Siddis of Karnataka

Siddis Of Karnataka

Siddis of Karnataka

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The Siddis of Karnataka () (also spelled Siddhis) are a tribe of African descent that has made Karnataka their home for the last 400 years. There is a 50,000 strong Siddhi population across India, of which more than a third live in Karnataka. In Karnataka, they are concentrated around Yellapur, Haliyal, Ankola, Joida, Mundagod and Sirsi taluks of Uttara Kannada and in Khanapur of Belgaum and Kalagatgi of Dharwad district. Many members of Siddis community have migrated to Pakistan after independence have settled in Karachi, Sindh.


The word Siddi is derived from the Arabic “sayyid” or “saydi” meaning leader or master. North African's call each other Sidi as a title of respect. All African-origin people in India were however, called ‘Siddi’ even though they were not all from North Africa. The term seems to have found currency following a description in a letter written by one William aboard the S.S.Nepal, a ship that sailed from England to South India and Ceylon. In the letter he describes the crew of the ship as "composed of seven English quarter masters and forty three lascar seamen, six English engineers, thirty-five men(Muslim) and fifteen Sidimen or negroes for coal shifters.


The majority of the Siddhis in Karnataka are descendants of Siddhi slaves who were brought from East Africa (mostly Mozambique) and Ethiopia to Goa by the Portuguese, British and the Arabs between the 16th and 19th centuries....
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