By D. Pinault

Horse of Karbala is a learn of Muharram rituals and interfaith relatives in 3 destinations in India: Ladakh, Darjeeling, and Hyderabad. those rituals commemorate an occasion of significant significance to Shia Muslims: the seventh-century dying of the Imam Husain, grandson of the Prophet Muhammad, on the battlefield of Karbala in Iraq. Pinault examines 3 assorted sorts of ritual commemoration of Husain's loss of life - poetry-recital and self-flagellation in Hyderabad; stick-fighting in Darjeeling; and the 'Horse of Karbala' procession, within which a stallion representing the mount ridden in conflict via Husain is made the guts of a public parade in Ladakh and different Indian localities. The ebook appears at how publicly staged rituals serve to mediate communal kinfolk: in Hyderabad and Darjeeling, among Muslim and Hindu populations; in Ladakh, among Muslims and Buddhists. consciousness is usually given to controversies inside Muslim groups over concerns regarding Muharram similar to the assumption in intercession by way of the Karbala Martyrs on behalf of person believers.

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Sample text

He brought me upright, then locked arms with me and signaled the man on my right to do the same. Thus steadied, I kept shooting, and felt a moment of silent gratitude. I knew I'd been lucky in making the acquaintance of Akhtar. In our first conversation we'd discovered something in common: both of us were teachers. "Then we are colleagues, so to speak," had been his judgment. Since then he'd treated me as his special charge. " Two custodians in black tunics brought out the battle-standard of Abbas.

Pilgrimage to Mecca. Almsgiving. I smiled, nodded, reminded myself of the Egyptian proverb that states al-Sabr gameel: Patience is a beautiful thing. In our second conversation the topic moved nearer my goal. Seyyed Abbas talked about the practice of matam. This term can refer in general to acts of lamentation for the deceased, but in Shia Islam matam denotes specifically gestures of ritual mourning in honor of the Karbala martyrs. Matam can range from simple repetitive chest-beating to self-flagellation with razors, chains, and knives.

Husain himself was killed, his household taken captive. The train of prisoners, including Husain's sisters Zaynab and Umm Kulthum, was marched through the desert to Damascus. Here Yazid is said to have gloated over the severed head of his rival, which had been brought from the battlefield for the caliph to dishonor with blows from a cane. Here too, within the very palace of Yazid, Zaynab held the first majlis (plural: majalis), or lamentation assembly, to mourn for her brother. During this period of imprisonment Husain's fouryear-old daughter Sakina died.

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