Monday, January 29, 2007

Moharram in India: Unique rituals, boys turn into 'Tigers' to mourn Imam Husain's martyrdom [Part--I]

Ya Husain: Young boys dressed as tigers observing Muharram
The 'Sher' [young boys dressed as Tigers] are an integral part of Muharram in Central India and Vidarbha region.

Here is a photograph of the Tiger boys in Indore, a city in Madhya Pradesh.

Mind you, they are all Sunnis. Not the Shias, who are supposed to be more fervent in observing the Muharram rituals.

Though a section among Sunnis these days are quite prompt in terming them as 'bidah' [innovation in religion or wrong practices], this aspect of Muharram has always fascinated people from various cross-sections of society.

Many Hindus consider it auspicious to see the Tazia and take their children along with the procession. The children are made to pass under the Tazia. It is another matter that many mainstream Muslims raise eyebrows at the mention of these practices.

While the Shias stick to Azadari and carry alams, the Sunnis [mostly poor ones] and non-Muslims, mostly Hindus, construct tazias that are replica of Imam's Rauza. The tragic events of the battle of Karbala are recounted during the processions that are taken out on the tenth of Islamic month of Muharram ie Yaum-e-Ashura.

Read the second part of this series: Muharram in India. At this LINK

For my post on Muharram last year:Govt's Tazia, Eunuchs and other aspects Click