India:- First settlement of Baddibou
Wednesday, May 02, 2012
edition of your weekly history corner, ‘Know your Towns and Villages’, we will
be featuring tales of a small community in Upper Baddibou, not far from the
region's commercial centre, Farafenni. This community is perhaps little known
in the history of Baddibou and The Gambia at large, but a close encounter with
the indigenes of the community reveals some astonishing historical facts.
Even though the community did not play much role in the country's early history, particularly with contact of the outside world, it reserves still the prestige as the first settlement of a land that would later be known as Baddibou. It is also the community that first carved the root of kingship in the land. This community is none other than the village of India. So please read on to discover the tales of the historical rite of passage of the community.
chat with the current elders of the community of India, we could not ascertain
the meaning of the name of the community and how it came about. Sources blamed
most of the missing facts of their oral tradition on age and evil of death
which has snatched away the elders who were fortunate to witness the unfolding
of history. But the elders of the community believed that the name India, which
could have been choosing by its founders, has been in use since the founding of
the settlement. Another version of the tales say the actual name of the
community is ‘Kindia’ and the new name of India is the prostituted version.
community was also said to be in its second settlement, the first is now called
India Tumbung. Sources say it lies on the outskirts of Jimansari. The sources
further revealed that the settlement of India was the first in a land that
would later be known as Baddibou. The name Baddibou is said to be a Mandinka
phrase, 'Bading Bung,' meaning a family house.
founding of the community began from the East where a Soninke warlord known as
Sankalang Marong migrated from in search of the treasures of life. Stories
abound that he entered the Gambia valley through Mbumano and relaxed under a
big mango tree (Dutajubaa) before temporarily settling at a place that was
later referred to as Sankalang by the indigenous people.
Sankalang Marong later
moved further inland to permanently establish a settlement of his own, a
settlement that is known today as India. Our sources revealed that during that
period of the migration of this Soninke warlord to establish the settlement of
India, what later became Baddibou was a virgin land of thick forest cover.
Sankalang erected the pillars of his settlement, he decided to set fire to the
virgin forest to establish the length and size of his settlement for posterity.
The fire burnt through the forest for days until it was finally extinguished by
the river that flows through Kerewan. When Sankalang Marong went to where the
fire had stopped, he built a well (Kolong) near the river so that when his
children do not have water, they could drink from it. This well is now known by
the people of Baddibou as ‘Kambi Jaasey Konlon’ and sources say it is situated
on the outskirt of present day Suwareh Kunda.
explains why it is often said among the people of Baddibou that the land from
'Dutajubaa' to 'kambi Jaasey kolong', is owned by the Marongs from India. Sources
went on to advance that when the settlement of India was fully established,
Sankalang Marong went back to bring his family and the traditional regalia of
kingship from the eastern part of the sub region.
This made him the first king of the land of Baddibou,and his lineage line of authority continued to reign over the people until European intrusion destroyed the good -old tradition. The descendants of Sankalang, sources noted, in the later part of history ,also established settlements of their own , which has resulted to the division of the land of Baddibou into five 'kabilos', Jimansari, Kubandari, India and Jajally.
Aborigines and expansion
earlier stated, Sankalang Marong who migrated from the eastern part of the sub
region founded the community of Baddibou India. He transformed the virgin
forest into an enviroment condusive for human habitation, and people began
migrating from left, right and centre to come and join in the enjoyment of the
treasures of the new home.
Though the India community still relatively remains a small community containingt only two wards (kabilos), it hosted many migrants who been accredited with the founding of many of the settlements that make up the land of Baddibou.
tradition demands, the founder of the land became the alkalo, which made Morang
to assume the alkaloship since they are the founders. Till today, the community
of Baddibou India still upholds the traditional hierarchical order in which
authority passes on from father to son. This is why the seat of alkaloship is
in the house of Marong Kunda with succession based on age.
During the days of the founder himself, traditional governance was based of kingship.Ssources say that he was the first to wear the gown of traditional kings in the land of Baddibou and his ruling coincided with reigning of King Jifarang Koto at Batelling in Kaing and Jaranka Jaasey Bana in Jarra.
Just like any other indigenous community, the settlement of India did not do without the practice of indigenous culture and tradition. According to our sources, the community operationalised the African philosophy that puts emphasis on age. Young folks gave maximum respect to elderswho reciprocated.
Social events like wrestling, circumcision, among others, were highly observed. Our sources also pointed out ritual sites, like 'Taborabaa' where peopleperformed ritutals and prayers to overcome their plight were accompanied by drumming, singing and dancingd demand for needs like water (rain).
Author: Gibairu Janneh