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Indo-Mauritians are people of Indianmarker descent living on the island of Mauritiusmarker, where they represent a majority comprising 68% of the population according to the July 2007 statistics. There is also a significant migrant population of Bhumihar Brahmin in Mauritiusmarker who have made a mark for themselves in different fields and they are still in touch with their family members in Indiamarker and there are instances of marital relations between them to keep their cultural identity intact. A majority of Indo-Mauritians are of Bihari descent. However, a significant proportion came from other parts of the subcontinent.

Indentured Labourers

The first of these Indians arrived to the Immigration Depotmarker in 1834 as indentured labourers to work the sugarcane fields. They were often referred to as "coolies", working under a leader known as "Sardaar". They were mostly immigrants from Bhojpuri-speaking areas (including both Hindus and Muslims) but to a much lesser extent from regions such as Gujaratmarker and Bombaymarker. Tamil and Telugu came some decades before, probably brought by the French, as skilled workers.

Later Immigrants

After the abandonment of the indentured labour system in Mauritius, Indian immigrants had already formed the majority of the population of the island, but there were latter waves of immigrants to complement them. These immigrants came from all over India, with most being Hindus.Tamil people from pondichery (south India) came during the french period (i.e a century before the British) for the construction of the city of Port-louis and construction of Churches,mosques and Kovils.They are known to be the first people to bring hinduism in the island.

Since the early 1900s, doctor, businessmen, lawyers, scientists, people in the IT sector, traders and their families began arriving in Mauritius. The later waves came from various regions of India, with significant numbers from Maharashtra, Kerala, West Bengal, Gujarat, Punjab and New Delhi. These people have contributed significantly to Mauritius' economy and knowledge.

Demographics and Indo-Mauritians Today

Today the population can be broken down into three main groups: Hindus, Muslims and Christians. Of the entire Indo-Mauritian population, North Indian Hindus compose 52%, South Indian Hindus another quarter, and the Muslims (from any part of India) forming most of the remaining population. There are also minorities, such as Sikhs, Christians, Hare Krishnas (became popular throughout the 1970s) and non-religious. A small and unspecified population are also followers of the Bahá'í Faith. There is also a small Buddhist population.

Hindus tend to follow the Indian Caste system to a certain extent, though, because of their relatively small population in comparison to India, the system has become less complex and in some cases completely overlooked.

There is a Sikh Gurudwara in Port Louis, named Sri Guru Singh Sabha. It is the only major Gurudwara in Mauritius. Most Sikhs outside Port Louis pray at home. Several Mosques and Temples also exist throughout the island. Indian-dominated churches are mostly based in southern Mauritius.

There are also small groups of Indo-Mauritians in Rodrigues, locally known as Indo-Rodriguans. The population on the main island has increased by the arrival of the Chagossians of Indian origin, although they are classed as "other" under the national census.

Most Indo-Mauritians speak Creole. The remaining population speak Hindi, Urdu, Bhojpuri, Gujarati, Marathi, Tamil or Telugu. Out of the whole population, 0.6% of Indo-Mauritians do not speak Creole. However, because most Mauritians are multilingual, most of the Indo-Mauritians speak both Creole and at least one (if not more) Indian Language, plus English and French.

Indo-Mauritians have had the largest impact on Mauritian life dominating the economic and political faces of the island. Most Hindu celebrations are public holidays. Indian food and ingredients are enjoyed by all ethnic groups, with Alouda, Dhol Puri, Carri (curry) being some of the most well-known dishes. Indian influenced music is also strong. The island has its own groups of Bhojpuri singers and this style is becoming as popular as the Sega. Bhojpuri as well as Bollywood and Bhangra are some of the most popular genres of music.

Prominent Indo-Mauritians
Indo-Mauritian Birth year Death year Description
Dookhee Gungah 1867 1944 philanthropist, social worker, benevolent entrepreneur, pioneer of free education in Mauritius
Seewoosagur Ramgoolam 1900 1985 first Prime Minister and one of the three founding fathers of Independent Mauritius
Sookdeo Bissoondoyal 1908 1977 politician and one of the three founding fathers of independent Mauritius.
Anerood Jugnauth 1930 alive current President of Mauritius.
Ariranga Govindasamy Pillay 1945 alive chief justice.
Navin Ramgoolam 1947 alive current Prime Minister of Mauritius.
Vikash Dhorasoo 1973 alive Mauritian-French football player.
Abdool Razack Mohamed 1906 1978 born in Calcutta, Deputy Prime Minister, Lord Mayor of Port Louis


Football is the most popular sport amongst Indo-Mauritians. Vikash Dhorasoo is of Indo-Mauritian origin, with his family originally hailing from the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradeshmarker. He made his international debut in 2006 FIFA World Cup, becoming the first person of Indian origin to be in the World Cup.

Indo-Mauritians also enjoy Horse-racing, Golf, Water-Skiing, and various other water sports as well as Cricket.

Popular culture

Indo-Mauritian family life was portrayed in 2005 Hindi film Dil Jo Bhi Kahey with Amitabh Bachchan in lead role.

See also

Notes and references


  1. CIA - The World Factbook -- Mauritius Retrieved 2 May 2007


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