The Indian community in Malaysia is the smallest of the three main ethnic groups, accounting only 10% of the country’s population. Tamils, Malayalees and Telegu-speaking people make up over 85% of the people of Indian origin in the country.. Indians first came to Malaya for barter trade, especially in the former Straits Settlements of Singapore, Malacca and Penang.
The Indians who came to Malaysia brought with them the Hindu culture – its unique temples, delicious cuisine and colorful garments. Hindu tradition remains strong until today in the Indian community of Malaysia.
Here’s also the Chitty community in Malacca – similar to the Babas and Nyonyas, it is the result of the assimilation between the Indian immigrants and local culture. Though they remain Hindu, the Chitties speak Bahasa Malaysia and their women dress in sarong kebayas instead of sarees. However other Indian Hindus retain their vernacular languages and dialects. The community celebrates two main festivals – Deepavali and Thaipusam – and many other smaller religious events each year. Indians in Malaysia mainly speak Tamil, Malayalam, Telegu and some Hindi.
There are also other, comparatively small Peranakan communities, such as Indian Hindu Peranakans (Chitty), Indian Muslim Peranakans (Jawi Pekan) and Eurasian Peranakans (Kristang).
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