I’m pretty sure that Mauritius is a secular democracy but it is 52% Hindu.
As an aside it would be interesting to study the evolution of Hindu island diaspora culture around the world (Suriname, Guiana, Fiji, Mauritius etc).
There doesn’t seem to have been much Brahmin migration and it was mainly done by farmers/labourers. The early 20th century into East Africa seems to have had much Gujarati merchant castes but if memory serves me right they also served as labourers for the railways so it’s all a bit complicated and understudied.
Disregarding the Out of India migration theory (but there must have been a pulse with the Mitanni in the Levant); India has periodically pushed out waves of migrants to spread its culture, script and religion. To my mind though the only Hindu society, outside of core South Asia, to have a strong Brahmin presence is Bali.
It’s brings a further observation is that can Vedic and Hindu be separated. The reason I suggest this is that the Hinduicisation of South India seems to have primarily mediated by Brahmin migrants from the north. They seem to have found local hierarchies and adapted it to the caste system (the Reddys seem to be indigenous Dravidians).
I’m still unclear what the original nucleus of Hindu society would have been. After the collapse of the IVC culture it seems that Indian/Hindu civilisation (I’m treating them as equivalent since we are talking about BC) was continually shifting towards Haryana than Western UP and then Bihar. It’s only the Islamic incursions in first millennia AD that shifted it back towards Delhi and plugged India back into the Turkic network.
Of course the Buddhist interruption can’t be ignored but the role of Brahmins in the coherence of Hindu civilisation simply can’t be ignored. What is interest is that all the Hindu islands sans Brahmins seem to become very relaxed creole island cultures that resemble Sri Lanka. All of sudden the pulsating sensuality and tropical sexuality that is so repressed in North India/Pakistan emerges and the hidden matriarchy also peaks through.
Much as the Muslim invaders were very obviously symbols of patriarchy and a stern nomadic culture; its not unreasonable to supposed that the Aryans represented much of the same stream and applied that to a relatively relaxed pagan Dravidian/AASI South Asia. It would make sense that Indra, a masculine thunder god, is Aryan but Lingala worship is an indigenous feature.
The model we would be looking at is Mother Goddess worshipping AASI with naturistic pagan beliefs being coopted by Dravidian farmers. It would be a classic case of farmers and hunter gatherers coexisting in the same spaces; most of the farmer culture and genes winning out over the generations. Then come the Aryans with their migration/invasion but progressively Sanskritise the rest of South Asia with a much more masculine pantheon.
A question comes to mind that if Malaysia/Indonesia had a strong and resilient Brahmin network, would they have become Muslim? Had the spread of Buddhism undermined Brahminism as it seems to have done in the northern Punjab/Bengal peripheries of the Subcontinent.
Ps: Smart comments welcome (as in the Climate Change thread) – I’m simply speculating. I’ll delete anything overwrought; everyone featured in this post (except the Mauritians) are long gone.