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Showing posts from January 25, 2008

Kama Matam -Mumbai Shia Kids

Kama Matam -Mumbai Shia Kids
Originally uploaded by firoze shakir photographerno1
The Shia kids of Mumbai are a unique lot, this is one time their parents dont take into account their coming late, or their blood letting either, not that the mothers are not worried but they know that Maaulah protects their kids from extreme harm.
This is Ghame Hussain.
The Shia parents themselves are attending various Majlis and the Shia kids never starve during Moharam, there is always the Niyaze Hussain served at the end of the Majlis or Matam, and honestly during Moharam all the basic urges are at low key whether thirst or hunger..this is my own personal experience.
At Bhendi Bazar at Dongri at Moghul Masjid at Babula Tank you feel the effervescence of Moharam, the sabils draped in black, CDs playing Nadim Sarwars latest Nohas , fill the air..and Moharam time is bonding with old time friends and aquaintances, that you lost track of..
Moharam thus is a unique month in the Shia Muslim calendar , a month of …

Kama Matam of Mumbai

Kama Matam of Mumbai
Originally uploaded by firoze shakir photographerno1
The Mumbai Shia kids are absolutely unafraid when it comes to wielding the dagger, no flimsiness, a firm determined grip and in a few strokes the deed is done..
here there is no one to snatch the dagger from their hands like at Kaiser Bagh..
Most of the kids of an independent nature carry their own daggers on their person..
mostly the cheap Chinese variety

Amin Imambada Kama Matam 2008

Hardcore Kama Matam

Hardcore Kama Matam
Originally uploaded by firoze shakir photographerno1
I call this hardcore Kama Matam, the dagger metculously opening up the scalp , and this young lad was very confident unafraid..

Kama Matam

Kama Matam

Kama Matam- Helping Hands

Kama Matam-Helping Hands

The Shia Back

Kama Matam

Kama Matam
Originally uploaded by firoze shakir photographerno1
Here the kid is having his wound washed with water to which rose essence has been added..no ointment, no tetanus shot, nothing .Holistic healing...
It heals by itself in a day.

Shia Cubs -Future of our Race

Shia Cubs -Future of our Race
Originally uploaded by firoze shakir photographerno1
You know this is a Shia kid, no doubt about that, he is as sane as you and me no trance no drug, and adult coaxing him to do what he is doing, he is become Man in a single stoke of Faith-bleeding Faith.
His family members are not around just his friends as manic as him on Ashra day.
This is a solidarity of the Brotherhood of Ghame Hussain.
I took this shot from a slight elevated position..nothng can frighten this Shia kid..
I know a lot of people are against this show of mournful brutality, but can you stop them.No you cant .Hussain is the fulcrum of all Pain..
I shoot kids and this is is sheer passionate photography of pain ...
Actually there is no pain , would you believe that , the kid is totally focussed on Hussain and the Tragedy of Karbala..
As a child in his mothers safe arms he saw these visuals year after year waited for his turn..and here he is walking tall.I am not glorifying or justifying the act of …

24"Blades Finale

24"Blades Finale
Originally uploaded by firoze shakir photographerno1
Now is the time for them to exit through a narrow passge as the Juloos is carrying on in earnest in the courtyard of the Imambada Amin..

Back to the Pavillion

Back to the Pavillion
Originally uploaded by firoze shakir photographerno1
He wants the blades back but his friends have removed the blades and given it to another person for safe keeping..

24"Blades

24"Blades
Originally uploaded by firoze shakir photographerno1
Here his friends stop him from causing further harm and grab his blades, his Matam is bought to an end.

24" Blades

24" Blades
Originally uploaded by firoze shakir photographerno1
The back of the Malad guy is severely cut...and people around him are not to happy with the danger his blades cause to their Matam.

Ashura Amin Imambara 2008

Ashura Amin Imambara 2008

Ashura Amin Imambada 2008

Ashura Amin Imambada 2008
Originally uploaded by firoze shakir photographerno1
Here the Malad guy has gone for the jugular, there are a few pictures before this but the guy with his back came and stood in front of my camera, and will certainly not move , as this is his moment , he has come here to shed his blood photographer or no photographer..
Normally this area is more packed but I was lucky,,and you can see the fatal nature of his 3 blades...

Ashura Amin Imambada 2008

Ashura Amin Imambada 2008
Originally uploaded by firoze shakir photographerno1
He was cautious and looked around him before taking the swing, he was not in a frenzy or manic as some others are, who hit without seeing even if they damage or hurt a bystander accidentaly..
Shooting at Amin Imambada is a very tough one ..

Ashura Amin Imambada 2008

Ashura Amin Imambada 2008
Originally uploaded by firoze shakir photographerno1
He was a brave lad, and had done this before , and an amiable disposition...

The Blades of Wrath

The Blades of Wrath
Originally uploaded by firoze shakir photographerno1
Here after much squabbling with the veteran scourgers of Amin Imambada , our Malad Man gets into the motion of swinging his giant size flagellation blades, in three or perhaps two strokes he had opened up his back and his friends dragged him away from the floor..

Ashura Amin Imambada 2008

Ashura Amin Imambada 2008
Originally uploaded by firoze shakir photographerno1
He is from Malad and he does this every year, only this time he had got the blades done the same morning from Chor Bazar..
The blades are like 3 swords on three chains.. deadly vicious.The other veterans were not happy with him as he would slow down their scourging, they had to give him space as he has to take a forward swing going backwards in motion and this could hit any guy who accidentaly came in the way of his matam.
I have seen blades of my Iranian friend Hadi but these were the largest ever seen..
This is a cordoned off area for scourging and kama matam..on the left of him kids are standing on the scaffolding watching the Juloos that I gave a miss..

Amin Imambada Ashura 2008

Amin Imambada Ashura 2008
Originally uploaded by firoze shakir photographerno1
Amin Imambada has two entrance a front and one at the rear end , I was stationed at the rear end , where the hard core Matam takes place , in the front on one side are the women a section that is barricaded for men.
Even the huge walls , women have climbed up from an adjacent building to get a view of the events below.The scaffolding is packed with kids who have taken position..I had made my choice I found an arch from where I decided only to shoot the flagellations and miss the Juloos, however in the end I shot portions of the Juloos too..
At the lag end I shot portions of the Sword Matam..
Here in the picture is a guy from Malad who had got this deadly three blades made at Chor Bazar, all connected to 3 chains, the width 3" and the length 24".

Ashura Amin Imam Bada 2008

Ashura Amin Imam Bada 2008
Originally uploaded by firoze shakir photographerno1
One of the most important event on 10 th day of Moharam is Ashura the Martyrdom of Imam Hussain.This was Jan 20th 2008.
Mumbai on this day was caught in a vicious grip at one end of Mumbai was the Standard Chartered Marathon and late in the evening was a political rally of the BJP victory in Gujrat of CM Mr Narendra Modi
So it was a heavy police bandobast..on the whole.

For the Shias all road led towards Amin Imambada for the Juloos organized by the migrant Iranians , in the form of a passion play depicting scenes between Imam Hussain and Shimr the Commander of the Yazidi forces of the Ummayad Caliphate.
The entire area is jam packed in the center is a fountain that has a raised platform where the drums are beaten in Iranian style and the Juloos begins, the Taboots, the Alams and two guys dressed as women who carry the cradle of Ali Asghar the martyred infant of Imam Hussain.
Children dressed as the child in my …

What is Shiasm?

What is Shiasm?
Originally uploaded by firoze shakir photographerno1
The Shia children ,
To shoot this child I took her fathers permission, she knows that
what she s touching is a religious thing, and indeed it is the Taboot of Imam Hussain.
A replica of his coffin, bedecked with flowers at Kaiser Bagh before the Juloos.
A Shia child grows up fast on a fast track of Shiasm.
Her mother is the architect of her spiritual world, I say this as I watch sons wife teach Marziya to parrot words like Ya Hussain.
Marziya responds with gurgling sounds, that a normal two months old baby makes.
She is learnin grapidly she says Hi she says Hello...
And her mother takes her everyday cradled in her arms to the Majlis, the world around her, the cries the chant of Ya Hussain, all pervading her cosmic consciousness.
This is Shiasm, giving birth in the amniotic fluid waters of the euphrates held in the womb of Shia womanhood and motherhood.
We owe it to our mothers , our aunts , our grand mothers for keeping the f…

Welcome to the “Stock” Market!!!!!

Welcome to the “Stock” Market!!!!!
Originally uploaded by firoze shakir photographerno1
photo courtesy
www.patentmonkey.com/PM/Portals/0/ThinkingMonkey.jpg

Once upon a time a Village was infested with Monkeys.

A man appeared and announced to the villagers that he would buy the monkeys for Rs10 each.

The villagers seeing that there were many monkeys around, went out to the forest and started catching them.

The man bought thousands at Rs10 and as supply started to diminish, the

villagers stopped their effort. He further announced that he would now

buy at Rs20. This renewed the efforts of the villagers and they started

catching monkeys again.

Soon the supply diminished even further and people started going back to

their farms. The offer rate increased to Rs25 and the supply of monkeys

became so little that it was an effort to even see a monkey, let alone

catch it!

The man now announced that he would buy monkeys at Rs50! However, since

he had to go to the city on some business, his assistant w…

The Syndrome of Shia Pain

The Syndrome of Shia Pain
Originally uploaded by firoze shakir photographerno1
our detractors
wonder blunder
thunder
go insane
from their balconies
of misguided spirituality
their tortoise heads crane
a thought in their
confused heads remain
surrealistic sincerity
pain- shias - shiasm
synonomous
with ghame hussain
divinity held in a blood stain

Weeping Tears of Faith

Weeping Tears of Faith
Originally uploaded by firoze shakir photographerno1
protected by Ahle Bayt

The Definition of Pain

The Definition of Pain
Originally uploaded by firoze shakir photographerno1
Ya Hussain
Ya Hussain

Water Colors of Pain

Water Colors of Pain
Originally uploaded by firoze shakir photographerno1
on the canvas of our soul
free flowing very plain
one color bleeding vermillion
of our pain
inundating waves after waves
of ya hussain
shiasm a state of spiritual supremacy
within our hearts powering our brain
cut open our vein
in every drop
the silence
a peak of eloquence
of ghame hussain

A Script of Pain

A Script of Pain
Originally uploaded by firoze shakir photographerno1
The flesh on our body
is nothing but a script of pain
each stroke of a razor sharp
blade that reads Ya Hussain
1400 year old chant
reverbrating from
the sands of Karbala
where Islam was slain
rose like a phoenix
on our hearts to reign
hussainiyat our souls
musical strain
through our blood that
we drain
every drop for ghame hussain
persecuted oops fuck taqqaiya
shia remain

Alam Procession Kaiser Bagh

Taboot of Imam Hussain Kaiser Bagh

Taboot of Imam Hussain at Kaiser Bagh

Taboot of Imam Hussain at Kaiser Bagh
Originally uploaded by firoze shakir photographerno1
Taboot is the replica of the coffin of Imam Hussain a pivotal part of all Shia processions including his steed Zuljana, Alam the standard of the Imams Army that was held by his brother Abbas Alamdar.. on the head of the Alam hangs Mashke Sakina the water pouch of little Sakina daughter of Iman Hussain.

Dar he Kulsum ke chhere pe na gir jaye nazar
Noke Nahza pe sambhalta nahi Abbas ka sar

9 Moharam Kaiser Bagh

9 Moharam Kaiser Bagh

The Shia Sword Man

The Shia Sword of Inner Faith

Shia Samurais of Mumbai

The Sword Matam of Mumbai

Kaiser Bagh Play School of Pain

The Contortive Pain of the Shia

The Dancing Blades of Death

Kama Zani of Mumbai- Shia Pandit

Kama Zani of Mumbai- Shia Pandit
Originally uploaded by firoze shakir photographerno1
The little Shia kids of Mumbai become men on a single night for all the nights from 6 th Moharam.The credit goes to Kaiser Bagh that has grooomed the kids and to Munna Bhai who has nurtured this art tht we Shias call Kama Zani.
Every kid when he grows up will remember his first brush withthe dreaded dagger on his head, the first time scary feeling when you see the razors sharpness in your minds eyes though you have closed your physical eyes.
The first failed strokes, the second attempt till you release blood and there you are totallyt ransformed.
I kept away from this genre because of my Dreadheads and my expensive extensions that I had paid a bomb, to Lady Diana of the Dread heads an English lady friend famous in Goa Pushkar and Manali.
But I shaved it out in Lucknow a few years back on the insistence of a few Naga Sadhus who wanted to present my hair to Shiva their deity and I just gave it away , on a po…

The Sword Matam of Mumbai

The Sword Matam of Mumbai
Originally uploaded by firoze shakir photographerno1
This is a hand made sword, from Iran.
It is vicious and one slash cuts open the back, you need a firm grip anda steady hand.I did this Matam a few years back, at Mazgaon on the streets in Chehlum, I was introduced to this Matam by Cassim Hallori and a senior Khoja gentleman Mr Bundeally, a veteran of this genre.
I could not do it this year because of a diabetic frozen shoulder and my imjury on my right hand.I have very restricted movement.I cut my forehead on Ashura but could not flagellate.Besides I get carried away in the frenzy of the moment and it hampers my main goal of shooting picturesto share it with all of you.
Habib Nasser and Mamu of Byculla are sword exponents of this Matam.
You will see this when I post my Ashura pictures after this..

9 Moharam Kaiser Bagh-Finale

9 Moharam Kaiser Bagh-Finale
Originally uploaded by firoze shakir photographerno1
This is the famous Razor blade Matam, a sight that you seee quintessentially at Hyderabad and Kolkatta.
In Mumbai it is Kama Matam cutting of the forehead or Zanjir Matam, flagellaion, and the now famous slashing the back with the Sword Matam.
This picture brings to an end my over 400 shot images of an event called Shab e Ashur the eve of the night of Ashura.Ashura is the 10 th day of the Martyrdom of Imam Husssain the braveheart noble grandson Imam Hussain by the accursed Yazid of the Ummayad Caliphate.
I began shooting this on foot from 7 pm at Savoy Byculla and ending all this at Kaiser Bagh at about 1 am.
I had to abort this shoot rush back to Bandra where I stay as the family wanted to attend
a vigil , a night of prayers at Rizvi..
Moharam not just because I am a Indian Shia Muslim, but because of its rituals of rememberance has always fascinated me.
The emotions on display, the free flow of blood tears and…

The Sky Bleeds on Ashura

The Sky Bleeds on Ashura
Originally uploaded by firoze shakir photographerno1
in our shia hearts
winds blow non stop
darkness at dawn
the sky bleeds on ashura
pitter patter puddles
blood as raindrops
watering the pain
of a 1400 year that
yield crops
the unborn shia child
his back his forehead
ready on a mission
hussainiyat
that will never flop
always ahead
on top of the top
time has come for
yazidiyat to close shop
from its jehaddi heritage
a path of human righteousness
a path of peace swap
a final full stop

Ek Nare Hyderi -Ya Ali

Ek Nare Hyderi -Ya Ali
Originally uploaded by firoze shakir photographerno1
This kid surprised me no less every single day from 6th Moharam to Ashura I saw him slashing his forehead with an unimaginable quality , and he wore the same dress , he was at Savoy Byculla he was at Amin Imambada later at Kaiser Bagh on 9 th Moharam..
On 10 Moharam he was at Amin Imambada again slashing himsef..
Now mind you nobody coaxed him, no one told him to do what he was doing..
This is one aspect of self mutilation that cannot be termed child abuse..I talk about kids in the age group of 8 to teenagers,,
At the Fire Matam I saw a kid about 8 years old coolly walk the fire without running..
So the Shia kid has a unique sense of devotion to Ahle Bayt and specially Imam Hussain.
At the Majlis it is these kids that keep shouting Ek Nare Hyderi Ya Ali a spiritual slogan, a powerful slogan that does not find favor with a coterie of Maulanas affiliated to the Iranian clergy..and whose funding comes from Iran.
The Shia …