Friday observed Yaum-e-Ashoora or the 10th day of the Muslim month
of Moharrum remembering the martyrdom of Imam Hussain, the
grandson of Prophet Mohammed, and his followers in the battle of
Karbala about 1,400 years ago.
While Shia Muslims in this historic city observed the day by
taking out the traditional 'tazia' (mourning) procession, the
devout among Sunnis observed fast.
Clad in black, groups of mourners beat their chests. The bare-foot
youths, holding blades and other sharp-edged weapons in their
hands, flagellated themselves amid 'nowha khwani' (elegy singing).
A mood of mourning pervaded through the old city of Hyderabad and
cries of "Ya Hussain" rent the air as blood oozed out from the
heads and chests of the bare-chest Shia mourners in the mammoth
As the day coincided with Friday prayers, police made massive
security arrangements near the places of worship and imposed
traffic restrictions for the smooth conduct of the procession.
Thousands of men, women and children joined the traditional 'Bibi
ka alam' procession, which passed through the Muslim-majority old
'Matam' or mourning started in the morning at 'ashoor khanas' and
'alawas'. At the historic 'Bibi ka alawa' in Dabeerpura, hundreds
of Shia mourners flagellated themselves. Later, the procession was
taken out with an especially trained elephant carrying the 'alam'
or the flag, symbolizing the martyrs.
Thousands including those who came from neighboring districts
lined both sides of the procession route while others were
standing on roof-tops to catch a glimpse of the alam and make
Eminent personalities including Minister for Minority Affairs
Mohammed Ahmedullah, top police officials, members of the royal
family of the Nizam, the ruler of erstwhile Hyderabad state, were
among those who offered 'dhatti' to the alam.
Sunni Muslims too observed the day with many devouts observing
fast. In many Muslim neighborhoods youngsters were seen offering
sharbat or special juice to passers-by.
During the Friday sermons in the mosques, the imams recalled the
great sacrifice made by Imam Hussain and his followers to uphold
the truth. They said the war of Karbala signifies the moral
victory of right over wrong. The imams underlined the message of
Yaum-e-Ashoora and exhorted Muslims to emulate Imam Hussain, who
sacrificed his life
rather than surrendering to the evil.
The procession passed through the historic Charminar and other
major thoroughfares in the old city.
The city has an estimated 200,000 Shias, the second largest Shia
population in the country after Lucknow.