The Siddi, also known as Siddhi, Sheedi, or Habshi, are an ethnic group inhabiting India and Pakistan. Members are descended from Southeast Africa. Some were Bantu People's, sailors, indentured servants, slaves, and mercenaries.
Later the Siddi population was added to Via Bantu people from South East Africa that had been brought to the Indian subcontinent as slaves by the Portugal, whereas most of these migrants became Muslim and a small minority became Christian, very few decided to be a part Hinduism since it was difficult to figure out a position for one's self with respect to the traditional Hindu caste hierarchy.
Siddis are primarily Sufi Muslims, although some are Hindus and others are Roman Catholic Christians. The Siddi community is currently estimated at around 20,000–55,000 individuals, with Karnataka, Gujarat and Hyderabad in India and Makaran and Karachi in Pakistan as the main population centers.
In fact, the global world under the influence of mass communications was equipped enough while demonstrating the life of a Siddi. There have been many movies made and books written on the lives of Siddis, such as
> From Africa to Indian continent.
> Mon petit diable (My little devil)
> Razia sultan
But appreciation and the desire to be the best of the lot had always been one of the human wants. People of Africa have proven to be really mighty athletes and have won prizes and medals for their respective countries at various platforms. The Siddis were approached by the Members of the sports authority of India with the belief that the Migrated Africans would bring them glory in the Olympics. This program was named special areas games (SAG) that operated under the SAI, sports authority of India.
Men and women both were trained under this program and much to the delight of the members of the authority, the Siddis performed really well and also finished India's drought of medals in the Olympics.
Despite such appreciable performance by the Siddis, the SAG program was brought to an end without any notice sent to the Siddis. Some went back home to the jungles where they belonged from, some chose to stay in the city itself. The experiences of those who stayed in the city weren’t as absolutely pleasing as they were always harassed by their own countrymen who didn't know much about their existence as Indians. They didn't know much that the Siddis were equally Indians as were they themselves.
The Siddis were always ill-treated for their skin color and their nonresemblance as Indians. They always felt better to live in the jungle but that would also mean less of everything and also a feeling of captives in their own nation. They want to tag themselves as Indians but the way to it isn't so easy for them. They believe that sports can give them a platform where they could display their heart for India.
Winning medals in Olympics and other major levels would provide them with the opportunity to showcase that they are as equal Indian as any other Indian would say of him. Hence, it is important to understand as Abraham Joshua Heschel puts it, “Racism is man's gravest threat to man - the maximum of hatred for a minimum of reason.”
About the author:
Bani Simar Kaur is our blog writer, who is extremely passionate about gaining and exploring new paths of knowledge. She has a keen interest in understanding the Socio-Political structure of this country. Working for the Society and environmental issues are the key points of this aspiring successful women.