First Iraqi cultural festival celebrated in Lucknow

By Syed Hasan Zia Rizvi,,

Lucknow: On the occasion of birth anniversary of Imam Hazrat Ali, a delegation from the Holy Shrine of Hazrat Abbas of Iraq started five day long first annual cultural festival at Bada Imambara in Lucknow from 23 May to 27 May.

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The festival aims to bridge the relations between Indian and Iraqi culture and to highlight the great cultural heritage of Iraq. It witnessed multitude of visitors and participants.

Prominent Shia Cleric, Maulana Kalbe Jawwad inaugurated the exhibition, which displayed the images and documentaries related to Shrines in Iraq and several books was also presented to the people.

Department of the Intellectual and Cultural Affairs of the Shrine organized the festival with the help of some Indian volunteers and translators. They translated many books and illustrated children magazines as well as a booklet about the holy shrine and a map shows the edifices in Karbala city, which were kept in the exhibition along with several pictures of the shrine.

Head of the delegation and important board member of Holy Shrine, Maulana Syed Mohammad Hussein al-Amidi said, “Lucknow and Najaf (Iraq) have good relations and lot of pilgrims visit the shrine every year. I visited several madarsa’s and was happy to see the valuable education being provided to the students. I hope that in future such programs will be organized and people will participate in large numbers”.

Former Governor, Jharkhand, Syed Sibte Razi said, “We live in a democratic country where the Constitution was drafted keeping in mind about humanity and humans and not based on any religion caste or creed. In recent days the terrorism has been a problem for the people of Iraq and from the same problem we are also going through. We will have to fight together against rising terrorism to ensure that all should live with peace, brotherhood across the world”.

Member of the High level four member committee of Shrine, Alhaaj Adel Jaffar Taqi said that India is country of peace and love and after coming here we did not find any difference between Iraq and India as the people here are friendly and understanding. A website through which people can know more about the Shrines in Karbala city was also launched – .

President, All India Shia Personal Law Board, Maulana Mirza Mohammad Athar said, “Iraq and Lucknow share good cultural relations. It was the love of shrine committee that they chose Lucknow for organizing such exhibition and other program which I hope they will continue to do in future.”

After facing obstacles in past, now the condition have improved in Iraq and people can visit shrines with freedom. There are still some problems in Iraq which I pray would be resolved soon, he added.

At the closing ceremony prizes were distributed to the participants of the quizzes during the 5-day fest.

Member and Administrator of Iraqi shrine committee Razzak Noor announced names of 5 participants who were chosen through the lucky draw for the free pilgrimage to Shrines of Iraq. Their names were Ibrar Hussain, Suroor Zaidi, Feroz Ali, Sultana Begum and Kamal Hasan.