This was tough aiming upwards to get the barber and the guy in the same frame specially if you are as small as Marziya Shakir 3 and a half years old, than she asked me to make her stand on an empty chair took the next shot.
Marziya shoots what I shoot but Marziya shoots them as more resounding poetry of life ..
And this was the second shot of Marziya Shakir , and this is a lane crowded as ever in the evenings , with traffic from both sides heading towards Bandra Bazar or Chinchpokli Road Bandra.
And when I have nothing to shoot I shoot the pain and the last testament of Jesus Christ on the roads ..Marziya shoots the same testament too.. but hers is much more newer than mine..and I hope a Shia does not have to say out of turn Kya Woh Bhi Christian Hai..
When I gave Marziya my camera to shoot Sakshi the girl in the pink dress they all laughed but the moment Marziya raised the lens upwards and lit the flash on their faces they all looked at her in sheer surprise.
Marziya is good but is getter better every day, she is confident , the weight of the camera and swinging the lens upwards does not really bother her she shoots vertical frames too, but shooting the Nikon D80 is child's play , what matters is looking at the image on the camera back.. which is what Marziya does after every frame she shoots.
Last evening was Marziyas day out with the camera she shot my barber I also made her stand on the vacant chair to shoot him, this is the birth of Marziya Shakir Photographerno1.
into my dreams
night after night
this poets soul
with a frenzy
a wine glass
on her hips
as it skips
two parallel lines
on a cataclysmic
my inner soul
to the bone
not who i am
by her moods
round the mound
of he cosmic ring
a poet merely
on her string
i have used this picture for representational purposes as i still have to shoot the picture of her pouted lips as i am merely a blank space seeki…
I shot her on the day after Gudi Padwa and thought she had walked with the Gudi Padwa Jari Mari procession , butt I was wrong my humble apologies ..
She walked barefeet from Dada with the Palki of Sai Baba till Vikhroli and because she was in bad shape they did not allow her to complete the entire barefeet trip to Shirdi for celebrations of Ram Navmi.. to be held there.
When I took this picture I shot her without her face she works near my workplace.. her feet are much better now I was told.
I know this shot has excited the SadaSuhagin bawa but you would be excited to if Megha held you this way.
Megha is an upcoming Hijra actress waiting fr a release of her film in Bollywood.
She is a fabulous dancer and a great loving human being..I could have gone on shooting her I have never bonded with any hijra as much as her perhaps Khushi .. these two hijra ladies are paragons of beauty and it is a pleasure shooting them for posterity.
Khushi called me a few days back she was in Bandra but we could not meet my luck was bad.. and she wants Marziya my 3 year old grand daughter to shoot her..
Marziya shot a lot of pictures this evening on the streets today.
You hardly see this ethnicity at the dargahs these days they are spiritual cross dressers married to God , but they have wives children too, this bawa has 9 children and he has done kar seva at the Golden Temple he has been to Tirupati and all the major Shrines of India.
He believes in all religiosity known Hindu Sanskrit sholkas and he is an exorcist too.. a shaman.
It is the third time in almost 10 years I met a Sada Suhagin this close , he is like the Ardh Nari Nareshwars.
I met Neetu many years back with young horny studs or toy boys as they are called in Hijra parlance she was at Char Yar smoking the chillum , I took her pictures she is self dependent she has a transport business a PCO booth and a few rickshahs and tempos thats what she told me..
She wore only white and than I met har in 2010 wit the hijra bawas white had given away to pastels and she looked more cheerful..she remembered me alright..
And these are the patrons of the Hijra Bawas taking care of the bawas needs.
I dont smoke but I did many years back during my short lived college days and during my days at the archives dungeon like corridors of Elphinstone College ,where it was a 14 goli chillum and Afghani instead of Bombay black thanks to Pathan friends that got the stuff those days from Kabul.
I gave up smoking after marriage and never touched the chillum or the reefer ever again .. and bawas smoke they are not at all into alcohol, they take afeem cocaine ganja and they always have the best stuff thanks to the mafioso as their patrons and drug dealers and peddlers too.
The hijra bawas smoke too but not as heavily as their male bawa counterparts.. and Char Yar you will find losers drug addicts and the Urus circuit keeps their addiction alive though they are living dead .. zombie like , and the intrusion of photographers on their private space make…
This is the Rafaee or body piercing Sufi mendicants of Chancawalli associated with the Sufi Chishtiya order , they beg fir a living and I have been a part of this group for about 10 years now I have seen its rise I have sen its fall, I was thrwn out of this group for a year due to a misunderstanding between their earlier Peer Sikandar Wali Baba but soon after his death I was called back by his successor Handi , but Handi died too overdose and drugs , than his place was taken by Barsati Bawa with the Rajasthani turban my very dear friend and well wisher, but he too has been replaced and this group now is merely a splinter of what it really was.
I shot this at Ajmer in 2009 and hijras are patrons of the bawas or their murids they give them money drugs etc.. and the bawas bless them in exchange give them dua tawiz.
This Hijra bawa moved me intensely with her thoughts on Imam Hussain and for me whatever he gender ambiguity whatever the views of Muslims even Shais against Hijras I am a slave of anyone who is a slave of Hussain..I would bow my head wherever Hussain is written, and it is not just the Mullah who talks about Hussain even Hindus talk and eulogize Hussain and his supreme sacrifice.
Mind you these are all old posts that via Exif data date change I have bought forward on my Flickr photo stream..
Katle Hussain asal mein marge Yazeed hai Islam zinda hota hai har karbala ke baad
Ohh Shimar leyin zalim kya zulm kiya tu ne Pyasa hi gala kata Pani na diya tu ne
Laash ayi jab Asghar ki Maan kehne lagi roo ke Pyasa ki gala kata pani na diya tu ne
Wo kis ke nawase hai bhoke hai ya pyase hai Itna bhi na socha mardood zara tu ne
Sar apna kataya itni bhi parwa na ki tu ne batil ki Saabh…
Hijra murids are disciple followers of the Hijra Bawas , hijra murids could be disciples of male bawas too ..this pretty hijra damsel took care of the Hijra bawas worldly needs pressed his legs, served him food and tea.. In return the Hijra Bawa blessed the murid and put in a good word of recommendation yo her Hjra Guru.
And the hijra murid could be a Hindu and the Hijra Bawa a Muslim did not matter on the soul of Hijra humanity.
And the Hindu hijras would listen in rapt attention to the narration of the Tragedy of Karbala and become one in pain..
Hijras are not bigots their motto is Sarv Dharm Ek which means all religion are one..and I have seen hijras in Mumbai at the 14 stations of the cross on Good Friday hands folded praying to the human Jesus who carries the Cross..at Vakola .
I have seen hijda pierce his mouth with a 18 feet rod from cheek to cheek …
The colorful hijras at Char Yar with the white dressed Hijra Bawas are the Hijra Murids or patrons who come here smoke the chillum , and hijra bonding takes place...all around the hijra bawas are te other bawas and rafaees and malangs living in mutual gender harmony.
And at Haji Malang it is a bit different the Hijra Gurus from the various Hijra houses pool in and distribute food to everyone, this is known as Niyaz.
Everybody is fed no limitation eat as much as you want..
Shooting the hijras and documenting their pain is what the crux of this blog is about..and I would wander barefeet shooting the hijras at Moti Katla or come here at Char Yar to sit with the Malangs and the bawas..and in some moments of madness I would sit with the hijra bawa listening to their tales...
I would shoot extensively manage a trip to Taragadh too, I wanted to visit the high priest of Pushkar with whom I have cordial relationships but time was too short and I never could makes this trip.
I dont know but it is strange every time Ajmer Urus comes I am in the worst financial straits with dark clouds looming on the horizon but somehow I make it to Ajmer and back..
Peersaab Fakhru Miya Hujra no 6 my host allows me to stay at his house and last year paid for my ticket to Mumbai.I am indebted to him his sons Farid Miya and Qambar Miya ..
This was shot in Ajmer Char Yar cemetery most of the bawas pass by here or sit around here among their individual groups..and this s the place for Bawa News , who expired who has replaced whom as Gaddi Nashin who has been excommunicated from a Rafaee group..
I was part of the Chancawalli Rafaees a group I documented from Mahim dargah, but it went on self splintering itself till today it is just a few members after the death of Late Handi who died at Kota.
It was this group that bought me to the Chishtiya Sufi thought and than I met Peersaab Fakhru Miya Hujra No 6 and my visits to Ajmer Sharif began in earnest.
The most respect hijda bawa that I met she too was a follower of Imam Hussain and I saw that Karbala the Martyrdom of Imam Hussain was what kept their philosophy of life alive.
It was this aspect of their meditation their celibacy their asceticism that provoked me to sit and listen to the and shoot them extensively.. and even my visits to Ajmer Sharif began because of the words on the wall of the Shrine.. \
Shah ast Hussain, Badshah ast Hussain Deen ast Hussain, Deen Panah ast Hussain Sardad na dad dast, dar dast-e-yazeed, Haqaa key binaey La ila ast Hussain
Ruler is Hussain, Emperor is Hussain, Faith is Hussain , guardian of faith is Hussain . Offered his head and not the hand to Yazid. Truly, the mirror of faith is Hussain
This was shot at Haji Malang a mountainous trek on foot , I climb barefeet leaving my ego at the foot of the Malangad mountains so to speak.
It is a tough climb for me as I am a diabetic asthmatic but I reach the top it takes me about 3 and a half hours , I shoot people and I go through varying emotions as I climb my way towards the Holy Shrine.
The beggars the stall keepers vendors all know me , I am called the camerewale bawa ..by the locals and other bawas too.
I have had strange experiences dreams and it has been fulfilling to say the least , firsyly I would not reach Haji Malang if the Malang Bawa did not call me , this is his territory his rules his dictates prevails he gives but never takes back.. may sound strange but it is true.
So my tryst with Haji Malang is my tryst with faith and my inner spirituality I am a believer of Ali and Hussain and thi…