south asians need to be more supportive of the carribean as well. south asians were sent to the carribean as indentured servants during the time of european colonialism in south asia, so you can’t really claim to support desi ppl without supporting the carribean. desi solidarity means solidarity with desis in the carribean and africa, too. it means solidarity with black desis and siddis who are so often excluded as desis because of their blackness. challenging anti-blackness is a necessary element of desi solidarity, and more of us need to realize this and unite under the shared legacies of our people instead of fulfilling the roles that imperialists have created for us.
Benjamin Pratt, a student from Sierra Leone now living in India, told us that many African immigrants are victims of racism and prejudice. BBC journalists joined Benjamin on the streets of Delhi to find out more and visit a small village in the western state of Gujarat, where they visit a Siddi community of Black/Afro-Indians.
“… Siddi in South India are a significant social group whose histories, experiences, cultures, and expressions are integral to the African Diaspora and thus, help better understand the dynamics of dispersed peoples.
More recent focused scholarship argues that although Siddi are numerically a minority, their historic presence in India for over five hundred years, as well as their self-perception, and how the broader Indian society relates to them, make them a distinct Bantu/Indian.
Historically, Siddi have not existed only within binary relations to the nation state and imperial forces. They did not simply succumb to the ideologies and structures of imperial forces, nor did they simply rebel against imperial rule.“
Called Kaffir, Siddi, Habshi, or Zanji, these men, women and children from Sudan in the north to Mozambique in the south Africanized the Indian Ocean world and helped shape the societies they entered and made their own.
Free or enslaved, soldiers, servants, sailors, merchants, mystics, musicians, commanders, nurses, or founders of dynasties, they contributed their cultures, talents, skills and labor to their new world, as millions of their descendants continue to do. Yet, their heroic odyssey remains little known.
Raziyya al-Din was the daughter of Shams-ud-din Iltutmish, the founder of the Delhi Sultanate, who was of Turkic descent. Shortly before his death, Iltutmish named Raziyya as his successor. Unwilling to be ruled by a woman, however, he was instead succeeded by his son, Rukn-ud-din Firuz. Rukn-ud-din’s reign was short, however: he was assassinated after a sixth month reign. The nobility then allowed Raziyya to become the Sultan of Delhi. Raziyya’s reign was far more successful (not to mention longer than her brother’s had been).
Eventually, however, she angered the nobility because of her close relationship with Jamal-ud-Din Yaqut, an African Siddi and former slave. A revolt against Raziyya was laid by a former childhood friend of hers by the name of Malik Altunia. In April 1240, Yaqut was killed and Raziyya was taken prisoner. She was released that August and agreed to marry Malik Altunia in an attempt to bring peace. Unfortunately, by that time, another of Raziyya’s brothers, Muiz-ud-din Bahram, had taken the sultanate for himself. Raziyya and Altunia fought Bahram for the throne, but their armies were defeated in October and Raziyya and Malik were both killed. As for Bahram, he only kept the Sultanate for another two years before he was assassinated by members of his own army.