19 October, 2020

Through Rhythms Of Goma

Not a passing journalistic encounter, these photographs have deep empathy and an air of wistfulness

Through Rhythms Of Goma

With deep empathy and an air of wistfulness, photographer Ketaki Sheth’s latest book, A Certain Grace, records the life of the Sidi community of western India. It depicts and documents these Indians of African origin who were brought here in many batches over several centuries to serve feudal and colonial rulers and have since rooted themselves in some parts of Gujarat, Goa, Diu, Murud-Janjira, Karnataka and Hyderabad.

Known variously as the Sidi, Siddhis, Seedhis and Habshis, these tall, well-built black people were originally brought from many East African countries like Ethiopia, Zanzibar, Somalia, Sudan and Moz­ambique. Over the centuries, implanted in a foreign land, they have become one racially distinct but culturally ambivalent community that makes them quite unique in several ways. According to Mah­mood Mamdani, who has written an immensely absorbing introductory essay for the book, the Sidi experience is quite different from that of other communities of African origin, like those in the US or South America, mainly because slavery was not...



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