Given proximity, its not very surprising that there has been an African presence in India from very early on.  Pakistan for e.g. has a large number of people of African origin, as does Gujarat (the Siddis).

As early as in the 13th century, Africans in India had a political presence. Apart from ruling small principalities in Janjira and Sachin, it was in medieval Deccan that they had a powerful role as military commanders and prime ministers , e.g. Malik Ambar in Ahmednagar and Ikhlas Khan in Bijapur (both from Ethiopia).  Ikhlas Khan in particular, linked as he was to the Adil Shahis, was much painted. See also [X] [X] and [X].  Pic 3 is of a lyre player, an instrument not commonly played in India but apparently common in East Africa.

The dress is similar to portraits of the time of male rulers, the jama (long tunic), shawl (worn Deccani manner), a sash/belt and tight trousers/chudidar.

There also appears to be a book on Africans in the Deccan. And also in [X].

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    Reblogging for photos but also note to self that I need that book :D
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