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Brij Lal (historian)

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Brij V. Lal , Fiji ke ek Hindustani itihaaskar raha. Uske janam Labasa, Vanua Levu me bhais rahaa. Uske parrhai University of the South Pacific, the University of British Columbia aur the Australian National University me bhais rahaa. Uu Commodore Bainimarama ke sarkar ke critic rahaa, jon ke military coup of 2006 se taagat me aais aur 2014 elections ke baad Prime Minister banaa. Lal abhi Australia me rahat raha. Lal ke maut 24th December 2021 ke bhe, apan ghare Australia me.[1]

Academic career

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Lal is currently a Professor of Pacific and Asian History at the Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies (RSPAS), Australian National University. He has previously lectured at The University of the South Pacific in Suva, the University of Hawaii in Manoa, and at the University of Papua New Guinea. He is also a Visiting Professor at the University of the South Pacific and simultaneously, Head of the Centre for Diasporic Studies at the University of Fiji.

Among his many books are an autobiography, Mr Tulsi's Store: A Fijian Journey (2001), which won the San Francisco-based Kiriyama Prize in 2002. He is also the author of Chalo Jahaji: On a journey through indenture in Fiji (2000) and editor of Bittersweet: The Indo-Fijian Experience (2004),[2] the latter two recounting the history of the trials and triumphs of the Indo-Fijian community. He is the present Editor of the Journal of Pacific History and the Founding Editor of the literary journal, Conversations.

On 3 November 2005, it was announced that Lal had been awarded the inaugural Distinguished Pacific Scholar Award by the UNESCO-sponsored International Council for the Study of the Pacific Islands, in recognition of his research into Fijian and Pacific history. He has also written widely about the Indian Diaspora, including the history of indentured service.

Brij V. Lal has been honoured by the Fiji Millennium Committee for distinguished scholarship. He has also been named as one of the seventy people who have helped shape Fiji's history in the 20th century.

Pro-democracy activities

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In the 1990s, Lal served as the nominee of the Leader of the opposition, Jai Ram Reddy on the three-member Constitutional Review Commission, whose work culminated in the adoption of the present constitution in 1997-1998.

Lal condemned the Military coup d'état which deposed the government of Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase on 5 December 2006. Fiji Live quoted him as saying on 7 December that the coup was not different in essence from the two coups staged by Sitiveni Rabuka in 1987, or George Speight's coup of 2000. This time, however, race was not seen to be a factor, he said, unlike the previous occasions when ethnic issues were used, he claimed, as a scapegoat for other interests.[3]

In November 2009, Lal discussed the ongoing political situation in Fiji after the expulsion of the Australian and New Zealand high commissioners, in an interview with Radio New Zealand. Shortly afterwards he was taken into custody and questioned about his comments. During the questioning, Lal reported that he was subjected to foul language and advised to leave the country within 24 hours, which he did. Lal has subsequently clarified that he was expelled rather than being deported.[4]

Forced exile

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In March 2015, Defence Minister Timoci Natuva announced that Lal was prohibited indefinitely from returning to Fiji because his actions were "prejudicial to the peace, defence, public safety, public order and security of Government of Fiji". This decision was reiterated in late June or early July 2015.[5]

Lal reacted angrily to the ban on his return. "The original decision was based on the false premise that I opposed Fiji's return to democracy after the coup of 2006," he said. "That is a travesty of the truth and of the historical record. I did nothing of the sort. And it is ludicrous to assert that my wife and I are a threat to the security of Fiji. The decision is nothing short of petty vindictiveness. We are disappointed but the Government is diminished by it. For our part, we will continue to stand up for the principles and values we believe in," he told the Fiji Times by e-mail on 2 July 2015.[6]

Personal life

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Lal is married to fellow-academic Padma Lal. She, too, has been prohibited from returning to Fiji.[7]


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  1. Vuibau, Tevita. "Lal remains in exile". The Fiji Times Online. Retrieved 3 July 2015.
  2. Brij V. Lal, ed. (2004). Bittersweet: the Indo-Fijian experience. photographs by Peter Hendrie. Canberra: Pandanus Books. pp. 407. ISBN 1740761170. http://trove.nla.gov.au/work/9433226?versionId=23864211+45877044. Retrieved July 2014. (Lal's Chapter One: "Girmit, History, Memory" )
  3. http://www.fijilive.com/news/show/news/2006/12/07/07Fijilive31.html
  4. "'I have no reason to lie on this' says Brij Lal". Radio Australia. November 6, 2009.
  5. Vuibau, Tevita. "Lal remains in exile". The Fiji Times Online. Retrieved 3 July 2015.
  6. Vuibau, Tevita. "Lal remains in exile". The Fiji Times Online. Retrieved 3 July 2015.
  7. Vuibau, Tevita. "Lal remains in exile". The Fiji Times Online. Retrieved 3 July 2015.
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