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New HomelandsHindu Communities in Mauritius, Guyana, Trinidad, South Africa, Fiji, and East Africa$
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Paul Younger

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195391640

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195391640.001.0001

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Mauritius: A Parallel Society

Mauritius: A Parallel Society

(p.19) Story One Mauritius: A Parallel Society
New Homelands

Paul Younger

Oxford University Press

The plantation owners of Mauritius were French settlers who had established an aristocratic style for themselves during the eighteenth century using slaves from Africa. The Indian workers quickly came to constitute three‐quarters of the total population, but they respected the cultural norms the French had already established. Many were soon plantation owners themselves, and they created a parallel Indian aristocracy. There are fine stone temples for the goddesses Mīnākṣi, Draupadī, and Māriyamman in the South Indian style, and a beautiful North Indian‐style temple in Triolet. In the early twentieth century, the Arya Samaj became active and built a plainer style of temple. After the introduction of democratic government in 1968, the Indian political leadership was careful not to change the French‐led cultural pattern too drastically. The one notable change is the new public celebration of Śivarātri.

Keywords:   French plantation owners, slaves, parallel Indian aristocracy, Mīnākṣi, Draupadī, Māriyamman, Arya Samaj, Indian political leadership, Śivarātri

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