With no Muslim family, Hindus observe Muharram in Karnataka village

The villagers prepare and install a 'Panja' (means hand or palm imprints of Hazrat Ali) in the dargah, followed by a procession, a special prayer, and a puja.

Bengaluru: In a striking portrayal of communal harmony, Hindus in Harlapur village in Karnataka have observed Muharram for the past eleven years. The village has a population of 3,500 people, of which not a single person is a Muslim.

Harlapur village in Saundatti Taluk doesn’t have a single Muslim family, yet Hindu residents willingly participate in the rituals with utmost zeal and vigor. The village also has a dargah of ‘Fakeer Swamy’ that was built eleven years ago by Hindus to raise funds.

Muharram is observed every year in Harlapur village, marking the start of a new year, according to the Islamic calendar. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival was a low-level affair this time around, but in compliance with government protocols.

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The villagers prepare and install a ‘Panja’ (means hand or palm imprints of Hazrat Ali) in the dargah, followed by a procession, a special prayer, and a puja.

According to The New Indian Express, a Hindu priest performs puja (a religious cermony) on a daily basis in the dargah since its inception. The reason behind Harlapur village’s close association with Muharram is a result of the presence of a neem tree found in the dargah premises. This neem tree is believed to be a life saver for anyone suffering from a snakebite.

As per the media reports,  the villagers prepare juice using neem leaves and serve it as a remedy for snakebites. A snake bite is cured within two hours. In fact, snakebite victims from the state’s Gadag and Dharwad districts visit the dargah just for their treatment.

According to The New Indian Express, priest Goudappa Adiveppa Vakkund revealed that the community of Harlapur feels devoutely attached to Allah and have prayer during the month of Muharram to eradicate the COVID pandemic for the welfare of society.

One of the villagers, Ravi Chulaki, said that Harlapur has been celebrating Muharram for decades. There is a strong belief that wishes come true for any devotee who visits the dargah.

What is Muharram?

Muharram marks the beginning of the Islamic new year or the Hijri new year.

The first ten days of Muharram hold great significance for Muslims-especially Shia Muslims- who mourn the death of Hussain Ibn Ali al-Hussain, the grandson of Prophet Muhammad who died in the battle of Karbala in 680 AD.

The death of al-Hussain took place on the tenth day of Muharram, widely known as Ashura. It is commemorated by Shia Muslims in many ways, including the public display of mourning and a visit to the shrine of al-Hussain in Karbala, Iraq.

The day of Ashura also holds importance because it was when Prophet Nuh (Noah) left the ark and the day Musa was saved from the pharaoh of Egypt by God.

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