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India's Lost Africans: World Response

on 2000/12/19 8:47:02 ( 1588 reads )


LONDON, ENGLAND, December 19, 2000: The story of the Sidis, the Indian community of African descent which has lost contact with its African origins, has attracted enormous interest from around the world. A recent report on BBC News Online by Andrew Whitehead about the Sidis' quest for their history has prompted hundreds of e-mails. "The song of the Sidi ladies in India," wrote Basha Sebro in Ethiopia, "is very similar to one sung by my father's tribe in Harar in Ethiopia." But it's possible that Sidis' had west African origins, with the Sidi village of Jambur, sharing a name with a village in The Gambia. "The Sheedi or Makrani community outside Karachi in Pakistan was part of the Sultanate of Oman," explains Asim Alavi in the US, "and Sheedis came here as slaves." E-mails about an African trading community near Belgaum, again in southern India, and about small settlements in western Sri Lanka were also received. Some emails reflected resentment that Sidis were being regarded as an anthropological curiosity.

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