Bachu Asharam looks like Amitabh Bachchan and his salon looks like a mini-India Ethiopia.
Indian-origin Bachu Asharam is a 72 year old barber in the eastern Ethiopian city of Harar. He’d perhaps have gone unnoticed had he not looked just like iconic Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan. This fascinates people and they throng his salon, the interiors of which look like a mini India.
Asharam hails from Gujarat, the same state to which Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi belongs. He and his father had come to Ethiopia 60 years ago, in search of job and money. Soon, the duo set up this salon, which claims Asharam, has even hosted personalities such as Teferi Mekonnen, who ruled the country in the Horn of Africa from 1930 to 1974 and Mengistu Haile Mariam, a former army officer, who headed the government from 1977 to 1991.
“My father would get 150 Ethiopian dollars for cutting the king’s hair, which was a lot of money back then because the Ethiopian dollar was equal to US dollar, after cutting the hair of the king,” recalls Asharam.
Posters of Bachchan, other Indian political leaders like Mahatma Gandhi and past prime ministers Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi adorn the walls of his salon.
Asharam has visited India a couple of times but never “wanted to stay there” because of his affinity with Ethiopia and Harar.
“I only regret that I have never applied for Ethiopian citizenship,” he says.
Asharam is quite famous in the city’s, and people throng his salon to know more about India, Bollywood films and cine stars.