Yakut KhanHis real name was Siddi Qasim Khan
|Raigad district, Maharashtra|
Murud Janjiraa bastions
who first served under Bijapur Sultanate
|- 1490–1510||Yusuf Adil Shah|
|- 1510–1534||Ismail Adil Shah|
|- 1534||Mallu Adil Shah|
|- 1534–1558||Ibrahim Adil Shah I|
|- 1558–1580||Ali Adil Shah I|
|- 1580–1627||Ibrahim Adil Shah II|
|Historical era||Late Medieval|
and later under the Mughal Empire. His real name was Siddi Qasim Khan but was given the title of Yakut Khan by Emperor Alamgir. During a Muhgal-English conflict he laid siege to the British-held Bombay in 1689.
The Siddis are a community of African ancestry that live in much of Karnataka and Kerala, India. They were loyal to the Mughals and had earned a reputation as excellent sea-farers.
In October, 1672, Khan entered the seven islands of Bombay
and attacked the Marathas with whom they were at war with. Khan returned the following year, on 10 October 1673, after destroying the towns of Pen and Nagothane.
Yakut Khan, along with Khariyat Khan, had earlier saved the Portuguese from the Marathas left by Sambhaji
|Born||May 14, 1657|
In return, they enjoyed a cordial relationship in the otherwise tense political climate.
|Abul Muzaffar Muhy-ud-Din Muhammad Aurangzeb Alamgir|
ordered the Khan to attack Bombay for the third time after Indian vessels sailing to Surat
|SURAT FORT 1700|
were captured in 1686. In April 1689, the Siddis laid siege to the British fortification
to the south. The British governor Sir John Child appealed to Aurangzeb. In February 1690, the Mughals agreed to halt the attack in return for 150,000 rupees (Over a billion USD at 2008 conversion rates) and Child's dismissal. Child's untimely death in 1690 however, resulted in him escaping the ignominy of being sacked.
Enraged at the agreement, Sakat withdrew his forces on 8 June 1690 after razing the Mazagaon Fort.
Khan died in 1733.
On his escape from Delhi at the close of 1666, Shivaji drove the Moghals out of most of the south-east of Thana. They continued to hold the great hill-forts of Karnala
but, after heavy fighting, lost them also in 1670.
In 1670 the Portuguese defeated Shivaji at sea
But he came perilously near them on land, taking several forts in the north-east of Thana and attacking Ghodbandar
This advance of Shivaji's led the English to send him an envoy, and an alliance was agreed to, in which he promised to respect the English possessions.
In 1672 the Sidi of Janjira, whose appointment as Moghal admiral had lately (1662) increased his importance, blockaded the Karanja river
and made a fort at its mouth. In October of the same year (1672) a Sidi and Moghal squadron landed troops on the banks of the Nagothna river, laid the country waste, and carried off the people as slaves
In February 1673 a Dutch fleet,
under their Governor General, appeared before Bombay and caused such alarm that the settlers fled to the Portuguese territories. But the Governor, Gorald Aungier, had given so much care to the fortifications
and to strengthening the garrison and organizing the militia that, after hovering about the mouth of the harbour for some time, the Dutch retired without attempting an attack
Another cause of difficulty in Bombay were the Sidis. Nearly every season between 1672 and 1680, sometimes with leave sometimes without leave, the Sidis came to Bombay to winter, that is to pass the stormy south-west monsoon (May-October). In 1674 they scared the people from Sion fort in the north-east of the Island, but were attacked by English troops, and an agreement was made that not more than 300 of the Sidi's men were to remain on shore at one time and that none of them wore to have any arms except a sword. These visits placed the English in an unpleasant dilemma. If they allowed the Sidis to land, they roused the suspicion and anger of Shivaji; if they forbad the Sidis landing they displeased the Moghals
|Pen and ink drawing of Sewri Fort in Bombay looking across to Trombay Island by William Miller (1795-1836) in 1828 |
In April 1674 Shivaji was crowned at Raygad fort near the town of Mahad in south Kolaba. An embassy sent by the Bombay Government found him friendly. He granted them leave to trade to any part of his territory on paying an import duty of two and a half per cent; he allowed them to establish factories at Rajapur and Dabhol in Ratnagiri,
Weavers came from Chaul to Bombay, and a street was ordered to be built for them stretching from the customs-house to the fort.
The Sidis –Freedmen of the Indian Ocean http://portal.unesco.org/culture/en/files/38503/122910237757.BlackLiberators.pdf/7.BlackLiberators.pdf
There were essentially three types of freedmen employed by the Royal Navy: Africans
liberated by the navy and employed directly; Africans liberated and taken by the Royal
Navy to be employed in Bombay and the Seychelles; and manumitted Africans employed
in the ports of East Africa. All of these men were termed “Seedies” by the Royal Navy
(Spelt “Sidis”in East Africa and in India). In the nineteenth-century Anglo-Indian English
usage, Sidis came to denote Moslem seamen originally from the Swahili coast, especially
Zanzibar, particularly sailors and harbour workers. British census records indicate the
birthplaces, names and occupations of Sidis which helps to differentiate between three
groups of Sidis.
Africans were given various names by crew of the ship that liberated them. Sometimes
they were given the name of the ship itself; others were given a name based on
something they asked for by mimicking, on a duty that they undertook on board, or even
after a member of British royalty. After being deposited in Bombay by British ships,
young African freedmen sometimes entered the British navy as cabin boys. At least one
freed African was working at Multan in the Royal Navy in 1849. In Bombay, freed
Africans joined Indian ship crews and in 1864, more than half of the (probably under
reported) two thousand Africans in Bombay earned their living as sailors or in related
maritime work. Younger Africans were sent to mission schools such as the one at Nasik,
where they learned various skills. Between 1861 and 1872, the Royal Navy delivered
2,409 “liberated” Africans to the Seychelles. Many of these were indentured to planters,
but some were employed by the Royal Navy. Sidis from the Seychelles usually bore
European names and were likely to be Christians.
Many Sidis were escapees or manumitted slaves. Records often show their birthplace as
Zanzibar, where slaves or freedmen constituted a significant portion of the population.
Sometimes they are described as born in “Africa – not known”. Frequently they are
shown as born at a port known for its slave market such as Zanzibar, Kilwa, or
Mozambique. Many of these men were nominally Moslem and the recurring common
names of freedmen on the census returns include Mubarak (or Mabruki), Farhan, Faraj,
Murjan, and Marzuq. Family names remain “unknown”. The first Sidi seaman to be known
in Europe was Farhan, hired by the explorer Lt. John H. Speke in Aden in early 1855 for
his expedition to Somaliland.
It is not surprising that the plan announced by the Admiralty on 7th April 1870 to end the
service of the Kru men on the East Coast was met with opposition from the officers of the
Cape Station. This move was prompted by the difficulty in bringing the West African Kru
men back and forth to the East African Station. It was therefore decided by the Admiralty
that Sidis should replace Kru men. Lushington was sceptical about their abilities and
estimated that it would take 12 Sidis to make up for 8 Kru men. Commodore Heath was
totally opposed to the change as were most of the officiating ship commanders on the
station. Support for employment of the Sidis came from other quarters, including the
white explorers of the period. Some of these explorer Sidis had been sailors in the Royal
Navy. Rahan for example worked with the Royal Navy in Rangoon before joining Speke in
1852. Frij who received a medal from the Royal Geographical Society travelled with
Speke in 1860-63. Mabruki Majera had served on a man-of-war before working with
Thomson and Johnson in the 1880’s.
It then appears that there were five sets of Siddi transfers or migrations from East Africa to India.
1. As slaves sold by Muslim Arab tradesmen to Hindu South Indian princes
2. As slave/soldiers sold by Muslim Arab tradesmen to Hindu Central, Western and Eastern Indian princes (habshis)
3. As slaves sold by Muslim Arab tradesmen to Catholic Portuguese sea farers who then transported them to Goa (siddis) and other Portuguese possessions on the west Coast of India, and to Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) (kaffirs)
4. Those who migrated and settled in areas along the NW Frontier of the Indian subcontinent (now Pakistan) (sheedes)
5. Those who settled further south of the NW frontier in the Indian State of Gujarat (siddis)
Most Siddis -- estimated to number between 20,000 and 30,000 in a nation of over a billion people -- live in the western Indian State of Gujarat. Smaller populations are found in neighboring Maharashtra and two southern states, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
The village of Jambur, Gujarat, deep in the Gir forest, is the site for one of two exclusively Siddi settlements. It is miserably poor. The headman explains that yes, everyone in Jambur is a Siddi. They speak the same Gujarati language and eat the same flavorful food as other villagers, but nevertheless stand out from their neighbors.A number of Africans (Ethiopians aka Abyssinians aka Habshis) who were enslaved and taken to India in medieval and post-medieval times eventually rose to positions of power and influence in the 16th century e.g. Shams ud-Dawlah Muhammad al-Habshi, Bilal Habshi, Said Safar Salami and Shaik Said al-Habshi Sultani (perhaps best remembered as the builder of a famous mosque, known by his name, in Ahmedabad)
Murud-Janjira are situated near Kashid. Murud is an old fisherman town with a nice beach. Janjira is a famous fort in the middle of the sea near Murud. The tourists can also visit the Nawab’s palace, Ganapati Pule temple and the beautiful Birla temple nearby. About ten km from Kashid beach is the Phansad bird sanctuary.
Ship of British East India Company
Areal view of -Murud Janjira Fort.
Ship of British East India Company
Shivaji and the Sidis, 1675-1680.
In October 1679, to guard the southern shores of Bombay harbour against the Sidi's raids, Shivaji took possession of the small rocky island of Khanderi or Kenery at the mouth of the harbour. This island was claimed both by the Portuguese and by the English, but it had been neglected as it was supposed to have no fresh water. On its capture by Shivaji the English and Sidis attempted to turn out the Marathas. The English sent an aged captain, or according to another account a drunk lieutenant, in a small vessel to find out what the Marathas meant by landing on the island. The officer was induced to land, and he and his crew were cut off. The Revenge, a pink, and seven native craft were ordered to lie at anchor and block all approach to the rock. On this, the Marathas attacked the English fleet, took one grab, and put to flight all except the Revenge. The little man-of-war was commanded by Captain Minchin, and the gallant Captain Keigwin was with him as Commodore. These officers allowed the Marathas to board, and then, sweeping the decks with their great guns, destroyed some hundreds, sunk four of the enemy's vessels, and put the rest to flight. In spite of this success the Marathas continued to hold Khanderi. Soon after (9th January 1680), as a counter movement, Sidi Kasim entrenched himself on Underi or Henery rock, about two miles to the east of Khanderi, and the Marathas in vain tried to drive him out. The possession of these islands by enemies, or, at best, by doubtful friends, imperilled Bombay. The Deputy Governor prayed the Court for leave to expel them. In reply he was censured for not having called out the Company's ships and prevented the capture. But, owing to want of funds and the depressed state of trade, he was ordered to make no attempt to recover the islands, and was advised to avoid interference in all wars between Indian powers. An agreement was accordingly made acquiescing in Shivaji s possession of Khanderi.[ Bruce's Annals, II. 447-448; Anderson's English in Western India, 82; Low's Indian Navy, I. 65-69.]