Trolleys-Turned-Sabeels Quenching Thirst of Mourners In Kashmir

Srinagar- As the Muharram processions take place in Alamgari Bazar locality of the city, the engine driven trolleys which follow the processions grab the attention of mourners and the people passing by.

In the city, at least two trolleys have been turned into Sabeels, (a refreshing point providing beverages and tea to mourners).

These trolleys follow the route of the processions and distribute tea and snacks among the mourners.

Ilyas Rizvi, an oral historian and a craft researcher has been documenting Sabeels in Kashmir for years.

He says setting up sabeels is an age-old tradition in the Kashmir valley and the trolley driven sabeels have their own significance.

“The tradition of setting up refreshing points along the roadsides is a centuries old but with the advancement in technology, new tools came into play. The engine-driven trolley provides refreshment to mourners during processions in the city” Ilyas says.

“In the last few years, there has been an increase in practice with people setting up stalls at multiple locations”.

Sabeels offer a variety of drinks ranging from water to traditional beverages, chilled milk flavored and tea.

“Teenagers and Youth mostly take part at the Sabeels which offer refreshment”.

Pertinently, with the arrival of Muharram, different organizations set up canopies at pathways from where processions are scheduled. With the month of Muharram falling in summer months, people are now served with juices and cold water”

Free food and beverages are distributed among the mourners as a way to pay tributes to Imam Hussain (A.S).

Sabeel is regarded as a signature Muharram activity taking place for centuries.In Srinagar, numerous sabeels have been set up alongside roads offering mourners free water, juices and tea.

People volunteering at the sabeels say it is a matter of pride for them to serve people and it is a way to pay respects to Imam Hussain (a.s).

Mourners In City Mark Tasua (9th Muharram)

Shia Muslims in Kashmir commemorated Tasua on Monday, the ninth day of the lunar month of Muharram, which precedes Ashura, the day when Imam Hussain (AS), was martyred.

On the ninth day of Muharram (Tasua), thousands of people, dressed in black, took to the streets and took out a procession from the Khanqah area of the old city which culminated at Habba Kadal.

In the afternoon, mourners took out a procession in Gaw Kadal and Mandibal area of the city which was attended by thousands of people.

As part of the mourning ritual, Dal dwellers took out a traditional procession which commenced from Kanda Mohalla in the interiors of Dal Lake. The procession consisted of boats driven by a motorboat.

Mourners chanted Labbyk Ya Hussain (A.S) slogans on the way to shore.

Later, the procession culminated at Imambara Hassanabad

Pertinently, Tasua comes a day before Ashura, which marks the day when Imam Hussain (A.S), along with 72 of his companions, was martyred in the battle against the second Umayyad caliph in the Iraqi region of Karbala, some 14 centuries ago.

During the month of Muharram, Shia Muslims around the world commemorate the martyrdom anniversary of Imam Hussain (AS), the grandson of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

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Syed Mohammad Burhan

Syed Mohammad Burhan has Masters in Mass Communications and works as City Reporter at Kashmir Observer. He tweets @syedmohammad313

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