Sensing Hinduism: Lucian-Indian Funeral “Feast” as Glocalized Ritual1
2. Indo-Caribbean Identity
Just over 1600 people arrived here [St. Lucia] between 1856 and 1865 and another 4427 Indians sailed to St. Lucia between 1878 and 1893. By 1891, there were some 2500 East Indians in St. Lucia (colloquially known as 'coolies'), in a total population of 42,220 souls. Two years later, the last batch of indentured workers arrived on a ship called the 'Volga', totaling 156 people…. By the turn of the century, St. Lucia had a free East Indian population of 2560 persons.
|St. Vincent & the Grenadines||109,400|
|Trinidad & Tobago||1,354,000|
3. Theoretical Framework and Methods
4. The Funeral Feast
5. Analysis: Global and Glocal
If the particular history, culture, or religion of any one island in the Caribbean is, indeed, the composite result of a series of transnational processes over time, it is then critical to consider the global effects on the production of locality and the local construction of globality, or “glocality”.
5.1. The Global
5.2. The Glocal
On the 3rd, 5th, 7th or 9th day, relatives gather for a meal of the deceased's favorite foods. A portion is offered before his photo and later ceremonially left at an abandoned place, along with some lit camphor .(Emphasis Added)
When grandfather died we had a dinner.… They had a “special place” where they would place it [dinner]….[Recently] it baffled me: they had decorated a little house and everybody was dressed in black and white shirts… as if it was a Church ceremony… but all food at the feast was Indian.[Emphasis Added]
…we accept everything… nobody asks questions…. The old Indians, they know how to do everything and they volunteer.
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- 1A version of this paper was presented at the SISR-ISSR (International Society for the Sociology of Religion) conference in Louvain la Neuve, Belgium in July 2015. We wish to thank Ms. Wendy Bailey, Mr. Guy Joseph (former Minister of Communications and Transportation in St. Lucia), and Ms. Erma Khodra for their invaluable assistance in identifying Lucians of Indian ethnicity and heritage and for facilitating this research; we also gratefully acknowledge funding support from both Lynchburg College and Randolph College.
- 2This definition deviates from Peter Beyer’s assertion of Robertson’s view of globalization as glocalization, but corresponds with the former’s identification of glocalization as “the global expressed in the local and the local as particularization of the global” (, p. 98).
- 3Literature on the Caribbean has thoroughly developed numerous ways to understand the common condition of hybridity, including the conceptual tools of Creolization, douglarization, negritude, coolitude and so on. A previous draft of this paper attempted to address fertile connections between these and concepts associated with glocalization, but we decided in favor of leaving this discourse to a larger paper that could do justice to that enterprise. Though we adopt a narrower focus for the purposes of this work, we recommend several studies that will be useful for an overview of major concepts: Denis , Bongie  and Khan  on Creolization; for douglarization, Khan ; and for coolitude, Carter and Torabully , Crosson , and Mohammed . Literature on the history of negritude is extensive, but we would suggest starting with any of the numerous works of Frantz Fanon or his teacher, Aimé Césaire.
- 4We are sensitive to Allahar’s warnings that a unique Caribbean-ness as an identity category may be seen as a device foisted on the Caribbean by colonial authorities, a legacy of a colonial mind-set .
- 6It is called an alpana in Hindi or kolam in Tamil.
- 7See his excellent historical ethnography of Hindu and African alter-cultural religious experiences in Trinidad and Tobago in the context of globalization.
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Manian, S.; Bullock, B. Sensing Hinduism: Lucian-Indian Funeral “Feast” as Glocalized Ritual1. Religions 2016, 7, 8. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel7010008
Manian S, Bullock B. Sensing Hinduism: Lucian-Indian Funeral “Feast” as Glocalized Ritual1. Religions. 2016; 7(1):8. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel7010008Chicago/Turabian Style
Manian, Sabita, and Brad Bullock. 2016. "Sensing Hinduism: Lucian-Indian Funeral “Feast” as Glocalized Ritual1" Religions 7, no. 1: 8. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel7010008