• 20 Jul, 2024

Indian Culture in French-speaking Martinique and Guadeloupe in the Caribbean

Indian Culture in French-speaking Martinique and Guadeloupe in the Caribbean

INVITATION to join us THIS SUNDAY for the 191st weekly ICC ZOOM Public Meeting

French-speaking Martinique and Guadeloupe are often mistakenly seen as Caribbean islands of Blacks and Whites, and a mixture of the interbreeding of Africa and Europe. However, both countries are indeed partly Indian, and their cultural traditions are proof of this heritage.


Guadeloupe has been represented in the French Parliament since 1871. Occupied by the British for a period of time, it was restored to France in exchange for all French rights to Canada in 1763. Guadeloupe is perhaps the only country in the Caribbean partnered with a city in India. Basse-Terre in Guadeloupe has been twinned with Pondicheri in India since 1981.


From 1854 to 1885, 42,326 Indian indentured labourers were brought by the French government

to work on the sugarcane plantations in Guadeloupe. Most of the immigrants came from South

India, unlike those of the English and Dutch-speaking countries in the Caribbean who came from

North India conditions. About one-fifth (9,460) returned to India. Indians now comprise eight percent (30,000) of the population of Guadeloupe. 


It is remarkable that they have been able to maintain their cultural practices after being cut off linguistically from India and other Indian diasporic countries. During indentureship, Hindu practices were forbidden and conversion to Roman Catholicism was compulsory. However, Hindus kept to their faith by creatively syncretising the Hindu, Muslim and Christian religions. Today, Roman Catholic Indians participate in Hindu rituals. They sacrifice animals, chant verses in Tamil, play tappu drums, and light candles for South Indian deities. They have adapted to their strange and hostile environment by converting the French national flag to a jhandi [sacred flagpole] to embody a Muslim deity. Source: https://indocaribbeanpublications.com/


Please join us THIS SUNDAY for the 191st weekly ICC ZOOM Public Meeting, Sunday January 21st 2024 at (1.00 p.m. Belize), (2.00 p.m. New York/Toronto/Eastern time), (3.00 p.m. Trinidad/ Martinique/Guadeloupe/Atlantic time), (3.00 p.m. Guyana), (4.00 p.m. Suriname), (7.00 p.m. England), (9.00 p.m. South Africa), (11.00 p.m. Mauritius), (Mon 12.30 a.m., India), (Mon 7.00 a.m. Fiji).




Indian Culture in French-speaking Martinique and Guadeloupe in the Caribbean




BOB RAMROOP - Recipient of several awards including one from GOPIO (Global Organization of People of Indian Origin) for the promotion of Indian Culture in Martinique.

LUCIENNE SACARABANY - Former President of GOPIO-Martinique, and defender of the Indian patrimony of Martinique. Author of a book on her great-grandmother, entitled Story of Sinama and Minatchy.

JOCELYNE SACARABANY TELLE - Librarian passionate about promoting Indian culture in Martinique. Former member of the cultural association Martinique-Inde, and President of GOPIO since January.


YANN ZOBDA - Chief Financial Officer in the Ministry of Education. Secretary of GOPIO-Martinique. He lived in Paris until 2022 and returned to Martinique to reconnect with his Indian cultural roots.


FABRICE SOUBDHAN - He worked in most of the Caribbean islands in public works and shipping. He is also a member of GOPIO, with Olivier Ramaye, as a public relations officer for the Caribbean.


ANNICK RAGHOUBER - The first Indian dance teacher in Guadeloupe who gave the art form a deserving place and recognition in the Creole society and “showed how Indian culture is beautiful and so interesting.”


OLIVIER RAMAYE - Founding Member of GOPIO-Caribbean. President of TULSIRAM which teaches Indian dances, and organizes cultural events. Author of a forthcoming book on Indian immigration. 


Followed by Q&A


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