The historic “Bibi ka Alam” procession was underway in the old city of Hyderabad on Tuesday to mark “Yaum-e-Ashura”.
Solemnity, sombreness and mourning marked ‘Yaum-e-Ashura’, or the 10th day of the Islamic calendar’s first month Muharram, marking the martyrdom of Prophet Mohammed’s grandson Imam Hussain and his followers at the battle of Karbala
Thousands of people were participating in the Bibi ka Alam procession which passed through various parts of the old city. It will conclude at Chaderghat on the banks of Musi river.
The Bibi ka Alam, believed to contain a piece of wooden plank on which Prophet Mohammed’s daughter Bibi Fatima Zehra, was given the final ablution, was carried on caparisoned elephant. After a gap of two years, the procession was held without any Covid-19 related restrictions.
The ‘Alam’ was installed over 430 years ago during the Qutub Shahi dynasty.
Groups of self-flagellating mourners were leading the procession, which started from Bibi ka Alawa in Dabeerpura.
Blood oozed out from the heads and chests of bare-chested Shia mourners who flagellated themselves with sharp-edged objects.
Amid cries of ‘Ya Hussain’ and recitation of ‘marsiya’ (elegies) and ‘noha-khwani’ (poems expressing sorrow), 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 crying and beating their chests.
The procession passed through Sheikh Faiz Kaman, Etebar Chowk, Kotla Alijah, Charminar, Gulzar Houz, Panjeshah, Mandi Mir Alam, Purani Haveli, and Darulshifa.
Police made elaborate security arrangements for the procession. Traffic was diverted at few points for the annual procession.
Police officials, leaders of different political parties and family members of Nizam, ruler of erstwhile Hyderabad State, offered ‘dhattis’ enroute the procession.
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 681 CE at Karbala in present day Iraq.
The fasting is observed on two days – ninth and 10th or 10th and 11th Muharram.
The day was also observed in various parts of Telangana in a traditional manner. Hindus also joined the processions in towns and villages.