Bihari Mauritian

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Bihari Mauritians
Total population
A majority of Indo-Mauritians
Regions with significant populations
Port Louis, Triolet, Vacoas, Rose Hill
Languages
Creole, French, Bhojpuri, English
Religion
Hinduism, Christianity, Islam
Related ethnic groups
Indian diaspora, Biharis, Indo-Mauritian, Indo-Surinamese, Indo-Guyanese, Indo-Trinidadian, Indo-Fijian

Bihari Mauritians are the descendants of Bihari migrants to Mauritius. A majority of Indo-Mauritians are Bihari, and a majority of Mauritians are Indo-Mauritian (the Hindus: Brahmin, Rajput, Koery, Kurmi, Bhumihar, Yadav, Banias, and Kayastha castes are well represented. ).[1] Most Mauritian prime ministers have been Bihari.[2] The community includes a Hindu majority, followed by Muslims (Sunni Islam) while the rest are essentially Christians (largely Roman Catholic).

Bihari Mauritians were mainly from the Gaya, Chhapra, Bhojpur and Gopalganj and East and West Champaran districts. In those early days of Migration, the labourers referred Mauritius as 'Marich'.

Amitav Ghosh wrote an acclaimed novel set in this period, based on extensive research, called the 'Sea of Poppies'. This fictional account tells of a ship, called 'The Ibis', which brought the Bihari bonded labourers to Mauritius. The main characters who embark on the ship include a widow saved from enforced Sati by a man of lower caste, the daughter of a famous French botanist and a former aristocrat sentenced to penal transportation after going bankrupt. It also describes the devastation of the farming community in the region by the monopolistic British East India Company. According to the book, many small land owners were forced to cultivate poppies to produce the opium that was trafficked to China. This created a supply of hungry and impoverished Bihari migrants who were desperate enough to brave the hellish journey to Mauritius and even more distant colonies of the empire. Somewhat ironically, Mauritius now ranks near the top of the list of countries by prevalence of opiates use.

About 60 percent of the 1.2 million population of Mauritius is of Indian origin, a large number of them from Bihar, with Bhojpuri as their mother tongue.

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