Monday, January 26, 2009

Siddis dance to Obama tune

Siddis dance to Obama tune
Times of India

RAJKOT: As Barack Obama took oath as United States' first Black president on Tuesday, Siddi Badshahs broke into "Dhamal" dance in their villages to  
mark the historic event taking place thousands of miles away from Gujarat.

Siddis, who belong to Sudan's Masai tribe, are mostly found in three villages on the outskirts of Gir forest, the only abode of Asiatic lions. They are settled in these villages since their arrival from Africa many centuries ago.

Jambur, Sirvan and Rasulpara villages were seized by euphoria and what better way to celebrate than "Dhamal" dance. The youths danced to the beats even as elders in Siddi tribe were glued to the television sets to witness the swearing-in ceremony of Obama.
For them it was a symbol of triumph of Black people, who suffered torture and humiliation for centuries in US, but never let self doubt seize them. The fact that a descendant of a Black immigrant took the sacred oath to become the most powerful man in the world was a moment which had no parallel in their lives. They were able to connect with Obama and his becoming commander-in-chief of US was a matter of gratification for each and every member of Siddi community.

Some of the Siddis, who have moved into Rajkot from Jambur, also had a "Dhamal" time. "We danced to celebrate the occasion and also distributed sweets," said Allarakha Mukindo. "We are proud of the achievements of Obama and boxer Mohammed Ali," he said.

"Earlier, we had our settlements near Gir forest. However, now for better prospects, many members of the community have migrated to Junagadh, Rajkot and Ahmedabad," said Javed Makavana, who also hails from Jambur village.

President of Junagadh District Tribal Conference Ahmed Bhalia said, "Siddi community members gathered at Nagarchi Dargah on Tuesday to pray for the long life of new American president."

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