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The Sidis of Gujarat: maintaining traditions and building community

Documenting Sidi History: Artistic Traditions and Community Initiatives”

Renu Modi (Mumbai, India) & Beheroze Shoff (California, US)

Documentary Film, 53 minutes. India, 2010.

University of Mumbai

The film highlights distinctive traditions of the Sidis (Afro-Indians) of Gujarat in north India. The annual urs celebration to consecrate the sacred stream at the shrine of the Sidi Saint, Bava Gor , the Khichdi (rice) ceremony to Mai Mishra (sister of Bava Gor), the Balka ceremony (where Sidi men & women are initiated as Fakirs) and the goma dance (both as spectacle and as sacred ritual), are captured. Along with the celebration and festivities, Sidis voice their concerns as they struggle to maintain their traditions and also earn a livelihood with dignity. By Beheroze Shroff (University of California, Irvine, USA) and Renu Modi (University of Mumbai, India).