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The carrying of ‘tazias’ at Muharram in Delhi has been undertaken since medieval times but this will be the first time for 700 years that processions will not be carried out, said Syed Kashif Nizami, the custodian of the revered Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya shrine.

“Even during the Partition in 1947, there was no ban on ‘tazia’ processions in the dargah, but this time due to the corona pandemic, Delhi and the Central government have not allowed processions to be held in a mass religious programme.”

“For more than 700 years, the largest ‘tazia’, decorated with flowers, is kept in the Imambara, which is at a small distance from the dargah. More than four ‘tazias’ decorated with flowers are kept here.”

On the 10th day of Muharram, which marks the martyrdom of Hazrat Imam Hussain, the grandson of the Prophet at Iraq’s Karbala in 681 A.D, a procession with mourners carrying daggers and knives is carried out from the dargah and the blood oozing out of their self-inflicted wounds is reminiscent of the tragedy.

However, this time around, all such activities have been banned due to the pandemic. So this time only ‘tazias’ decorated with flowers will be sent to Karbala in the capital.

Gauhar Asghar Kasmi, a member of Shah-e-Mardan Dargah and Anjuman Karbala Committee at Aliganj Jorbagh in Delhi, said: “Every year, the ‘majlis’ starts from the first day of Muharram. Tazias are also kept at many places. On the 10th day of Muharram, processions reach here with nearly 70 large tazias. Tazias are buried here. A procession of mourners beating their chests take to the streets on Teej, the 12th day of mourning. ‘Majlis’ are being organised this year only in the Imambaras. People are allowed to participate in the Majlis with observance of social distancing norms.”

Hindu-Muslim unity is also at display every year on Muharram.

Mohammad Zuhaib Nizami, who is associated with Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya Dargah, said: “Many Hindu families in the vicinity have been part of the ‘tazia’ processions for many years owing to their faith. A Hindu family in Mehrauli has been doing so for many decades.”

The coronavirus has also affected the life of people involved in the business of ‘tazia’. ‘Tazias’ are made in thousands in Delhi, but this time due to corona, people are not buying ‘tazias’ for ‘aqidat’ (goodbye prayers).

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