East Delhi's Jagdish Prasad is waiting to join Tazia making and other Muharram preparations

Story by  ATV | Posted by  Aasha Khosa | Date 08-07-2024
A British era painting depicting Muharram procession in India (Courtesy: Dawn)
A British era painting depicting Muharram procession in India (Courtesy: Dawn)


Imran Khan/New Delhi

Muslims across the world are welcoming the year 1446 Hijri today as it marks the first month –Muharram - as per the Islamic Calendar. Muharram’s 10th day is observed as a day of mourning in commemoration of the martyrdom of Prophet Muhammad’s grandson Imam Hussain and his army comprising men and women in the battle of Karbala (Iraq) on the 10th day, which falls on July 17 this year

As the Islamic first month begins, Jagdish Prasad eagerly awaits joining preparations for the Muharram procession in his area, Block 27, Trilok Puri area of East Delhi.

He told Awaz-theVoice that he has been taking part in the Muharram procession and making Tazia since his childhood.

Jagdish Prasad, who hails from the Gonda district of Uttar Pradesh, told Awaz-the Voice that he has been associated with Muharram and Tajia as a child as he helped people in rituals and observance of the 10 days of mourning, mainly by the Shia Muslims. He also joined the Ashura procession carried out by the Shia Muslims.

He said, “I have never made any distinction between Hindus and Muslims. I grew up among Muslims. Holi, Diwali, Eid, Muharram, every festival has been a means of happiness and entertainment for me. Our father Kishan Lal never stopped us from participating in any festival. Even he took care to visit the houses of Muslim neighborhoods at every festival.

Kishan Lal left the village in 1990 and settled in Block 27 of Trilok Puri where he set up a bookstore. “I started canvassing work for my father’s business and I continue it till today.”

Jagdish Prasad and his father Krishan Lal

Jagdish Prasad says that when we came to Delhi, we saw an Imambara in front of their house. “It was very small at that time. Now it’s a big place. Earlier, only a small procession was taken out on Ashura. I was regular with these mourning processions and also joined in making Tazia,” he says.

I used small bamboo sticks to make Tajia in the village. I do the same work here as well. I don't know how to use different coloured clothes or polythene to decorate Tajia, but I help others to make Tajia look good.

My friends Ravi and Qasim Ali decided that we would collect donations from people every Muharram so that we could also make a big Tazia. Ravi and I started collecting donations for the Tazia from Hindus. In the beginning, few people used to donate, but now about 50 families have joined in.

There are only a few houses of Shia Muslims in Trilok Puri's 27 blocks, due to which there is no big crowd on the Muharram procession. Therefore, the Tazia of 27 blocks is carried by people of Shia, Sunni, and Hindu communities.

Intezar Hussain, head of the Muharram Committee of Trilok Puri 27 Block, told Awaz that Muharram processions started in Trilok Puri 27 Block in 1980. Intezar Hussain, an Inspector in the Crime Branch of Delhi Police, took the initiative on this.

Intezar Hussain says that in the beginning there were only a few Shia people, so Muharram was observed but no procession was taken out. “Gradually we started with a small procession, and soon many people joined and the procession kept on growing.”

Intezar Hussain said that we do not play any games in the procession, we take out the procession in a peaceful manner. People from every section have also helped in expanding our Imambara.

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The route of the procession starts from Trilok Puri 27 Block passes through Mayur Vihar Phase 1 and ends at Kotla Karbala. There is almost no police presence in our procession. The reason for this is that there is no display of arms. That is the main reason that Hindu people join our Tazia.