African Diaspora of South Asia: Sidis, Habshis, Sheedis
The African Diaspora in India by Purnima Mehta BhattThis book explores the understudied and often overlooked subject of African presence in India. It focuses on the so-called Sidis, Siddis or Habshis who occupy a unique place in Indian history. The Sidis comprise scattered communities of people of African descent who travelled and settled along the western coast of India, mainly in Gujarat, but also in Goa, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Sri Lanka and in Sindh (Pakistan) as a result of the Indian Ocean trade from the thirteenth to nineteenth centuries. The work draws from extant scholarly research and documentary sources to provide a comprehensive study of people of African descent in India and sheds new light on their experiences. By employing an interdisciplinary approach across fields of history, art, anthropology, religion, literature and oral history, it provides an analysis of their negotiations with cultural resistance, survivals and collective memory. The author examines how the Sidi communities strived to construct a distinct identity in a new homeland in a polyglot Indian society, their present status, as well as their future prospects. The book will interest those working in the fields of history, sociology and social anthropology, cultural studies, international relations, and migration and diaspora studies.
African Elites in India by John McLeod; Kenneth X. RobbinsIn the last decade there has been a veritable explosion of scholarship on Habshis and Sidis in India. This book is a contribution to this growing field, but with a difference. Its focus is on the elite of Sub-Saharan African-Indians who attained prominence in various parts of India between the fifteenth and twentieth centuries, and on Africans who served at the courts of Indian monarchs as servants, slaves, eunuchs, or concubines.
The Call of Bilal by Edward E. Curtis; Edward E. CurtisHow do people in the African diaspora practice Islam? While the term "Black Muslim" may conjure images of Malcolm X and Muhammad Ali, millions of African-descended Muslims around the globe have no connection to the American-based Nation of Islam. The Call of Bilal is a penetrating account of the rich diversity of Islamic religious practice among Africana Muslims worldwide. Covering North Africa and the Middle East, India and Pakistan, Europe, and the Americas, Edward E. Curtis IV reveals a fascinating range of religious activities--from the observance of the five pillars of Islam and the creation of transnational Sufi networks to the veneration of African saints and political struggles for racial justice. Weaving together ethnographic fieldwork and historical perspectives, Curtis shows how Africana Muslims interpret not only their religious identities but also their attachments to the African diaspora. For some, the dispersal of African people across time and space has been understood as a mere physical scattering or perhaps an economic opportunity. For others, it has been a metaphysical and spiritual exile of the soul from its sacred land and eternal home.
Malik Ambar by Omar H. AliPart of The World in a Life series, this brief, inexpensive text provides insight into the life of slave soldier Malik Ambar. Malik Ambar: Power and Slavery across the Indian Ocean offers a rare look at an individual who began in obscurity in eastern Africa and reached the highest levels of South Asian political and military affairs in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. Ambar's rise from slavery in East Africa to ruler in South Asia sheds light on the diverse mix of people, products, and practices that shaped the Indian Ocean world during the early modern period. Originally from Ethiopia--historically called Abyssinia--Ambar is best known for having defended the Deccan from being occupied by the Mughals during the first quarter of the seventeenth century. His ingenuity as a military leader, his diplomatic skills, and his land-reform policies contributed to his success in keeping the Deccan free of Mughal imperial rule. We live in a global age where big concepts like "globalization" often tempt us to forget the personal side of the past. The titles in The World in a Life series aim to revive these meaningful lives. Each one shows us what it was like to live on a world historical stage. Brief, inexpensive, and thematic, each book can be read in a week, fit within a wide range of curricula, and shed insight into a particular place or time. Four to six short primary sources at the end of each volume sharpen the reader's view of an individual's impact on world history.
Publication Date: 2016-01-06
Routes of Passage by Ruth Simms Hamilton (Editor)Routes of Passage provides a conceptual, substantive, and empirical orientation to the study of African people worldwide. The book addresses issues of geographical mobility and geosocial displacement; changing culture, political, and economic relationships between Africa and its diaspora; interdiaspora relations; political and economic agency and social mobilization, including cultural production and psychocultural transformation; existence in hostile and oppressive political and territorial space; and confronting interconnected relations of social inequality, especially class, gender, nationality, and race.
Publication Date: 2006-11-09
Shaping Membership, Defining Nation by Pashington ObengShaping Membership, Defining Nation explores and interprets the social politics, religion, and history of Africans (Habshis/Siddis) in Karnataka of South India. Focusing on the continuous dialog between African Indian historical formations and contemporary power structures, Pashington Obeng clearly explains the process of constructing socio-political and religious mores to respond to India's religious, socio-economic, and caste systems. The study begins by contextualizing the history of Africans in India before moving onto a sociological study. Pashington Obeng examines the formal and non-formal religious customs that stress African Indian agency in appropriating and shaping new forms of Indianness as well as African Diasporic realities. The book concludes with an important analysis of African Indian folksongs and dances.Shaping Membership, Defining Nation is a ground-breaking study of interest to scholars of African History and contemporary Indian society.
Publication Date: 2007-03-09
The Sidi malunga project rejuvinating the African musical bow in India by [created by] Nazir and Amy JairazbhoyDocumentary chronicling a one-week malunga training camp held at Desert Coursers Nature Resort in Zainabad, Gujarat in February 2003. The purpose of the camp was to bring together Sidi elders that play the instrument to teach the basic techniques of malunga construction and performance to sixteen Sidi youths, selected from different parts of Gujarat. the video concludes with and evaluation of the impact of the camp on the participants one year later.
Publication Date: 2004
Sidis and Scholars by Amy Catlin-Jairazbhoy; Edward A. AlpersThis exciting collection of essays brings together scholars from a wide range of disciplines to explore the history and present circumstances of one of India's least known minority groups, the African Indians. Following the editors' introduction which covers the scholarly literature on Africans in India and an historical overview that looks at the larger history of Africans in India, the essays focus on two different communities of African Indians-the Sidis of Gujarat and the Sidis of Uttara Kannada. They illumine various aspects of the life of Sidis in contemporary India, their worship at the Sufi shrine of Gori Pir, their music and dance, their liminal existence and their agonizing dilemmas and predicament in the complex mosaic that is present-day India. Co-edited by an ethnomusicologist of India and an historian of Africa, the contributors include specialists in anthropology, archaeology, art history, religious studies and films from Ghana, Sweden, Germany, the United States and India. Together, they bring to bear their wealth of research experience and scholarship in Africa and India on the fascinating and varied experience of Indians of African origin.
"The aim of The Sidi Project is to document the lives and culture of many of the African communities that exist in various countries around the Indian Ocean as a means to explain the history of the movement of slaves across the Indian Ocean...."