The Blacks Of India – The Siddi People

The Siddi (pronounced [sɪd̪d̪iː]), also known as Siddhi, Sheedi, or Habshi, are an ethnic group inhabiting India and Pakistan. Members are descended from Bantu peoples from Southeast Africa. Some were merchants, sailors, indentured servants, slaves, and mercenaries.

The Siddi community is currently estimated at around 50,000–60,000 individuals, with Karnataka, Gujarat and Hyderabad in India and Makran and Karachi in Pakistan as the main population centres. Siddis are primarily Sufi Muslims, although some are Hindus and others Roman Catholic Christians.

How they got there ?

The Siddis who arrived in India, over a thousand years ago, between 700 and 900 AD, are perhaps the “youngest” African immigrant community here. They were brought on ships by Arab merchants who sold them as slaves to Indian rulers. Known to be powerful warriors, the Siddis were often used as soldiers and played important roles in the armies and in political warfare.

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