Hyderabad, Oct 1 (IANS) “Yaum-e-Ashura” was observed with solemnity and sombreness in Hyderabad on Sunday.
It was all black and blood as a mood of mourning pervaded the lanes in the old city of Hyderabad, where the historic “Bibi-ka-Alam”, the traditional mourning procession by Shias, took place.
The day is observed in memory of the martyrdom of Prophet Mohammed’s grandson Imam Hussain and his followers in the battle of Karbala.
Muharram rituals are aimed at remembering the great sacrifices of Imam Hussain and his followers who refused to bow to despotic and tyrannical authority.
Mourning processions, meetings and fasting marked the day in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
Communal harmony marked the day as Hindus and Muslims came together in several parts of Telangana to take out “alams” in a traditional manner.
Poor feeding and distribution of water and juice also marked the 10th day of Muharram, the first month of Islamic calendar.
Blood oozed out from the heads and chests of hundreds of bare-chested Shia mourners participating in the “Bibi-ka-Alam” march and flagellating themselves with sharp-edged objects.
Amid cries of “Ya Hussain” and recitation of marsiyas (elegies) and noha-khwani (poems expressing sorrow), the barefoot youths using knives, blade-encrusted chains and other sharp-edged weapons, inflicted injuries on themselves to show solidarity with the sufferings of the martyrs. Others were seen weeping and beating their chests.
The massive procession began from “Bibi Ka alawa” with the “alam” insignia of the martyrs kept on a decorated elephant.
The “Bibi ka alam” is believed to contain a piece of wooden plank on which Bibi Fatima Zehra, daughter of Prophet Mohammed, was given the final ablution.
The “alam” was installed over 430 years ago during the Qutub Shahi period.
The procession passed through various parts of the old city and thousands of people, irrespective of religion and caste, stood along the roads to pay their respects.
Prominent personalities, including politicians, police, civil officials and family members of Nizam, the ruler of erstwhile Hyderabad state, will make offerings to the “alam” at different places.
The procession culminates after the sunset at Chaderghat on the banks of Musi river after covering a distance of seven kilometers.
Water and “sharbat” were distributed from the stalls set up at various places in the old city of Hyderabad, which has the second highest population of Shia Muslims in the country after Lucknow.
The Sunni Muslims observed the day by fasting and holding meetings to remember the sacrifices of Imam Hussain and his followers who were martyred in 61 Hijri or 680 CE at Karbala in present day Iraq.
The fasting is observed on two days – ninth and 10th or 10th and 11th Muharram.
Elaborate security arrangements were made for peaceful and smooth conduct of the procession in Hyderabad. Closed-circuit television cameras were also installed on the procession route to keep a tight vigil.
Police also imposed restrictions on traffic movement at various points in the old city.
E. S. L. Narasimhan, Governor of the two Telugu states, in his message noted that Muharram symbolizes the spirit of sacrifice which is placed above all the virtues of mankind.
He said that remembrance of goodness and sacrifice is the true meaning of Muharram.
“Let us emulate the spirit of Muharram which embodies humanism which is central to Islam.”
Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao recalled that Muharram commemorates the supreme sacrifice made by Imam Hussain.
“On this occasion, everyone should remember goodness and sacrifice as the spirit of Muharram,” he said.