History of Siddi Tribe
In the period of eleventh to nineteenth century, the ancestors of these Siddi tribes have migrated to several places of Gujarat. To be specific, knowing the strength and power of these Siddi tribes, all the royal kings of India hired most of these Siddi tribes and there was huge infiltration of the Siddi tribes from foreign lands. It is an ethnic group having Black African descent. It has been said that African ancestors of this tribal community came to India during the 10th century with the Arab merchants. In spite of their reputation as fine fighters, several of these Siddi tribes worked as domestic servants and as labourers in the farmlands. In order to create their own separate communities, a handful of these Siddi tribes also took refuge in the interiors of the forest areas. Much later in the beginning of the 20th century, in the provinces of Janjira and Jafrabad, small Siddi lands were formed. This Janjira Island was also called Habshan, implying to be the land of the Habshis. Quite a few kings of West Bengal in the 15th century were descended from the Siddi tribes. Siddi tribes also played a significant part in the history of West India, predominantly in the struggle between the Marathas and the Mughal rulers. Further, in the British era Siddi tribes have acclaimed the position of several military and governmental leaders.
Language of Siddi Tribe
The language of the Siddi tribe is actually a blend of both Siddi Konkani, and Siddi Marathi languages. Quite a few are there who also talk in the Gujarati language and Kannada language.
Culture of Siddi Tribe
Although Siddi tribes have adopted the native customs of the region, some African traditions and practices have also been preserved. The tribal community of Siddi is one of the primitive tribes, which have got the heritage of almost three hundred years. However, with the passage of time their ancient tradition and culture have also got a modernised shade. Various cultural forms, namely dance, music, folklores, etc are quite exquisite. Dhamal dance is one such dance form. However, today under the influence of the modern day trend and customs, maximum of these Siddi tribes have forgotten their original customs, thus nicely imbibing new things and beliefs.
Religion of Siddi Tribe
The Siddi tribes have got inclination towards religion and spiritualism. Apart from these religions, this Siddi tribal community follows the age old practice of worshipping their ancestors. It is also called Hiriyaru. Today, these Siddi tribes have adapted to several religions like Hinduism, Christianity and also Islam. In case of marriages, these Siddi tribes have got some reservations. Intermarriages are strictly prohibited among the Siddis.
Apart from working as labourers many of these Siddi tribes have taken up the occupation of farming and lead a more settled life. With all the restrictions and prohibitions, the Siddi tribes maintain a uniqueness that is apparent and that distinguish them separately from the other tribal groups.
(Last Updated on : 04-09-2010)
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