Ashura, the tenth day of Muharram, was observed with mourning across the city on Saturday. Mourners in black shouted "Labaik Ya Hussain" (I am here, O Hussain) as they beat their chest to mark the martyrdom of Imam Hussain along with his companions in Karbala nearly 1,400 years ago.
Imam Hussain, grandson of Prophet Mohammed (PBUH), was martyred along with his family and followers in the battle of Karbala by the army of the then Ummayad Caliph, Yazid. Bustling streets of Bhendi Bazaar wore a subdued look to mark the day with men, women and children part of processions.
At Bhendi Bazaar, Shia Muslims took out processions around the time of actual martyrdom that had symbolism of the battle. They held Alam (sign of Imam Hussain's army), cradle of Imam's six month old son, coffin and Imam's horse among others to remind people of the day of the battle.
"He was martyred around Asar Namaz. The processions start around that time here though it can start at any given time. His martyrdom is mourned by Shia, Sunni and all who believe in humanity. In UP, many Hindus mourn his martyrdom. Processions end with another Majlis that is called Sham-e-gariba (night of the uprooted). Imam Hussain was the last one to attain martyrdom," said Maulana Ejaz Athar, a Shia cleric who gave the Majlis at Masjid-E-Iranian (commonly known as Mughal Masjid) before the procession moved out of the mosque and joined the one that started from Zainabiya Imambada.
"The Juloos-E-Ashura in Bhendi Bazaar has a tradition of starting from Zainabiya Imambada. Other processions follow it. We recite Nauha (sad poetry) as we proceed. They move towards J J Junction then to Noor Baug and finally end at Rehmatabad or Sonapur Qabrastan (cemetery) where a Majlis happens," said Anwar Hussain who participated in the juloos barefeet. In the juloss, people beat their chests and some even did self-flagellation that led to bleeding in some cases.
Tradition and Devotion
Syed Raees Hussain, 55, who lives in Govandi had come all the way to Bhendi Bazaar to participate in the juloos. "This is the biggest juloos of this day. I have been participating in it since childhood and come here to keep up with the tradition. Imam died to keep the din (religion) alive," said Hussain.
Participating in Juloos, said some, was their way to connect spiritually. "In today's world it is difficult to see people cry. He sacrificed his life for us and by participating in juloos, we try to tell what he did for us," said Samar Abbas, 22 year old who had come barefoot to participate.
Mourners eat little food throughout the day. "We eat in the Imam's memory and distribute food and water too in his memory. All Muslims do this today in his memory," said Syed Ali Hasseem who stood at a water stall distributing people water.