Muharram was observed in the twin cities with a large number of youth and people of Muslim community participating.
An elephant, which was decorated for the occasion, created tension among the gathering as it lost control for a while and South Zone DCP Satyanarayana reportedly escaped unhurt. In the “Matham Rally” Shia Muslim youths were found spilling blood by slashing themselves with blades and small knives on their bare backs. Began at Bibi Ka Alam in Dabirpura area in the old city and marched towards historic Charminar by passing through the Panjesha, Yakhuthpura and other areas.
Saturday being holiday for Moharrum, most of the business establishments and shops remained closed and all the roads were seen with Bibi Ka Alam festivities amid tight security with adequate number of cc cameras. The police top brass monitored the Muharram festivities with persistent surveillance and security. There was a huge security along the rally and many of the areas through which the rally passed off peacefully. Then the officials heaved a sigh of relief. Muharram rituals are all aimed at remembering the great sacrifice of Imam Hussain and his followers, who refused to bow to despotic and tyrannical authority. Poor feeding and distribution of water and juice also marked 10th day of Muharram, the first holy month of Islamic calendar. Blood oozed out from the heads and chests of hundreds of bare-chested Shia mourners participating in the historic “Bibi ka alam” procession 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 an elephant.
The procession passed through various parts of the old city including historic Charminar, with thousands of people, irrespective of religion and caste, standing along the roads to pay their respects.
Prominent personalities, including politicians, police and civil officials and family members of Nizam, the ruler of erstwhile Hyderabad State, made offerings to the ‘alam’ at different places. After covering a distance of seven kilometre, the procession culminates after the sunset at Chaderghat on the banks of Musi river. Water and ‘sharbat’ were distributed from stalls set up at various places in the old city.
Elaborate security arrangements were in place for peaceful and smooth conduct of the procession. 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 for the procession. 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 “alam” also contains six diamonds and other jewellery donated by Mir Osman Ali Khan, the seventh and last Nizam. Hyderabad has about 200,000 Shias, the second largest population of the community in India after Lucknow. Muharram was also observed in various parts of Telangana and neighbouring Andhra Pardesh in the traditional manner. (NSS)