NEWS

KAPPIRI, HABSHI AND AFRICAN SLAVE GODS

29 June 23

The word kappiri is probably derived from ‘kafir’ or non-believer in arabic. It also means a black person

 

The eastern coast of Africa has a long relationship of trade with the western coast of India. However, much of it is undocumented and hence it is not part of the popular imagination.

 

On the coast of Karnataka, we find a temple to Kappiri Devaru. It is said that if you give Kappiri Devaru blankets, alcohol, and cigarettes, he is pleased and fulfills mundane wishes, like giving children to childless couples. The story goes that he was an African slave who escaped slavery in Portuguese Goa and found his way to Karnataka. Here, he was a wise man who helped local fishermen and healed the sick. When he died, a shrine was built in his honor, which is venerated even today.

 

Further south, in Kerala in Fort Cochin, there are many shrines without images that are given to Kappiri Muthappan. The story here, but, is far more sinister. African slaves were used as servants, soldiers and mercenaries by the Portuguese, who came to Kerala in the 16th Century. In the 17th Century. When their colony was attacked by the Dutch, they had to flee rapidly They hid their treasures in the walls of the fort or under the ground, African slaves were chained and buried along with the treasures. It was believed that such a human sacrifice would transform them into powerful spirit gods. These, in turn, would protect the treasure until it was claimed by a future descendant. Even today, local people offer traditional food (puttu) as well as alcohol, cigarettes and meat, to these African guardian spirits, indicating subaltern roots.

 

This belief of humans, protecting treasures and giving them to descendants is a theme that we find also in Hindu lore. It makes its way to one of the short stories by Rabindranath Tagore called Jokhon. Here, a stingy man buries a young child alive with his treasures, hoping that he could transform into a Jokhon and give the wealth to his descendants. Ironically, the child turns out to be his own distant grandson, the heir to his property. 

 

African slaves were brought often from the eastern coast of Africa to India, by the Portuguese. If ever a ship was caught in a storm, it was believed that sacrificing one of the slaves to the sea god would protect it. Over time, many sailors believed in the connection of Africans with the magical realm of spirits. This belief continues today when shrines are built wherever the African slaves were sacrificed or buried. This mirrors an ancient tradition in rural India of commemorating burial sites of great heroes who died protecting the village from attacks of wild animals and raiders. Even the sites where holy men die or where women immolate themselves on the funeral pyres of their husbands become shrines. Their spirits are believed to hover around giving protection and prosperity to those who pray to them.

 

Stories of life of African slaves owned by the Portuguese Christi- a sailor is remarkably different from stories of African slaves owned by Arab Muslim merchants and Turkish Muslim rulers: African slaves were highly prized in the households of Muslim rulers and aristocrats. They were treated as family. In fact, sometimes, they were closer than family. This was often because the Sultans did not trust their own family. So they created a ring of slaves around them as protection. Naturally, the slaves rose in ranks as administrators and ministers. The greatest of them was the 16th- century Malik Ambar, who was Peshwa (prime minister) of the Ahmednagar Sultanate of the Deccan. He built the famous Murud Janjira coast in the sea near Mumbai. He was so powerful that he intimidated even the Mughal Emperor, Jahangir, who had paintings created, where he imagined Malik Ambar’s defeat with his hands.

 

Many of the Africans brought by the Muslim rulers are found in the Deccan regions. Here, access to talent from Persia and Afghanistan was limited because of Mongol invasions and later Mughal Rule. Thus, we find African communities like the Siddhis in Karnataka and Gujarat region who assimilated with the local people. They often follow the Islamic faith. Those who practice Hinduism follows caste rules and have assimilated with the Indian population.

 

The word Kappiri probably is derived from ‘kafir’ or non-believer in Arabic. It also means a black person. The western coast of India has many such African spirit shrines, but information about them comes from oral sources only They are a reminder of the long history of contact between India and Africa. They brought with them their own tribal beliefs and practices, which fascinated locals along with their size, strength and colour.

 

In North India, the word ‘habshi’ is used today for Africans. It is derived from Abyssinian, an ancient name for the East African coast, especially Ethiopia. Habshi is a term of derision, a reminder of India’s colour prejudice. This is reinforced in Bollywood films like Razia Sultan, where the hero merrily sports a black face to show, and in the more recent film Fashion, where the suggestion is made that intimacy with a black man indicates the worst fall for a woman. This idea is found even in the famous diasporic film Bhaji on the Beach. Fear of African man’s sexual pro- wess is a consistent theme in cultures where Africans were enslaved.

 

How various Hindu, Christian and Muslim communities of India engaged with African slaves is a great window to appreciate the dark sides of glamour-seeking Indian and Western civilizations.

 

GUARDIAN SPIRITS

 

The belief of humans, protecting treasures and returning them to descendants is also found in Hindu lore

Source – Economic times

 

Latest News
DevX Aims to Double Office Space Portfolio to 2 m Sq Ft Home Sales Continue to Rise In Spite of Higher Interest Rates Real estate market will triple in 10 years Efforts to prepare the first metro station by the end of May The authority will build 45 km long master plan roads in 7 TPS schemes. Khajrana in May, one arm of Bhanwarkuan flyover will start in June; The road to Ring Road and AB Road will be easy New Indore will be located between Super Corridor-Ujjain Road, name will be – Ahilya Nagar, 15 minute city concept like Paris – houses, markets, offices all will be at one place. Rentals for Green Offices May See Uptrend Amid Rising Demand Repo Rate Pause, Growth Outlook to Keep Housing Sales Momentum Steady Outer Ring Road; Work will start in 2 months, 11 flyovers will be built, will pass through 4 rivers, traffic load of ring road and bypass will reduce. Swamih, Nisus Fin Infuse ₹465 cr into Hyderabad Projects Development gained momentum – 255 elevators and escalators will be installed at metro stations. We Work India Leases 1.3L sq ft Space in Chennai MNCs’ India-facing Ops and GCCs Drive Office Demand Co-working Space Operators Emerge 2nd-largest in Office Leasing for First Time in Q4 Tech in property: Customers of online property deals increased by 43%, companies will invest Rs 1000 crore on AI, machine learning, blockchain. ‘Accor Should have IK Hotels in India’ EPIC Designers Buys Land in Odisha to Set Up *220-cr Mfg Unit UK’s BII Looks to Go Big on India’s Affordable Housing, MSME Sectors Bhanwarkuan flyover 70% work done, if temple site is found then one lane will start in April. NBCC Sells 480k-sq-ft Commercial Space in Delhi Project for ₹1.9k cr K Raheja to Jointly Develop Luxury Project in Mumbai Indian Housing Mkt Continues Record-breaking Sales March New four lane will be ready from Bhopal to Indore-Ujjain in two years, time will be saved SM REITs can Help Investors Bet On High-value Assets Preparation to start work on the second phase of Chandrabhaga from Jawahar Marg. Preparations to build elevated bridge reach final stage Property: 33000 crore foreign capital annually The matter related to 27 projects like city development, four lane service road, community camera policy is held on paper, officers will tell the minister today where are the obstacles. URC Construction will build the elevated metro corridor from Robot to MG Road. Building permission is not necessary for houses up to 2000 square feet. Construction will start in 6 months, claim to be built by 2026, travel will be signal free with 2 flyovers, 6 underpasses Bhive Workspace Leases 62K sq ft Office in Mumbai’s Adani Tower Realty Fund Flows into Small Town India Boom HDFC’s Realty Index Fund is Concentrated, Better for Long-term Investors Commercial property guideline rates also increased in BRTS, South Tukoganj, YN Road, RNT and Scheme 54 on AB Road. Western bypass will be built in two phases, new border of the city will be ready, Shipra will reach from Mhow via Betma, Hatod. PropShare Sets Sights on Over lk cr Warehousing Assets Under Management Six lanes worth Rs 81 crore… For Mahunaka intersection flyover, the road from Gangwal bus stand to collector office will be 45 meters wide. Rx Propellant Leases 1.3L sq ft R&D Facility to GVRP for 162 cr IHCL Announces Grand Taj Hotel Venture in Indore: A Milestone in Central India’s Hospitality Landscape 15 metro coaches parked at Gandhinagar depot… pace of work also increased Office Leasing in Major Cities Rises, Tenures Get Longer Too Realty Developer Signature Global Eyes ₹10k crore Pre-sale in FY25 Retail stores opening online brands Realty Firm Macrotech Launches QIP to Raise over ₹3,000 crore All four flyovers including Khajrana, Bhanwar Kuan will be ready this year. Mahindra Lifespaces Looking to Build ₹45k-cr Biz Pipeline Work started on planning of fourth IT park, the hotel being built in the third will also be big. Excavation begins for underbridge at MR-10 junction Magicbricks Launches Guide to New Projects in Key Cities Pleasant picture of new Indore… 71 year old flyover will connect the entire city Leisure Hotels Draws Up Plans to Expand to 100 Properties by ’30 Testing will be done through boring at 60 places for the elevated bridge. As Goa’s MOPA Airport Takes Off, Realtors Make a Smooth Landing New railway station will be developed for Rs 474 crore, seven storey modern building will be built. Progress report of 4 bridges • Bhanwarkuan bridge will be ready by June, Footi Kothi by August and Lavkush by October. IL&FS Puts Over 5 L sq ft GIFT City Assets on Sale Workspace Interior Firms See Big Business in Smaller Towns Luxury Hotel Chains All Set to Unveil Branded Housing Projects in India INFRA BOOST To invest ₹1,200 cr in project spread over 2.8 m sq ft Indore-Ujjain with six lanes and two new roads Realty Booms in Maximum City as Tata, Reliance Keep on Shopping Motilal Oswal Alts Raises ₹1,250 cr for Sixth Realty Fund Indian Office Market to Surge on Foreign Firms’ GCC Push In New India, Offices Buzz in Fresh Homes Work on doubling the Singapore Township Underbridge begins All five slabs of Rau Junction flyover are ready Realtors Tie up with Owners as Land Prices Zoom Embassy REIT Meets Full-year Guidance in Q3 Metro in the central region will run in an 8.5 kilometer long underground tunnel. Sunteck Inks Pacts to Develop SoBo, Bandra Projects Luxury Brands Lease More Space as India Goes Premium Metropolitan City Action Plan: Vertical development on both sides of Metro Ring, BRTS, residential-commercial high-rises and also new markets. 4 I-bus stops, smart signal devices also on the way to Satyasai, Niranjanpur flyover, guidelines will be decided after survey. Most of the marking work for metro corridor completed 100 feet wide road will be built till Super Corridor via Chhota Bangarda There will be a separate tender process for the station building of Lakshmibai Nagar. Preparations started to build Eastern Ring Road, tenders worth Rs 2200 crore called Forbes Global Plans 11 m sq ft Realty Projects in Mumbai, Delhi and Goa Three transit oriented development corridors proposed on metro network in Indore, with mixed land use in 500 meter width, will get the benefit of additional FAR. There will be dividers on the elevated bridge, not footpaths Three special corridors around the metro network in Indore…! 500 square feet maps will be passed in the smart city with a normal fee, the Western Ring Road will be elevated from Chandan Nagar to Airport Road. MR-10 bridge will be made eight lane… agency decided UP Govt Plans to Set Up ‘New Ayodhya’ City on 1,000 Acres High Street Retail Set to Take Off Big Navi Mumbai Realty to Get a Boost from Trans Harbour Link Abhinandan Lodha, Leela Plan Luxe Hotel in Ayodhya More Offices May Look to Turn Green Final preparations for the first phase of metro… launchers will be added between Rasoma’ and Radisson… pillars One thousand more acres of land will be included in Pithampur Smart Industrial Township 800 trees are becoming a hindrance in the metro route project, land is needed to proceed with the work through robot intersection. Rig roads will be constructed in all major cities including Indore, government will spend Rs 10 thousand crore on infrastructure in 5 years Home Sales Surge to a New Record in 2023 Housing Affordability Sees Improvement Across Cities India Inc Sets Up Transformation Offices to Guide Complex Projects Fifteen overbridges in Indore next year Phuti Kothi overbridge worth Rs 55 crore is being built at the fastest speed Godrej Prop Eyes ₹3kcr Top Line from New Project Property Values in Top Cities See Highest Appreciation in a Decade ‘Housing Affordability may Improve Next Yr’ Air India Leases Around 6.2 L sq ft in Gurugram for Training Centre New colonies and townships of Sanchi will also come under the ambit of Sanchi milk in Indore. Delhi-Mumbai Expressway by 26 January. Indore-Ahmedabad Highway will be connected to Panattoni Plans to Invest over €100 m in Indian Property Market Flexible Office Space Market Set for Big Growth in India Delta to Invest ₹100 crore in Peninsula Land Metro line will be laid over the railway line.. steel girder reached Hiranandani Group Ventures into Property Development Management Rs 4 crores. Sales of more expensive luxury homes doubled in 9 months Steps towards metropolitan: Indore: Industries doubled in 12 years, per capita income increased five times in 16 years Multimodal transport hub will connect two ends of the city with metro station. Metro speed: 33 kilometer ring will be completed in 2026, metro will reach Ujjain in Sihastha of 2028 Lakhs of saplings will be planted, that is why it has been named Green Corridor.65 km green Indore will build corridor development Authority Rents in 13 major cities grow 22.4% in July-Sept Metro took the launcher for construction of turn track on Ring Road Chalet Plans to Invest ₹300 crore in New Luxury Hotel at Delhi Airport Mumbai’s Luxe Housing Market on a Song The bridge is waiting for the road… only ten percent work left… RIL Plans to Invest *20k cr More in Bengal in Next 3 Years: Ambani Everest Food Promoter Buys 73-cr Luxury Flat in Mumbai Indians Dethrone British in Dubai Real Estate Market The scope of green building is increasing in India, Bengaluru is at the forefront. India Top Scorer in Asia-Pacific For Consumer Goods Biggies Realtors Put a Lock on Festive Offers Amid High Demand Brookfield Properties Refinances 2.1ker Debt 9 pillars of Footi Kothi Bridge constructed, pier caps being installed Godrej Properties on Track to Exceed Full-year Guidance on Robust Demand Metro construction work completed till Radisson Institutional investment in realty increased by 82% in 3 months till September Sales of luxury homes doubled in Delhi-NCR Robust Demand in Major Cities Keeps Indian Office Market Busy Oberoi Realty Sells its Entire Stake in Pune Township Project JV India ‘Priority Market’, M&S Accelerates Store Expansion Understand the legal implications before taking a loan against property Retail space lease increased by 46 percent in just 9 months Office Space Offtake all Set to Boom One and a half km long three layer flyover will rest on 8 pillar and 3 RE walls. Property Market Scales New Heights in Mumbai Bhoomipujan of bridge and inauguration of swimming pool at Lavkush intersection on 30th September Survey of private properties started for Metro underground track on MG Road, seven stations to be built here 84% OF 2,181 ACRES ALLOCATED FOR HSG IN OVER A YEAR Experion Buys 3 NCR Plots in Rs1.1Kcr Deal 20 more colonies will be legal, a guest house will be built for relatives of patients in MYH, and the road will be wide for the Mhow Naka bridge 85% increase in PE investment Indore’s master plan will be made only for 2041 Prestige Pockets SoBo Land for over Rs704 cr ‘Global Capability Centres Boost Indian Office Leasing’ Bhanwarkuan, Khajrana, Footi Kothi and Lavkush intersection on Monday Gift City to Deepen India’s Integration with Global Finance Carbon’s social cost is upto three times higher than estimated Yearning playgrounds ‘Capital of Sports’ REAL ESTATE FIRMS STUCK IN INSOLVENCY ‘India’s Seeing a Consumption Boom’ Intel to Sell Bengaluru Office and Lease it Back Transport complex in new loha mandi INDORE METRO TRIAL RUN UPDATE Country’s second largest ring road will be built in Indore MALLS WORRIED OVER THINNING FOOTBALLS AT MULTIPLEXES KAPPIRI, HABSHI AND AFRICAN SLAVE GODS THREE MODELS OF STARTUP COMPLEX ROCHE INDIA ARM PICKS UP 2L SQFT ON LEASE Road from Ringnodiya to Dakachya will be built by recycling method, Indore, Ujjain-Dewas will get link Retailers, eateries expand play to cash in on rising demand Cognizant Renews Two Lease Deals For Pune Office Space Preparation started for the Three Bridges to be built on the Bypass. Ward- wise Masterplan to be released: Three model roads planned between Navlakha and Teen Imli Over 80 flyovers planned for Indore, second only to Surat Footi Kothi Bridge Planned to be built in 18 months A Thirty Five Storey complex dedicated to startups to be built in the Business Hub Indore Pithampur will get a green field city project and 1000Cr to develop 200 Feet deep tunnel being built near Simrol, Bherughat , will reduce distance by 5 km Indore on track to become the ultimate Flyover City Tender to be issued for elevated track of Metro from Robot-Bengali Chauraha to Palasia