Sunday, 27 July 2008
Sidi URS..African Indian Community in Mumbai
For some in Mumbai, the last weekend of July will be a time to party. There will be dancing in the streets, mutton biryani and, if the celebrations of the preceding years are anything to go by, frenzied, trance-like revelry that will start at 11pm and won’t stop until dawn. The Sidis’ drumming patterns and dances that accompany the music resemble African forms
It’s an exclusive affair; you can watch but not participate. The annual Sidi Urs is open only to Sidis, a tiny community whose ancestors came to India as traders, slaves and mercenaries from across Africa starting from at least the thirteenth century. Now clustered in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, roughly 500 of them reside in Mumbai.
The Gori Pir dargah in Sidi Mohalla is an unimposing shrine in the Muslim suburb of Dongri. But this decrepit Sufi shrine, with its curious antique musical instruments, is a very special place: it is where the Sidis, the city’s little-known community of African-Indians, worship.
Despite the hardships they face, the Sidis are a proud, adaptable people who have a huge capacity for happiness
The name "Bombay" was derived from 'Bom Bahia' (The Good Bay),
.... a name given by Portuguese sailor Francis Almeida, in 1508 ....“Bounce back Mumbai” .....as it is called by the locals, it is a city that has been through a lot in the recent past – floods, bomb blasts, riots – and come out stronger each time.
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