African Tribe in India -The Siddis – Kenya TV – 4 videos

African Tribe in India – The Siddes – 4 videos

Citizen TV of Kenya traces an African tribe in India. Tom Mboya travelled to India and now brings you the story of these people, some of whom could be from Kenya.  The four videos are at the end of this introduction.  More information on the Siddes and other African tribes in Asia follow the four videos.

The Siddi population is currently estimated to be 20,000–55,000, with Gujarat in India the main population centre. The village Sirvan is inhabited entirely by Siddis, a tribe of African people. It is believed that some were brought 300 years ago from Africa, by the Portuguese for the Nawab of Junagadh.

The Siddis, whose features are remarkably African, have lived in the forest in a remote village in India unknown to the rest of the world. Today they have found their space in the complex Indian caste system, and their station in this hierarchy is at the bottom, slightly above the Dalits. Citizen TV’s Tom Mboya spent time in India with a tribe that has preserved their unique African heritage for centuries.               

The Siddis have adopted the Indian customs and language, and over the years, certain prejudices have worked to further isolate them. So, have they sought to be empowered as a marginalised community, are there any efforts to help them join the mainstream national Indian psyche?  When the idea to relocate to Africa was first mooted, the then Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi encouraged them to stay on referring to them as part of the Indian family.

African Tribe in India – Part 1:

African Tribe in India – Part 2

African Tribe in India – Part 3

African Tribe in India – Part 4

More information on the Siddis and related stories:

The Siddis  Posted: 21 Sep 2012 – compiled by the St Stanislaus College Website


Related:  Afro-Turkish People

— Post # 1870

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  • DMITRI ALLICOCK  On 09/18/2012 at 11:06 pm

    The journeys of all societies around the world are riddled with great social upheavals and displacements caused by countless human and natural actions or influences.
    Here we see these precious people called Siddi living in Gujarat and Sirvan caught up in a cruel time warp, in a land that time literally forgot.
    It is sad and reminds me a little of ‘The Red Legs’ of our own Barbados in the Caribbean.
    The answer to their plight is similar to that of many small oppressed ethic groups. They must make their own way and assistance will hopefully follow.
    No Nirvana exists anywhere and quick fixes are just mirages, Kenya is torn with catastrophic ethic wars not unlike so many countries on that Continent of turmoil.
    The brutal caste system of India still exists despite modern progress and humane laws. Civilization in India predates most and it is only right that India be held to international standards since these people are indeed fully fledged Indians and should be treated accordingly…but here again we struggle to find the meaning of what is accordingly?

  • Deen  On 09/19/2012 at 12:50 am

    I’d safely assume this a piece of history most of us never knew. The Siddis, as citizens of India, should be regarded as such and treated with more dignity rather than victims of a caste system in which they are deemed lower than the untouchables. That is disturbing. I think the Indian Government is obligated to do more for the Siddis in terms of their educational and cultural development.

  • Cyril Balkaran  On 09/19/2012 at 8:39 am

    The Government of India, is a signatory to the UN agreement on backward tribes and peoples of an indigenous situations. Under this agreement, these people must be integrated with the rest of Civil Society and so the process of Education and preservation of their cultre are important aspects of these agreements. Spaces in schools and Universities are being reserved to accommodate the backward classes of the society and they are given free education along with the rest of civil society. There are special areas like understanding the linguistics of the tribal and backward classes. The Caste System is something apart from what is being required of the Government in the Scheduled and Backward classes and tribes in India. The Process of Integration is working in India and it will take time for the full process of Integration in all aspects of Civil Life and Civil Society and this is hopefully understandable!

  • lowes 1  On 09/23/2012 at 10:09 pm

    Nothing new here, this is exactly the position that Indians in Guyana would like to see Africans; keep them hidden and on the margins of civilization. The Siddis, regardless of what they have to face, should resist their wholesale return to an Africa that they do not know. They should take Liberia as an example of what they could expect years after their return to Africa.

    Siddis people of India, stay where you are and fight like hell for your rights.

    • clive persaud  On 09/26/2012 at 9:20 pm

      It just goes to show how shallow your mentality is. Does UGANDA comes to mind??

  • Cyril Balkaran  On 09/25/2012 at 10:43 am

    This world is not of our making. my friend. The Siddis are a transplanted people like the rest of the New world people transplanted during the middle ages by people who made slaves of other people. No body is stiffling the progress of anybody. We are free so long as we do not disturb the peace of the place where we live. We may not like our circumstances but if we cooperate and make an effort to understand those circumstances in which we live, then we may be able to live and work in peace with our other fellow human beings. Life is not about preventing progress but about promoting progress and encouraging the expansion of the human values and promoting cooperation at all levels in today’s civil society. The Guyana of today is what our Politicians configure in a Parliament of 65 men and women who are our lawmakers. They are the representatives of the prople and I am not sure of any law being passed to marginalize any group of people living in Guyana of today. We must be fair in our expressions of views and not to mislead others in our expressed views. In any multiethnic society as Guyana, any ruler will find it difficult to please all the people all the time. That is why a term of 5 years is given to them, so when they mess things up as a percieved view of the people, the very people will vote them out. That is a Democracy and until we adopt another system to govern overselves we shall have to wait until the next general elections to put the so called “Indians” out of office and out of Power. We must also change our thinking about Indians and Africans. Are we not all GUyanese people. What is wrong with our ancestry. There is a large continent called Africa and also one called Asia where we all came from. Our genetics cannot change but certainly we can change our perception of one another!

  • Frank  On 09/28/2012 at 2:35 pm

    The benefit of hindsight is that we are given the opportunity to strengthen the positives and learn from the negatives. Division weakens while unity strengthens. Guyana is a land of many races and regardless of where we came from we must resolve to be Guyanese. India, Africa, China, and Europe have no responsibility for Guyana. Indians, Africans, and Chinese in Guyana derive some sense of pride in their heritage and I am not against that, however, they are Guyanese first and anything else after. Guyana would be a better place if we worked together rather than berating one another at home or other exclusive meeting places. Let us cooperate for Guyana.

  • Sandra Adegoke  On 09/30/2012 at 12:54 pm

    Let us learn from one of our close sister nations,Jamaica.Their motto ‘Out of many; one’. Guyanese should support actively by the body politic become one nation, for until this is done development will allude us; it will just be a mirage.

  • Sandra Adegoke  On 09/30/2012 at 1:07 pm

    ‘development will elude us ‘Guyanese. What efforts are being made to encourage Guyanese in the diaspora to go back and contribute to the advancement of our nation? or are we a nation in mouth only? …. alas this may be so!!

  • Cyril Balkaran  On 10/01/2012 at 9:06 am

    A sound Land Distribution Plan for Food Security in Guyana will attract our overseas Population to come back to be the developer of a five acre parcel of agriculture land bathed in the fresh water of the Amazon. The world will be on the brink of starvation in the not too distant future. Food riots and starvation will hit many countries, Guyana’s 83,000 square miles is the world’s agricultural reserve and every right thinking person should be the proud owner of a piece of land there.The Amaila $US 850 million water fall Hydroelectric project is the first step in this direction and with the completion of phase one things are about to happen. The transformation is coming, Are we ready to be of service there. Every Guyanese should arm themselves with whatever latest Technology in the Agrosciences and head to Guyana and start the program for Food Security now. The Government’s duty is to Facilitate the Process by allowing equity in the Land Distribution Plan.

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