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Showing posts from January 14, 2014

The Siddi Followers Of Baba Gor

The Siddi Followers Of Baba Gor, a photo by firoze shakir photographerno1 on Flickr.
ya baba gor
ya baba gor
a healing chant
opening Allahs door
siddi resurgence
siddi pride siddi
hope and more
from africa zulu
lands now settled
on indian shores
protector of the
lions of gir forest
reverberating
through a roar

The Last Stand Of The Siddis

The Last Stand Of The Siddis, a photo by firoze shakir photographerno1 on Flickr.
born in captivity
offshoot ..dying
lions my long
lasting tribute
their fightback
their resilience
photographically
poetically i salute
paused eternity
mocks humanity
irrefutably mute
the siddis silent
funereally astute

The Siddis Condemned To A Greater Hell On Earth

The Siddis Condemned To A Greater Hell On Earth, a photo by firoze shakir photographerno1 on Flickr.
made to mimic
the zulu warriors
on mumbai street
the siddis of noble
african parentage
i chanced to meet
at the holy saints
urus ..a spiritual
meet ..agony bitter
sweet ..in his eyes
i saw the moment
of his defeat the siddi
his fate could not
cheat.. a lost
soul incomplete
performing for the
dumb masses
siddi dancing feet
drumming their
ancestral pain
a moment obsolete
dreams dying
in slow retreat

What All They Make The Siddis Do..

What All They Make The Siddis Do.., a photo by firoze shakir photographerno1 on Flickr.
throw money
on the floor
make them
grovel lick
it pick it up
tragedy
hardcore
a noble
african race
the lions
last roar
a fallen
meteor
lost illusions
lost essence
substance
core
brought
as slaves
once upon
time to our
shores ..
braving
their doomed
destiny some more
a destiny that has shut
all future doors ,,,
guardians of the gir
forest ..in mumbai
never more ,,
picking up notes
on all fours
never seen such
an eyesore
siddis of junagadh
gujrat ..a lion is
their states
ambassador

The Siddi Drummers of Junagadh

The Siddi Drummers of Junagadh, a photo by firoze shakir photographerno1 on Flickr.
drumbeats
invoking
the holy
saint
sounds
instead
of words
the african
heritage
of the siddis
of junagadh
held in captivity
in a cage of time
these primitive
black birds
in the land
of the Ganges
their souls
will be interred

The Siddis of Junagadh

The Siddis of Junagadh, a photo by firoze shakir photographerno1 on Flickr.
from the dense
forests of gir
they come to
mahim performing
at the urus of
makhdhoom shah
baba following a
distant dream
a forgotten race
of africa ,,enslaved
to an illusion it seems
the flesh was willing ,,
uhuru the soul screams
ya baba gor dilon ko jod
as time flows downstream

The Siddis of Junagadh

The Siddis of Junagadh, a photo by firoze shakir photographerno1 on Flickr.

once a royal race
of africa
king of the jungle
they say
bought to india
as slaves
in the gir forests
among lions
tigers they stay
their deity
baba gor
chanting
drumming away
money thrown
on the floor
acrobatically
they catch
the hard
earned way
insulted
humiliated
for a heritage
far away
called habshi
these african
tribals
of today
like clowns
in a circus
i shot them
to my dismay
at mahim urus
police sandal
i remember it
to this day

Siddis Are Indian Africans Treated Like Untouchables In India

Siddis Are Indian Africans Treated Like Untouchables In India, a photo by firoze shakir photographerno1 on Flickr.

Once of a warrior noble tribe of Africa bought to India as slaves by sea faring pirates merchants sold to the courts and to the nobility , this proud race has been bought to the level of beggary, and worse they perform at various Sufi Urus in Mumbai to survive and make money to go back to Junagadh in the forests where they live..

They follow their ancient customs , they have taken up Islam but even Islam has done nothing much for them sadly ..and so the are Sufi adherents their spiritual Saint is called Baba Gor..

Siddis is a photo documentary of their connection to Dargahs and a Flickr set shot by me..capturing their ancestral pain , ignominy and neglect by the government of Gujrat and India.

Siddi Performers at Mahim Urus

The Fall Of The African Heritage of The Siddis of Junagadh

The Fall Of The African Heritage of The Siddis of Junagadh, a photo by firoze shakir photographerno1 on Flickr.
The crowds deliriously want to see this as they throw notes money on the road and the Siddi acrobat leaps somersaults in the air to catch the flying note or retrieve it from the road , yes it is very tough for these migrants of African ancestry living in the dense forests of Gir Junagadh ,, but yes coming to Mumbai , they make good money during the Mahim Urus they keep this money with a person in Mahim whom they trust and once the Urus gets over they return to the forests with their pot of Gold..

I am shamed by what the Miya Mahim public makes them do , but than the Show must go on , and I have not shot the Siddis for several years now ,, all this was shot in 2009 ,,, at Mahim Urus ,,,

Doing The Kaif With The Siddis Of Junagadh at Mahim Urus

Doing The Kaif With The Siddis Of Junagadh at Mahim Urus, a photo by firoze shakir photographerno1 on Flickr.
Kaif is a spiritual Sufi trance and it occurs suddenly , certain beats of the drum hypnotize you on the spot ,you go into fits , in a serious way it is these beats that cause Hazri, or an outside source enters your mind and consciousness .. for me the chant of Ali , or words to that effect push me to the brink, I lose all my senses , and sometimes have fainted on the streets during Urus time at Sandal processions ,, I have fallen on the floor with my camera , on my head , and lived to tell the tale , on one such Sandal procession a Rafaee went into a trance slashing the blade of his sword againt my stomach , tearing my tshirt but nothing happened to me than he burst out into tears and hugged me like his long lost brother ..
The Siddi beats of the drums can overpower you completely as it happened with me here I had given my camera to a friend who shot these pictures matter of fac…

Documenting The Siddis Of Junagadh Gujrat - The Forgotten Race

Documenting The Siddis Of Junagadh Gujrat - The Forgotten Race, a photo by firoze shakir photographerno1 on Flickr.
I shot the Siddis for several years , mostly at the Urus of Makhdhoom Shah Baba Mahim.. and at the Urus of Haji Malang Baba..a friend of mine Altaf Siddi who works as an actor in Bollywood , wanted me shoot them in their forest surroundings and at the various Dargahs they patronize but lack of time and financial shortcomings for this venture , did not materialize.. and frankly who really cares in India ... each one is selfish to his own needs and wants ..we as bloggers , have tried to shoot pictures show you the various ethnic groups but then the New Flickr rules stopped us midway, the closure of Pro Gift at Flickr hit me too as a few friends paid for my Pro membership and I could post pictures unlimited , now no more and several appeals in this regard to Ms Marissa Mayer have not borne fruit..

So there is less documentation of races such as these or others ..I hope they…

The Siddis of Junagadh Gujrat The Forgotten Race

The Siddis of Junagadh Gujrat The Forgotten Race, a photo by firoze shakir photographerno1 on Flickr.
The Siddis who come to perform at the Urus of Makhdhoom Shah Baba Mahim , hardly mingle with the locals , they stay in their own cluster , speaking their dialect, and smoking beedis ..smiling grinning .. and are very emotive as acrobats dancers and drummers ..
They are hired by a few Mahim families too and they perform at the Sandal procession , keeping the crowds of Mumbai entertained by their antics, the public too gives them money mostly loose change..and little kids of Mahim love them for their stylish dance moves and drum beats ..

The Siddis of Junagadh Gujrat - The Forgotten Race

The Siddis of Junagadh Gujrat - The Forgotten Race, a photo by firoze shakir photographerno1 on Flickr.

Siddis are ethnic Indo African race , the ones you see in my picture are Sufi adherents from Junagadh Gujrat , they come to Mahim , to perform as drummers and acrobatic dancers , it is a pitiable sight , seeing them leaping in the air collecting money thrown on the ground with their fish like mouths..I shot them extensively those days but than my trips to the Urus diminished as the Urus and Moharam fell at the same type .. this year I did not go to the Urus , much as I tried I was out of the city for both the Urus at Mahim.

Ever since Flickr changed its format , no unlimited uploading s I stopped shooting pictures completely ,I now let my grandchildren Nerjis 2 year old and Marziya six year old shoot the streets instead.

The Siddis are followers of Baba Gor.. and there are Siddis settled in Mumbai too ..there is a Siddi Chowk at Haji Malang too...these are pictures I shot in 2009 that …