Doda: After a gap of nearly two decades, a group of people in the district have revived the practice of ‘Sehar Khawani,’ a ritual to help Muslims wake up to prepare Seheri (pre-dawn meal) during the holy month of Ramzan.
According to locals, the rising bigotry and torture by militants forced them to end the age-old practice and had to keep their month-long rituals a very low-key affair.
However, with the end of militancy and return of peace in this hilly region of the state, some youth volunteers have resumed the tradition of ‘Sehar Khawani’ this year.
A group of men or ‘Sehar Khwans’ can be seen carrying a portable loudspeaker along, reciting Quranic verses and Naat in the wee hours. ‘Sehar Khawani’ was last observed in the year 1992.
Speaking to ANI, one of the main volunteers, Naseer Ahmed Khora said, “We took a pledge to not let our old ritual fade. It was important for the youth here to know the significance of this ritual. People thank us for waking them up, even though they have gadgets.”
“It is an old ritual which was stopped due to militancy. All thanks to Allah, the practice has been revived. We are very happy now. We try to imbibe the thought in the youth about how people used to get up for Sehri 200-300 years back and we are finding success in it,” said Ishtiaq Dev, another volunteer.
Abdul Manan Banday, one of the ‘Sehar Khwans,’ said that they pray for their fellow men. “These people have resumed our old tradition. So we sing and pray for them.”
Faizan Ali, another volunteer, said that ‘Sehar Khawans’ first consume their pre-dawn meals and then wake others up.
“We wake up at 1 am and go around the streets of old Doda Town, reciting Quranic Verses. It takes almost an hour to reach every nook and corner of the locality,” he said.
Besides reviving this ancient practice, another group of young men in Doda has started serving Seheri and Iftar to poor and needy every day. They are also serving it to hundreds of patient attendants and others in the district hospital of Doda.
Eid-ul-Fitr is celebrated by sharing a delightful sweet dish Seviyan (Vermicelli) which comes under different varieties like Hath Ka Seviyan, Nammak Ka Seviyan, Chakle Ka Seviyan, and Laddu Seviyan.
All these variants can be used in the dish called ‘Sheerkurma,’ which is also made on Eid and distributed among friends and relatives.