Bihari Mauritian

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

Bihari Mauritians are the descendants of mainly Bhojpuri speaking migrants to Mauritius. A majority of Indo-Mauritians are of Bihari descent, and the majority of Mauritians are Indo-Mauritian (the Hindus: bhumihar Vaishya, Brahmin, Rajput, Yadav, Banias, and Kayastha castes are well represented). All but one Mauritian prime ministers have been of Bihari descent.[1][2] The community includes a Hindu majority, followed by Muslims (Sunni Islam) while a minority practices Christianity.

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.

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.

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