Chants and prayers for his good health took over celebratory messages as lakhs of Dawoodi Bohra followers witnessed the live streaming of the 101st birthday celebrations of their high priest Dr Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin on Tuesday.
For the first time, the followers heard Syedi Mufaddal Bhaisaheb Saifuddin, the Syedna’s son and successor take centre stage.
The Sydena, who suffered a stroke last year, addressed the followers only for a few minutes and cut a 101 kg cake.
“Owing to his ill-health, the Syedna could not talk for a long time. This was the first time, we heard his son make announcements and discuss new schemes to be introduced for the community on the Syedna’s birth anniversary celebrations,” said Mariam Baker, 44, a resident of Madanpura.
Baker, a primary school teacher, who prepared a special pudding and decorated her house to commemorate the celebrations added, “The Syedna has played a pivotal role in shaping the life of the community. We continue to pray for his good health.” On Tuesday, new schemes were announced for the provision of interest-free loans for the less privileged members of the community.
At Bhendi Bazaar, which is colloquially known as ‘Bohri Mohalla’, lights and floral decorations were fixed at the doors of most households.
“The Syedna has empowered our lives by making adequate provisions to improve healthcare and education of the community in the world,” said Saifuddin Kopty, a community member.
Kopty, who couldn’t attend Syedna’s celebratory procession in Surat, watched the live streaming of the discourse on a television set fixed in his mosque.
“His biggest contribution has been the upliftment of Bhendi Bazaar- the haven of the city’s Bohra community. We are hoping the community witnesses his second centenary year celebrations as well,” he added.