FAKIRS’ WAKE-UP calls for Sehri at pre-dawn hours may soon fade into oblivion. The modern melodious alarm systems have silenced them. Besides, most of them are now better off financially to perform low-profile jobs.
Traditionally, beggars would go door-to-door and urge Muslims “Uttho Sehri ka waqt hogaya” (get up, it is time for Sehri). Some would sing devotional songs to wake people up.
They carried their lathis to ward of stray dogs and carried lanterns for illumination as they waded through the murky lanes.
But they deserved their due and the devouts ensured that. The second round of the same locality at Iftar filled their bowls to the brim with delicious dishes.
The Fitra and Zakat earned lasted them for almost an entire year. Besides, Eid brought ‘Inams’ (rewards) including new clothes from their masters.
The mushrooming Madarsas have, however shrunk their business as a lion’s share of Fitra and Zakat is collected by the enthusiastic Madarsas.
The number of Fakirs on wake-up calls has reduced here from a few dozens in the past to barely two or three now. But in villages the tradition is still very much alive.
“Fakirs are well-off in Sehore. Many have big agricultural holdings, multi-storeyed houses, cars and flourishing business”, said senior citizen Aziz Farooqui. “Why should they go with a hat in hand and lose on their sleep for petty considerations?” he says.