HYDERABAD: A pall of gloom descended over the city on Tuesday as thousands of Shias and many Sunnis took out processions in which participants indulged in khooni maatam (self-flagellation leading to bloodletting) to mark the 10th day of Muharram. This Muharram is also significant because, this year Sudha Rani, an elephant from Bijapur in Karnataka carried the ‘alam’, and not the local Rajani.
The procession started around 1 pm from Bibi-Ka-Alawa in Dabeerpura, which houses the alam — a piece of the wooden plank upon which Fatima, the daughter of Prophet Mohammed was given ablution before her burial. It then proceeded towards Kadam-e-Rasool, which houses the impression of Prophet Mohammed’s feet, brought from Madina during the time of the Nizams.
It then stopped for a while at Purani Haveli and nearby Aza Khana-e-Zohra where the kin of the Asaf Jahis gave offerings to the standard. During the Nizam’s time, diamonds were offered to the standard.The procession also went to the Charminar, where city Police Commissioner Anjani Kumar made an offering to the standard.
Apart from that it also stopped at the Alawa-e-Sartauq in Darulshifa, which is exclusively set aside for women from the Shia community to catch a glimpse of the alam. Darulshifa was a royal hospital built in 1592 by Qutub Shai king Quli Qutub Shah, and the compound houses the ashoorkhana which has a piece of the tauq (chain) that was put around Imam Zainul Abideen, son of Imam Hussain, after the Battle of Karbala.
Food and water stalls were organised at various places across the city for mourners. The police who had imposed a series of traffic curbs, kept a tight vigil and ensured that the procession went on without any untoward incident. Meanwhile, Home Minister Mohammed Mahmood Ali and others made their offerings from Mir Chowk police station. It was on the 10th day of Muharram that Imam Hussain, the grandson of Prophet Muhammad, and his family was martyred over 1,300 years ago in Karbala, in present-day Iraq.