Imam Hussain sacrificed his life in the battle of Kerbala. The whole story of the sacrifice quite much revolves around water. The tragedy happened to be a hard one where the people fallen prey were refrained from having a single drop of water. They were un-courteously killed for having water or even being able to go near any water body. This is the reason why, today, during the month of Muharram one can find people courteously serving water on all the road sides. Stories of the martyrdom are narrated and acts are played on the same subject to make people aware of Islam and its virtues.
Decorations done on streets
Last week, when we (me and my friend Dj) were on one of our Mumbai exploring days under the JJ flyover, we encountered a lot of rites and practices that were being followed for Muharram, that being the first day of the month and those were all the preparations for the tenth day. Water was being served on all streets and corners. The water stalls had been decorated with illustrations and holy writings that depicted and recited the tragic story. Muharram being the month of mourning, black color was a dominant one on all the decorations. Beautifully embroidered cloths were hung all over the place which illustrated the story. At the first glance I thought these clothes were printed, but a close look to it proved to be of a wonder! These were all machine embroidered cloths with aari embroidery in majority along with other kind of stitches. Embroidered with bright and bold colors on a black base gave these cloths a different look. These cloths reminded me of the patachitra paintings of Bengal, Mata-ni-pachedi of Gujarat, Pabuji par of Rajasthan and even the Pichvai paintings of Nathadwara all illustrating stories of gods and goddesses.
Cloth depicting the story of the need for water, killing of Imam Husain's horse etc
All these beautiful cloths are embroidered
We also had a chance to see some in-house decorations done for the occasion of Muharram. These decorations include a dummy horse of Imam Hussain, beautiful ornate metal (possibly silver) hands (each hand here represents each martyr) and many other things; all embellished by fabrics of glitter and sheen. Here are a few pictures showing these decorations.
This was indeed a very lively, welcoming and enriching explorience!!