As the day of Ashura, 10th day of Muharram approaches, the cities Muslims are progressing to the apex of emotions through the events leading to this day. Majlis, Niyaaz, Matam and Taziya are few of the traditional activities, which the community is engaged in, to observe the tragic events of Karbala.
The rush of mystical vibrations can be felt in Muslim populated areas; the agony of the events at Karbala being pronounced in the form of maatam (chest beating) by the member of the community on each nauha and marasiya is heard from Masjids and Majlis’ observed by the Shi’a Muslim community, both Shi’a Athna Ashari and Dawoodi Bohras.
Including the majority Sunni community of Udaipur, a fairly populated group of Shi’a Athna Ashari, known as Shi’ites also resides in the city since decades. Most of them have migrated from other states like Uttar Pradesh, and most of their traditions are much similar to the major sect except the month of Moharram, the method of observing which is predominantly different in Shi’a and Sunni sects of Islam.
Shi’aism has its own deep and rich historical lineage in India. Specifically, if we talk about Udaipur, Shi’as came to Udaipur in the mid 50’s. According to strong sources, the first Shi’a Muslim who migrated to Udaipur was Ejaz Mehdi closely followed by Syed Zamirul Hasan, a police officer posted in Udaipur. Both of them settled in the Lake City with their families.
One more person who holds an important position in strengthening the Shi’a community in Udaipur was Syed Zulfiqar Ali, well regarded as one of the first Shia Muslims to settle in Udaipur.
Although being less in number, the Shi’as of Udaipur having kept their tradition alive, are living in harmony among the majority Sunni Muslims and today, they hold a significant and respectable position among the entire Muslim community of Udaipur.
A Shi’a Imambada constructed in 1958, a place of religious and social gatherings is situated at Hathipol, near Ajanta Hotel. It was re-constructed in year 2002 into a huge Masjid, and is the only Masjid specifically for the Shi’a community.
While the majority of Muslims will observe the Chaddi procession today on the 7th day and 8th night of Moharram, for Shi’a, the day is specifically dedicated to Hazrat Abbas ‘Alamdar’ brother of Imam Hussain, who was one of the martyrs at Karbala.
‘We offer nazar on this day, it involves visiting each relative’s place and offering some sweet dishes in the name of Hazrat Abbas; in the majlis there would be a detailed narration of Hazrat Abbas and the characteristics of his personality, his role and martyrdom in Karbala”, said Syed Adil Rizvi grandson of Syed Zamirul Hasan.
Adil is among several new generations of Shi’a community who are born and brought up in Udaipur, they are settled and affluently proceeding to make the community stronger.
On first 10 days of Moharram, there are two different places Shi’as observe Majlis and other rituals and processions. One is at the Shi’a Mosque (Ashra-e Moharram Majlis) located at Hathipol and the other at Alamdar Villa, Moti Magri (Majlis-e-Ashra-e-Moharram,)