Forgotten History: Siddi in India and Pakistan

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Forgotten History-The Siddi in India &The Siddi (also known as Siddhi, Sheedi, Habshi or Makrani) living in India and Pakistan are descendants of Bantu people from Southeast Africa. They are sometimes called Afro Indians. The Siddi community is currently estimated at around 20,000–55,000 individuals mostly living in Karnataka, Gujarat and Hyderabad in India and Makran and Karachi in Pakistan. Some are believed to have migrated to Asia as slaves brought on Portuguese and Arab ships and others as merchants and sailors. The majority are Muslim, some Christian and a few are Hindus.

While the majority have integrated into local cultures, some of their African traditions still remain such as Goma music and dance from derived from the term ‘ngoma’ meaning the drum.

In Pakistan, most of the Siddi live along the Makran Coast in Balochistan, and lower Sindh. Recent genetic analyses among the Siddi showed that the E1b1a haplogroup, which is frequent amongst Bantu peoples, in about 42% and 34% of Siddis from Karnataka and Gujarat, respectively. Around 14% of Siddis from Karnataka and 35% of Siddis from Gujarat also belonged to the Sub-Saharan B haplogroup. The remaining 30% of Siddi had Indian or Near Eastern-associated clades, including haplogroups H, L, J and P.

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