Africans in India: From Slaves to Generals and Rulers” An Exhibition
India and Africa have a shared history in music, religion, trade, arts and architecture. Although one most commonly associates slavery and the African Diaspora with the transatlantic slave trade and the Americas, many Africans travelled to India as traders and slaves, and then settled down to play an important role in India's vibrant history.
The exhibit was inaugurated on 21 March, by Dr. Kavita Sharma, President, South Asian University. The exhibition which is on display at Akbar Bhavan in Chanakyapuri, New Delhi will continue until 31 March.
Dr. Sylviane A. Diouf, Director of the Lapidus Center for the Historical Analysis of Transatlantic Slavery at the Schomburg Center and one of the curators, says Africans were successful in India because of their military prowess and administrative skills. "African men were employed in very specialised jobs, as soldiers, palace guards, or bodyguards; they were able to rise through the ranks becoming generals, admirals, and administrators," she says. The exhibit also explains that their success was also a testimony of the open-mindedness of Indian society in which they were a small religious and ethnic minority, originally of low status.