An Ethiopian Journal

"Until lions have their historians, tales of the hunt shall always glorify the hunters"

THE AFRICAN PRESENCE IN INDIA

with 15 comments

By RUNOKO RASHIDI

SOURCE: http://www.cwo.com/~lucumi/india.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of the foremost tasks for contemporary African centered scholars is to provide an historical overview of the global African community. This is a critical task that must be completed in its entirety. This includes the history, culture and present condition of African people both at home and abroad. We are already aware, it should be pointed out, based on recent scientific studies of DNA, that modern humanity originated in Africa, that African people are the world’s aboriginal people and that all modern humans can ultimately trace their ancestral roots back to Africa. If not for the primordial migrations of early African people, humanity would have remained physically Africoid, and the rest of the world outside of the African continent absent of human life. This is our starting point.

Since the first modern humans (Homo sapiens sapiens) were of African birth, the African presence globally can be demonstrated through the history of the Black populations that have inhabited the world within the span of recent humanity. Not only are African people the aboriginal people of the planet, however, there is abundant evidence to show that Black people created and sustained many of the world’s earliest and most enduring civilizations. Such was the case in India.

The questions we pose here are simply these: Who are the African people of India? What is their significance in the annals of history? Precisely what have they done and what are they doing now? These are extremely serious questions that warrant serious and fundamental answers.


ANCIENT AFRICA AND EARLY INDIA
E
xceptionally valuable writings reflecting close relationships between Africa and early India have existed for more than two thousand years. In the first century B.C.E., for example, the famous Greek historian Diodorus Siculus penned that, “From Ethiopia he (Osiris) passed through Arabia, bordering upon the Red Sea as far as India…. He built many cities in India, one of which he called Nysa, willing to have remembrance of that (Nysa) in Egypt, where he was brought up.”

Another important writer from antiquity, Apollonius of Tyana, who is said to have visited India near the end of the first century C.E., was convinced that “The Ethiopians are colonists sent from India, who follow their forefathers in matters of wisdom.” The literary work of the early Christian writer Eusebius preserves the tradition that, “In the reign of Amenophis III [the mighty Dynasty XVIII Egyptian king] a body of Ethiopians migrated from the country about the Indus, and settled in the valley of the Nile.” And still another document from ancient times, the Itinerarium Alexandri, says that “India, taken as a whole, beginning from the north and embracing what of it is subject to Persia, is a continuation of Egypt and the Ethiopians.” 

INDIA’S EARLIEST CIVILIZATION

In Greater India, more than a thousand years before the foundations of Greece and Rome, proud and industrious Black men and women known as Dravidians erected a powerful civilization. We are referring here to the Indus Valley civilization- -India’s earliest high-culture, with major cities spread out along the course of the Indus River. The Indus Valley civilization was at its height from about 2200 B.C.E. to 1700 B.C.E. This phase of its history is called the Harappan, the name being derived from Harappa, one of the earliest known Indus Valley cities.

In 1922, about 350 miles northeast of Harappa, another large Indus city, Mohenjo-daro (the Mound of the Dead) was identified. Mohenjo-daro and Harappa were apparently the chief administrative centers of the Indus Valley complex, and since their identification, several additional cities, including Chanhu-daro, Kalibangan, Quetta and Lothal have been excavated.

The Indus cities possessed multiple level houses enhanced by sophisticated wells, drainage systems and bathrooms with flushing toilets. A recognized scholar on the Indus Valley civilization, Dr. Walter Fairservis, states that the “Harappans cultivated cotton and perhaps rice, domesticated the chicken and may have invented the game of chess and one of the two great early sources of nonmuscle power: the windmill.”

The decline and fall of the Indus Valley civilization has been linked to several factors, the most important of which were the increasingly frequent incursions of the White people known in history as Aryans–violent Indo-European tribes initially from central Eurasia and later Iran. Indeed, the name Iran means the “land of the Aryan.”

APARTHEID IN INDIA

The White tribes that invaded India and disrupted Black civilization there are known as Aryans.  The Aryans were not necessarily superior warriors to the Blacks but they were aggressive, developed sophisticated military technologies and glorified military virtues.  After hundreds of years of intense martial conflict the Aryans succeeded in subjugating most of northern India.  Throughout the vanquished territories a rigid, caste-segmented social order was established with the masses of conquered Blacks (called Shudras) essentially reduced to slaves to the Whites and imposed upon for service in any capacity required by their White conquerors.  This vicious new world order was cold-bloodily racist, with the Whites on top, the mixed races in the middle, and the overwhelming majority of Black people on the very bottom.  In fact, the Aryan term varna, denoting one’s societal status and used interchangeably with caste, literally means color or complexion and reflects a prevalent racial hierarchy. Truly, India is still a racist country.  White supremacist David Duke claimed “that his 1970’s visit to India was a turning point in his views on the superiority of the White race.”

Caste law in India, based originally on race, regulated all aspects of life, including marriage, diet, education, place of residence and occupation.  This is not to deny that there were certain elements of the Black aristocracy that managed to gain prominence in the dominant White social structure.  The masses of conquered Black people, however, were regarded by the Whites as Untruth itself.  The Whites claimed to have emerged from the mouth of God; the Blacks, on the other hand, were said to have emerged from the feet of God.  This was the ugly reality for the Black masses in conquered India.  It was written that:

“A Sudra [Black] who intentionally reviles twice-born men [Whites] by criminal abuse, or criminally assaults them with blows, shall be deprived of the limb with which he offends.  If he has criminal intercourse with an Aryan woman, his organ shall be cut off, and all his property confiscated.  If the woman has a protector, the Sudra shall be executed.  If he listens intentionally to a recitation of the Veda [a traditional Hindu religious text], his tongue shall be cut out.  If he commits them to memory his body shall be split in half.”

Servitude to Whites became the basis of the lives of the Black people of India for generation after generation after generation.  With the passage of time, this brutally harsh, color-oriented, racially-based caste system became the foundation of the religion that is now practiced throughout all India.  This is the religion known as Hinduism.

THE BUDDHA AND BUDDHISM IN INDIA

Buddhism appeared in India during the sixth century B.C.E. and came in the form of a protest against Hinduism.  Buddhism opposed the arrogance of caste, and preached tolerance.  It should not be surprising, then, that it developed a large and rapid following in the regions of India where the Blacks had survived in substantial numbers.  On the emergence of Buddhism in India, Diop has suggested that:

“It would seem that Buddha was an Egyptian priest, chased from Memphis by the persecution of Cambyses.  This tradition would justify the portrayal of Buddha with woolly hair.  Historical documents do not invalidate this tradition…There is general agreement today on placing in the sixth century not only Buddha but the whole religious and philosophical movement in Asia with Confucius in China, Zoroaster in Iran.  This would confirm the hypothesis of a dispersion of Egyptian priests at that time spreading their doctrine in Asia.”

Dr. Vulindlela Wobogo, another African-centric scholar, has observed that:

“Manifestations of the Buddha in Asia are Black with woolly hair.  They all appear to be Egypto-Nubian priests who fled Egypt…The priests carried their spiritual knowledge but lost much of the scientific knowledge for obvious reasons.  The well-known aspects of Buddhism and its companion, yoga, are all simply Egypto-Nubian priesthood practices, meditation, and…the belief that one could attain a god-like state if the soul was liberated from the body through knowledge and denial.”

In a monumental two volume work entitled A Book of the Beginnings, originally published in 1881, Gerald Massey recorded that:

“It is not necessary to show that the first colonisers of India were Black, but it is certain that the Black Buddha of India was imaged in the Africoid type.  In the Black [African] god, whether called Buddha or Sut-Nahsi, we have a datum.  they carry in their color the proof of their origin.  The people who first fashioned and worshipped the divine image in the Africoid mold of humanity must, according to all knowledge of human nature, have been Africans themselves.  For the Blackness is not merely mystical, the features and the hair of Buddha belong to the Black race.”

In the first volume of his massive text Anacalypsis, Godfrey Higgins wrote that:

“The religion of Buddha, of India, is well known to have been very ancient.  In the most ancient temples scattered through Asia, where his worship is yet continued, he is found black as jet, with the flat face, thick lips and curly hair of the African.”

DALIT: THE BLACK UNTOUCHABLES OF INDIA

Possibly the most substantial percentage of Asia’s Blacks can be identified among India’s 160 million “Untouchables” or “Dalits.” Frequently they are called “Outcastes.”  Indian nationalist leader and devout Hindu Mohandas K. Gandhi called them “Harijans,” meaning “children of god.”  The official name given them in India’s constitution (1951) is “Scheduled Castes.”  “Dalit,” meaning “crushed and broken,” is a name that has come into prominence only within the last four decades. “Dalit” reflects a radically different response to oppression.

The Dalit are demonstrating a rapidly expanding awareness of their African ancestry and their relationship to the struggle of Black people throughout the world. They seem particularly enamored of African-Americans.  African-Americans, in general, seem almost idolized by the Dalit, and the Black Panther Party, in particular, is virtually revered. In April 1972, for example, the Dalit Panther Party was formed in Bombay, India. This organization takes its pride and inspiration directly from the Black Panther Party of the United States.  This is a highly important development due to the fact that the Untouchables have historically been so systematically terrorized that many of them, even today, live in a perpetual state of extreme fear of their upper caste oppressors.  This is especially evident in the villages.  The formation of the Dalit Panthers and the corresponding philosophy that accompanies it signals a fundamental change in the annals of resistance, and  Dalit Panther organizations have subsequently spread to other parts of India.  In August 1972, the Dalit Panthers announced that the 25th anniversary of Indian independence would be celebrated as a day of mourning.  In 1981, in Bangalore, India Dravidian journalist V.T. Rajshekar published the first issue of Dalit Voice–the major English journal of the Black Untouchables.  In a 1987 publication entitled the African Presence in Early Asia, Rajshekar stated that:

“The African-Americans also must know that their liberation struggle cannot be complete as long as their own blood-brothers and sisters living in far off Asia are suffering.  It is true that African-Americans are also suffering, but our people here today are where African-Americans were two hundred years ago.

African-American leaders can give our struggle tremendous support by bringing forth knowledge of the existence of such a huge chunk of Asian Blacks to the notice of both the American Black masses and the Black masses who dwell within the African continent itself.”…

HABSHIS AND SIDDIS: AFRICAN DYNASTIES IN INDIA

India also received its share of African bondsmen, of whom the most famous was the celebrated Malik Ambar (1550-1626).  Ambar, like a number of Africans in medieval India, elevated himself to a position of great authority.  Malik Ambar, whose original name was Shambu, was born around 1550 in Harar, Ethiopia.  After his arrival in India Ambar was able to raise a formidable army and achieve great power in the west Indian realm of Ahmadnagar.  Ambar was a brilliant diplomat and administrator. He encouraged manufactures and built canals and mosques.  He gave pensions to poets and scholars, established a postal service, and ultimately became one of the most famous men in India. 

In a collective form, however, and in respect to long term influence, the African sailors known as Siddis stand out.  Certainly, Siddi kingdoms were established in western India in Janjira and Jaffrabad as early as 1100 AD.  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. Indeed, the island Janjira was formerly called Habshan, meaning Habshan’s or African’s land.  Siddi signifies lord or prince.  It is further said that Siddi is an expression of respectful address commonly used in North Africa, like Sahib in India.  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.

In the second decade of the sixteenth century a European traveler named Armando Cortesao noted that:

“The people who govern the kingdom [Bengal] are Abyssinians [Ethiopians].  These men are looked upon as knights; they are greatly esteemed; they wait on the kings in their apartments.  The chief among them are eunuchs and these come to be kings and great lords in the kingdom.  Those who are not eunuchs are the fighting men.  After the king, it is to this people that the kingdom is obedient from fear.”

The Siddis were a tightly knit group, highly aggressive, and even ferocious in battle.  They were employed largely as security forces for Muslim fleets in the Indian Ocean, a position they maintained for centuries.  The Siddi commanders were titled Admirals of the Mughal Empire, and received an annual salary of 300,000 rupees.  According to Ibn Battuta (1304-1377), the noted Muslim writer who journeyed through both Africa and Asia, the Siddis “are the guarantors of safety on the Indian Ocean; let there be but one of them on a ship and it will be avoided by the Indian pirates and idolaters.”

Advertisements

Written by Tseday

August 24, 2008 at 5:05 pm

15 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. I have learnt that the Harappan civilization is the name given to the mature phase of the Indus Valley civilization, an ancient society that inhabited the Indus and Ghaggar-Hakra river valleys in what is now Pakistan and western India.here i found some interesting article on
    amazingindia.wordpress.com

    deepika

    September 19, 2008 at 11:15 am

  2. It is a pleasure to learn that the original people on the planet were indeed Africans.I also am greatful to those who have done the research for the facts so to facilitate spiritual empowerment.
    Stay Blessed,
    Kennefa

    Kennefa

    January 14, 2009 at 10:12 am

  3. If you take into context what is happening in the UK as regards the osmosis of migration you will find that the Ethiopians were migrants to ancient India and absorbed some of the native culture namelythat of the Dravadian culture.Havingstayed in India long enough they bacame Indianised. They took very little back to Ethiopia as that country was not absorbent of foreign culture because buddism would have gained a stronghold there. I believe that Eyhiopians absorbed what was there to absorb from India But remained in India. The long haired peoples of Ethiopia are almost certainly of dravidian race.

    Adam Bacchus

    January 30, 2009 at 10:18 pm

  4. Hetep and Respect, I leaned and relearned a lot from this piece about India it origins and current status. Yes, we must as a matter of basic cultural literacy, see to it that African Americans and Black people everywhere know of the 160 million brothers and sisters in India.

    Rudy Aunk

    March 6, 2009 at 9:45 pm

  5. This is a tremendously educational article! Very informative only thing I have to disagree with is a part of what Adam Bacchus spoke in regards to:

    “They took very little back to Ethiopia as that country was not absorbent of foreign culture because buddism would have gained a stronghold there.”

    First off it depends on which time line your compressing this by.

    If I’m not mistaken Emperor Ashoka (268 B.C. – 308 B.C.)

    “In his efforts to propagate Buddhism, Ashoka built shrines and monasteries and inscribed Buddhist teachings on rocks and pillars in many places. He sent missionaries to countries as remote as Greece and Egypt; his own son, a monk, carried Buddhism to Sri Lanka, where it is still the major religion. Despite Ashoka’s vigorous exertions of faith, he was tolerant of other religions. The empire enjoyed remarkable prosperity during his reign.”

    And if we fast-forward to times today there are many Buddhists and “Dravidian” people still in Sri Lanka as well as many “Negritos/Negrillos” There’s also a mix of East African Muslim Sidi’s and even Moors in Sri Lanka, and last I checked India has 14% Muslim population.

    So let’s not try to further the White Supremacist efforts of Divide and Conquer because it’s no longer going to work, because even Emperor Asoka respects the Lion of Judah (Sphinx) why else would he choose the 4 lions to represent his most famous city? And of course name it the Lion Capital of Ashoka?

    If ya third eye was functioning correctly maybe you could decipher the science behind that.

    Hotep.

    Asira Kasamiyu

    October 18, 2009 at 1:31 am

  6. aane, the valleys of the mohenjo ndaro, where they had elaborate bath houses,thats the global afrikan presence

    kweku,afro olmec

    December 19, 2009 at 9:32 am

  7. I find this information very enlightening.
    I would like you to please send me books or where to go to find source material to do further research on these topics… thank you

    antony ruko

    January 30, 2010 at 6:32 pm

  8. THANK YOU HOTEP.. HERE WE ARE IN THE MIDDLE 2010 AND HOW MUCH CLOSER TO THE TRUTH YOU’VE PRONOUNCED!!

    SHALOM

    -THIS IS INDEED A VERY INFORMATIVE ARTICLE THAT I’D LOVE TO READ MORE OF

    Aharon Gregg

    May 11, 2010 at 9:06 pm

  9. I’m not too sure about that Aryan theory. Aryans were holy people who were very spiritual. They did not believe in social injustice, but in peace. When the British conquered India for 300 years, they re-wrote their religion, culture, and history. They claimed that Aryans were White skin and superior. The same way they do today. Recent discoveries of documents refute those claims of Aryan white origination. Ancient Aryans did not care about skin color.

    Journeygirl2

    June 10, 2010 at 10:26 pm

  10. Great work. Another line of inquiry could look at pre-historic migrations beginning approx 100,000 years ago through bloodgrouping. The Khoi, other traditional forest dwellers in Central and east Africa, India’s Adivasi, Andaman Islanders, Negritos like Mani from Thailand, Orang Asli from Malaysia, Ata and others from Philipines, New Guinea and Solomon Islanders and Aborigines of Australia as well as unnamed groups in China, Southeast Asia and the Pacific. Additionally, the Pirique of Baja California and people of Tierra del Fuego. All of these groups have markers that link them together as oldest peoples on earth. See fine work of George Weber on the Andaman Islanders, the darkest peoples on earth.

    k. tutashinda

    December 22, 2011 at 12:20 pm

  11. It is so inspiration learning about our brothers and sisters in India, that we hardly knew.

    That’s why it is so vital, we must research about Africans in other parts of the world, because not only they related to us, they are relating to us now.

    Africans in India deserve enough love from me and we are one people as well as one family.

    Kwame P. Aboagye

    November 21, 2012 at 6:07 am

  12. Aryan invasion theory now stands fully discredited. Now new archeological and genetic evidences about emigration from India have been found. So why you people are still harping on this?

    Raman

    May 18, 2013 at 1:26 am

  13. Please anybody to give light on the people of Papua new Guinea? they look perfectly African

    Njiru

    November 4, 2015 at 8:38 am

  14. this post is totally rubies and is one sided, what a foolish jokes is in your post, your article is fully based on assumption not evidence. for simple people and african people it is great post, but from the view of any good historian this article is not more than a foolish joke

    aniruddhbhai

    June 11, 2016 at 8:40 am

  15. @ aniruddhbhai, If the article is based on assumption and not evidence, make your research and bring evidence so readers can leant from your original finding that will be free of rubies.

    Emi Baro

    December 2, 2016 at 5:14 am


Share your thoughts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: