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Siddi community of India : a case study

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by Shriya Katoch

  • About Siddi community of India:
  • They were brought in as slaves by the Arab.
  • They have preserved 70% of their gene pool through Endogamy.
  • They have faced severe poverty and have been alienated by society .

Siddi: Where are they from?

Siddi is a tribe living in Karnataka, Gujarat and Hyderabad .Many members of the Siddi community have migrated to Pakistan during the partition .In India, Karnataka has the largest concentration of Siddi. According to estimates there are around 3,700 Siddi families in the state with a total population of 18,000. Other Siddi populations in the sub-continent include around 10,000 in Gujarat and 12,000 in Hyderabad. A few hundreds are also found in Lucknow, Delhi and Kolkata.. They are known to have East African roots .It is believed that between 16th and 19th century Siddi were brought in India by the Arabs as slaves .

What is their social standing?

They were extremely talented in the art of battleship and between the 18th and 19th century , some Siddi usurped their rulers and settled in the depths of the forest in Karnataka .Even after living in India for centuries they are still not accepted in the Indian society .
Outcasted, they have distanced themselves by establishing independent societies .They are considered to be lower than untouchables .
In terms of social structure they are at the bottom of the pile .

They are regarded as encroachers .Many Siddi dream of returning back to their native country Africa but they do not have the financial means to do so .Shunned and forgotten they dream of returning to the land of their forefathers where they believe they will finally have a sense of belonging.
However ,in actuality the Siddi have diffused themselves in our society to such an extent that they are treated as foreigners in their own homeland as well.
Even though they have adapted to our society ,they have still withheld their own cultural roots.They have adapted to the local custom but still preserve parts of their strong African culture .Infact according to DNA testing the average Siddi is 70% Sub Saharan African .It is truly remarkable that they have retained 70% of their genes after residing in a country ,with a population of 1 billion, for 200 years .
Endogamy has played a crucial role in preserving the gene pool .

Siddi are victims of abject poverty. After inhabiting the country for more than 1000 centuries ,they still face social ,political and economic injustice.The government has attempted to improve their situation . On January 8 ,2003, the union government brought Siddi under the list of scheduled tribes in order to empower them constitutionally. Further, policies were also endorsed by parliament. It is hoped that proper implementation of these policies would result in an enhanced social and economic status of the Siddi community .However the Siddi population argue that when they don’t have enough financial support to enroll in a college how can they claim the seats ?
Due to such unrealistic reservations ,most Siddi are restricted to work as farm labourers for the entirety of their life until their children resume the same work.Many Siddi women work as maids in the neighbouring cities .

Despite living in such harsh conditions it is known that when a child dies a mother wails for days to ensure that the child be born again as a siddi and not in any other caste.

Siddi are mainly Roman Catholics ,with a minority practicing Islam and Hinduism instead.Even though they practise such diverse religions ,they inter marry between different religions.

Siddi are branded as incapable of intellectual endeavours only talented in the field of music and sports .

Even after facing such cruel conditions it is hoped that the Siddi will rise through the abyss ,empowered.

Shriya Katoch multitasks as an Engineering student , an avid reader ,a guitar player and a death note fan.

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7 new-age social issues in India that needs a check

Since decades, we people are countering issues like poverty, illiteracy, child marriage, caste system, gender inequality and endless to count further.

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India has become a hub of ever growing social issues
India has become a hub of ever growing social issues

NEW DELHI: Indian being a land of diverse culture and heritage does have a very complex society. People from all around the globe visited India and shared their traditional values. Thus, India did inherit a lot of ethnic varieties in the span of its thousands of years.

These all things make India a strong hold for people of diverse belief, languages, and colour. And at the same time also makes India a happening and vibrant place to live. But at the same time, it also makes us vulnerable to many kinds of social issues and problems. Due to the blind and adamant beliefs of people on their religion and caste, contradictory ideas are meant to creep into the society.

Since decades, we people are countering issues like poverty, illiteracy, child marriage, caste system, gender inequality and endless to count further. But with the changing scenario and thought process of our society, many more new problems have made their way into our lives. Such things are the real evil for our advancement and growth.
Let’s take a view on some of such issues, that we need to take up seriously before it becomes too late to act upon.

Triple Talaq
The whole Muslim community has been following the very notion of Triple Talaq since long and the Muslim women were the one to face the heat of such a ritual.

The three different types of Talaq in the Muslim society are Talaq –e-Ahsan , Talaq-e- Hasan and Talaq –e- Biddat. From all of these three talaqs, the Talaq –e- Biddat was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme court on 22nd August 2017. In Talaq –e- Biddat, if the husband says Talaq three types in one go, then the Talaq becomes irrevocable.

After this verdict, for the very first time, Muslim women came in full force to stand against this discrimination against them. Even Triple Talaq has banned n 22 Muslim countries all over the world.

Indian sex ratio is drastically declined due to girl infanticide. Wikimedia Commons
Indian sex ratio is drastically declined due to girl infanticide. Wikimedia Commons

Girl Infanticide
The urge of having a boy in India has taken a very spine-chilling consequence on the female population of our country. Haryana tops the chart of such a shameful practice, which is being exercised over the decades in our so-called democratic nation. Due to it, other social issues like sex determination have made their way into our society.

To counter such an adversary, the government launched a scheme called, ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ and made stringent laws to tackle crimes like these. The result of girl infanticide can be well gauged by taking a note of the figures of sex ratio of India.

 

Infant mortality rate
India’s run just behind China in terms of the population also makes us more open to the risks of childbirth. Most of such death takes place due to negligence or insufficient mean to cater the needs of a newborn. Also, the lack of proper vaccination goes equally into the list of things directly responsible for high infant mortality rate in India.

To quote the very recent example of Max Hospital in Delhi, where a newborn child was declared dead without proper checks by the hospital authorities. But later the child was found to be alive, only to last another week due to infection and lack of timely attention.

Such cases bring our attention to the laid-back approach of few people of our society and thus calls for strict action against social issues like this.

Juvenile Crimes
Another gruesome social issue to be nipped in its bud is Juvenile Crime. In the last half decade, this issue has wreaked havoc in the Indian society. The crimes committed by minors have increased many folds due to many reasons like illiteracy, poverty and their peer’s ignorant attitude. Another crucial reason that can be taken into account is the migration of people from urban areas to rural places. Due to this, it has become really hard for even state administration to keep a check on each and every one.

The biggest example of Juvenile crimes in recent times can be related to Nirbhaya incident, where among all the culprits, one was a Juvenile. It was after this incident only; laws were amended to punish such convicts.

Violence against women
India is a male dominant society has always shunned women of their rights and privileges. Women were barred from all the opportunities and were confined to the four walls of the house. Even today, the birth of a girl is not celebrated in many places of India. They have become a regular subject of physical and mental torture.

Their personal freedom is into shamble till date. They are thoroughly scrutinized about their movement and clothes. Some of the social issues that are been constantly inflicted upon them are dowry harassment, domestic violence, female infanticide, sexual harassment etc.

Dowry system
The term dowry goes back to the times when it was known by the name of ‘Kanyadan’. Kanyadan was a practice followed by the bride’s family, where there used to be a gift, ornaments, money, and property was given to the groom’s family. It was done in order to please the groom so that he could take proper care of her better half.

But with the traction of time, Kanyadan has remodeled into dowry. The modern-day dowry is seen as a sin our society due to the brutal consequences of it in our society. Nowadays, it has been become a practice to extort money by hiding behind the curtains of social stigma. In India, almost 10 thousand women lose their life due to this unfortunate repercussion of dowry system.

Social issues like reservation has handicapped the flow of development in India
Social issues like reservation has handicapped the flow of development in India

Reservation
A democratic country which boasts about equal rights privileges doesn’t qualify for it. The concept of reservation is a bane rather than a boon for a society like India. Reservation is a kind of roadblock for equal opportunities which are mentioned in the constitution of India.

This system was brought into place in order to uproot the menace of the caste system in India. As some sections of the society were being ill-treated by others. So, to balance the things out, the concept of the reservation was introduced. But today, it has become a hindrance to achieving a uniform growth in all spheres of work.