James Madhavan was one of the longest serving politicians in Fiji. He initially was a primary school teacher but when the Maha Sangh was formed in Labasa was one of its earliest members. Unlike, Viti Levu where it was mainly supported by South Indians, the Maha Sangh in Labasa had support from a wide cross-section of the Fiji Indian community. James Madhavan was able to use this to propel himself into the Legislative Council.
He entered the Legislative Council in 1947 and remained a member of Parliament until his death in 1973. He aligned himself with A. D. Patel against Vishnu Deo, but unlike A.D. Patel who lost his seat when Vishnu Deo turned against him, Madhavan was able to retain his Eastern Indian Division seat. After A.D. Patel's defeat in 1950, Madhavan was selected as the Indian representative in the Executive Council.
Madhavan was the leader of Maha Sangh in Vanua Levu and when the organisation split into two opposing factions, he registered a new association known as the Vanua Levu Farmers Union.
- "Fiji Elections Archive: Elections for the Legislative Council, Eastern Division 1929 - 1959". Archived from the original on 2009-10-25.
- Industrial associations and local politics
- Mamak, Alexander (1978). Colour Culture & Conflict. Australia: Pergamon Press. pp. 82–83. ISBN 0-08-023353-8.