Dougla ( doglabata-zendyen bâtard z'indien chappè or èchappè colie ) is a West Indian term for people of mixed Black African and East Indian descent, commonly used in Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, and Suriname. The term comes from Bhojpuri or Hindi doogala which can mean illegitimate or bastard, two necks, many, mix, and much. Mauritius, Reunion, and South Africa have a significant mix black African and East Indian population.


The term can be used derisively among both African Trinidadians and Indian Trinidadians in the negative sense as "ethnic bastards" or in a positive sense as in celebrating the multi-cultural creole nature of Trinidadian culture. Since Trinidad's major ethnic Black and Indian tend to observe purist identity standards, the dougla admixture tends to be fleeting. It has been observed that within a generation, the dougla eventually choses either identity. Douglas tend to chose either black or indian based on phenotype. If they look more Afro-Trinidadian, they chose black. If they look more Indian they chose Indo-Trinidadian. Scholars have observe that since the Afro-Trinidadian population is more open to mixing douglas tend to affiliate more with the Afro-Trinidadian, as oppose to the Indo-Trinidadian commdunity, which is more religious, rigid in its custom, and rejects exogamy and outside relationship. Indo-Trinidadians view exogamy as a community loss. The fear of community loss was expressed in 1990 when the association Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha opposed a national service for all Trinidadians, bringing and mixing all racial ethnics in service of the nation.  


Racial identity in Guyana, does not promote mixture or in-betweenness-fluid racial categories. The dougla is described as "all-nation" or "no-nation", positive or negative. The term have evolved to mean admixture in Guyana. A person of mix Portuguese and African is referred to as Putagee-Dougla. Since Guyanese society is rigid in racial identity and rejects fluidity, douglas chose between Afro-Guyanese and Indo-Guyanese based on the geographic area they grew up, the relative they live with, and the political climate of Guyana. More recently, since the dougla admixture does not carry a negative connotation as in the past, douglas are beginning to assert their unique heritage. They are presently 17% of the population of Guyana and one of the fastest rising ethnics on the census.

Martinique and Guadeloupe

In Martinique, the term used for people of mix Indian and Black is chappè (escaped) or èchappè(escaped) colie. The term literally means escaped from being pure indian. There was a time the most negatively stereotyped group in Martinique was Indians. In Guadeloupe, it is batta coolie or bata-zendyen. Bata means bastard but in the sense of mixed and not with a negative pejorative meaning.

Works Cited

Edmondson, Belinda. Caribbean Romances:the Politics of Regional Representation. University of Virginia Press. p. 32. ISBN 0813918227, 9780813918228

Mehta, Brinda J(2004). Diasporic (dis)location:Indo-Caribbean Women Negotiate the Kala Pani. University of the West Indies.ISBN 9766401578, 9789766401573

Mehta, Brinda. Nations of Identity, Diaspora, and Gender in Caribbean Women's Writing.  pp. 124-126.ISBN 0230618812, 9780230618817

Schnepel, Ellen M.,(2004). In Search of A National Identity: Creole and Politics in Guadeloupe.  Verlag Buske ISBN 3875483243, 9783875483246

tags: afro indian india 
Subpages (1): Dominican Republic