“Siddi kingdoms were established in western India in Janjira and Jaffrabad as early as 1100 AD. Created with Sketch. Being the capital of the Siddis, Janjira was once inhabited by a large number of people. Major historical figures from Murud-Janjira include men such as Sidi Hilal, Yahya Saleh and Sidi Yaqub. Later, the fort was strengthened by Malik Ambar, the Abyssinian-origin Siddi regent of Ahmednagar kings. At the gate, the sculpture of six elephants by a tiger is very impressive. The word Janjira is not native to India, and may have originated after the Arabic word Jazeera, which means an island. This fort had a total of 500 canons previously but now only a few of them exist. The Janjira Fort at Murad was “once the stronghold of Abyssinian Sidis, who played an important role in the history of Bombay in the latter half of the 17th century”. To keep a check on the Portuguese power, Sindhudurg was built near Goa, and at the entrance to Mumbai harbour, the fort of Khanderi was built in 1679. Ivory, gold and other valuables from Zimbabwe and the Congo found their way to the East African coast to areas such as Kilwa, Mombassa and Zanzibar from where they were further shipped across the Indian Ocean and on to India, Southeast Asia, China and even Japan. Janjira Murud. Only a small number of Indo-Africans have tried to immigrate back to Africa, mostly during the British rule of Zanzibar. In the year 1736, Siddis of Murud-Janjira set out to recapture Raigarh from the ravaging forces of Baji Rao, on 19 April 1736, Chimnaji attacked the gathering forces in the encampments of the Siddis during the Battle of Riwas near Riwas, when the confrontation … The fort and its buildings lacks architectural ornamentation. Those who did return have largely been assimilated into the cultural mix that characterises the island. This process of assimilation was interrupted with the advent of British rule in India in the 19th century. The Janjira Fort in the middle of the Arabian Sea was also built by the Nawab’s ancestors. Jamal al-Din Yaqut – a royal courtier in the kingdom of Delhi who was believed to be close to the then reigning sovereign Queen Raziya (1236- 1240). Siddi Ambar the Little is accordingly considered the first Nawab of Janjira state. Like these groups, the Indo-Africans have full claim to being Indian, even if they maintain some of their ancestral traditions. Descendants of Bantu people of East Africa, Siddi ancestors were largely brought to India as slaves by Arabs as early as the 7th Century, followed by … 00:00. More than 250,000 descendants of Africans still live amongst the Indian people. Nonetheless, this group of Indo-Africans spoke only Kannada (an Indian language) and their idea of home was only India, although a few of the older members of the group knew sketchy details of tales that spoke of certain ancestors who had come from another land. After their conversion to Islam, the African freedmen of India, originally called Habshi from the Arabic, called themselves Sayyad (descendants of Muhammad) and were consequently called Siddis. Bassein: The Forgotten City. Murud Janjira is a good example of water body fort located near the south Konkan coastline. You can find 19 burj inside the Janjira … The island fortress was under control of Adil Shahi dynasty until the reign of Ibrahim II where Janjira fort was lost to the Siddis. He was subsequently killed by another high-ranking Indo-African general who remained loyal to the original ruling family and placed the young son of the murdered king upon the throne. It was ruled by Abyssinian Muslims called – SIDDI. ... in front of shrine of 5 Peers(peerpanchayatan). Little is known about Africans who moved from the African continent to the Indian subcontinent, some as slaves, but others purposefully and freely. They are calling it India’s ‘Lost Civilization’... but is it really? It was the dynasty that built the famed Janjira fort! In 1733, the Maratha Empire took aggressive action and embarked on a campaign against the siddis of Janjira. Opposite of that is a big sweet water tank. In Western India (the modern Indian states of Gujarat and Maharashtra), the Siddi gained a reputation for physical strength and loyalty, and were sought out as mercenaries by local rulers, and as domestic servants and farm labor. It’s betwixt the distance of 5km to Murud-Janjira Fort and again 48km just from Alibaug. Murud was once known in Marathi as Habsan ("of Habshi" or Abyssinian). Janjira Murud. Amongst them are the three major cannons, Kalal Bangdi, Landakasam and Bhavani, the cherished weapons of the Sidis, built from five metals.”- Discover India. The name of the fort is a concatenation of the Konkani and Arabic words for Island, "morod" and "jazeera". Under the extensive Indian affirmative action programs, most Indo-Africans are classified as scheduled tribes, which entitles them to reservations in university seats and other government support. Little research has been done on this unique population, but slowly literature on this small group is growing. An architectural beauty in the Arabian sea, off the coast of Murud, the fort is about 50 feet high. The Sidi … Interestingly, while in Zanzibar she became a respected member of the Indian Muslim community and was a highly demanded performer for their weddings and other such occasions. Those Sidis who settled in Janjira prospered as warriors and great sailors. In the DelhiSultanate period prior to the rise of the Mughals in India, Jamal-ud-Din Yaqut was a prominent Siddi slave-turned-nobleman who was a close confidant of Razia Sultana (1205–1240 CE). Some Indo-Africans, descended from powerful soldiers, administrators, and even rulers, are indistinguishable from the general population, for their ancestors were considered higher class and married freely amongst the elite Indian population. Owing to the castle's fortifications, the Admiral could not attack conventionally. What brought them to India? The African Diaspora in the Americas was an unwilling one, but the Indo-Africans came willingly to India, and regardless of their ups and downs in Indian history, they have chosen to stay there. Shivaji’s all attempts to capture Janjira … They couldn’t take the Janjira fort but … Ibrahim Shah, succeeded his brother Mubarak Shah, and ruled for forty years. Around that stand Khasha Siddi Masjid and ruins of houses. This manual mentions that the Aksumite port of Adulis, on the Red Sea coast of Africa, “traded extensively with various parts of Western India, which supplied Ethiopia with both textiles and spices.” Later texts mention trade with Ceylon as well. Don’t miss the opportunity to catch a glimpse of sunset over the beauty of the Murud beach. Originally known as the Janjira Fort, it is one of the strongest marine forts of India. A king of Ahmadnagar had had enough of his manipulative mother & conniving nobles, so he took a sabbatical. Siddi signifies lord or prince. From then onward, Siddis owed allegiance to Adilshah and the Mughals … Africans also came as midwives and herbalists, and as musicians, sailors and merchants. Indo-Africans trace their ancestry primarily from the East African coast from Sudan, Abyssinia (now Ethiopia) to Mozambique, but some came from as far off as South Africa and even Nigeria. Malik Ambar - The Deccan’s African Defender | Tales & Trails. 00:00. Most of the Sidis live in Gujarat, a state in western India. The word "morod" is peculiar to Konkani and is absent in Marathi. The majority of Indo-Africans are Muslims, but other similarities are hard to find. Another group of Indo-Africans, known as the Shemali, originated in Kano, Nigeria, and came to India via Sudan and Mecca following their Hajj pilgrimage. There are identifiable Sidi communities in Gujarat, Maharashtra (around Bombay), and Hyderabad. In 1997 I met a group of American researchers who had just arrived in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, from Karnataka in South India. After his arrival in India, Ambar was able to raise a formidable army and achieve great power in the west Indian realm of Ahmadnagar. However one views Afro-Indians, their mere existence has much to tell us about Africa’s place in the world community beyond just the dark days of slavery. Siddi Palace is located to the left of Revdanda-Murd road and can be encountered just before entering Murud. In studying and recording the group’s music, they had recognised a common melody and similar themes in the music to that which was sung by a certain ethnic group in Tanzania. Mediums of reaching Murud-Janjira Beach Car According to one legend, in the year 1489 the Ahmadnagar Sultanate sent its Admiral Piram Khan (of Ethiopian descent) with orders to capture the Murud-Janjira castle from Ram Patil. After their conversion to Islam, the African freedmen of India, originally called Habshi from the Arabic, called themselves Sayyad (descendants of Muhammad) and were consequently called Siddis. Inside the Janjira Fort, you can see the water tanks, beautiful tombs and stone sculptures. Janjira is especially considered one of the best specimens of naval fort architecture. Specifically, it is said to be an honorific title given to the descendants of African natives in the west of India, some of whom were distinguished military officers and administrators of the Muslim princes of the Deccan. There are conflicting theories on the origin of the name Siddi. Descendants of these dynasty’s still survive today. Their history speaks of the African ability to integrate into a land other than that from where they originated. A B S T R A C T Janjira - The Undefeated Fort Janjira Fort is situated on the Murud beach in the Arabian sea along the Konkan coast line. Abstract A good example of “Jal-Durg” (Fort amidst water), Murud Janjira is quiet unfamiliar to peoples. The first Siddis are thought to have arrived in India in 628 AD at the Bharuch port. Memorials of Sovereignty: Funerary Architecture of the Siddis of Janjira at Khokri (Maharashtra) Arts Asiatiques, vol 74 (2019), pp. The State of Bengal was ruled by Ethiopians for three years before being defeated and two Princely State’s, Janjira and Sachin in Western India controlled hundreds of miles of coastline for centuries. Their fort still stands today in Murud – a small fishing village – as does the Sidi Palace on the outskirts of the village. Photo: The Kenneth and Joyce Robbins Collection/ By Special Arrangement) 8/24 The fort of … These tombs were infact those of a Siddi dynasty that had ruled Murud for more than 300 years, through the periods of the early Islamic Sultanates, the Mughals and even the British, Marathas and Portuguese, building a small but powerful state. July 30th 2020 follow. Though the interior of the palace is not open to tourists, the fort can be visited. This portrays the valor of the Siddis. In the second decade of the sixteenth century a European traveller named Armando Cortesao noted that: “The people who govern the kingdom [Bengal] are Abyssinians [Ethiopians]. Habshis were present in Colombo, in Ceylon, where Ibn Battuta reports that Jalasti, “the wazir and ruler of the sea”, had “about five hundred Abyssinians”. Visit for other original content. 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