Bangalore: Shia Muslims flagellate themselves during the Muharramprocession onHosur Road near Johnson Market in the City on Tuesday.
Thousands of mostly Shia Muslims converged on Hosur Road on Tuesday for the annual Yaum-e-Ashura Juloos (procession on the 10th day of Muharram), declaring solidarity with Imam Hussain – the grandson of Prophet Muhammad – and his family members who were martyred in the Battle of Karbala, Iraq, in 680 CE.
The procession began at the Masjid-e-Askari (Shia mosque) near Johnson Market and culminated at the Persian Shia cemetery, about a kilometre away.
The surrounding areas, inhabited by Shia Muslims, bustled with activity. Volunteers offered food, water and medical aid to those taking part in the procession. The whole area around Johnson Market echoed with chants of ‘Ya Hussain’ and beating of drums.
Clad in black, the participants – from two-year-olds to the elderly – flagellated themselves in mourning for the martyrs of Karbala.
According to Syed Zamin Raza, president of Anjuman-e-Imamia, over 5,000 people took part in the procession. For the first time, there were attendees from Iran, Iraq, Sudan and Arab countries. Raza said that in order to ensure peace, they did not send any special invitations to eminent personalities. Some Kashmiris were also part of the procession.
The participants carried Alams (black drapes on wooden poles with ‘Panjas’ on the top. The Alams symbolise the ancient battle standards. The recitation of ‘Nauhas’ and ‘Marsias’ (elegiac poems) filled the air.
While active participants numbered 1,000, there were about 4,000 silent attendees. Young men were seen filming the whole procession with their latest cameras.
Despite the huge crowd, there was no chaos and everything went on peacefully, the traffic police said. Barricades and signboards had been put up in most parts of the Central Business District, informing people about the traffic diversions.
Many Sunni Muslims, for their part, fasted on the day and offered prayers. In Sunni Islam, fasting on the ninth and 10th or 10th and 11th day of Muharram is considered the second-most blessed after Ramadan.