Siddi

Siddi

About Siddi

The Siddi, Siddhi, or Sheedi, also known as Habshi, are an Indian and Pakistani ethnic group of Black African and/or Afro-Arab descent. The Siddi population is currently estimated to be 20,000_55,000, with Gujarat and Hyderabad in India and Makran and Karachi in Pakistan as the main population centres. Siddis are mainly Sufi Muslims, although some are Hindus and some Roman Catholic Christians. Villages in the forests of northern Karnataka, for instance, have residents who likely are descended from Mozambican/Angolan slaves who escaped from Portuguese traders and ships. There are conflicting hypotheses on the origin of the name Siddi. One theory is that the word was a term of respect in North Africa, similar to the word sahib in modern India and Pakistan. A second theory is that the term Siddi is derived from the title borne by the captains of the Arab vessels that first brought Siddi settlers to India. These captains were known as Sayyid.

Contributions by Hunnjazal, Yom, and Pajjar.