Unity in Diversity: The Siddis of Gujarat

Unity in diversity is a concept of "unity without uniformity and diversity without fragmentation". It shifts focus from unity based on a mere tolerance of physical, cultural, linguistic, social, religious, political, ideological and/or psychological differences towards a more complex unity based on an understanding that difference enriches human interactions. A true image of unity in diversity is presented by the people of India. A wide variety can be found here in every field ranging from sports, food habits, and languages to customs and traditions, but we all are basically the same -Humans. Community Correspondent Sajid documents the lives of the Siddi community in Gujarat in his first ever video. African art & dance forms are a prominent feature at the community's celebrations of 'Urs (festival) of Nagarchibaba (a muslim deity).' 

The Siddis are descendants of the Bantu people from Southeast Africa who settled in Jambur village in Junagarh nearly 700 years ago. Since then, they have celebrated the festival with deep faith. One can see different flavors of African culture in the various dance & art forms showcased at the festival. People from all beliefs come to take part in the celebrations or witness the processions. Performances are an integral part of these processions. In one demonstration, a coconut is thrown up in the air and broken open on the head. No one, including the performer gets hurt. The community claims these and other such performances to be a demonstration of the miracles of the saint, Nagarchibaba.

 

People come here from distant regions of Gujarat, just to witness this unique tradition. One does not expect to see such amalgamation of cultures & beliefs. But then, it happens in India. 

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