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I wear the colors of my cultural inheritance and I am proud to be a Hindustani Shia Muslim.. my country its culture its collective ethos means a lot to me in a way it enhances the human belief of my own Shia religiosity and faith in relation to my surroundings..
I respect the Marriammen rituals or I would not be shooting it, and I respect their forbearance to pain , and the ah on my forehead does not take away the blood that will overflow like a river on the Day of Ashura.. yes I am connected to my spirtuality my ancestry of pain through blood .
These are my individual thoughts as a poet as a person who follows a path of Peace and Mysticism too..I have lived with Aghoris Naga Sadhus Rafees Dam Madar Malangs and Hijra Bawas.
I have begged with the Rafaees and the Naga Sadhus..from door to door I have seen humility charity and death too..
Strangely I am scared of living and not scared of death at all..
And not once am I made to feel like a Muslim while shooting Hinduism which is a thread of my documentary on Flickr.com known as Hope And Hindutva a message of Universal Peace and Humanity.
And whoever takes my camera to shoot me from the crowds cant shoot me better than Marziya Shakir 3 and a half year old worlds youngest street photographer and my only grand daughter.
Monday, May 30, 2011
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This is me barefeet shooting the Marriammen Feast animal sacrifice at Macchimar Colony Mahim to appease Goddess Marriamen the Hindu Tamil followers of this unique highly loved goddess respected worshiped all over the world sacrifice goat and poultry..
Later after the sacrifice the piercings begin , cheek piercings for inserting rods in the mouth , hooks in the back to pull vehicles and limes on the hands backs held by needles in the flesh.. and carrying Agni or hot posts on the heads.
I have been documenting this ritual custom of her followers for many years now all over Mumbai.
Her mother died of cancer recently and her dad got a paralysis stroke on the passing away of her mother..she used to pierce her tongue every year.. this year she stopped it due to the loss of her mother.
Shooting The Mystique of Marriammen and Her Followers, originally uploaded by firoze shakir photographerno1.
I fell down to the floor thrice , once here and twice at the beach during the rituals , this is not just about shooting pictures or being a photographer it goes beyond..being a mystic myself..living with naga sadus rafaees and dam madar malangs and hijra bawas..I understand the metaphor of their spirituality the pain they undergo to pierce their cheeks with a 21 feet rod , hooks in the back that pull vans coconut trolleys even kids attach limes on their hands backs stitched with needles in the flesh.
I shot this entire event barefeet with blisters on my feet and I shot the piercings as close as close can be I was tired so I aborted this shoot half way and returned home.
I am very close to the Pujaris sister Laxmi her children her family who treat me like a family member and one of their own..I am a Muslim a Mumbaikar but shooting this event for so many years I have become a half Tamil too.
There is a lot of possession at this feast...
Krishna Hijra Tantric Devotee of Goddess Marriammen, originally uploaded by firoze shakir photographerno1.
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A very intense powerful hijra seeped in the tantras and mysticism..the goddess enters his body and talks through him I captured this moment later on my camera at the Mahim beach.
Marriammen Feast Macchimar Colony Mahim 2011 My New Set at Flickr.com, originally uploaded by firoze shakir photographerno1.
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I start my new set of my Marriammen series shot this afternoon at Mahim Macchimar colony.. or Fishermen Colony..
I came here at 1 pm and shot the animal sacrifice to Goddess Marriammen and after the sacrifice the followers of Marriammen moved to Mahim beach , I was barefeet my feet were in real bad shape , at the beach there was a grand puja by Ganesh pujari a lot of people went into a trance including me.. and soon after the piercings started performed by Raja .. and from here the procession moved via St Michaels Church back to the Marriammen Temple a long route and there were boys pulling vans with hooks in the back , kids with limes attached with needles to the flesh and women carrying hot pots or Agni on their heads.
At the beach the devi entered the body of Krishna hijra and this was a very mesmerizing experience he spoke in the voice of the Devi.
I shot all this till 10 pm and than headed home much before the event ended I was in bad shape tired and even now my eyes are half open half shut.. I shall upload a batch and crash.
There was a touching story of a married Koli woman Shilpa who had her cheeks pierced with a rod for the first time as she had a dream , her husband Nilesh did not want to her to undertake this ritual but he consented and their story I have shot in pictures..both are madly in love with each other totally devoted and the husbands pain when the rod entered her cheek.. and he held her like a little child..
I dont want to add text but pictures will tell you the story of Marriammen and her Tamil and Koli disciples ..I used to shoot a girl Anamika every year she pierced her tongue and her mother would be by her side , this year she was alone she did not undertake the ritual her mother a Koli died of cancer and her father a Malyali had a stroke and has been bed ridden ever since his wife left,,,
And Sairam another boy I shot was there but did not undertake the cheek piercing ritual...
Laxmi the sister of Ganesh pujari was there my host and she is the one who invites me here every year.. her son Nandu takes care of the arrangements for this huge function at Macchimar Colony Mahim.
I shot some excellent hip hop acrobatic dancers of Mahim the best of Mumbai..
And last but not the least I shot the misery pain of the Mahim Fort a heritage site gone to seed .. men shitting close to the fort , and Mahim beach is an insult to God Nature and Governance in Mahrarshtra..this is the worst beach and it made me puke all over .. the beach is littered with filth used condoms sanitary pads and every thing including man and dog shit and I walked all over barefeet..
This was a poetry of pain I shot .. while I shot the Marriammen Feast at Mahim Beach.
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