Dougla people (plural ''Douglas'') are Caribbean people who are of mixed African and Indian descent. The word ''Dougla'' (also Dugla or Dogla) is used throughout the Dutch and English-speaking Caribbean.


The word ''Dougla'' originated from doogala (), which is a Caribbean Hindustani word that may mean "many", "much" or "a mix". Some of the connotations of the word such as bastard, illegitimate and son of a whore are secondary and limited to sections of North India where the term may have originated. In the West Indies, the word is used only for Afro-Indo mixed race, despite its origin as a word used to describe inter-caste mixing. The word has its etymological roots in the Hindi, where "do" means two and "gala" means "throat". The word might have been used as a way to refer to people who could speak Indian and African languages. In Guyana, Afro-Guyanese and Indo-Guyanese make up half of the population and Douglas number 15% of the country's demographics. In the French West Indies (Guadeloupe, Martinique), mixed Afro-Indian people used to be called Batazendien or Chapé-Coolie, those who have escaped the disagreeable Indian condition by becoming hybrid. In the French West Indies they are now treated in a more positive way by other categories of the population and no longer face the cruel existential dilemma of post-slavery times. The uncommon phenomenon of mutual acceptance and cultural exchange now attained, called by some "the Guadeloupe Model", has widely contributed to the rare harmony of the multiracial French West Indian communities.


There are sporadic records of Indo-Euro interracial relationships, both consensual and nonconsensual, before any ethnic mixing of the African and Indian variety. Women were rarity among earlier Indian migrants. Many did not take the voyage across the Atlantic for several reasons, among them the fear of exploitation and the assumption that they were unfit for labour. Socio-religious practice played a part as religious practices are paramount to the Hindu religion and preservation of the religion and culture was of extreme importance to the indentured labourers in a hostile and prejudice environment towards them. Islam had similar religious and cultural requirements as per the Caste system among South Asian Muslims as well as the Qur'anic prohibition to marry only with those of similar religious beliefs, ancestry, tribe and language. Association with those outside the community who engaged in ''adharmic'' and ''tamasic'' practices (for Hindus) and ''haram'' practices (for Muslims) was considered to compromise their religion and culture, seen as necessary for survival in the foreign land. The second reason was socio-economic. The arrival of Indians to the British Caribbean was not meant to be permanent. For most of the Indian immigrants, the aim was to gain material wealth under contract, then return to their respective homelands. The Dougla represented the postponement and deferral of that goal if not rendering it completely impossible, being a living symbol of departure from cultural custom jatis. Other Indo-based types of mixed heritage (Indo-Chinese (Chindians), Indo-Latino/Hispanic (Tegli), Indo-English (Anglo-Indians), Indo-Portuguese (Luso-Indians), Indo-Irish (Irish Indians), Indo-Scottish (Scottish-Indians), Indo-Dutch, Indo-Arabs, and Indo-Carib) tended to identify as one of the older, unmixed ethnic strains on the island: Afro, Indo, Amerindian, or Euro or passing as one of them.

In Trinidad culture

One calypsonian, the Mighty Dougla (Clatis Ali), described the predicament of Douglas in the 1960s:

Notable Douglas

* Cletus Ali, Trinidadian musician, better known as Mighty Dougla * Tatyana Ali, Trinidadian American actress * Esther Anderson, actress (United Kingdom; born in Jamaica) * Johnson Beharry, a Grenadian British soldier in the British Army * Melissa Bell, Jamaican British singer and mother of Alexandra Burke * Foxy Brown, rapper (United States; Trinidadian and Tobagonian background) * Alexandra Burke, British Jamaican singer and daughter of Melissa Bell * Super Cat, Jamaican deejayBarrow, Steve & Dalton, Peter (2004) ''The Rough Guide to Reggae'', Rough Guides, , p. 286 * Sabrina Colie,actress (United States; born in Jamaica) * Mervyn Dymally, Trinidadian American politician * Special Ed, rapper (United States; Jamaican background) * Marlene Malahoo Forte, politician (Jamaica) * Amy Ashwood Garvey, activist (Jamaica) * Lisa Hanna, Miss World 1993, MP Saint Ann South Eastern *Lester Holt, U.S. news anchor and journalistToday Show: "Lester and Jenna trace their Jamaican roots"
Aired on September 9, 2012
* Diana King, singer (United States; born in Jamaica) * Sonnet L'Abbé, Guyanese Canadian poet * Sir Trevor McDonald, Trinidadian British news anchor and journalist * Rajee Narinesingh, LGBT activist (United States; Trinidadian and Tobagonian background) * Furdjel Narsingh, footballer (Netherlands; Surinamese background) * Luciano Narsingh, footballer (Netherlands; Surinamese background) * Nicki Minaj, singer, rapper (United States; born in Trinidad and Tobago) * Roxanne Persaud, politician (United States; born in Guyana) * Thara Prashad, singer and model * Yendi Phillips, model (Jamaica) * Gema Ramkeesoon, social worker and women's rights activist (Trinidad and Tobago) * Krishmar Santokie, cricketer * Toni-Ann Singh, Miss World 2019 (Jamaica) * Abrahim Simmonds, youth advocate (Jamaica) * Joyce Vincent, woman whose death went unnoticed for more than two years as her corpse lay undiscovered in her London bedsit (United Kingdom; Grenadian background)

See also

* Indo-African


External links

"Indian presence and contribution in the Caribbean"

{{NRI-PIO Category:Ethnic groups in Trinidad and Tobago Category:Multiracial affairs in the Caribbean Category:Multiracial affairs in South America * Category:Indo-Caribbean Category:Afro-Caribbean