of humanity and social justice, what is there to celebrate about. It appears the rottenness of Mumbai streets and other cities in India are now imported to New Zealand.

It is time Indian Community leaders and politicians should stop shooting the messenger, stop bragging about their economic prowess and concentrate on vices and bad practices we are importing to a “clean” New Zealand.

Such negativities tarnish and bring disrepute to all people of Indian origin.


[E-mail: thakurji@xtra.co.nz]