I’m not much of a religion guy. All I believe that there’s a creator for the universe we exist in. Nothing can exist without a creator. But enforcing ways of worship, on some one is just not right. I do pray, I even do “talk” to god. You know… it’s only one way communication. He at times reciprocates in action, or signs or stuff like that. But I do know a thing or two about the faith which I’m supposed to follow.
The 10th day, of the month of Muharram records a very sad history in Islaam. The month of muharram itself is a month of grieving and sadness for muslims of shia faith, however it’s the 10th day that’s observed with at most Importance.
Prophet Muhammad’s descendants ie.., Imaam Hussain and his family, engaged in a war against a tyrant ruler named yezeed. They were out numbered against the enemy, i guess 100 to 1, some people say it was 1000 to 1. They knew that the war was practically suicide but they still did so only with the intention of preserving islaam. Imaam Hussain and his army of followers were all killed, their bodies mutilated and run over by horses. Later their women and children were taken prisoners.
To commemorate the martyrs of this war, which was fought in the battle field of karbala, on the 10th day of Muharram, muslims of shia faith take to processions in their city roads. That’s when they flog themselves with chains that have steel blades attached to their ends. It doesn’t hurt. I can say this because I belong to the same faith, and I have tried. I did it two Muharram in a row. Never done it after that. I still feel scared.
This is a shot which i took in a remote village of Andhrapradesh called Banganapalli. It’s my ancestral village. I had been there since more than 10 years later. I usually used to travel there for Muharram, but I haven’t been able to do it since a long time.
No one is forced into doing this. Having said that, you can notice that in this picture there are little kids as well, who take to this ritual without any hesitation., And there’s no expression of pain on their faces. There are people assigned at the spots where people are flogging themselves. These people have to be on the look out for people who are over doing this. If they see too much blood from one single person, they immediately walk up to that person and force him to stop. Some people are very reluctant and put up a fight asserting that they can go on. But these guys do a good job of stopping them. They’re like Muharram bouncers who understand that too much of anything is bad.