Shantaram Siddi: India Elects Its First Ever Lawmaker of African origin

An activist in India has become the first person from Siddhi community — a tiny African-origin ethnic group — to become a legislator in the country.

Shantaram Siddi — India Elects Its First Ever Lawmaker of African origin
Shantaram Siddi

400 years ago, Portuguese slave merchants brought some Bantu speaking tribal people of South East Africa, to India.

Today, one of their descendent, Shantaram Siddi, is a Law Maker in India.

He is the first person from a African-origin ethnic group to become a legislator in the country. He’s also the first college graduate from his community.

Shantaram Siddi was nominated to the state legislative council by Governor Vajubhai Vala.

He said he would continue to work for the rights of India’s tribes.

Speaking of his joy at the announcement, Mr Siddi told news site The Hindu: “I thought someone may be playing a prank.”

The Siddis

The Siddis of Karnataka are an ethnic group inhabiting India. Members are descended from Bantu peoples from Southeast Africa that were brought to the Indian subcontinent as slaves by Portuguese merchants 400 years ago.

They have an estimated population of 50,000 to 60,000, of which more than a third live in Karnataka.

The Siddis of Karnataka are known in recent years for their unique style of quilting called kawandi — complicated process of quilting that makes their style distinct from surrounding groups.

Uzonna Anele
Anele is a web developer and a Pan-Africanist who believes bad leadership is the only thing keeping Africa from taking its rightful place in the modern world.

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