African Diaspora in India: A Socio-Political Journey

African Diaspora in India: A Socio-Political Journey

Dr. Manish Karmwar, Department of History, Shyam Lal College(Eve.), University of Delhi

Africans who are now profoundly assimilated in India, constitute a diverse as well as very interesting community. However, there has not been much academic work barring few.  The study focuses on the African migration with the special reference to Indian Ocean trade, the two African kingdoms, namely Janjira and Sachin and the Socio-economic conditions of Siddis and their role and place in Indian society.  Historically African diaspora has been associated with various roles. There are traces of African’s role in socio-political and military life during the period of Delhi Sultanate, Nizamshahi, Adilshahi, Qutbshahi, Imadshahi, Mughal India and also in Hyderabad till India’s independence. The Africans, who arrived in Hyderabad, Deccan, apart from playing their traditional role as bonded guards and servants, were recruited as the Nizam’s private bodyguard. The Siddi Risala (African Regiment) was retained until 1948. Other Siddis were elevated to the status of Khanazahs (proteges) and became trusted advisers of the Nizams. The study covers the areas where African dispersal is more prominent like Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Daman and Diu, Goa and Andhra Pradesh. It discusses about several Africans who played an important role in different Indian dynasties. The first Habshi, of whom there is historical record, was probably Jamal al-Din Yaqut, royal courtier in the kingdom of Delhi, in the north of the sub-continent. Some of the Africans who rose to positions of considerable importance were: Malik Kafur, Malik Amber, Malik Sarwar, Mubarak Shah, etc. Their role in the History of India is significant. The Afro-Indian dynasties of Sachin and Janjira are a reminder of the influence that Afro-Indians wielded in parts of India. While this glory was not to remain forever, the cultural contributions made by Africans are still alive, particularly in music and dance. The study tries to convince the fact and therefore, concludes that Indian culture has been enriched, influenced by the African culture and African Diaspora played a significant role in socio-political condition of India.

Time and Place:

Date:   Saturday, Jul 27, 2013
Venue:   CSSS/SSSII, Jawaharlal Nehru University
Address:   CSSS/SSSII, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
City/Twon:   New Delhi
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