Monday, January 21, 2008

Hindus and Husain: Muharram, Yaum-e-Ashurah and composite culture in India [Communal Harmony Project-6]

See the photo on the left: A tazia in urban India, prompts a woman to nudge her husband, who stops the scooter.

She takes off her footwear, walks up to the tazia and pays her respect to the Tazia that is on its way to the main procession.

Once at the procession, most of the women who make their kids pass under the Tazia, are Hindu. Many Muslims now frown upon the practice and such rituals.

But this is Indianised Islam, a blend of Hindu and Muslim traditions. It's so easy to reject things.

Many Muslims call it a form of idolatory and of course some Hindus now object to this Islamisation of Hinduism.

But these millions of Hindus and Muslims who observe it together, also have an absolute right and a freedom to observe their faith. There is something in this soil that makes an Indian a believer.

What else explains the devotion of Hindu women who don't apply oil in their heads for the ten days of Ashura, to commemorate a battle that occurred far away in Iraq in which the Prophet's grandson sacrificed his life.

Isn't it a wonder! And then it also makes us think how, we, despite our common heritage and composite culture, turn communal and indulge in riots?