As the holy month of Muharram began, like in other parts of the world, Shiite Muslims across the Kashmir valley are gearing up to commemorate the martyrdom of Imam Hussain (A.S), grandson of Prophet Muhammed (SAW) and his companions who were massacred at Karbala in Southern Iraq in 680 AD.
Streets and roads in many parts of Kashmir, mainly in Shia dominated areas are draped with black flags and huge banners carrying messages on Karbala tragedy.
Main mourning and remembrance gatherings are held on Ashura-the 10th day of Muharram, for which preparations are in full swing with great enthusiasm, devotion and respect.
All Imambargahs, where commemoration ceremonies are held, are being cleaned and it is being ensured that the mourners do not face any inconvenience. The work of installing lights on the roads leading to the Imambargahs across Kashmir is being done on a war footing.
Painters and calligraphers are busy these days preparing banners to be used in mourning rituals. The banners are in huge demand as they are the integral part of Muharram ceremonies.
In Khumani Chowk of Bemina area, Shaheen Hussain, one of the painters is over busy in preparing Muharram banners these days in his shop, which has been converted into a painting studio. He is always in demand as he knows the art and emotions attached with trade.
“During Muharram I feel more energetic and enthusiastic and work hard to introduce new ways and ideas in my calligraphic work,” he told Rising Kashmir.
The whole idea and the purpose of raising these calligraphic flags and banners is to deliver a message of unity and peace and to encourage people around the world to stand firm and raise their voice against any kind of injustice, oppression and bigotry.
As the demand for these banners remains huge in Muharram, Hussain receives pre-book orders from far off places.
Meanwhile, a group of volunteers of Khudame-e-Hussaini Sebdan, offers commuters drinking water in remembrance of Karbala martyrs.
Speaking with Rising Kashmir, one of the volunteers said, “Karbala incident is a heart-wrenching tragedy. The pain of this tragedy will continue to rise in the hearts of every Muslim across world.
“The martyrdom of Hazrat Imam Hussain (AS) symbolizes the distinction between right and wrong. The Imam (A.S) standing for right and against cruelty and brutality will continue to be a beacon of light for generations to come,” said the volunteer.
Riyaz Ahmad, a teacher at Sebdan Budgam told the Rising Kashmir that Muharram is the month of awareness and prosperity, love and freedom and growth and thought.