Tuesday February 18, 2020
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Siddi community of India : a case study

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photo credits: www.scoopwhoop.com

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.

Next Story

Higher Poverty Associated with Increased Youth Suicide Risk: Researchers

Further, areas of concentrated poverty may lack infrastructure such as quality schools, sustainable jobs, health care facilities, and mental health resources supporting good health for adults and children, they added

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Suicide
When it comes to identify who is more at suicide risk, scientists have found that physical illness and injury raises the risk of Suicide in men but not women, along with a plethora of other insights into the complex factors that may increase a person's risk of suicide. Pixabay

Researchers have revealed that adolescents living in poverty may be at greater risk of suicide, particularly by firearms.

According to the study, suicide in children under age 20 has been increasing in the US, with rates almost doubling over the last decade. Between 2007 to 2016, nearly 21,000 children ages 5-19 years old died by suicide,

The findings, published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics, show a link between poverty and suicide in children and teens.

“The results were consistent in a step-wise fashion, as poverty increased, so did the rate of suicide,” said study researchers Lois Lee, from Boston Children’s Hospital in the US.

For the results, the researchers grouped the number of suicides into five levels of poverty at the county level ranging from a low of 0-4.9 per cent to greater than 20 per cent.

They learned that the rate of suicides in children and adolescents is 37 per cent higher in counties with the highest levels of poverty – where more than 20 per cent of the population in the county lives below the federal poverty level – compared with suicide rates in the lowest levels of poverty.

In this study, researchers collected information from the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Compressed Mortality File, which includes data on all US deaths, including cause of death.

Suicide
The Suicide rate in cities in 2016 was 13 per cent as compared to the all-India suicide rate of 10.3 per cent. Pixabay

After searching for deaths by suicide, method of suicide, and county where the suicide occurred from 2007-2016, they paired that data with county-level poverty rates from US Census data and poverty estimates from the US Census Bureau Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates (SAIPE) Programme.

The findings from this study are similar to research from the CDC that found increases in suicide in youth and young adults ages 10-24 between 2000-2017.

The research also revealed an increased suicide rate from firearms in the more impoverished counties compared to the least.

According to the study, the researchers have seen a rise in the number of children and teens with mental health issues, including suicide attempts or thoughts of suicide, seeking care in the emergency department (ED).

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The study authors reported that children living in poverty are likely to be exposed to more family turmoil, violence, social isolation, and lack of positive peer-to-peer relationships and may be more likely to have emotional difficulties like depression and anxiety.

Further, areas of concentrated poverty may lack infrastructure such as quality schools, sustainable jobs, health care facilities, and mental health resources supporting good health for adults and children, they added. (IANS)