Siddis – An African community having home in India
India is a home to numerous tribes, here you can find an individual of different religions and traditions under one roof. Every tribe has their own culture and heritage which influence their lifestyle. One such tribe which can be found in India, Pakistan, Hyderabad, and Gujarat are of Siddis.
They are also known as Siddhi, Sheedi, and Habshi. Roughly estimation of Siddis community is around 50,000 to 60,000 in worldwide areas. Talking about their religion some of them are mainly Sufi-Muslim, though some are Hindu and others belong from Catholic Church.
According to history reports the first arrival of Siddis was in India in 628 AD. After that, a large number of Siddis populations were found in Southern Africa as Bantu people. They are brought to Indian content as slaves of Portuguese. Lot of them migrant and become Muslim along with this minority of people chooses Christianity. A small portion of people moves towards Hindu tradition.
Therefore after some time, they could not fit their selves in Hindu community hierarchy. According to 1971 historical reports, a survey has taken place to Siddis experience in India. Hence they found that Siddis are accepted as a scheduled tribe in 1 union territory and 3 states i.e. Gujarat, Karnataka, Goa and Daman and Diu.
WHERE DOES THE NAME ‘SIDDIs’ COME FROM?
According to various history reports, there is certain conflict regarding the origin of ‘Siddis’. One of the theory says that the word “sahibi” drives from an Arabic term. The simple meaning of this term the same term is used in North Africa, and similar in modern India as well as Pakistan.
A second theory signifies the different meaning of “Siddis”. According to this, the term is derived from a very popular title which was borne by the captains. The hypothesis based on History of Siddis also signifies that the Arab vessels have brought Siddis settlers to India. Some Siddis people run away from slavery to set up a new community for forested areas. While others people were taken to the shores of the Indian subcontinent. Here they were brought as slaves by Portuguese merchants and Arab. And a small group of this community has come as merchants, mercenaries, and sailors.
HOW MANY OF THEM ARE HERE?
A group of Siddis was transported here and there at distant places. There were all around 50,000 to 60,000 people which were partially divided into 4 distinct areas such as Pakistan, India, Gujarat, and Karnataka. Now it is predicted that there are around 20,000-55,000 people of Siddis community are still residing in India and Pakistan.
And most of the individuals of this community are settled in Karnataka, Gujarat, and Goa, and some of them are in Karachi in Pakistan. According to their places, they have also changed their religion.
Some establish their identity as Sufi Muslims, and some make their individuality as Roman Catholic Christians and Hinduism. The ancestors or Hiriyaru were the ones who binds all Siddis together, in terms of their religion, culture or tradition.
WHAT did Siddis bring TO THE NATION?
The famous Siddis Saiyyed Mosque was constructed in 1572 at Ahmadabad. It was built by an emperor named as Sidi Saiyyed. This was built on the slave emperor Sultan Ahmad Shah.
In the year of 1987, the Special Area Games Scheme has taken place by Sports Authority of India. They mainly focus on training the athletes from a this community.
Before ending of this program in around 1993 the athletes these athletes represent their selves on international as well as national platform numerous times.
This makes the nation proud of other countries. The glory brought by Siddis was really remarkable. The Siddis also take part in the battle on a daily basis. Thus while this, they were treated as outsiders.
Therefore just for this reason, they spend their everything for this. Some have also settled in the states of Gujarat, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra. These Siddis were known as sailors, merchants, slaves, and mercenaries. Thus after sometime some of them are even become, rulers. Today, some of the famous athletes are the real hope of our India. These people have achieved a number of awards at national as well as international level. The Olympic medal in different fields is due to their hard work and efforts.
WHAT ABOUT INDIANS IN AFRICA?
Southeast Africa is almost covered with three million people of Indian origin and this is just estimation. Most of them arrive towards Africa in the era of 19th century. They were here as a laborer, slaves or sailors. And earlier some of the people of Siddis community have arrived by sea as traders.
African Siddis in India
After that, the Portuguese carry some of the slaves towards the Prince of Junagadh. According to this story, a new fact has appeared about Siddis. This says that Nawab of Junagadh had visited in Africa and then a love story was started. According to this, emperors fall in love with an African woman. When the African woman moved towards with Nawab in India, then at that time almost hundred slaves walk with her. According to reports at that time, the maximum people were from Gujarat and Africa. The PEOPLE OF Africa follow their own custom and religion. They follow music and dance of African culture. These people follow different traditions depending on the area they live.
Watch a small documentary on them.
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