Indians in Madagascar

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Indians in Madagascar
Total population
Regions with significant populations
Gujarati, French, Malagasy, Hindi
Hinduism, Islam
Related ethnic groups
Overseas Indians

Indians in Madagascar form a community of roughly 25,000 individuals according to the statistics of India's Ministry of External Affairs; other estimates of their population range from 15,000 to 30,000. Among them are 867 non-resident Indians, with the rest being locally born descendants of early immigrants.[1][2] They form a minority ethnic group in Madagascar. Despite making up less than 1% of the population, they control between 50% and 60% of Madagascar's economy.[3]


By the 1880s, a community of roughly 200 Indian traders had formed at Mahajanga, a port on the north-west coast of Madagascar, near Bombetoka Bay at the mouth of the Betsiboka River. Confusion arose over their legal status; they often declared themselves to be Malagasy subjects in order to evade the laws against slave-holding or the building of stone houses, both forbidden to British subjects, while their dhows, which they used to transport goods to and from the African mainland, flew French flags.[4] Initial arrivals were mainly Muslim Khojas, Ismailis and Daoudi Bohras, with some Hindus settling later.[5] The 1911 census found 4,480 Indians in the country, making them 21% of the total foreign population and the second-largest foreign population after the French.[6] Following the nationalisation of private businesses in the 1970s, many were compelled to leave; those who remained were largely uneducated, but stayed on and gradually built their businesses. By 2000, they were generally believed to control 50-60% of the country's economy, making them the target of demonstrators during periods of unrest.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Singhvi 2000, p. 94
  2. ^ A. 2001
  3. ^ "Gujarati of Madagascar - Pray Africa". Retrieved 17 August 2018.
  4. ^ Oliver 1885, pp. 115, 206
  5. ^ Singhvi 2000, p. 105
  6. ^ Martin 1916, p. 906
  7. ^ Singhvi 2000, p. 106


Further reading[edit]

  • Stratton, Arthur (1964), "The Chinese and the Indians", The Great Red Island: A Biography of Madagascar, Scribner, pp. 26–44, OCLC 1670237
  • Blanchy, Sophie (2004-01-22), Karana Et Banians: Les Communautes Commercantes D'Origine Indienne A Madagascar, Harmattan, ISBN 978-2-7384-2656-7