Caribbean MasalaIndian Identity in Guyana and Trinidad

Caribbean MasalaIndian Identity in Guyana and Trinidad

Dave Ramsaran and Linden F. Lewis

Print publication date: 2019

ISBN: 9781496818041

Publisher: University Press of Mississippi

Abstract

In 1833, the abolition of slavery in the British Empire led to the import of exploited South Asian indentured workers in the Caribbean under extreme oppression. This book concentrates on the Indian descendants' processes of mixing, assimilating, and adapting while trying desperately to hold on to that which marks a group of people as distinct. In some ways, the lived experience of the Indian community in Guyana and Trinidad represents a cultural contradiction of belonging and non-belonging. In other parts of the Caribbean, people of Indian descent seem so absorbed by the more dominant African culture and through intermarriage that Indo-Caribbean heritage seems less central. The book lays out a context within which to develop a broader view of Indians in Guyana and Trinidad, a numerical majority in both countries. They address issues of race and ethnicity but move beyond these familiar aspects to track such factors as ritual, gender, family, and daily life. The book gauges not only an unrelenting process of assimilative creolization on these descendants of India, but also the resilience of this culture in the face of modernization and globalization.