10

Meet Avtar Singh Mauni, a 60-year-old devout Sikh preacher from Punjab, India and proud owner of what may soon be declared by Guinness World Records to be the World’s Largest Turban. His awesome, multi-colored turban weighs 100 pounds and measures over 2,100 feet (645 meters) long when completely unraveled. The fabric itself weighs 66 pounds, while the decorative ornaments make up the rest. Each morning it takes Avtar Singh upwards of six hours to put on his turban, which reached this incredible size after 16 years of diligently adding to its length. In addition to his magnificent turban, he also wears numerous heavy silver bangles and carries a sword, which altogether weigh an additional 87 pounds.

Although the weight is heavy and the size can make everyday activities, such as walking through doorways or getting into cars, a bit challenging, Avtar Singh says he’s most happy when wearing his turban and plans to continue doing so until he’s physically unable to carry it.

“On the rare times I don’t have my turban on, I keep getting this feeling of being incomplete, that some part of me is missing,” he said. “I get afraid that I may fall and I keep wondering ‘have I lost something, where is my turban?’”

Perhaps our favorite detail about Avtar Singh and his magnificent turban, which has made him one of the most respected preachers in the region, is that when making his regular pilgrimages around Punjab, he travels on a motorcycle (and has no problems keeping his balance). What an awesome sight.

Click here for a brief video about Avtar Singh Mauni record-breaking turban.

[via Laughing Squid, Oddity Central and The Telegraph]

7

Who is Black? Striking Images of the World’s Dark-Skinned People Inaccurately Considered Non-Black

1. “Black Arab” may be a confusing concept to many people in the West, where Arabs are classified as Caucasian people. However, all uses of the word “Arab” prior to the rise of Islam in the 7th century refer specifically to people belonging to the Bedouin ethnic group.  After that and leading up to the 13th century,  people with no Bedouin heritage began to refer to themselves as Arabs.

Today, there are still many “Black Arab” ethnic groups, such as the Tuaregs and Nubians of North Africa to the Mahra of Southern Arabia, who are still in existence, and whose presence in the the “Middle East” predates the coming of the paler-skinned Asiatics. Today’s Arabs are a mixture of these groups, with those of darker-skin facing the typical discrimination and oppression seen by the darker peoples of the world.

Ibn Mandour, of the 13th century, writes in his well-known Arabic lexicon Lisan Al Arab, “He (Al Fadl ibn Al Abbas),  ’I am pure’ because the color of the Arabs is dark”. Mandour further describes the pure Arabs by saying, “Lank hair is the kind of hair that most non-Arab Persians and Romans have while kinky hair is the kind of hair that most Arabs have.”

2.Blacks Of Latin America

According to some very moderate estimates, between 1502 and 1866, 11.2 million Africans survived the Middle Passage and were forced from slave ships into servitude in the Americas. Of those 11.2 million, only 450,000 came to the United States. The rest of the enslaved Africans who survived the journey were taken to the Caribbean, Latin America and South America. The vast majority of them were brought to Brazil, as a result the country has one of the  largest population of African descendants outside of Africa, second to India.

Today many Black people in Latin America are proudly claiming their African identity and fighting to no longer be invisible in the countries they currently inhabit.  They have challenged their oppression and marginalization, all while observing their culture being absorbed into mainstream Latin American life, many times without proper credit to it’s true origins.

The total population of the Americas is approximately 910,720,588 people. Adding the population of Blacks in the USA, Canada, Mexico, Central America, Caribbean, and South America would roughly total 183,708,067 or 20.2 % of the population in the Western Hemisphere – a modest estimation considering that Blacks are not counted separately in some countries, counted as multiracial in others, and undercounted in all.

3.The Indigenous Blacks Of  East Asia

Before waves of Han migrations around 1600 B.C., the original inhabitants of China were Black Africans who arrived there about 100,000 years ago and dominated the region until a few thousand years ago.  They were followed by the Aboriginal ethnic groups, who are part of the Austronesian people who have come from the Malay Archipelago 6,000 years ago.  Pejoratively called Nigritos , or Little Black People, by the Spanish invaders who observed them in Southeast Asia, these Africans were still living in China during the Qing dynasty (1644 to 1911).

At about 35,000 B.C. a group of African Chinese, who became known as the Jomon entered Japan, they became the first humans to inhabit the Japanese Islands. Later, another group; now known as the Ainu, followed. Genetically they’re more similar to dark-skinned groups found in Southeast Asia than the Chinese, Japanese or Koreans.

The original Chinese have been wiped out and the Ainu have  been subjugated to grave injustices by their lighter-skinned countrymen. Although the true number of Ainu descendants living in Japan is unknown,  the official numbers suggest there are only about 25,000 descendants of the Ainu remaining, while the unofficial number claims upward of 200,000.

4.Black People of Southeast Asia

The Black people who are labeled “The Negritos,” are believed to be the earliest inhabitants of Southeast Asia, remnants of the earliest populations from the Out of Africa migration.  The term refers to the current populations which include 12 Andamanese peoples of the Andaman Islands, six Semang peoples of Malaysia, the Mani of Thailand, and also the Aeta, Agta, Ati  and 30 other peoples of the Philippines.

They are believed to be the descendants of the indigenous negroid populations of the Sunda landmass and New Guinea, predating the Austronesian peoples who later entered Southeast Asia.

Genetically these people are some of the most distantly related human beings to Black Africans on earth, and most related to Southeast Asians. Some people attempt to use this fact to remove them from the Black race, however; a more reasonable conclusion acknowledges it as a testament to to the broad range of diversity among the Black people of the world.

5.Black People of India

As you may know when Black people left Africa, India was one of the first place they came to and settled. With the second largest population in the world, and a significant percentage of those people having African heritage, some scholars say India to this day has the largest Black population of any country in the world.

Ancestral South Indians who originally inhabited much of the subcontinent some 20,000 to 30,000 years ago actually looked African. The proof of this lies off the East coast of India, on the Andaman and Nicobar islands.  The Andaman islands lie in the middle of Bay of Bengal east of India.

After the invasions of India by lighter-skinned Eurasians, Indians, particularly in the north, have become more of a mixed people, among which darker-skinned people, the Untouchables, have been bound to a life of servitude and degradation via the Hindu caste system.

However, despite thousands of years of killing and miscegenation,  some of the original Blacks have survived in pockets around India and nearby islands.

Another African group, the Siddis, an ethnic group inhabiting India and Pakistan, were brought to the Indian subcontinent, begining in the 7th century, as a result of the transatlantic slave trade by Arab and Portuguese slave traders.

6.The Khoisan of South Africa

The Khoisans refers to two groups of peoples of Southern Africa, who share similar physical and linguistic characteristics. Culturally, the Khoisan are divided into the hunter-gatherer San and the pastoral Khoikhoi, although neither group purely live those lifestyles today.

The Khoikhoi were previous belittled with the label of Hottentots. Likewise, the Sans are often referenced by the pejorative term “Bushmen.” Both are often called the derogatory term pygmy still till this day.

As one of Africa’s oldest cultural groups, the Khoisan are also the oldest inhabitants of southern Africa, where they have lived for at least 20,000 years. Genetic evidence suggests they are also one of the oldest peoples in the world and genetically the closest surviving people to the original Homo sapien “core” from which all human-beings emerged.

They are generally small in stature, with very tightly curled hair, and with light yellowish skin, which wrinkles very early in life. Their facial features show that what historically has been categorized as Mongoloid is actually Africanoid.  Despite the obvious, under the apartheid system in SA, they were classified as “Colored” instead of Black.

7.Indigenous Australians and People of Oceania

By now it’s evident that Africa is not the only place on earth that has indigenous Black people.  Australia and the islands of Oceania also have indigenous Black people that populated the area. Oceania is a large region of the world that includes thousands of Pacific islands, including the areas of Polynesia, Micronesia and Melanesia.

The “First” Out of Africa migration, circa 60,000 B.C, saw Blacks with straight hair, taking a route along the coast of Asia, and then “Island hopping” across the Indian Ocean to  New Guinea around 50,000 BC, continuing the southward expansion into Australia and Tasmania around 40,000 BC.

The ancestral Austronesian peoples are believed to have arrived considerably later, approximately 3,500 years ago, as part of a gradual seafaring migration from Southeast Asia, possibly originating in Taiwan. These Austronesian-speaking peoples ranged in skin color from light to dark. Some mixed with the black skinned Papuan speaking aborigines to give rise to the Melanesian people that later spread eastward all the way to the Fiji Islands and even to Hawaii.

Despite having their numbers decreased due to miscegenation with and extermination by various Asians and European invaders, a significant Black population still exists in Oceania. Unsurprisingly, however;  are still being classified outside of the Black race.

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