There is no doubt that India is indeed an incredible country. There is so much to explore and experience in India. People who speak different languages, wear different clothes, eat different food and follow different cultures, add up to the variety that India gives to the world.
Decades ago, when kings ruled over India, several tribes from other countries traveled here and made this country their home. Once such tribe is the Siddi community!
Originally Bantu people from sub-Saharan Africa, the Siddi community can be found in the state of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Goa and Hyderabad.
Here are some facts that you need to know about the Siddi community:
1. It all started with the Nawab of Junagadh
It is said that during a visit to Africa, the Nawab of Junagadh fell in love with an African woman. The woman brought her hundred slaves to India along with her and thus, this led to the establishment of Siddi community. There is this another story which tells that the Portuguese presented the slaves from Africa to the Prince of Junagadh which eventually led to the creation of a community.
2. Different names, different countries!
Not only India, the African tribe exists in countries like Sri Lanka and Pakistan. In Pakistan, they are called Sheedis and in Sri Lanka, the name given to them is Kaffirs. Also, the slaves which were sold by the Arabs were called Habshis.
3. A great amalgamation of Indian and African culture!
Even though the Siddis speak the language of the state that they live in, they still have kept the African culture intact. The songs and dances are very important in their culture and they are ever ready to showcase their skills! Most of them follow Islam or Christianity as their religion. Very few follow Hinduism.
4. They follow strict marriage norms!
Siddis avoid their mixing with other gene pools and hence they don’t marry outside the community. With this, they have kept their ethnicity intact and that actually shows!
5. Economically poor but culturally rich!
The Siddi community, even today, is still considered backward and hence their economic status is not so good. In comparison, those in Karnataka are well settled than the ones in Gujarat. But still, the condition in changing. The Siddi community from Gujarat featured in the state’s tourism video and their popularity during the tourist peak season is on another level.
It’s quite commendable how the Siddi community are balancing both African and Indian cultures, like a pro, hence making them one of the first global citizens.
Information Source: Be On The Road
All images sourced from Be On The Road