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THE SIDDIS IN INDIA— A HISTORY & CULTURE , PART-1

The SIDDIS in India are decedent of BANTU tribe of South-east Africa . The population of the SIDDIS in India and Pakistan is about 8 lakhs 50 thousand only . They are scattered in Karnataka, Gujarat and Hyderabad in India and Makran and Karachi in Pakistan . Most of them are Muslims , Hindu and Catholic Christians . As an Ethnic group , they were brought in the Indian Subcontinent by the Portuguese marchants and the Arab traders as slaves . Physically strong people , SIDDIS helped them in loading and uploading goods from cargoes . Many of them migrated to Pakistan after partition and settled in Sindh and Karachi . Though socially and economically marginalized now , yet once they ruled Bengal as Habshi dynasty . Malik Amber played a major role in Ahmadnagar Saltanat , especially militarily and to some extent politically , in curbing penetration of the Indo-Aryans and the Mugals in the Deccan Plateau as such .

Etymologically speaking , regarding the origin of the SIDDIS , there are mainly two theories : firstly , the world is said to be originated from the Arbic world SAHIBI and secondly , the word has its origin in the SAYYID . The word SAHIBI is used in the North-African countries for respect . On the other hand , the word SAYYID is generally used for the Arab vessel’s captains . As the Arab traders had brought SIDDIS here in India as a slave , it may be possible that the word might have originated from the word SAYYID as such .

Historically speaking , the SIDDIS were brought first time in India in 628 AD by the Arab traders . They landed at Baruch Port . As the Arab invader Mohammed Bin Qasim conquered Sindh in712 AD , the SIDDIS were brought in India in huge numbers as members of his army . They were called Zanji . Realizing thier slavery status some of them ran away to stay inside the the forest and a few warriors among this community established Janjira state in Kthiawar . A SIDDI slave , known as Jamal-ud-Din Yakut , was appointed as the master of the Royal Stables by Razia Sultan ( 1235-40 ) AD . Ikhlas Khan was appointed as Diwan of Bihapur in 1650 . Similarly , as I have written earlier that Malic Amber was appointed as a military Commander in the Deccan Dynesty . A few years later the Portuguese brought with themselves a lot of BANTU tribe in India as slaves . A sizable number of the SIDDIS were appointed as guards and soldiers by the Nizam of Hyderabad . The most of them accepted Islam and some of them Hinduism . Later some accepted Christianity also coming in influence of the Portuguese and English men ruling India . After Independence the SIDDIS were given a Scheduled Tribe status in Goa , Gujarat , Karnataka and Daman and Diu .

So far as their cultural lives are concerned , they have assimilated with the local people and adopted the dominant culture i.e the local culture of India while keeping alive some of their’s ancestral practices in music and dance . Generally the SIDDIS used to associate or marry with their own community men with some exceptions . The most of them have opted agriculture as their occupation . But they also work in the fields as agricultural labours . A few of them serve as guards and do other menial works . Their dresses are similar to that of the locale . The women prefer Salbar-Samij or Sari while the men as per their local dresses . As the Indian people , they prefer rice and dal ( Bhat-Dal ) as their staple food as such . Since they are very stuffy , Athletics is theirs choice of game …..etc .

NOTE : THE SOURCES OF THE BLOG IS SOME WRITTEN ARTICLES AND OTHER LITERATURES …..ARBIND KUMAR , THE BLOGGER .

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Published by arbind kumar

I had been a researcher. Presently in service.

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