Saturday, January 23, 2016

African Pakistani Sheedi Music & Dance (information & videos)

Edited by Azizi Powell

This post provides information about the Sheedi people of Pakistan and showcases five videos of Sheedi music and dance.

The content of this post is presented for historical, folkloric, cultural, and aesthetic purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to all those who are featured in these videos. Thanks also to all those who are quoted in this post and thanks to the publishers of these videos on YouTube.

Click for a closely related pancocojams post that showcases African Indian Siddi music and dance.

"The Siddi (pronounced [sɪd̪d̪iː]), also known as Siddhi, Sheedi, Habshi or Makrani, are an ethnic group inhabiting India and Pakistan. Members are descended from Bantu peoples from Southeast Africa. Some were merchants, sailors, indentured servants and mercenaries.[1] The Siddi community is currently estimated at around 20,000–55,000 individuals, with Karnataka, Gujarat and Hyderabad in India and Makran and Karachi in Pakistan as the main population centres.[2] Siddis are primarily Sufi Muslims, although some are Hindus and others Roman Catholic Christians.[3]

...The first Siddis are thought to have arrived in India in 628 AD at the Bharuch port. Several others followed with the first Arab Islamic invasions of the subcontinent in 712 AD.[14] The latter group are believed to have been soldiers with Muhammad bin Qasim's Arab army, and were called Zanjis.

Siddis are descended from Bantu peoples from Southeast Africa that were brought to the Indian subcontinent as slaves by the Portuguese.[1] While most of these migrants became Muslim and a small minority became Christian, very few became Hindu since they could not find themselves a position in the traditional Hindu caste hierarchy.[4]...

Sheedis of Pakistan
In Pakistan, locals of Bantu descent are called "Makrani", or "Sheedi". They live primarily along the Makran Coast in Balochistan, and lower Sindh. In the city of Karachi, the main Sheedi centre is the area of Lyari and other nearby coastal areas.[29] Technically, the Sheedi are a brotherhood or a subdivision of the Siddi. The Sheedis are divided into four clans, or houses: Kharadar Makan, Hyderabad Makan, Lassi Makan and Belaro Makan.[30] The sufi saint Pir Mangho is regarded by many as the patron saint of the Sheedis, and the annual Sheedi Mela festival, is the key event in the Sheedi community's cultural calendar.[30] Some glimpses of the rituals at Sidi/Sheedi Festival 2010 include visit to sacred alligators at Mangho pir, playing music and dance.[31] Clearly, the instrument, songs and dance appear to be derived from Africa.[32][33]

Linguistically, Makranis speak Balochi and Sindhi, as well as a dialect of Urdu referred to as Makrani. In Sindh, the Sheedis have traditionally intermarried only with people such as the Mallahs (fisherpeople), Khaskeli (laborers), Khatri (dyeing caste) and Kori (clothmakers).

Famous Sheedis include the historic Sindhi army leader Hoshu Sheedi[34] and Urdu poet Noon Meem Danish.[35][36] Sheedis are also well known for their excellence in sports, especially in football and boxing. The musical anthem of the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party, "Bija Teer", is a Balochi song in the musical style of the Sheedis with Black African style rhythm and drums.[37] Younis Jani is a popular Sheedi singer famous for singing an Urdu version of the reggaeton song "Papi chulo... (te traigo el mmmm...)"[38]

Siddis or Sheedis in lower Sindh
Sheedis are largely populated in different towns and villages in lower Sindh. They are very active in cultural activities and organise annual festivals, like, Habash Festival, with the support of several community organisations. In the local culture, when there is a dance it is not performed by some selected few and watched idly by others but it is participated by all the people present there, ending difference between the performers and the audience.[39]

Sheedis in Sindh also proudly call themselves the Qambranis, Urdu: قمبرانی ‎; Sindhi: قمبراڻي‎, in reverence to Qambar, the freed slave of the Islamic caliph Ali.[40][1]
Here's some information about Sindh from
"Sindhis (Sindhi: سنڌي‎ (Perso-Arabic), सिन्धी (Devanagari), Sindhi khudabadi.png (Khudabadi)) are a Sindhi-speaking ethnic group primarily of Indo-Aryan origin native to the Sindh province of Pakistan.

Sindhi culture is highly influenced by Sufi doctrines and principles. Some of the popular cultural icons are Raja Dahir, Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai, Lal Shahbaz Qalandar, Jhulelal, Sachal Sarmast and Shambumal Tulsiani.

After independence of Pakistan in 1947, most Hindu and Sikh Sindhis migrated to India and other parts of the world, though, in 1998, Hindus constituted about 6% of the Sindhi population in Pakistan."...

"The Sheedi Mela or Sheedi Jaat or Pir Mangho Urs (Urdu: شیدی میلا ‎ is an annual spiritual festival in Manghopir neighborhood of Gadap Town in Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan. Pir Mangho Urs is the most important event in the cultural calendar of the Sheedi community—a community of African-descended Pakistanis. It is held every year at the shrine of Manghopir, usually in the summer, for four days, with the exact dates decided upon by the community leaders. The Sheedi Mela is separate from the Manghopir Urs which marks the death anniversary of Mangho Pir and is held in the Islamic month of Dhu al-Hijjah.

The festival is famous for the role of the sacred crocodiles of the shrine, and the African-influence rituals of the Sheedi community. The festival attracts many people of all ethnic groups. People make their mannats (pledges) at the shrine of Pir Mangho through offering fresh meat (believed to be the sacrificial) to the crocodiles. Shedis believe that the creatures do not harm the saint's followers and because of this bury crocodiles with equal respect and formalities as they would give a human being. There is place reserved for burying dead crocodiles near the shrine.

The highlight of the Manghopir festival also called ‘Shedi Mela’ and a garlanding ceremony, during which the gaddi nasheen (the holy successor) puts a garland around the neck of the chief of the crocodiles (Mor Sahib). Success of this rite depends solely on the mood of old creature, but according to his keeper, he obliges most of the time and presents himself for the ritual, usually chunks of fresh meat help do the trick."...
Videos of Sheedi Mela are found below as Example #1 and Example #2.

These videos are presented in chronological order based on their publishing date on YouTube with the oldest dated video given first.

Example #1: Sheedi Mela in Karachi-Pakistan Report By Rabiah Baig 2009

Rabiah Beg Channel Uploaded on Jul 13, 2009

Sheedi Mela in Karachi-Pakistan Report By Rabiah Baig for GEO NEWS in 2009
Selected comments from this video's discussion thread:
[written in response to bloggers' comments that "black people have nothing to do with Pakistan".
ugaas wiilhoog, 2011
"these people are mixed (african v s asian) anyone else saying they are not is clearly blind, majority of u wouldnt even recognise them as different if u saw them on the streets, in case u dont know not all pakistani r faired skinned. a little boy once said a ' garden is only beautiful when there r different coloured flowers. we r all gods creation and to say otherwise is blashphemy."

Example #2: Sheedi Mela: Afro-Pakistanis hold annual festival

Fahad Desmukh, Uploaded on Aug 1, 2009

Once a year the Sheedi community -- a brotherhood of Pakistanis of African descent -- gather at the shrine of Mangho Pir in Karachi to hold a sacred festival. While the historic rituals have survived through several centuries, the community leaders are concerned about the high levels of poverty faced by the Sheedi today.

Example #3: Shedi Badshah Hum Badshah (SK~Chhutta)

Shahnawaz Khan Chhutto, Uploaded on Aug 28, 2009

Example #4: Sheedi badshah sindhi songs vinod

Mrvinod786's channel, Uploaded on Sep 4, 2009
Selected comments from this video's discussion thread:
Arslan AK, 2010
"a very old sindhi cultural song in a new version"

AFZAL Qambrani, 2012
"GEO GEO sheedi..proud to be sheedi..:)
from AFzal sheedi..:)"

Example #5: Khimni Sheedi Dance Tando Agha Haji Shah Mela 2012.AVI

hussainsham011, Published on May 30, 2012

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