Siddis are Sunni Muslims who are from Said tribe and hence they are known as Siddis. When it comes to dress, women and men dress in typical Indian fashion. The term ‘Siddi’ is derived from North Africa, where it was used as a term of respect. [9] The Nizam of Hyderabad also employed African-origin guards and soldiers. [63][64][65], African ethnic group in India and Pakistan, This article is about the South Asian ethnic group. [30], Although Gujarati Siddis have adopted the language and many customs of their surrounding populations, some of their Bantu traditions have been preserved. The authors observed the E1b1a1-M2 haplogroup, which is frequent among Bantu peoples, in about 42% and 34% of Siddis from Karnataka and Gujarat, respectively. [5], However, Guha et al. Murud-Janjira is the local name for a fort situated at the coastal village of Murud, in the Raigad district of Maharashtra, India. The Nawab of Sachin and Janjira. 1. 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 (1235–1240 CE). The remainder is associated with locals North and Northwest Indian populations, due to recent admixture events. According to the authors, gene flow between the Siddis' Bantu ancestors and local Indian populations was also largely unidirectional. (2012) observed few genetic differences between the Makrani of Pakistan and adjacent populations. They are calling it India’s ‘Lost Civilization’... but is it really? The majority of the Siddis in Gujarat are Muslims (98.7%), with very few following Hinduism (1%). In the local culture, when there is a dance it is not performed by some selected few and watched idly by others but it is participated by all the people present there, ending difference between the performers and the audience. This silver Ankushi rupee was struck in the name of Mughal Emperor Shah Alam II minted under the dominions of the Siddis of Janjira. But, an example of a staple meal would be a large portions of rice with dal and pickles. "[45], Sheedis are largely populated in different towns and villages in lower Sindh. [60] Outside of their communities, men also tend to be employed as farm hands, drivers, manual laborers, and security guards.[61]. Malik Ambar - The Deccan’s African Defender | Tales & Trails. Some Siddis also came as merchants but most of them worked as slaves and since then remained in India as part of the African diaspora. (2011) examined the autosomal DNA of Siddis in India. The Asif Jahi rulers patronised them with rewards and the traditional Marfa music gained popularity and would be performed during official celebrations and ceremonies. It was ruled by Abyssinian Muslims called – SIDDI. Located 50 k.m. Sir Sidi Ahmed Khan Palace While entering Murud you come across the Palace of Nawab on the left hand side of the road. They were brought 300 years ago from Portuguese colonial territories for the Nawab of Junagadh. Murud is the nearest town to the fort which is located at about 165 kms from Mumbai. (2011) observed that Siddis in Gujarat derive 66.90%–70.50% of their ancestry from Bantu forebears, while the Siddis in Karnataka possess 64.80%–74.40% such Southeast African ancestry. The African Siddis of Janjira LHI Team. Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team. [22] Hamilton (1990) argues that Siddis in South India are a significant social group whose histories, experiences, cultures, and expressions are integral to the African Diaspora and thus, help better understand the dynamics of dispersed peoples. On the way to Deva-dungar is the quaint village of Sirvan, inhabited entirely by Siddis. [62], Athletics has been an important part of the Siddi community and has been a means to uplift youth and a means of escape from poverty and discrimination. Guards (African Cavalry Guards) area near Masjid Rahmania, known locally as Siddi Risala in the city Hyderabad. The first Siddis are thought to have arrived in India in 628 AD at the Bharuch port. [5] There is a 50,000-strong Siddhi population across India, of which more than a third live in Karnataka. R1a1a-M17 (30.30%), J2 (18.18%) and R2 (18.18%) were their most common male lineages. The State of Bengal was ruled by Ethiopians for three years before being defeated and two Princely State’s, Janjira and Sachin in Western India controlled hundreds of miles of coastline for centuries. Murud is not a big village but it is famous for the Island Fort of Murud-Janjira. [54], Similarly, Shah et al. Malik Ambar - The Deccan’s African Defender | Tales & Trails 00:00. Ratnagiri Petroglyphs: A Window into the Past. The fort of Murud Janjira stands testimony to tell tales of the small yet powerful citadel of the Siddis. How did a young boy sold as a slave in Ethiopia rise and become so powerful in India? Some Siddis escaped slavery to establish communities in forested areas, and some also established the small Siddi principalities of Janjira State on Janjira Island and Jafarabad State in Kathiawar as early as the twelfth century. Another time, I was taken by the legend of Murud-Janjira, a … [5], Narang et al. Murud was once known in Marathi as Habsan ("of Habshi" or Abyssinian). [58] It is rare for the Siddi to marry outside of their communities although in Pakistan a growing number of the Sheedi (as they are known there) intermarry as a way to dilute their African lineage and reduce racial discrimination and prejudice. [26][27][28] For instance, Siddi women wear colorful saris and don bindis. They did not simply succumb to the ideologies and structures of imperial forces, nor did they simply rebel against imperial rule. [38] Some glimpses of the rituals at Sidi/Sheedi Festival 2010 include visit to sacred alligators at Mangho pir, playing music and dance. [51], Qamar et al. Today, they follow very few of their original customs, with a few exceptions like the traditional Dhamal dance. Originally known as the Janjira Fort, it is one of the strongest marine forts of India. Malik Ambar (pictured) is the most prominent example of a Siddi in India. Many members of the Siddis community of Karnataka had migrated to Pakistan after independence and have settled in Karachi, Sindh. [5][47] Tanzeela Qambrani became the first Sheedi woman to be elected as the member of Provincial Assembly of Sindh in 2018 Pakistani general election.[48][49]. A good example of “Jal-Durg” (Fort amidst water), Murud Janjira is quiet unfamiliar to peoples. Learning their lessons early on, the Marathas formulated and enhanced their maritime policies. Do I approach it by boat? For other ethnic groups and people of both African and Indian origin or people of Indian descent in Africa, see. Some were merchants, sailors, indentured servants, slaves and mercenaries. [18] The latter group are believed to have been soldiers with Muhammad bin Qasim's Arab army, and were called Zanjis. The latter mainly consisted of L0 and L2a sublineages associated with Bantu women. Like in other aspects of life, the Siddi have adopted the common dietary practices of the dominant society. It also had high economic importance as the traders had to pay large amounts to pass by this fort. Descendants of these dynasty’s still survive today. [53], According to an mtDNA study by Shah et al. Some Siddis escaped slavery to establish communities in forested areas, and some also established the small Siddi principalities of Janjira State on Janjira Island and Jafarabad State in Kathiawar as early as the twelfth century. Siddis first came to Janjira as traders in the fifteenth century, and from 1621 until the merger of all princely states into the Indian Union in March 1948, Janjira was ruled by a Siddi family dynasty. The remaining autosomal DNA components in the studied Siddi were mainly associated with local South Asian populations. Is it far into the sea? The best thing about this fort is that it is surrounded by water on all sides and that is why is also referred to as Island Fort. On 19 April 1736, Maratha warrior Chimaji Appa attacked the gathering forces in the encampments of the Siddis near Rewas. [31] The term is believed to be derived from the Ngoma drumming and traditional dance forms of the Bantu people inhabiting Central, East and Southern Africa. While they have assimilated in many ways to the dominant culture,[56] they have also kept some ancestral practices especially in music and dance. The Siddi (pronounced [sɪd̪d̪i]), also known as Sidi, Siddhi, Sheedi or Habshi, are an ethnic group inhabiting India and Pakistan. We go back in time and explore the ruins of a once grand fortified city in Vasai which today is lost and forgotten. [57] Like other ethnic groups separated by geography, there are both differences and similarities in cultural practices among the Siddi. The remaining Siddis had Indian associated or Near Eastern-linked clades, including haplogroups P, H, R1a-M17, J2 and L-M20. [7] Siddis are primarily Muslims, although some are Hindus and others belong to the Catholic Church. [5] The Siddi population is currently estimated at around 270,000–350,000 individuals, with Karnataka, Gujarat and Hyderabad in India and Makran and Karachi in Pakistan[6] as the main population centres. Murud-Janjira Fort is situated on an oval-shaped rock off the Arabian Sea coast near the port town of Murud, 165 km (103 mi) south of Mumbai. 00:00. Janjira was strategically a very important and impregnable fort in the Arabian Sea, with cannons embedded all around. About 53% of the Siddis from Gujarat and 24% of the Siddis from Karnataka belonged to various Bantu-derived macro-haplogroup L subclades. After their conversion to Islam, the African freedmen of India, originally called Habshi from the Arabic, called themselves Sayyad (descendants of Muhammad) and were consequently called Siddis. Memorials of Sovereignty: Funerary Architecture of the Siddis of Janjira at Khokri (Maharashtra) Arts Asiatiques, vol 74 (2019), pp. [20][21], Harris (1971) provides an historical survey of the eastward dispersal of slaves from Southeast Africa to places like India. The first Siddis are thought to have arrived in India in 628 AD at the Bharuch port. The Marathas had earlier tried conquering Janjira but failed. [52] Only around 12% carried Africa-derived clades, which mainly consisted of the archaic haplogroup B-M60, of which they bore the highest frequency of any Pakistani population Underhill et al. [36], In Pakistan, locals of Bantu descent are called "Sheedi". The place is full of coconut and betel nut trees and has a nice and prosperous seashore. [59], Siddi communities, although classified as a tribe by the Indian government (in order to receive benefits), primarily live in agricultural communities where men are responsible for the farming and women are responsible for the home and children. [38] 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. Several former slaves rose to high ranks in the military and administration, the most prominent of which was Malik Ambar. Janjira is especially considered one of the best specimens of naval fort architecture. Fig. 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. Genetic genealogy, although a novel tool that uses the genes of modern populations to trace their ethnic and geographic origins, has also helped clarify the possible background of the modern Siddi. According to the researchers, about 58% of the Siddis' ancestry is derived from Bantu peoples. Even though the Portuguese and the British tried their best to capture the Janjira Fort, they were unable to defeat the Siddis. In the 18th century, a Siddi community was established in Hyderabad State by the Arab Siddi diaspora, who have frequently served as cavalry guards to the Asif Jahi Nizam of Hyderabad's army. A second theory is that the term Siddi is derived from the title borne by the captains of the Arab vessels that first brought Siddi settlers to India. A Y-chromosome study by Shah et al. The state of Janjira is noted as being among the smallest of the princely States in Menon’s “The Story of Integration of … An architectural beauty in the Arabian sea, off the coast of Murud, the fort is about 50 feet high. Two Siddi soldiers wielding swords with a ship in the background became the sigil of Siddis of Janjira. Janjira also known as Murud-janjira is a unique Jal-Durg (sea Fort) built by an Abssynian minister Malik Ambar of the Sultan of Ahmednagar who belonged to the Nizamshahi dynasty. For other uses, see, "Habshi" redirects here. The island of Janjira was under the control of the Siddis. A former alternative name of Janjira was Habshan (i.e., land of the Habshis). Owing to the castle's fortifications, the Admiral could not attack conventionally. 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