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The views of courts
HC seeks end to children's participation in Muharram
The Bombay high court expressed concern on Monday over the participation of children in Muharram processions, and asked police to hold meetings with organisers to chalk out a course of action.
Muharram marks the anni versary of the battle of Karbala in which Imam Hussain, the grandson of Prophet Muhammad, was killed. To mourn his killing, participants flagellate themselves with sharp objects.
In December 2014, Mumbai police had issued a circular on the steps to be taken during the ritual. According to the circular, senior officials of a given area's police stations were told to hold meetings with mohalla committees prior to Muharram, and ensure no children participated in the ritual and no sharp weapons were used.
The court noted that if the organisers of processions and community leaders ensured no minor participated, police monitoring would not be required, the court noted. “We would like to... decide this matter before Muharram procession, 2017...,“ Justice R M Savant, part of a division bench with Justice Sadhana Jadhav, said.
Hindus’ taziyas/ participation
A family from Odisha, in a rare example of communal harmony, continued its 350-year-old tradition of observing Muharram.
The family from Mudipara in Sambalpur may be Hindu, but it has been an example in spreading communal harmony since 1664 by taking out a tazia, a replica of the tomb of Imam Hussain, annually to commemorate Muharram.
According to members of the Padhiary family, the tradition of taking out the tazia to commemorate Muharram was started by their ancestor Jayadeb Padhiary, who had fled home to escape an arranged marriage. During his travels, Jayadeb landed in Mecca, where he not only found refuge, but also came in contact with a culture he would grow to love. He returned home after a few years with two maulanas, or learned Muslim leaders, and sought permission from the then ruler of Sambalpur to commemorate Muharram with a tazia procession.
Sambalpur King Chhatra Sai agreed to Jayadeb's request and the Padhiary family started the annual tradition of observing Muharram. "Like my forefathers, we take out a tazia every year," said Rajendra Padhiary.
The Padhiary family organises the event without any help. The family makes the tazia itself and the neighbours join in the Muharram procession. The city sees in the family an example of communal harmony.
"Sambalpur is perhaps the only place in the country where a Hindu family sets out with the tazia," said a resident, Ashok Pradhan.