The Siddis: Lost Africans of India

By Ahmed Yahaya JoeAccording to Winston Hubert McIntosh the founder of The Wailers; He sings :“Don’t care where you come from,🎵
As long as you’re a black man,🎶 You’re an African🎵
No mind your nationality,🎶
You have got the identity of an African” 🎵The Bush Doctor otherwise known as Stepping Razor but more popularly as Peter Tosh nailed it in his Equal Rights album of 1977The Siddis or Habshi are fellow Africans inhabiting India and Pakistan known as Afro-Asians; “They are descended from the Bantu peoples of the East African region. Some were merchants, sailors, indentured servants, slaves and mercenaries. The Siddi population is currently estimated at around 270,000–350,000 individuals, with Karnataka, Gujarat and Hyderabad in India and Makran and Karachi in Pakistan as the main population centres. Siddis are primarily Muslims, although some are Hindus and others are Christians”Similarly; “another term for Siddis – Habshi, is held to be derived from the common name for the captains of the Abyssinian ships that also first delivered Siddi slaves to the subcontinent. The first Siddis are thought to have arrived in India in 628 AD at the Bharuch port.”To escape discrimination and racial profiling many Siddis have inter – married to dilute their identity. However, the Siddis should not be mistaken for the dark skinned Indians known as Dalits that mostly inhabit Tamil Nadu. I have visited their capital Madras now called Chennai
The caste system in India is chiefly based on birth and color – The darker the lower. The Brahmins (the priestly people) are the highest then the Kshatriyas (also called Rajanyas, who were rulers, administrators and warriors), followed by the Vaishyas (artisans, merchants, tradesmen and farmers), and Shudras (the labourer class) of which the dark Dalits known as “Untouchables” are on the lowest rungs“What is Wrong With Being Black?” is the title of Matthew Ashimolowo’s well researched and extensively referenced 2007 book that traces the history of racial discrimination with the economic rise of Europe through the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade replicated in the Indian Ocean with Arabs.Truth is discrimination of whatever kind is a strategic weapon to gain undue advantage over others. That is why within the same race there is a caste system or class structure, within the same religion denominational differences and even within the same family siblings are positioned by age or gender and so on.Hierarchy is an entirely human creation. All men were created equal but nobody in history has ever had the capacity to enforce that inconvenient truth thereby validating the ancient axiom; “I, against my brothers. I and my brothers against my cousins. I and my brothers and my cousins against the world”It is against this background that identity politics was invented and conflict entrepreneurs arose. Since then we have all been sucked into an endless vortex of hitting each other with ethnicity, religion and other means we find necessary to take advantage over each other

“Don’t go looking for fights – but if you’re hit, deck the bastard” – Roger Ailes

FRIENDLY FOES: A World of Sentiments

Strangest explosion rocks the Karachi international airport just as a massive deployment of US marines arrived the busy airport. Stories of victims and their relatives, responders and their purpose, perpetrators and their reasons, unfolds a tale of current resolutions based on old conceptions.

The narrative tells of the most diverse colorful global characters surrounded with a good mix of friends and foes.

David Holden is the English Doctor who loves humanity more than his origins and Abdul Kazaar Ali is his opportunistic aged patient who lives out his perception of Muslim norms like he desires. Aaamu and her mother Rael, live by their wits as their circumstances allow. Fatima is smart enough to outwit her sexuality but too human to resist normalcy.

Ruth is the Israeli genius whose Jewish father gave her a lot more than just his name and Lee is her Chinese boyfriend, trying out fantasies alongside opinions. Then there is Sean Samuel, the Irish-American reporter with a huge reputation he constantly seeks to live up to, like his country.

FRIENDLY FOES: Another must read

A World of Sentiments
Friendly Foes

Strangest explosion rocks the Karachi international airport just as a massive deployment of US marines arrived the busy airport. Stories of the victims and their relatives, responders and their purpose, perpetrators and their reasons, unfolds a tale of current resolutions based on old conceptions. The narrative tells of the most diverse colorful global characters surrounded with a good mix of friends and foes.
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There is David Holden, the English Doctor who loves humanity more than his origins. His idea of getting use to scarcity in the midst of plenty paid off in his later years as a charitable medical doctor with the United Nations, WHO and Red Cross, while working with refugees all around the world.
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Abdul Kazaar Ali is Doctor Holden’s opportunistic aged patient who lives out his perception of Muslim norms like he desires. In Karachi, bearded old men must daily demand the honourable respect only reserved for them after death. Only the living can tell the honour bestowed on them and the dead, the judgment they spent a life-time waiting for. Abdul Kazzar wanted his reward on earth and his son; Umar Ali, held much promise after he ran off to England and started working in London to learn the lucrative wisdom of the English.

Aaamu and her mother Rael are Kenyans with Somalian origins. They live by their wits as their circumstances allow. Ladies always come first in typical English fashion and Rael Amu is obsessed with being first but there are very few things in which a young Muslim maiden gets to be first in. Rael passed on her obsession to her daughter and gave her all the tools she needs to be first.

Then there is Fatima, who is smart enough to outwit her sexuality but too human to resist normalcy. From a tender age Fatima figured out that she only got a better deal when she isn’t identified as Arab or Muslim. In America the distinction between the two is inconsequential. Fatima only had to behave ideally in the care of her uncle, Suleiman.

Suleiman’s wife is a delightful gentle half-literate girl named Khadija. She is younger than Fatima and imported from Yemen especially for marriage. Khadija came to Suleiman untarnished by western ways and speaking some English, just enough. Partially caged-in, according to Suleiman’s mildly liberal interpretations of Islamic rites, who ensured Khadija isn’t more exposed than her elbows. But Khadija discovered a lot more than Suleiman cared for.

Ruth is the young Israeli genius whose Jewish father; Avi Jonah, gave her a lot more than just his name. She was born in Tel Aviv and grew up there into a strong healthy industrious lady. Ruth had a pleasant childhood, unlike her controvertial nation’s. All through history every true super power took its turn in bullying the proud Jews.
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Avi Jonah is more Hebrew than he is Jewish, that comes across in his lessons to Ruth and her siblings. It is the Hebrews forte to be proficient in history and like everybody else, their history is always opinionated.

Lee is Ruth’s Chinese boyfriend and school-mate in London, who is trying out his fantasies alongside his opinions. Lee didn’t talk much and hated talking about himself to anyone, Ruth was the only exception. Lee spent most of his leisure time, while growing up in main land China, learning what most enlightened minds in the world had to say about things. His brilliant mind was full of information about diverse cultures from every part of the world.

Professor Henry Benjamin is Lee’s octogenarian landlord, a world renown, multiple award winning, retired academician with many reputable publications to his credit. The steady presence of Lee and his equally excellent girlfriend was a big plus for the aged man with a very weak heart.

Then there is Sean Samuel, the Irish-American reporter with a huge reputation he constantly seeks to live up to, like his proud American nation. Sean wasn’t ever much of a fighter, with his uncles’ tough reputation he never had cause to prove he is a descendant of an Irish gangster from Dublin who migrated to New York city to continue being a crook.

A MUST READ

FRIENDLY FOES
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A World of Sentiments
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