This introductory chapter provides an overview of the Indian communities of Guyana and Trinidad. The lived experience of the Indian community in Guyana and Trinidad in some ways represents a cultural contradiction of belonging and non-belonging—of being a part of all that is the Caribbean yet not wanting to belong so completely as to be overwhelmed by the dominance of the African presence in the Caribbean, which confronts them on all levels. Beyond the impact of the cultural landscape of Guyana and Trinidad on people of Indian descent in the Caribbean is their own influence on the societies in which they live. What may have started out as essentially Indian traditions and rituals have become nationalized and celebrated by many people in Guyana and Trinidad who are not of Indian descent. The chapter then considers the theoretical perspective of creolization.
Keywords: Indian communities, Guyana, Trinidad, Caribbean, African culture, Indian descendants, Indian traditions, Indian rituals, creolization