Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The Indian Africans

The Indian Africans

The Siddi are people of African descent arrived several hundred years ago in different part of India. The Siddi in Karnataka were originally brought by Portuguese in Goa. Some escaped and went as far as possible in the heart of remote forests in the Western Ghats. They talk Konkana language, the language of Goa, but keep their dances and songs of their ancestral African culture. Filmed by Christophe Abegg.

The dispersion of Africans is generally associated with slavery and the slave trade.Most Afro-Asians have been written out of history. Within this scenario, how was it possible for Africans to rule parts of Asia, not just for a few years but for three and a half centuries? 

Generals, commanders, admirals, prime ministers, and rulers, East Africans greatly distinguished themselves in India. They wrote a story unparalleled in the rest of the world - that of enslaved Africans attaining the pinnacle of military and political authority not only in a foreign country but also on another continent. 

Following free traders and artisans who migrated to and traded with India, Sri Lanka and Malaysia in the fist centuries of the common era; from the 1300s onward, East Africans from Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia and adjacent areas entered the Indian subcontinent, mostly though the slave trade. Others came as soldiers and sailors. From Bengal in the northeast to Gujarat in the west and to the Deccan in Central India, they vigorously asserted themselves in the country of their enslavement. The success was theirs but it is also a strong testimony to the open-mindedness of a society in which they were a small religious and ethnic minority, originally of low status. As foreigners and Muslims, some of these Africans ruled over indigenous Hindu, Muslim and Jewish populations. {Read on}