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Siddi Tribe – The Africans in Gujarat

Tribe is a group or combining with similar ancestor, customs and tradition. In Gujarat there are various tribes like Gond Tribes, Munda Tribes, Bhils Tribes, Garo Trbies, Santhal Tribe, Siddi Tribes etc. In this article, you will know in details about the Siddi Tribe (African ethnic group living in India) since many years.

Siddi Tribes: – Africans in Gujarat

In village JAMBUR of gir, Gujarat lives a group of Africans called as the Siddis. The last census of Siddi was 8660 in Gujarat. Out of which 4417 are males and 4245 are females. They use Gujarati language for communication. They are also known as Habsi or Badsha. Siddis resides in western coast of Gujarat, Maharashtra & Karnataka. Their maximum flock stays in Junagadh district of Rajkot division. Siddis work in field, farms, as a labour in shops etc to sustain their lives. In fact with the passage of time, now they also work as drivers, waiters, peons etc. some of them are also owners of their own agricultural land. Siddhis always believes in the theory of working hard. They has high level of enthusiasm as well as spirit to earn and grow in them. Even the females do some handicraft work to help the home run properly.

History of the Tribe:

The history of this siddi tribe can be traced to 300 years back. . One theory is that Siddis were brought by the Portuguese as slaves in the end of 17th century. The story behind their coming in Gujarat is the Nawab of Junagadh once was visiting Africa. There he fell in love with African women. When she moved to India with Nawab brought 100 slaves with her. Siddis are mostly Islamic and Christian. Very few among follows Hindu religion and custom as system did not provide opportunity.

Living & Dressing:

This people are mostly wear a combination of traditional Hindu and Muslim dress. The females wear Ghagra and choli whereas male wear kurta and pajama. This is their daily routine wear they prefer. Siddis are non- vegetarians. They eat eggs, fish, buffalo meat, goat meat. Bajre ki roti, chappati, rice, millet they prefer simultaneously.

Matrimonial & Crematorium Ceremony:

Siddis wedlock customs is regulated from exogamous sakhas that govern marriage alliances. They prohibit parallel cousin marriage. Yet, they prefer cross-cousin marriage sometimes. Pre-puberty marriage was an early concept. As of now, only post-puberty marriage takes place. The age of a females getting married is between 18-20 years whereas for males the age limit is 20-25 years. The marriage takes place according to the muslim laws.

Death ritual

The Siddis bury dead bodies. After death, they also perform dasma, beesma, teesma and cheela on respective days. The wives perform pardanashi ritual after the death of husband. Friend and relatives pay visit in the crematoria ceremony and later they are treated a feast.

Separation & Remarriage norms:

Siddis takes divorce in cases of adultery, mal-adjustment, cruelty etc. In cases of cruelty, the husbands are bind to pay money to wives. Remarriage of widow, widower, male divorcee & female divorcee is permitted.

The Siddis belong to sunni sect of Islamic religion. They do not have family diety or village deities. During critical times, they pays visit to the dargha. There are four famous dargha in Jambur village of gir, namely Nagarshi pir dargha, Babaghor ki dargha, Dasalbapu ki dargha and Mai-parsa ki dargha. They celebrate 3 main Islamic festivals that are Eid, Ramjan and Mohram. This tribal people living in Gujarat are very friendly. They perform there folk dance in resorts of Gir. As a result, tourist visiting enjoys staying. They talk to people in Gujarati language which sound very unusual but refreshing. They greet the tourist with a very kind heart.

Shrutika Roy

A Law student chasing out the dream of writing.

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