Thursday, July 5, 2012
Sheedi Community--- An Indeginous African Generation In Pakistan
Sheedis are actually the generation of those Africans who were brought to sub-continent as slaves. The people in the world with black color, curly hair, fat lips and Magolian- type nose belong to Africa. They were caught like animals and brought to different regions of the world in various eras. The Sheedis living in Pak-India sub-continent were brought as slaves, laborers and soldiers and then their coming generations got settled in the sub continent.
According to Emy Catlin an expert in the University of California who has extensively worked on Indian Sheedis, the Sheedis living in India and Pakistan are the descendants of those African slaves and laborers who were brought to East Africa and then from Gulf states to India via sea routes. Emy said that Sheedis living in Indian State Gujrat were brought from Kono the city of North Nigeria as slaves. The trade in slaves started before 12th century that ended in 19 century. Who were the people bringing African slaves to sub-continent? There are two opinions regarding this issue. First is that they were Omani Arabs who had their rule in Baluchistan and second is that they were Portuguese, who transported them to Gujrat port in India. Portuguese used to sell slaves to Indian Rajas( rulers of smaller states in India).
Pakistan Sheedis are of two kinds generation-wise. Arabian descendants Sheedis (Makranis) who speak Baluchi and live in Southern Baluchistan. The other African descend Sheedis who speak Sindhi and Kitchi languages and are also called "Gher Java". Makrani Sheedis are actually also African descend but they were not brought directly to sub-continent from Africa. But they were taken to Gulf countries from Africa as slaves and they intermingled in Arabian culture and reached to sub-coninent with Arab conquerers. These black people has Swahli language as mother tongue. But, at present very few Sheedis can speak this language. The slavery has snatched their language and culture from them. But even today some of their traditions have the glimpses of their ancestral culture specially in folk dances and songs.