Yaum-e-Ashura observed with procession in Hyderabad


Hyderabad : Shia Muslims in this historic city Monday observed “Yaum-e-Ashura” or 10th day of Muslim month Muharram by taking out the traditional “tazia” (mourning) procession.

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It was all black and blood as a mood of mourning pervades through the old city of Hyderabad. Cries of “Ya Hussain” rent the air as blood oozed out of the heads and chests of the bare-chest Shia mourners in the mammoth procession, known as ‘Bibi ka alam’.

Clad in black, the groups of mourners were beating their chests, remembering the martyrdom of Imam Hussain, the grandson of Prophet Mohammed, and his followers in the battle of Karbala about 1,400 years ago.

The bare-foot youths, who were holding blades and other sharp-edged weapons in their hands, flagellated themselves amid nowha khwani (elegy singing).

Thousands of men, women and children joined the traditional Bibi ka alam procession, which passed through Muslim-majority old city.

Matam or mourning started early Sunday at ashur khanas and alawas. At the historic Bibi ka alawa in Dabeerpura, hundreds of Shia mourners flagellated themselves. Later, the procession was taken out with an especially trained elephant carrying the alam or the flag, symbolising the martyrs.

Thousands lined the procession route to catch a glimpse of the alam and make their offerings. Eminent personalities including top police officers, members of former Nizam’s family — ruler of erstwhile Hyderabad state — were among those who made offerings to the alam.

Sunni Muslims too observed the day with many people fasting and various groups holding special meetings to remember the great sacrifice made by Imam Hussain and his followers. In many Muslim neighborhoods, youngsters were seen offering sharbat or special juice to passersby.

Police made massive security arrangements for the procession, which passed through the historic Charminar and other major thoroughfares in the old city.

Traffic was diverted at several points to ensure smooth conduct of the procession.

The city has an estimated 200,000 Shias, the second largest Shia population in the country after Lucknow.