Rafaee death is unpredictable , Barsati Baba suffering from lung ailment and would tire easily and stopped his body piercing rituals.
He would sit in a corner and face the onslaught of asthma attacks.. but we got along very well, though he was under a vow , he had stopped talking for 11 years , his failing health made him break his vow a thought that pained him a lot..
The problems in the Valley , disillusionment created means to escape and so the individual joined the Rafaees .
Kashmiri Bawa has been with the Chancawalli Rafaees since the beginning, a quiet silent man , and I have cursed myself for not talking to them and being curious as to why they became ascetics.I dont get personal, dont ask questions ..I shoot pictures sometimes it makes them happy it makes me happy too.
And this aloofness has made me friends with the Rafaee and I write positively , though I hate writing but at times it is necessary .. the rafaee is a Sufi body piercing group.
They move from Urus to Urus known as the Dargah circuit and perform their rituals which gets them alms.
Ek Dum..Zindagi Aur Gham.., a photo by firoze shakir photographerno1 on Flickr. As a documentarist I have shot the Rafaees up close , and it is tough shooting them firstly they dont take kindly to photographers or strangers , and I have had abusive bawas cursing me and once a bawa stopped my camera from working too.
I shot the Chancawalli Rafaees during the Makkhdhoom Shah Urus at Mahim , their domain called the Dhuni or Holy Fire behind the Shrine.
Smoking hashish or ganja in a pipe is one of the cultures of the Rafaee , and with the hashish, the best quality mal comes the hangar ons , and most of these guys unemployed , become Murids doing odd jobs for the Rafaees.
The more richer well connected Murids could be drug peddlers , drug dealers does not matter at the Dhuni you come in good faith, squabbles political talk sectarian talk is not tolerated.. the Murshad and his Kotwal keep an eye on all this.
In the mornngs the Rafaees get up very late , go to the beach for their ablutions etc, b…