THE DESCENDANTS: A PERSONAL NARRATIVE – GROWING UP IN FIJI AND INDIA
Chapter 8 On the Lap of World War II: From ‘coolies’ to ‘kulaks’
In the shroud of an autobiographical account, the author’s commentary mirrors the curvaceous fortunes of Great Britain in the Second World War, its impact on Fiji and the start of the nuclear age. This chapter is a narrative of his seminal roots in India and his birth and upbringing in Nadi, Fiji. His family’s struggle to reach a measure of economic security typifies the drive of the Fiji Indians from being ‘coolies’ to ‘kulaks’ in an adopted country.
It is a chronicle of his early formative days as a student at Andrews Primary School followed by the groundbreaking four-year stint at Shri Vivekananda High School. In early 1960, he left for India to pursue higher studies. Bombay, a sprawling metropolis, with contrasting panorama of life and living, was a bewildering experience for an adolescent lad.
Chapter 9 Route to the Roots – The Other Tree
At the first available opportunity, the author embarks on a quintessential journey to his ancestral village on the border of India-Nepal, the home of his maternal grandfather who was part of the indenture baggage of 1902. He recounts in detail the emotive reception at the village and probes the prevailing socio-economic conditions and the contours of life in rural India in early 1960s. He describes the continuing links with the village culminating in building a Community Hall in 2010 to service the felt needs of the villagers. With the advantage of the hindsight, he records the dramatic changes taking place in the village over the last 50 years
Chapter 10 Elphinstone College and Beyond – A Metamorphosis
This chapter paints the profile of Elphinstone College and Bombay University’s Faculty of Politics. The two institutions shaped his thoughts and embellished him with educational qualifications. He describes his animated experiences as a student leader in early 1960s and the genesis of the India-China War of 1962. Although his sympathies lay with the Nehruvian domestic politics, he is critical of the jejune plank of his foreign policies. It was during this period that he read extensively both the Indian and Western political thoughts. Initially attracted to Mill’s Liberalism, he then came under the influence of Marxist ideas. He became a critic of Gandhi and despised the overpowering hold of organised religion on the populace