Avery bright and colourful procession adorned the streets of Hirebidanur village in Saudatti taluk of Karnataka’s Belagavi district in the last 5 days. People held torches and went along with vibrant folk music playing in the background.

Hindus observe Muharram with pomp and splendour in Hirebidanur village, home to around 3000 people and 51 kilometres far from Belagavi district headquarters. Interestingly, this village does not have a single Muslim family and majority of population belong to Valmiki and Kuruba communities.

Another example of Hindu-Muslim unity is the Mosque of Fakireshwar Swami which is said to have been built by two Muslim brothers long ago. After the brothers died, villagers took it up to themselves to continue the tradition of following the rituals. A Hindu priest, Yallappa Naikar goes to the mosque every day and performs prayers according to Hindu customs. Villagers also offer prayers to fulfil their vows.

During Muharram, a Maulvi from neighbouring village who stays inside the mosque for a week and offers prayers according to Islamic traditions.

“We celebrate Muharram on par with our village fair. Several art forms are showcased in those five days which also gives an opportunity for the folklore to exhibit their talent. The entire village has been happily celebrating the festival for over a century now,” said Prakash Kumar, a resident of Hirebidanur.

Muharram is deemed the second holiest month of the Islamic Calendar after Ramadan. The first day of this month is also known as Hijrii or Arabic New Year. Muharram holds great significance among the Muslim communities and is observed as a period of mourning and extreme grief. This year the month of Muharram 2022 began in India on Sunday, July 31.

It is said the battle of Karbala that saw the death of Prophet Imam Hussain took place during this month. His death is observed as murrah, a period of mourning and grief.

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