HYDERABAD: Superstar Rajinikanth’s popularity spreads pan India. However, the city has its own Rajini, whose participation in the city’s highs and lows and whose occasional public appearances have made it an integral part of Hyderabad. And this too, is a heavy-weight, albeit literally. Hyderabad’s Rajini is an elephant.
On Tuesday, Rajini rehearsed for the Muharram procession, a week ahead the actual procession where devouts self-flagellate with chains and swords in remembrance of the killing of Prophet Muhammad’s grandson Hussain in the Battle of Karbala. The rehearsal procession started from Bibi-ka-Alawa, which houses the alam - a piece of wooden plank on which Syeda Fatimah, the mother of Hasan and Hussain - was given her final ablution by her husband before burial.
The alam, was brought from Karbala to yderabad during the time of the Qutub Shahis. It is on Rajini that this alam is carried, and it goes around the Old City, through Charminar, Yakutpura, Mandi Mir Alam through Panjesha, Purani Haveli, and then finally towards Chaderghat, its destination.
On Tuesday, Rajini made its journey from Nehru Zoological Park decked up in green with the crescent and half moon prominent on his forehead. The key is to keep him calm, said a participant in the rehearsal. In fact, there have been instances wherein a panicked Rajini hurt himself, if not others. In 2015, when devouts around Rajini were indulging in self-flagellation and reciting verses loudly during the procession, the elephant took it as a threat and tried to move away. The tusker had then received minor injuries.