Friday, July 16, 2010

Shia Shabbarat at Gateway of India Mumbai

The night before Shabbarat the Shias visit the graves of their relatives ancestors and family members recite fatiah and the Shia cemetery Rehmatabad at Mazgaon is totally packed with a sea of black burkhas.


Beggars line the path that leads to the graves within, candlers are lit on most of the graves even on the graves that have no visitors and are in a derelict state.

Man has no time for the dead and the cemetery for most people is a depressing sight the place they too will be bought here to be be buried interred when their time comes.

I have always liked shooting the graves and both my mother my father lie here side by side holding hands till eternity.

A little ahead lies the grave of the doyen Indian film thespian Nawab Kashmiri whose family gave us shelter and tenanted space where my childhood at Khatau Bhuvan now Jony Castle was spent under Ammi the matriarch of the Nawab Kashmiri family 1955 onwards till 1963.

This post was without text I am filling the vacuum with a few stray thoughts and memories.

My mother had come here with us and she was really grumbling that the caretakers dont take care of the graves my dad was buried here and within a few weeks of uttering her complaint she too passed away.

As I was flat broke when my my dad died , he was hasty buried and the mud covered grave would get soggy in the rains, but my mothers death I had some money so I got her buried next to him and made a black granite graves for both of them ..

I avoid coming here during Shabbarat because of the crowds and the rains.

But I posted all this at Flickr , there is a event outside Mogul Masjid too , I covered it once but never repeated it again for lack of time.

The following morning for a few years wife and I come to Gateway of India where the Shias congregate in large numbers , waiting for a decked up boat called the Bajra , before the boat arrives there is lot of Shair and Shairi in praise of Imam Ali and the Ahle Bayt.

Once the bajra arrives the Shia guys enter it to taste the sweets this day is celebrated as the birthday of the the Twelfth Imam Imame Zamana or the Mahdi.

The Shia women ae not allowed within the bajra but they have a place near the pier where they can taste the Nazar as it is called.


After Moharam this is one place the Shias bond meet and reminisce.

Strangely my mothers house is seven minutes from the Gateway of India at Strand Cinema but even as kids or as we grew up we never witnessed this event at all.

The Shia women and men place a handwritten request covered with flour known as Arzis and throw it in the seas for divine intervention and for grants from the Almighty..through the auspices of the last Shia Imam Imame Zamana.

I have been visiting it of late.

And Shabbarat gives way to the holiest of holy month Ramzan.

The Bajra boat is organized by the Imamiya Sabil guys of Bhendi Bazar and it takes off from Bhaucha Dhakka with a congregation of Shia poets and I have never covered this event when it sails and reaches the Gateway of India.




At home the ladies prepare puris and halwas and there is a Nazar and the ancestors of the family are remembered almost akin to All Souls Day.

Lalbaugh Chya Raja Mukut Darshan 2019

I am perhaps the only Muslim shooting Lalbaugh Chya Raja for over 20 years or more ,,thanks to Mr Sudhir Salvi head honcho of the Mandal.....