18 September 2018 - 12:29
News Code 83037137
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Muharram: Flag of India's historical Shiite identity

New Delhi, Sept 18, IRNA - The large Indian Shiite population due to its centuries-old axial presence in the country has developed deep roots in the society and is well-mixed up with its culture.

So, one can clearly see that the religion and concepts related to the first decade of Muharram have a special place not only among this religious minority, but also in the colorful spectrum of religions in and the general culture of India.

Like in Iran where Hussainiya is the main place for Muharram Mourning rituals, in different parts of India, especially in Shiite cities such as Lucknow, Amroha and Kashmir, there are places called 'Imambara' which coordinate Muharram ceremonies especially during the Day of Ashura.

**Rituals and traditions of Muharram
Several days before the month of Muharram, the Shiites prepare mosques and Imambara to receive mourning processions from the first day of Muharram to the end of Ashura day.

The Imambara in the city of Lucknow which is located in Uttar Pradesh state in north India is one of the biggest of the kind in the country. The historical site dates back to 400 years ago and it has been registered as India's historical places.
Beside the Rawda Khwani and other mourning traditions, peoples’ vows in the form of special dishes, is distributed among the mourners, and all participants will be served with sharbat for ten nights.

On the 9th day, commemorating Hazrat Ali Asghar is along with distribution of milk among the people.

On the day of Ashura, during the mourning that lasts from morning to night, the Shiites won’t eat and they break their symbolic fast with foods like Rice with Lentil.

Self-flagellation, Tatbir and Fire Walking are examples of mourning in Ashura in India.

**Muharram is not just for Shiite
The same kind of tolerance that brought peaceful coexistence of religions and tribes in India for centuries, will also appear in the month of Muharram.

According to 2011 Indian census figures, 79.8 percent of the Indians are Hindu, 14.2 percent Muslim, and 6 percent are followers of other religions, such as Sikhism, Christianity, Buddhism, jinnism, and so on. Hindus in India knows Ashura as the day of victory of goodness on evil, and their widespread presence at the ceremony of Muharram is the most marvelous aspect of mourning in India.

There is a sect of Hindus in India that are known as the Brahmanes of Hosseini. Rahab Singh Dutt fought with his seven sons in Karbala in support of Imam Hussein (AS). He lost all his seven sons during the war, but later he returned to India. Hosseini's Bbrahmanis are still enthusiastic about the ceremony of Muharram.

The widespread participation of Sunni people is significant at the mourning ceremony of Muharram, and Sunni groups are far more than Shiites. Sunnis gather the night of Tasoa.

Different places in India have different ceremonies. All over India, even in the villages people hold ceremony of Imam Hussein (AS). Also, those who are away from their homes, return to their homes at the beginning of the month of Muharram, and even some people return from abroad. The Indians believe that they have to mourn in their hometown.

**Historical roots of mourning traditions in India
Dr. Mehdi Khajeh Piri, an Iranian expert on Indian issues, who has been resident for more than 20 years in India, regarding the role of Iran and Iranians in the mourning ceremony of Muslims in India said: All mourning has come from Iran to India. All those who came to India from Iran, including rulers, scholars and Scientists, celebrated mourning ceremonies here. The way of mourning in India is the same as mourning in Iran, which, of course, has its own Indian style.

The Ashura ceremony has had a tremendous impact on Sunni Muslims, their culture and customs. In the mourning days, they also participate in Imambara and cries for Imam Hussein (AS).

An epic named Ashura, inspired by a small group of loyalists to the profound human concepts that had been found in the son of the Prophet Mohammed, over the centuries had produced such a will in the amazing land of India that its history and effects not only cannot be eradicated but also experiences a boom.

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