Faith Can Move Mountains too as it Moves You And Me, originally uploaded by firoze shakir photographerno1.
The first time I came here at the Chand Shah Wali Dhuni , it was at the invitation of Late Sikandar Wali Baba head of the Dhuni and the Chand Shah Wali Rafaees , but who held court during the Makhdoom Shah Baba Urus at Mahim , their dhuni was behind the Mahim Shrine, I was introduced to Sikandar Wali Baba by Fahad Khalil Pathan son of the late Peshimam of Makhdoom Shah Baba Mosque.
It was a fascinating moment I began documenting the Rafaees body piercers , with a lot of stiff opposition from some of the members who did not want their pictures taken that , their rituals expose, specially the smoking of drugs a core aspect of the rafaees and their hangar-ons at the Dhuni.
After the Makhdoom Shah Baba Urus got over the Chand Shah Wali rafaees or as I call them Chancawalli rafaees moved their Dhuni to the smaller also popular Dargah of Baba Fakhr or Fakhruddin Shah Baba,once this Urus got over , and in the life time of late Sikandar Wali Baba the Rafees again parked themselves at Parel at Ismail Shah Baba , they dont sit at the Ismail Shah Baba Dhuni after Sikandar Waklli Babas death, and it continued in a nomadic fashion , till they completed their Urus rounds, and it was only because of late Sikandar Wali Baba I climbed the Haji Malang mountains and discovered the Hijra paradise that I have been shooting non stop for several years.
It was here that Laxmi Narayan Tripathi became my Hijra Guru..and I shot her with a divine passion , I shoot Laxmi like no photographer does , I shoot her from my soul as a poet per se..
After the Haji Malang Urus in 2005 I visited the Ajmer Sharif Urus , the first time in my life so it has been over 6 long years following the rafaees fakirs of this exotic community ..some belong to the Chistiya order or some to the Qadri order.
It was at Ajmer Sharif I met Peersaab Fakhru Miya of Hujra no 6 and I try to visit this Holy Place year after year in spite of financial constrains and other difficulties I am faced with when the Urus at Ajmer starts ,but I overcome it all , changing various trains , walking on foot , breaking journey I do reach Ajmer in the humility of a blogger beggar of Mumbai..
But Ajmer Sharif is the mother of all Urus for these poor mendicants and body piercers.
There was an incident that stopped my visiting the Chand Shah Wali Dargah completely it happened during my first visit when Sikandar Wali Baba was alive , I was shooting Indore Wale Baba a follower of the Fourth Shia Imam , Zainul Abeddin, Baba has permanently placed irremovable chains on his arms and legs , a total of 160 kgs, and Baba and I got along because I too wear kadas on my feet and I walk barefeet..
While I was shooting this Bawa in chains one of the custodians or trustee of this Dargah , accosted the Bawa placing Rs 40 on his face asked me t take a shot I refused.
He was mad at me and dared me to come to the Dargah again , as he was a big shot even Sikandar Wali Baba told me to remain quite , I walked away from the Dhuni , as I was about to leave Zanjir Bawa came up to me and apologized on behalf of the big shot trustee , I put my hands in my pocket to remove some money and was shocked it was Rs 40 that I willingly gave to Zanjirwale Bawa ..the same amount the big shot trustee wanted to give him , but did not give it to him as I did not shoot the picture.
Since that day I never came to Chan Shah Wali Dargah, and here I was bought once again by Sakib my florist friend for the Chancawalli Urus 2010
So Zanjirwale Bawa and I became the best of buddies , and he waits for me at all the major Urus , and he will be waiting for me at Haji Malang too, I have delayed my trip due to work commitments.
And dont ask me how Zanjirwale Bawa with 160 kg excess weight climbs the 7 km rough terrain barefeet and with chains on his arms and legs.
Yes Faith can move Mountains as it moves you and me through a single picture..embedded in the soul of a Blog.