NEW BOOK: A Certain Grace: The Sidi, Indians of African Descent by Ketaki Sheth

Jun 24, 2013 • Art, IndiaNo Comments

560038_560300724001242_1662447540_n“Ketaki Sheth has an unerring eye for the affective details, an enviable instinct for visual rhythms, and, as the title of this beautiful book has it, ‘a certain grace.’ She draws us into the lives of others in such a humane way that we come to understand that they are not so other after all”
– Teju Cole

A Certain Grace: The Sidi, Indians of African Descent is a new book by Indian photographer Ketaki Sheth that profiles a small community of Indians of African descent.

While traveling through a remote area in a Gujarat forest, Ketaki Sheth first came across the Sidi by chance. Initially they were weary of her, but she soon gained their trust and over a course of 5 years formed a relationship with the families which caused her to document her encounters which are featured in the new 88-page book.


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Very little is known about the Sidi but historical studies show that the group settled in India through East African (Mozambique) slavery and military. There is said to be a population of around 75,000 Sidi living in Gujurat, with fewer number’s located in Goa.

Although most have never been to Africa, there are still ties to their ancestry such as a common dance that they perform called Goma (taken from the Swahili word ngoma meaning ‘drum and dance’ and some exorcism ritual which are said to originate from Africa.


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The book is published by Delhi-based publishing firm Photoink and available to buy at Amazon.

Image Source: Photoink and The Economist.

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