Mauritians of Indian origin

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Indian Mauritians
मॉरीशस इंडियंस
India Mauritius
Total population
Hinduism, Roman Catholicism, Islam
Related ethnic groups
Bihari Mauritian · Indo-Caribbeans · Indo-Fijians · Indians in South Africa · Indo-Trinidadian and Tobagonian

Indo-Mauritians or Indian Mauritians (Hindi/Bhojpuri: मॉरीशस इंडियंस), are Mauritians whose ancestors are from the Indian subcontinent. They currently make up around 60% of the Mauritian population.


People from India, during the beginning British India, first arrived in Mauritius to work as indentured labourers, commonly referred to as coolies, that were intended to work in sugarcane fields. Mauritius took about 450,000 such labourers, making it the greatest British colony recipient of indentured migrants.[2] Indentured laborers were mostly brought from the state of Bihar, with a large number of Tamil and Telugu people amongst them. Other arrivals from India had their origins largely in Gujarat and Saurashtra, with smaller numbers coming from Sindh. A sizeable portion of labourers were Marathi-speakers from Maharashtra and Odia-speakers from Odisha. The descendants of these indentured labourers, as of 2017, form one of the richest and most politically powerful descendants of Indian indentured labourers globally and make up two-thirds of Mauritius's population.[2]

As free immigrants, these later arrivals were commonly employed by the British in the armed forces, police forces, as security personnel, especially those from the Punjab and Bombay Presidency with a substantial portion of immigrants from Gujarat and Sindh arriving as traders, businessmen and merchants.

In the late 19th to early 20th century, Chinese men in Mauritius married Indian women due to both a lack of Chinese women and the higher numbers of Indian women on the island.[3][4] At first the prospect of relations with Indian women was unappealing to the original all male Chinese migrants yet they eventually had to establish sexual unions with Indian women since there were no Chinese women arriving in the country.[5] The 1921 census in Mauritius counted that Indian women there had a total of 148 children fathered by Chinese men.[6][7][8] These Chinese were mostly traders.[9]


Today the population consists of mainly Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Buddhists and Bahá'is. The mother tongue of almost all Mauritians is the Mauritian Creole, while a minority of Indo-Mauritians still use both their ancestral language and Creole at home. Indo-Mauritian use their ancestral languages mostly in religious activities, some of them include Bhojpuri, Tamil, Hindi, Marathi, Telugu, Urdu and Odia.

As from age six, all Mauritian children must learn a third language at school (French and English are already compulsory). The languages learnt in decreasing order are Bhojpuri, Tamil, Hindi, Telugu, Marathi, Urdu and Odia. Mauritian Creoles can opt for Mauritian Creole as the third language. Choice is usually based on ethno-religious background with Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Odia and Marathi chosen by people who share ancestry from the respective ethnicity and Urdu by Muslims from the Indian Subcontinent.

Indian influence

Indo-Mauritians have influenced Mauritian culture, dominating the economic, public sector[2] and political faces of the island. Mauritian politics have been historically dominated by the Indo-Mauritian community due to their majority as a whole on the electoral platform. All presidents except Karl Offmann and all prime ministers except for Paul Berenger have been members of the community. Most Hindu celebrations are public holidays. Indian influence is felt in religion, cuisine and arts. Indian influence is also felt on music wherein the island has its own groups of Bhojpuri and Tamil bands. Indian films are also popular.

Notable people


Football is the most popular sport amongst Mauritians. Vikash Dhorasoo, who played for French football team, is of Indo-Mauritian origin.

See also

Notes and references


  1. ^ Government, India (2012). "Population of Non-resident indians country wise".
  2. ^ a b c "The legacy of Indian migration to European colonies". The Economist. 2 September 2017. Retrieved 2 September 2017.
  3. ^ Marina Carter, James Ng Foong Kwong (2009). Abacus and Mah Jong: Sino-Mauritian Settlement and Economic Consolidation. Volume 1 of European expansion and indigenous response, v. 1. BRILL. p. 199. ISBN 9004175725. Archived from the original on 2009. Retrieved May 17, 2014.
  4. ^ Paul Younger Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies McMaster University (2009). New Homelands : Hindu Communities in Mauritius, Guyana, Trinidad, South Africa, Fiji, and East Africa: Hindu Communities in Mauritius, Guyana, Trinidad, South Africa, Fiji, and East Africa. Oxford University Press. p. 33. ISBN 0199741921. Archived from the original on 2009. Retrieved May 17, 2014.
  5. ^ "What Inter-Ethnic Marriage In Mauritius Tells Us About The Nature of Ethnicity" (PDF): 15. Archived from the original on May 18, 2014. Retrieved May 17, 2014.
  6. ^ Huguette Ly-Tio-Fane Pineo, Edouard Lim Fat (2008). From alien to citizen: the integration of the Chinese in Mauritius. Éditions de l'océan Indien. p. 174. ISBN 9990305692. Retrieved May 17, 2014.
  7. ^ Huguette Ly Tio Fane-Pineo (1985). Chinese Diaspora in Western Indian Ocean. Ed. de l'océan indien. p. 287. ISBN 9990305692. Retrieved May 17, 2014.
  8. ^ "What Inter-Ethnic Marriage In Mauritius Tells Us About The Nature of Ethnicity" (PDF): 16. Archived from the original on May 18, 2014. Retrieved May 17, 2014.
  9. ^ Monique Dinan (2002). Mauritius in the Making: Across the Censuses, 1846-2000. Nelson Mandela Centre for African Culture, Ministry of Arts & Culture. p. 41. ISBN 9990390460. Retrieved June 1, 2015.


  • Mauritius: History, Geography, Government, and Culture
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