As has been the practice for years now, a village in this district with no Muslim family observed Muharram this year, too, with local Hindus leading from the front.
Seen as a sign of religious harmony and brotherhood, several villages in northern Karnataka have a similar practice, where both Hindus and Muslims together observe Muharram.
There are several villages like this Hirebidanur village in Saundatti taluk of Belagavi district, where the practice has been kept alive despite not having any Muslim family, say local residents.
Hirebidanur, a village with nearly 3,000 people, about 50 km from here, has a dargah of ‘Fakireshwar Swami’ revered by the villagers; a Hindu man offers prayers and worship every day as a priest as per his religious traditions.
A family member of Yallappa Naikar, who offers prayer at the dargah every day, said, “On all other days we do (worship), while for Muharram, prayers and rituals are followed as per the Islamic traditions by a Muslim priest (moulvi) from a nearby village of Bevinakatti.” Umeshwar Maragal, who is from the village, told PTI that the custom of establishing ‘Panja’ (a religious symbol) and observing Muharram for five days at the Fakireshwar dargah, which Hindus call temple and perform pooja, has been in practice for many years.
On account of Muharram, five different rituals and practices are followed, and the village gets illuminated till the place where the ‘Panja’ is kept. Jadeppa Mandannavar, another resident of the village, said, “Many women pray to these Gods for childbirth. It is further believed that all desires of the devotees will be fulfilled…” The dargah is said to have been constructed long ago by Muslim brothers and following their death the villagers have been taking care of it, offering prayers and observing Muharram.
Several practices like people walking on a bed of hot charcoal usually followed at local temple fairs are followed during Muharram.