September 2023 \ Diaspora News \ INDIAN DIASPORA—GUADELOUPE

Here is an interview of Ernest Moutoussamy, an Indian-origin leader from Guadeloupe, a former Mayor for 19 years, and a former Member, French National Assembly for 21 years. It is brought to our readers by Christelle Gourdine-Mandjiny, a member of our magazine’s Global Advisory Board. The interview took place at St François, Guadeloupe, on August 2, 2023. It makes for a fascinating read and is one for the archives and posterity. It is published in both English and French.

A very beautiful story, I can easily imagine your emotion on discovering it. How can this story be anchored in our collective history?
 This birth must be honored and commemorated and we plan to organize on January 25, 2025, a cultural event to pay a tribute to this first girl of India born in Guadeloupe and celebrate her 170th birthday.
I hope that the Indian government will show an interest in this event which is highly symbolic and which marks the starting point of its diaspora here in Guadeloupe.
 Interestingly, this girl was born and grew up in Les Abymes, a city where there were mainly descendants of slaves and we will organize the celebrations with the help of its Mayor, Mr. Jalton, who was pleased and surprised by this discovery.
It is almost miraculous to have made this discovery because we can see that the name of the mother and the child are different.
 Between the problems of linguistic communication and pronunciation, one can imagine the difficulties in making this birth declaration. The mother certainly wanted to give her child an Indian name, but French law only accepted catholic names, so Mary was added to her first name.
What about the descendants of Mary?
Unfortunately, we couldn’t find anything in all the archives concerning her mother. Then it was discovered that this little girl died two years after her birth. If her birth was a great event, her death is just as much because it is perhaps the first child from India to die in Guadeloupe.
 I say maybe because all our research has not been successful.
 In any case, I hope that all those who have a consideration for India and who, today, speak of the diaspora, of the presence of India in different countries, take into account this event which is capital for us.
 The birth of this child paves the way for tens, even hundreds of thousands of others who have left India for other countries in the world.