In the DelhiSultanate 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 (1205–1240 CE). According to one legend, in the year 1489 the Ahmadnagar Sultanate sent its Admiral Piram Khan (of Ethiopian descent) with orders to capture the Murud-Janjira castle from Ram Patil. Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team. Visit for other original content. “..the most famous among the Indo-Africans was the celebrated Malik Ambar (1550-1626). This entry was posted on Tuesday, March 18th, 2014 at 10:03 pm. Only a small number of Indo-Africans have tried to immigrate back to Africa, mostly during the British rule of Zanzibar. It’s designed in a way that reservoirs of fresh water stayed inside the fort enabling the Siddi army of nearly 2500 soldiers to live there for months. Nonetheless, most of the groups have largely assimilated into Indian society. A former alternative name of Janjira was Habshan (i.e., land of the Habshis). It was the dynasty that built the famed Janjira fort! Habshi Amir al-Umara (1487-1490) 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. Malik Sarwar, described as a Habshi, was appointed governor of Jaunpur. The sunset view makes it more captivating as it joins islands forts Janjira and Padmadurgad. Originally known as the Janjira Fort, it is one of the strongest marine forts of India. They are a vast and diverse population spread throughout India with separate histories and unique roles within the Indian strata. We go back in time and explore the ruins of a once grand fortified city in Vasai which today is lost and forgotten. Nawab Siddi Ahmad Khan, the nawab of Janjira from 1879 to 1922. Jamal al-Din Yaqut – a royal courtier in the kingdom of Delhi who was believed to be close to the then reigning sovereign Queen Raziya (1236- 1240). The name of the fort is a concatenation of the Konkani and Arabic words for Island, "morod" and "jazeera". They are calling it India’s ‘Lost Civilization’... but is it really? There are conflicting theories on the origin of the name Siddi. Their history speaks of the African ability to integrate into a land other than that from where they originated. Habash Khan It is difficult to speak of the Indo-Africans as a singular group as they came from vastly different parts of Africa and through many periods of history. The monsoon winds that blew across the Indian ocean powered an extensive trade system that shipped spices from Kerala through Northeast Africa and on to Rome and other parts of the European continent since before the time of Christ. I am grateful to him for his help in writing in this article. It was ruled by Abyssinian Muslims called – SIDDI. Ratnagiri Petroglyphs: A Window into the Past. In Pakistan, which also has a small Indo-African population, Indo-Africans are substantially more visible as performers and athletes. The British segregated the Indo-Africans from the local population, thus impoverishing the process of assimilation. Their fort still stands today in Murud – a small fishing village – as does the Sidi Palace on the outskirts of the village. Siddi signifies lord or prince. The African Dynasties of India: African Kings of India. It seems they had recently interviewed a rural settlement of Indo-Africans. Most of the Sidis live in Gujarat, a state in western India. In Western India (the modern Indian states of Gujarat and Maharashtra), the Siddi gained a reputation for physical strength and loyalty, and were sought out as mercenaries by local rulers, and as domestic servants and farm labor. In the year 1736, Siddis of Murud-Janjira set out to recapture Raigarh from the ravaging forces of Baji Rao, on 19 April 1736, Chimnaji attacked the gathering forces in the encampments of the Siddis during the Battle of Riwas near Riwas, when the confrontation … Don’t miss the opportunity to catch a glimpse of sunset over the beauty of the Murud beach. It is further said that Siddi is an expression of respectful address commonly used in North Africa, like Sahib in India. This beach is truly an analogy of love at first sight because of its sceneries of waters, glistening sand surrounded by green hilly areas. Sidis also settled in Murud, once the capital of the erstwhile state of Janjira (from the Arabic ‘jazirah’ meaning an island) on the western coast of Maharashtra. Nonetheless, this group of Indo-Africans spoke only Kannada (an Indian language) and their idea of home was only India, although a few of the older members of the group knew sketchy details of tales that spoke of certain ancestors who had come from another land. 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. Specifically, it is said to be an honorific title given to the descendants of African natives in the west of India, some of whom were distinguished military officers and administrators of the Muslim princes of the Deccan. Memorials of Sovereignty: Funerary Architecture of the Siddis of Janjira at Khokri (Maharashtra) Arts Asiatiques, vol 74 (2019), pp. It is filed under Thoughts/ Articles and tagged with africa in india, blacks in india, india ethnic tribes, racial minorities india, siddi tribe in india, siddi tribe photographs, siddi village sasangir, siddis of gujarat. This group of Indo-Africans are sometimes known as the Royal Sidis, and they only marry amongst themselves or with upper class/caste native Muslims. Prominent Indo-Africans in history of India. Siddi Palace is located to the left of Revdanda-Murd road and can be encountered just before entering Murud. Some Indo-Africans, descended from powerful soldiers, administrators, and even rulers, are indistinguishable from the general population, for their ancestors were considered higher class and married freely amongst the elite Indian population. Well the story goes like this. The word "morod" is peculiar to Konkani and is absent in Marathi. Opposite of that is a big sweet water tank. In 1733, the Maratha Empire took aggressive action and embarked on a campaign against the siddis of Janjira. The latter group are believed to have been soldiers with Muhammad bin Qasim's Arab army, and were called Zanjis. Ambar was a brilliant diplomat and administrator.” Tom Mountains Ambedkar Journal Website HABSHIS AND SIDDIS: AFRICAN DYNASTIES IN INDIA. Around that stand Khasha Siddi Masjid and ruins of houses. According to Professor Amy Catlin, an ethno-musicologist from UCLA, who is making a special study of Sidi culture, “In Gujarat, affinities with African music include certain musical instruments and their names”, she says, “and also the performance of an African-derived musical genre called “goma”. To keep a check on the Portuguese power, Sindhudurg was built near Goa, and at the entrance to Mumbai harbour, the fort of Khanderi was built in 1679. Habshis were present in Colombo, in Ceylon, where Ibn Battuta reports that Jalasti, “the wazir and ruler of the sea”, had “about five hundred Abyssinians”. You need to drive on the It was actually built by the Nawab of Janjira and was intended for administration purposes. “Once the fort boasted of five hundred canons, today only a handful are left, still intact and able to tell their story. Murud Janjira is a good example of water body fort located near the south Konkan coastline. Under the leadership of a wealthy merchant known as Baba Ghor, the Shemali became prosperous through the mining and trade of the precious stone Agate. After his arrival in India, Ambar was able to raise a formidable army and achieve great power in the west Indian realm of Ahmadnagar. Originally the fort was a small wooden structure built by a Koli chief in the late 15th century. Sultan Shahzada 1486 -1487 In studying and recording the group’s music, they had recognised a common melody and similar themes in the music to that which was sung by a certain ethnic group in Tanzania. What brought them to India? The island fortress was under control of Adil Shahi dynasty until the reign of Ibrahim II where Janjira fort was lost to the Siddis. The Sidi … Being the capital of the Siddis, Janjira was once inhabited by a large number of people. Jambur, a village in the Gir forest is an exclusive Sidi settlement. The Murud – Janjira Fort is the prime highlight of this tourist hotspot. Africans also came as midwives and herbalists, and as musicians, sailors and merchants. The Murud-Janjira Fort is situated on an oval-shaped rocky island in the Arabian Sea, near the coastal town of Murud, 165 km south of Mumbai, India. http://www.indo-african-society.org/pages/indo_african_diaspora1.htm, Before Columbus: Black Explorers of the New World By…, Study Finds that the Yorubas Are Genetically 99.9%…, The rise of Ms Tanzeela Qambrani - The Sidis (the…, KAFA KUDZO DZREKE: How âIVRIâ Became âHebrewâ, The countries that attended the US Embassy opening…, 13th Century African Coin Found in Australia. Murud is the nearest town to the fort which is located at about 165 kms from Mumbai. A king of Ahmadnagar had had enough of his manipulative mother & conniving nobles, so he took a sabbatical. This portrays the valor of the Siddis. Major historical figures from Murud-Janjira include men such as Sidi Hilal, Yahya Saleh and Sidi Yaqub. Janjira Murud. Although Africans have been crossing the Indian Ocean into India for over a millennium, most of those who make up the Indo-African population came in the past five hundred years. This fort had a total of 500 canons previously but now only a few of them exist. The community, known as Makranis, is almost completely centred in the coastal city of Karachi and has achieved national status as athletes, especially as boxers, a field in which Indo-Africans have represented Pakistan in international competition. The majority of Indo-Africans are Muslims, but other similarities are hard to find. Afro-Indians, like all other groups that sought shelter in India, were given the freedom to assimilate without the pressure to lose their ancestral traditions. Major historical figures from Murud-Janjira include men such as Sidi Hilal, Yahya Saleh and Sidi Yaqub. Photo: The Kenneth and Joyce Robbins Collection/ By Special Arrangement) 8/24 The fort of … July 30th 2020 follow. He was killed by jealous rivals. It is often called the unconquerable or impregnable fort because it evaded conquest for over 500 years. The palace of the Nawabs of Janjira at Murud is still in good shape. Mediums of reaching Murud-Janjira Beach Car Their descendants still live in and around the coastal village of Murud. Indeed, the island Janjira was formerly called Habshan, meaning Habshan’s or African’s land. 00:00. Those who did return have largely been assimilated into the cultural mix that characterises the island. Perhaps the most interesting example of Indo-Africans in Indian history was the establishment of the Habshi State in Bengal during the 15th century. The Sidis here have retained their lineage of music and dance – their only link now with Africa. SHARE . The word Janjira is not native to India, and may have originated after the Arabic word Jazeera, which means an island. How did a young boy sold as a slave in Ethiopia rise and become so powerful in India? In 1997 I met a group of American researchers who had just arrived in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, from Karnataka in South India. Though the interior of the palace is not open to tourists, the fort can be visited. Most were mercenaries or prisoners of war of the Muslim rulers. You can find 19 burj inside the Janjira … The island fortress was under control of Adil Shahi dynasty until the reign of Ibrahim II where Janjira fort was lost to the Siddis. Descendants of these dynasty’s still survive today. Ambar, like a number of Africans in medieval India, elevated himself to a position of great authority. It was captured by Pir Khan, a general of Nizamshah of Ahmednagar. Culturally, the Indo-Africans have been accepted into the vast spectrum that is India – as have many immigrant groups ranging from the Jews who fled Israel two hundred years after Christ, to the Zoroastrians who fled Iran in the advent of Islamic imperialism. Inside the Janjira Fort, you can see the water tanks, beautiful tombs and stone sculptures. This group of Indo-Africans retains quite a few African customs, and Baba Ghor and the story of their arrival in India is proudly remembered. Each day, Live History India brings you stories and films that not only chronicle India’s history and heritage for you, but also help create a digital archive of the 'Stories that make India' for future generations. It’s betwixt the distance of 5km to Murud-Janjira Fort and again 48km just from Alibaug. Janjira is especially considered one of the best specimens of naval fort architecture. The Siddis were employed largely as security forces for Muslim fleets in the Indian Ocean, a position they maintained for centuries.” – Tom Mountains Ambedkar Journal Website HABSHIS AND SIDDIS: AFRICAN DYNASTIES IN INDIA. The term Indo-Africans refers to Indians of African origin and was coined by Professor Abdulaziz Lodhi of Uppsala University, Sweden. Little is known about Africans who moved from the African continent to the Indian subcontinent, some as slaves, but others purposefully and freely. Malik Ambar - The Deccan’s African Defender | Tales & Trails. Murud was once known in Marathi as Habsan ("of Habshi" or Abyssinian). Scholars generally consider the Indo-Africans de facto Indians as they mostly speak Indian languages, although some groups do retain many African words. Ivory, gold and other valuables from Zimbabwe and the Congo found their way to the East African coast to areas such as Kilwa, Mombassa and Zanzibar from where they were further shipped across the Indian Ocean and on to India, Southeast Asia, China and even Japan. Ibrahim Shah, succeeded his brother Mubarak Shah, and ruled for forty years. Bassein: The Forgotten City. An architectural beauty in the Arabian sea, off the coast of Murud, the fort is about 50 feet high. There are identifiable Sidi communities in Gujarat, Maharashtra (around Bombay), and Hyderabad. This manual mentions that the Aksumite port of Adulis, on the Red Sea coast of Africa, “traded extensively with various parts of Western India, which supplied Ethiopia with both textiles and spices.” Later texts mention trade with Ceylon as well. The beach conducts numerous water sports and boat journey, which is an attention seeker for sports lovers. Malik Ambar - The Deccan’s African Defender | Tales & Trails 00:00. Like these groups, the Indo-Africans have full claim to being Indian, even if they maintain some of their ancestral traditions. Habshis ruled Bengal 1486-1491 by overthrowing the ruler Jalal-al Din. Another group of Indo-Africans, known as the Shemali, originated in Kano, Nigeria, and came to India via Sudan and Mecca following their Hajj pilgrimage. Amongst them are the three major cannons, Kalal Bangdi, Landakasam and Bhavani, the cherished weapons of the Sidis, built from five metals.”- Discover India. They couldn’t take the Janjira fort but … Under the extensive Indian affirmative action programs, most Indo-Africans are classified as scheduled tribes, which entitles them to reservations in university seats and other government support. Spanish Proverb:- âAfrica empieza en los Pirineosâ. The African Diaspora in the Americas was an unwilling one, but the Indo-Africans came willingly to India, and regardless of their ups and downs in Indian history, they have chosen to stay there. Janjira fort is around 6 Kms away from Murud beach and one would cross a river and hill top to reach there. ... in front of shrine of 5 Peers(peerpanchayatan). Siddi Ambar the Little is accordingly considered the first Nawab of Janjira state. Located 50 k.m. Those Sidis who settled in Janjira prospered as warriors and great sailors. Created with Sketch. Many of the Indo-Africans who arrived from eastern Africa came as sailors and traders engaged in the vibrant Indian ocean trade and stayed on in India, usually around the main ports, from Kerala in the south to Gujarat in the north. He was subsequently killed by another high-ranking Indo-African general who remained loyal to the original ruling family and placed the young son of the murdered king upon the throne. Janjira Murud. Today, except for the Royal Sidis and their descendants who are largely integrated into the Muslim upper class, the Indo-African population remains largely farmers or unskilled workers, although some have also become professionals such as doctors, lawyers, teachers and businessmen. “Siddi kingdoms were established in western India in Janjira and Jaffrabad as early as 1100 AD. The Siddis of Janjira were Abyssinians by origin. The fort and its buildings lacks architectural ornamentation. Mubarak Shah, his son, later succeeded him. The Janjira Fort in the middle of the Arabian Sea was also built by the Nawab’s ancestors. Several others followed with the first Arab Islamic conquest of the subcontinent in 712 AD. As the story goes, the ruler of the state was killed in a palace coup d’etat led by an Indo-African general serving in the king’s army, who went on to proclaim himself king. Later, the fort was strengthened by Malik Ambar, the Abyssinian-origin Siddi regent of Ahmednagar kings. The first Siddis are thought to have arrived in India in 628 AD at the Bharuch port. The African Siddis of Janjira LHI Team. Little research has been done on this unique population, but slowly literature on this small group is growing. Therefore, the island of Kansa near Janjira was the site of a fort named Padmadurg to counter the Siddi. At the gate, the sculpture of six elephants by a tiger is very impressive. 147-154, 2019 Indo-Africans trace their ancestry primarily from the East African coast from Sudan, Abyssinia (now Ethiopia) to Mozambique, but some came from as far off as South Africa and even Nigeria. Abstract A good example of “Jal-Durg” (Fort amidst water), Murud Janjira is quiet unfamiliar to peoples. Sidi Badr A study of this Indo-African population offers a realistic portrayal of Africans as traders, warriors, and sailors. However one views Afro-Indians, their mere existence has much to tell us about Africa’s place in the world community beyond just the dark days of slavery. Janjira state had always faced rivalry with the Marathas especially with the Angrias, a Maratha Koli family with forts and ships. Janjira Murud. A B S T R A C T Janjira - The Undefeated Fort Janjira Fort is situated on the Murud beach in the Arabian sea along the Konkan coast line. According to Dr. Richard Pankhurst, commercial contacts between Ethiopia and India are mentioned in the Periplus – a Graeco-Egyptian commercial manual written around the first century AD. Early in the 20th century, a woman named Langi Nur-Bai arrived in Zanzibar from India where she had been a drummer and singer. 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. The everliving rastafari makonen emperor haile selassie i, america was Black before columbus came – YouTube Video, The very aboriginal americans – YouTube Video, African Roots of Famous Euro-American Families, JENdA: A Journal of African Women Studies & Culture.
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