This book explores the understudied and often overlooked subject of African presence in India. It focuses on the so-called Sidis, Siddis or Habshis who occupy a unique place in Indian history. The Sidis comprise scattered communities of people of African descent who travelled and settled along the western coast of India, mainly in Gujarat, but also in Goa, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Sri Lanka and in Sindh (Pakistan) as a result of the Indian Ocean trade from the thirteenth to nineteenth centuries.
The work draws from extant scholarly research and documentary sources to provide a comprehensive study of people of African descent in India and sheds new light on their experiences. By employing an interdisciplinary approach across fields of history, art, anthropology, religion, literature and oral history, it provides an analysis of their negotiations with cultural resistance, survivals and collective memory. The author examines how the Sidi communities strived to construct a distinct identity in a new homeland in a polyglot Indian society, their present status, as well as their future prospects.
The book will interest those working in the fields of history, sociology and social anthropology, cultural studies, international relations, and migration and diaspora studies.