The term Siddi refers to the African diaspora communities in India, who initially arrived in the 13th century with the Islamic invaders in Gujarat (then Sindh) as slaves, palace guards, traders, and musicians from the eastern parts of Africa, including Ethiopia, Zanzibar, Sudan, and Tanzania. In the 15th century, another group of Africans from South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique were brought to India by the Portuguese colonizers as slaves. The majority of the histories of the Siddi community are androcentric in nature, focusing on the contributions of African men and male spiritual figures towards the development of the Siddi community in India. However, this paper offers a more diverse and deeper analysis that uncovers the role of women spiritual figures like Mai Misra, Makhaan Devi, and goddess Luxmi, and the role of Siddi women in the cultural and spiritual evolution of Siddi practices. This article analyzes how women spiritual figures and spiritual practices contribute to Siddi culture in Gujarat and offer Siddi women empowerment and agency. The thematic and theoretical arguments in this article are supported by a kin study on the patterns and intentions of Mai Misra worship in Gujarat.
Dey, Sayan; Maity, Tias; and Srivastava, Tanmay
"Gender Empowerment in Transoceanic Feminine Folklore and Shrines: A Kin Study of Siddi Women’s Participation in Mai Misra Worship in Gujarat, India,"
Journal of International Women's Studies: Vol. 26:
1, Article 4.
Available at: https://vc.bridgew.edu/jiws/vol26/iss1/4