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Siddis... From Africa


shaheediyan
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yup ! u can come across their settlements in Kutch region near gujarat and also in some other parts of gujarat. many of them speak kutchi and gujarati

The Siddi, Siddhi, or Sheedi (Urdu: شیدی ; Hindi: सिद्दी or शीदि; Gujarati: સિદ્દી) are an Indian ethnic group of Black African descent. The Siddi population is currently estimated to be 20,000-55,000, with Gujarat state of India being the main population center.[1][2] Siddis are mainly Sufi Muslims, although some are Hindus and some Roman Catholic Christians.[3]

Contents [hide]

1 Names of the community

2 History

3 Siddis of Gujarat

4 Sheedis of Pakistan

5 Films

6 See also

7 References

8 External links

[edit] Names of the community

There are conflicting hypotheses on the origin of the name Siddi. One theory is that the word was a term of respect in North Africa, similar to the word Sahib in modern India and Pakistan.[2] A second theory is that the term Siddi is derived from the title borne by the captains of the Arab vessels that first delivered Siddi slaves to India. These captains were known as Sayyid (again, signifying the lineage of Prophet Muhammad), so their black captives were named after them.[4]

Similarly, another term for Siddis, habshi (from Al-Habsh, the Arabic term for Abyssinia), is held to be derived from the common name for the captains of the Ethiopian/Abyssinian ships that also first delivered Siddi slaves to the subcontinent.[4] The term eventually came to be applied to other Africans as well, and referred not only to emancipated Siddis but to their descendants too.[5]

Siddis are also sometimes referred to as Afro-Indians.[6][7][8] Siddis were referred to as Zanji by Arabs, and Seng Chi (a malapropism of Zanj) by the Chinese.[9][10][11]

[edit] History

A fine example of Indo-Islamic architecture, the Sidi Saiyyed Mosque in Ahmedabad, India was constructed in 1572 by Sidi Saiyyed, a slave of Sultan Ahmad Shah.[12]The first Siddis are thought to have arrived in the Indian subcontinent in 628CE at the Bharuch port. Several others followed with the first Arab Islamic invasions of the subcontinent in 712CE.[13] The latter group are believed to have been soldiers with Muhammad bin Qasim's Arab army, and were called Zanjis.

Most Siddis, however, are believed to be the descendants of slaves, sailors, servants and merchants from the Bantu-speaking parts of East Africa who arrived and became resident in the subcontinent during the 1200-1900CE period.[14] A large influx of Siddis to the region occurred in the 17th century when Portuguese slave traders sold a number of them to local princes.[2]

In Western India (the modern Indian states of Gujarat and Maharashtra), the Siddi gained a reputation for physical strength and loyalty, and were sought out as mercenaries by local rulers, and as domestic servants and farm labor.[2] Some Siddis escaped slavery to establish communities in forested areas, and some even established small Siddi principalities on Janjira Island and at Jaffrabad as early as the twelfth century. A former alternative name of Janjira was Habshan (i.e., land of the Habshis). In the Delhi Sultanate period prior to the rise of the Mughals in India, Jamal-ud-Din Yaqut was a prominent Siddi slave-turned-nobleman who was a close confidant of Razia Sultana (1205–1240CE). Although this is disputed, he may also have been her lover.[15]

As a power center, Siddis were sometimes allied with the Mughal Empire in its power-struggle with the Maratha Confederacy.[2] However, Malik Ambar, a prominent Siddi figure in Indian history at large, is sometimes regarded as the "military guru of the Marathas," and was deeply allied with them.[16] He established the town of Khirki which later became the modern city of Aurangabad, and helped establish the Marathas as a major force in the Deccan. Later, the Marathas adapted Siddi guerrilla warfare tactics to grow their power and ultimately demolish the Mughal empire.[16] Some accounts describe the Mughal emperor Jahangir as obsessed by Ambar due to the Mughal empire's consistent failures in crushing him and his Maratha cavalry, describing him derogatorily as "the black faced" and "the ill-starred" in the royal chronicles and even having a painting commissioned that showed Jahangir killing Ambar, a fantasy which was never realized in reality.[17]

Some Indian Siddis are descended from Tanzanians and Mozambicans brought by the Portuguese.

[edit] Siddis of Gujarat

Siddi Folk Dancers, at Devaliya Naka, Sasan Gir, Gujarat.Presented as slaves by the Portuguese to the local Prince, Nawab of Junagadh, the Siddis also live around Gir Forest National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary, the last refuge in the world of the almost extinct Asiatic Lions, in Junagadh a district of the state of Gujarat, India.

On the way to Deva-dungar is the quaint village of Sirvan, inhabited entirely by Siddis, a tribe of African people. They were brought 300 years ago from Africa, by the Portuguese for the Nawab of Junagadh. Today, they follow very few of their original customs, with a few exceptions like the traditional Dhamal dance.[18]

Although Gujarati Siddis have adopted the language and many customs of their surrounding populations, some African traditions have been preserved. These include the Goma music and dance form, which is sometimes called Dhamaal (Gujarati: ધમાલ, fun).[19] The term is believed to be derived from the Ngoma drumming and dance forms of East Africa.[19] The Goma also has a spiritual significance and, at the climax of the dance, some dancers are believed to be vehicles for the presence of Siddi saints of the past.[20]

[edit] Sheedis of Pakistan

The people who call themselves and are referred to as Sheedi live in southern Pakistan on the Makran coast, in Turbat and Pasni and in Karachi (mainly in the tightly knit neighborhoods of Lyari). They trace their arrival to these shores of southern Pakistan as soldiers in the Arab armies in 712 A.D. The descendants of these soldiers are the Zanji Siddis. People were brought as slaves from the Africa, from Ethiopia and Abyssinia to the South Asia in the eleventh through the 20th century. Soldiers and slaves alike, they came across the ocean and the Arabian Sea in boats whose captains were referred to as Sidii ir Sayyids. This cargo of slaves, brought in by these captains became known as Siddis. Still others in southern Pakistan on the coast of Balochistan in Turbat, Pasni and Makran trace their ancestory to slaves from Tanzania, Kenya and Zanzibar brought by the Omani Arabs. Most of the original Siddis live in Sindh. ‘Sheedi’ comes from the same root as Syed. The root of this word Syed, means black. When ‘sheedis’ of Sindh were named the word became known in the population as meaning ‘black people’ The word Sheedi is from the Arabic word Sidi. Today the word itself Sheedi in Sindh, can be used as a derogatory term used for the poor and people with darker skin. In North Africa for example in Morocco, the word Syed as used in Pakistan and the South Asia is Sidi or simply Sid. In Pakistan, the title of Syed before one’s name denotes that someone is of high birth who can trace his or her lineage to the Prophet’s family. This is how the word is understood on the South Asia.

In Pakistan, locals of Black African descent are called "Makrani", "Sheedi" or "Habshi". They live primarily along the Makran Coast in Balochistan (see also Makrani), and lower Sindh. In the city of Karachi, the main Sheedi centre is the area of Lyari and other nearby coastal areas. Technically, the Sheedi are a brotherhood or community distinct from the other Afro-Pakistanis. The Sheedis are divided into four clans, or houses: Kharadar Makan, Hyderabad Makan, Lassi Makan and Belaro Makan.[21] The sufi saint Pir Mangho is regarded by many as the patron saint of the Sheedis, and the annual Sheedi Mela festival, is the key event in the Sheedi community's cultural calendar.[21] It features songs and dance clearly derived from Africa.[22][23]

Linguistically, Makranis are Balochi and Sindhi and speak a dialect of Urdu referred to as Makrani.

Famous Sheedis include the historic Sindhi army leader Hoshu Sheedi[24] and Urdu poet Noon Meem Danish[25][26]. Sheedis are also well known for their excellence in sports, especially in football and boxing. The musical anthem of the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party, "Bija Teer", is a Balochi song in the musical style of the Sheedis with Black African style rhythm and drums [2]. Younis Jani is a popular Sheedi singer famous for singing an Urdu version of the reggaeton song "Papi chulo... (te traigo el mmmm...)."[3]

The Sheedis are African people brought during the Arab rule in Balochistan and Sindh provinces of Pakistan as soldiers and slaves were brought from Africa. The descendents are also called Makranis or Sheedis. The Sheedis (also called Habshi, from Arabic حبشي ḥabashi) are a Negroid people in Pakistan. They are the descendants of slaves first brought to Pakistan by Arab merchants in medieval times from the Bantu-speaking parts of eastern Africa. Siddis were referred to as Zanj by Arabs, and Seng Chi (a malapropism of Zanj) by the Chinese

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Jaikara ji's post collates pretty much all I know about the Siddis.

One interesting thing to note is that Bantu culture has had some influence on the native Indian culture also. For example, there are Kali temples in India where the murtis are propitiated with alcohol and tobacco just as the Bantus today appease their Nkisi fetishes. I've heard of the same thing in Trinidad where there are Bhairav, or Bhairo as he is called there, temples where the rituals have an African undercurrent with drumming, alcohol, cigars and possession occuring. I used to know a Trinidadian of African origin who worshipped a Ganesha statue with rum and cigars at university. He told me it has been his family practice for generations.

K.

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very true kaljug veer ji , there is always some or the other influence, if u ever been to Kolkata there is a are where migrated chinese live , its known as china town. The population also sets up Durga Puja pandals during Navraate and the parshaad offerred is fried rice, noodles (yummyyyyyyy !!! :P ).

there are various temples of dieties in india specifically in rajasthan where tobacco is offered.

I came across certain commnuties of rajasthan where smoking is a must ! :o

they cannot be a non smoker community. the elders offer beedis to the younger generation.

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very true kaljug veer ji , there is always some or the other influence, if u ever been to Kolkata there is a are where migrated chinese live , its known as china town. The population also sets up Durga Puja pandals during Navraate and the parshaad offerred is fried rice, noodles (yummyyyyyyy !!! :P ).

there are various temples of dieties in india specifically in rajasthan where tobacco is offered.

I came across certain commnuties of rajasthan where smoking is a must ! :o

they cannot be a non smoker community. the elders offer beedis to the younger generation.

Interestingly enough I've also seen an image of Kaal Bhairav on the Ghuede (Lord of Death) altar of a Mambo, a Vodoun priestess. Cultural syncretism is neat.

K.

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http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1286284/Make-snappy-dad-Father-dangles-baby-son-crocodiles-jaws-religious-festival.html

Here is a Daily Mail article today for this community in Pakistan.

Feeling a seriously intellectual with all this DM reading today. LOL

Edited by jattboot
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Thanks for that JB, very interesting. I know of hardcore 'crocodile' tribes in PNG, who even go to the extent of carving scales on to their body as an initiation rite (and they deal with real crocs, the maneating 30ft saltwater variety).

But can't remember coming across a croc tribe in East Africa, although I know the animals are respected by some tribes (eaten by others lol).

I wonder if its an evolved tradition or one based on Pre-Islamic pashu-panthi tribes from the regions..

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