Artisans from faraway enter the eunuchs’ enclave in Bhopal a month before Muharram to build a tazia which is bowed to by one and all and appreciated for its craftsmanship.
This time too devotees had glimpse of the tazia for days amidst rendering of marsiyas (elegiac verses) and chants of ‘Ya Husain’ in the state capital’s Budhwara area—the area which is called eunuchs’ enclave.
Haji Seema, 40, a eunuch, said, “This is an age-old tradition. For us it is a period of mourning, recalling the sacrifice of Imam Husain, the grandson of Prophet Muhammad.”
Seema said, “It takes nearly a month for the tazia to be built. It is known for its craftsmanship and people come from faraway places to see it. Artisans are called from Jabalpur for the task.”
But, the responsibility of getting it made every year lies on the eunuchs’ head. Earlier, it used to be Suraiyya’s responsibility. But after her death, Pooja Naik looks after the job, Seema said.
Pooja Naik, 35, who wears white clothes during the month, said that observing Muharram was a matter of faith for her community.
During the first 10 days of the month, “we mourn, in the memory of Imam Husain. In these days, we lead a plain, simple life. We also perform maatam (mourning) everyday,” Naik said.
The “Budhwara ka Tazia” is known for its craftsmanship and inter-faith harmony as the eunuch community has members from all the religious faiths. They celebrate Diwali, Holi and observe the Muharram mourning with equal reverence.
Even the locality members observe the occasion with faith and mutual respect and “our family members come to see the tazia and participate in the procession too,” said Mohini Devi, who lives in Budhwara.
Like Budhwara, eunuchs of Mangalwara locality in Bhopal, also follow the tradition and build their own tazia.
“Eunuchs’ tazias are among the biggest, beautifully designed and well-known piece of craftsmanship,” said Madhya Pradesh Muslim Tehwar Committee leader Maqbool Mansoori.
Later in the evening, the Tazia was taken for immersion. The eunuchs’ tazias turned heads as people came from far and wide to see them, in the procession. The immersion will continue till late night, until wee hours on Sunday. Tazias are a replica of the Imam’s shrine.
They are taken out during a Muharram procession in the memory of the Imam, his kin and companions, who had sacrificed their lives in Karbala, nearly 13 centuries ago.
The procession is taken out on Yaum-e-Ashura, the 10th of Islamic month of Muharram, which fell on Saturday this year.