Thousands ignore COVID pandemic threat to participate in ‘Bibi Ka Alam’ procession

Hyderabad: For the first time in history, the historic ‘Bibi Ka Alam’ procession was taken on a van instead of an elephant, as is the tradition. Hundreds of people converged for the annual gathering in Hyderabad’s Old City to mark the annual historic Muharram procession, which was allowed with certain caveats by the city police late on Saturday night. In spite of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, mourners were out on the streets from Sunday morning to participate in the historic tradition.

Mourners self-flagellate (khooni matam) themselves during the historic ‘Bibi Ka Alam’ procession in the Old City. Photo: Mohammed Hussain

The procession started from the Dabeerpura and passed via its usual routes of Charminar-Gulzar Houz-Purani Havel-Darulshifa-Chaderghat. The procession is taken out each year on Ashura, the 10th day of Moharram, which is the first month of the Islamic calendar. Mourners also undertook the ‘khooni matam’ (self-flagellation) as well. 

People from the Shia community, who traditionally wear black during Muharram, participate in the ‘Bibi ka Alam’ procession. Photos by Mohammed Hussain 
People from the Shia community, who traditionally wear black during Muharram, participate in the ‘Bibi ka Alam’ procession. Photos by Mohammed Hussain 

The 10-day period of Moharram is observed as time of mourning to mark the death of Imam Hussain (son of Imam Ali and a grandson of Prophet Mohammed), who was killed in a battle around 680 AD, along with 73 of his followers, by Yazid, the then ruling king of the Islamic caliphate.  

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