Hyderabad, Nov 15 (IANS) A mood of mourning pervades the old city of Hyderabad as Shia Muslims Friday observed "Yaum-e-Ashoora" to mark the martyrdom of Imam Hussain, the grandson of Prophet Mohammed, and his followers in the battle of Karbala.
The traditional "Bibi Ka Alam" procession was taken out with self-flagellation by hundreds of mourners.
Cries of "Ya Hussain" rent the air as blood oozes out from the heads and chests of the bare-chest Shia mourners in the mammoth procession, which passed through different parts of the old city amid tight security.
The historic procession was taken out from 'Bibi Ka Alawa' at Dabeerpura in the old city with hundreds of people clad in black were beating their chests, remembering the martyrdom of Imam Hussain and his followers in the battle of Karbala 14 centuries ago.
Amid recitation of 'marsiye' (elegies) and 'nohay' (poems expressing sorrow), the bare-foot youths using knives, blade-encrusted chains and other sharp-edged weapons inflicted injuries on self to show solidarity with the sufferings of Imam Hussain and his family members.
It was on 10th Muharram, the first month of Islamic calendar that Imam Hussain and his followers were martyred in 61 Hijri or 680 CE at Karbala in Iraq.
The procession with the 'Bibi Ka Alam' (insignias of the martyrs) kept on an elephant and 'matam' (mourning) by dozens of 'matami' (mourner) groups started from Bibi Ka Alawa in the afternoon and passed through different areas of the old city including historic Charminar.
Thousands of men, women and children lined up along the streets with many standing on balconies and roof-tops in Bibi Ka Alawa, Dabeerpura, Etebar Chowk, Moghalpura, Gulzar Houz, Madia and other areas to catch a glimpse of the procession.
Hyderabad police commissioner Anurag Sharma, members of royal family of Nizam (the rulers of erstwhile Hyderabad State) and leaders of various political parties enroute offered 'dhatti' to the 'alam'
After covering a distance of about five kilometre, the procession will conclude near Chaderghat after sunset.
The 'Bibi Ka Alam' is believed to contain a piece of wood plank on which Bibi Fatima Zehra, daughter of Prophet Mohammed, was given the final ablution. The 'alam' was installed over 430 years ago during Qutub Shahi period.
The 'alam' also contains six diamonds and other jewellery donated by Mir Osman Ali Khan, the seventh and last Nizam of Hyderabad.
Police had made elaborate security arrangements for the peaceful conduct of the procession. Personnel from central paramilitary forces were also deployed.
Muharram was also observed in various parts of Telangana region in the traditional manner.
In many Muslim neighbourhoods youngsters were seen offering 'sharbat' or special juice to passersby.
Hyderabad has about 200,000 Shias, the second largest population of the community in India after Lucknow.