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Ambassador's speech on the inauguration of Indian Dhow, Centre for Indian Diaspora in Madagascar

Posted on: July 29, 2022 | Back | Print

Ambassador's speech on the inauguration of Indian Dhow, Centre for Indian Diaspora in Madagascar- 29 Jul 2022

Ladies and Gentlemen, 

A very good morning to all of you. 

I am delighted to be a part of this ceremony today when we are inaugurating a specially dedicated space to an idea that took shape last year in the form a Special Exhibition on Indian Diaspora in Madagascar. An exhibition that has came to life with consistent efforts and contributions from the members of the Indian community and is today witnessing the fulfillment of a promise made by Mr. Zouzar Bouka to create a permanent place for the celebration of the history of Indian diaspora in Madagascar.

India and Madagascar share interesting cultural links. 300 Sanskrit words have been documented in Malagasy language. The Malagasy epic of Ibonia resembles Ramayana in its plot structure. Recently, the Malagasy translation of Bhagavad Gita was provided to our representative in UNESCO. 

There are about 17 500 persons of Indian origin in Madagascar. But I would like to give you a little background of the history of the Indian community in Madagascar. 

The Indian community in Madagascar has its roots in the state of Gujarat. They started arriving here from as far back as 1780s in small sailing boats. In medieval times- the port town of Mordoka in Nosy Be received Indian migrants in the 15th century and the latest wave of migrants is reported in 19th century. There is an Indian cemetery in Nosy Be, where one of the graves is marked 1850. An interesting fact is that Karim Djikak was Marodoka’s richest Indian. He lived with ghosts who had the task to ensure his protection. By 1950, the community had spread across Madagascar. 

On 27 March 2021, the Embassy of India in Madagascar inaugurated a special exhibition about the history of Indian diaspora in Madagascar in the presence of Hon’ble Prime Minister of Madagascar H.E. Christian Ntsay.

The exhibition was a modest attempt of the Embassy to highlight the journey of the community from India and their contributions in the development of Madagascar. Coming to distant land of Madagascar with the hope of making their lives better, the Indian Community has come a long way in creating a niche for itself in different regions of Madagascar. It not only plays a crucial role economically, but also enriches Madagascar’s cultural and social diversity.
Today I feel proud to see this centre come into shape and welcoming all of us to experience this exhibition that traces the origin and journey of the Indian community, map their presence in various parts of Madagascar and highlight their various contributions and achievements. 

I believe this centre will go a long way in promoting the history of the Indian diaspora along with highlighting their struggles and successes in Madagascar. It will flourish as a centre for cultural promotion, organization of events and a place of meetings and trainings like yoga sessions. 

Thank you.