Hinduism in the West Indies

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Hinduism is the leading single religion of the Indo-Caribbean communities of the West Indies. Hindus are particularly well represented in Trinidad and Tobago, where they constituted 25 percent of the total population, as of 1995. Smaller groups of Indo-Caribbeans live elsewhere in the Caribbean, especially Jamaica, Barbados, Martinique and Guadeloupe.


[edit] Hinduism in Trinidad and Tobago

A decade after slavery was abolished in 1834, the British government gave permission for the colonians to import indentured labour from India to work on the plantations. Throughout the remainder of the century, Trinidad's population growth came primarily from East Indian laborers. By 1871, there were 27,425 East Indians, approximately 22 percent of the population of Trinidad and Tobago; by 1911 that figure had grown to 110,911, or about 33 percent of all residents of the islands.

As in Guyana, caste distinctions are all but forgotten among Trinidadian Hindus. In the plantation housing, it was not possible to maintain extended households even if the kin were available. Considerations of caste became less important in choosing a spouse largely because there were so few women among the East Indian indentured workers.

The major Hindu organisation in Trinidad and Tobago is the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha led by Satnarayan Maharaj. The Hindu festivals of Divali and Phagwah are widely celebrated in Trinidad.

V.S. Naipaul is one of the most famous Trinidadian Hindus.

[edit] Hinduism in Jamaica

Jamaica was once home to 25,000 Hindus (till mid 20th century). However, most of them abandoned their ancient religion in favour of Christianity. In the last few decades, the population of Hindus in Jamaica decreased steeply. In 1970s, 5,000 identified themselves as Hindus. Since then, the Hindu population of Jamaica has risen and it has become the second largest religion (after Christianity) in Jamaica. Divali (pronounced Diwali) is the festival of lights, celebrated in Jamaica ever year.

[edit] Hinduism in St.Lucia

The situation here is similar to Jamaica. Most of the Indo-Carribean community have converted to christianity. Only 325 people were reported as Hindus in the 2001 census(0.2% of the total populationcensus). Most of them were recent immigrants. Of the original East Indian community only 1-2% retains Hinduism.

[edit] Hinduism in Anguilla

The total Hindu population of Anguilla is just 45, according to the census of 2001. Virtually all are recent immigrants from India.

[edit] Hinduism in Cayman Islands

Hinduism is probably the smallest religion in Cayman islands. There were just 98 Hindus in Caymans according to 2000 census(Accounting for 0.25% of the population). Even the Bahai community was three times bigger, at 0.77% and the jews numbered 1.77%.

[edit] Hinduism in US Virgin Islands

According to the 2000 census there were more than 400 Hindus in USVI(0.4% of the population). Most of them were recent immigrants from India.

[edit] Hinduism in Grenada

According to the 2000 census there were 700 Hindus in Grenada making 0.7% of the total population.

[edit] Hinduism in St.Kitts-Nevis

Hindus make up 1.5% of the total population of St.Kitts-Nevis according to the 2000 census. This totals to 600 people. Hinduism is the second largest religion in St.Kitts-Nevis after Christianity.

[edit] Hinduism in St.Vincent-Grenadines

The 2000 census reported 3700 Hindus in St.V-G making up 3.4% of the total population. After Christianity, Hinduism is the second largest religion here.

[edit] See also

[edit] References

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