Out of Africa, desi Sidis become global bouncers
The Times Of India
AHMEDABAD: The Siddi Badshahs from Gir — people of African descent who settled in Gujarat centuries ago — have now become bouncers.
Transforming Sidis as African bouncers is a win-win situation both for security agencies and Sidi youths as the former get cheap 'international' security while the latter gets good side-income.
Sidis, known for their energetic folk dance 'Dhamaal', a broad expression for riot and disturbance, are now ensuring that the audience around celebrities does not resort to any 'dhamaal'.
While a recent study conducted by African banker Farida al-Mubrik certified that 75,000-odd Sidi migrants from Africa are now 99.99% Gujaratis, Sidi youth are hired at a premium here and dressed in security uniforms complete with aviators, to paint a picture of beefed-up international bodyguards straight from Africa.
A group of 10 such Sidi Badshahs from Jhambur village near Talala town of Gir has come to the city to guard celebrities and guests at a wedding. These youths have got express instructions not to talk to guests and invitees. The mute diktat follows the fetish of local event organizers to hire African bouncers. If these youth — whose mother tongue is Kathiawadi-Gujarati — speak their colloquial accent, they will betray they are cent percent desi and not foreign.
Organizer Yasin Malek - an MCA student from Veraval - does not want them to be identified as local Africans from Gir and Junagadh. "We taught them a few crisp words and phrases in English. Anything more, they are trained to say 'talk to him' by pointing finger at me," he said.
Transforming Sidis as African bouncers is a win-win situation both for security agencies and Sidi youths as the former get cheap 'international' security while the latter gets good side-income. "We started work as bouncers nearly six months ago. This is our fourth trip to Ahmedabad. We get work in Mumbai too. We command respect from people as security men which feels good," said one of the bouncers, Munir Hajibhai.
Mohammed Imtiyaz Mashgul recalled their experience when they were deployed to escort the legendary composer Yanni during the Vadfest in Vadodara, "We went to the airport to receive Yanni. We got as much attention, if not more, than Yanni from the crowd," he said.