Thursday, July 18, 2013

Who ARE these Fakirs?? Rome's Mysterious Street Performers!

Street performers with Colosseum in background. Via Fori Imperiali, Rome, Italy.

How do those fakirs do that??
 These guys just started showing up in Rome this spring. Now they're all over town all of a sudden! i encountered three sets of them in one walk from the via Fori Imperiali entrance of the Roman Forum to Piazza Venezia the other day!!
My clients while i am doing tours ask me lots of questions about them.

"Is that real??"
"How does he DO that??"
"Who are those guys??"

And, are they Muslim Fakirs or Hindu Baba / Sadhus??

"Well, they do appear to be meditating," i tell them. "Meditation can make us really powerful, i know that."

Though this never has anything to do with anything i've been hired to tell them about, they tend to want more explanation than that.

So: Since they are wearing that saffron-orange color and sit in meditation postures indicates that they are either Hindu Babas or Muslim Fakirs. 

Hindu Baba doing yoga in Rishikesh, India. Photo by my friend Kathryn.
These are basically the same thing - ascetic, mystical branches of each of those faiths that emphasizes meditation and often performs mysterious, impressive, or miraculous feats.

They sure look like the Babas i often saw and met in India, as in this photo from Rishikesh.

Hindu Babas / Sadhus in their church/home, Haridwar, India
In Haridwar also i met a group of priests dressed just like these street performers in Rome, but they were Hindu sadhu babas!

When i searched i found very few pictures of Muslim Fakirs. i guess they're camera shy. But of the very few i could find, i did not find any dressed in these distinctive saffron robes. So i think these guys in Rome are representing themselves as Babas / Sadhus 
(whether or not they happen to be Bangladeshi Muslim men ;-) ) 

But the question remains: How do they DO that??

Before. (Babas setting up in Rome)

Well, personally i believe in magic, so i wouldn't be bothered to find an explanation generally. But i have of course figured it out.

i'm not going to tell you though. They're good performers, trying to make they're living, their magic's their magic ;-) Sorry.

After! Voila, ecco Babas!!
But i will give you two hints. First check out how they set themselves up - they appear, voila!, suddenly, with the help of an assistant, from under that black cloth.

Second, in this final pic, check out the slope of the bottom guy's shoulders.

That's it, those are my hints. And remember, magic is as good an explenation as any!! :-)

Hari om;-)

All photos by author unless otherwise stated.


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