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The African-Asian Diaspora: Myth Or Reality?

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Chapter Summary

This chapter talks about the possibility of an African 'slave' Diaspora in the Indian Ocean world similar to that of the well-documented African Diaspora of the Americas. The key characteristics of a diaspora are - displacement from a homeland to two or more peripheral or foreign regions; the formation of a 'relatively stable community in exile'; social rejection by the locally dominant society; an awareness of a common homeland and heritage, efforts to maintain links with and improve life in that homeland; and a desire ultimately to return permanently to the homeland. Most African-Asians accepted the locally dominant religion, from Islam in Muslim regions, to Hinduism and Christianity in parts of India and Sri Lanka, to Christianity in Madagascar. In contrast to the Americas, where African communities underwent creolisation or developed an 'African' diasporic consciousness, majority of African-Asians shed consciousness of their African origins and sought assimilation into local society.

Keywords:African-Asian Diaspora; Americas; India; Indian Ocean; Madagascar; slave; Sri Lanka



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