Caribbean Masala : Indian Identity in Guyana and Trinidad

Caribbean Masala : Indian Identity in Guyana and Trinidad

Publication Date



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. Dave Ramsaran and Linden F. Lewis concentrate 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.

In this collaboration based on focus groups, in-depth interviews, and observation, sociologists Ramsaran and Lewis lay 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. Ramsaran and Lewis gauge 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. -- publisher site




Caribbean, East Indians, Indo-Caribbean, Race, Ethnicity, Guyana, Trinidad, History


Quantitative, Qualitative, Comparative, and Historical Methodologies | Race and Ethnicity | Regional Sociology | Sociology


University Press of Mississippi


Jackson, Mississippi


Sociology & Anthropology


Dave Ramsaran, author

Linden F. Lewis, author


Caribbean Masala : Indian Identity in Guyana and Trinidad