Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Malang And The Rafaees

The Seaside Shrine Of Khwajah Khizar Mahim

The Whipping Malang At The Seaside Shrine Of Khwajah Khizar Mahim

Documenting The Chancawalli Rafaees

The World of The Rafaees

The World of The Rafaees

The World Of Rafaees

Late Handi Sai Serves Butter Chai..

Sarkar Ali Murshad Of Chancawalli Rafaees And The Malang From Mumbai

Amanat Ali Baba

Amanat Ali Baba

Amanat Bawa And The Chillum of Peace

The Rafaee Dhuni And Life


Mahim by firoze shakir photographerno1
Mahim, a photo by firoze shakir photographerno1 on Flickr.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Mahim is a neighbourhood in Mumbai. The Mahim railway station is located in Mahim area, on the Mumbai suburban railway on the Western Railway (India) railway line. In ancient times, the area was known as Maijim, Mejambu, Mahikawati.[1]

Mahim was one of the seven islands that originally made up Mumbai. Mahim, or Mahikawati as it was known, was the capital of Raja Bhimdev, who reigned over the region in the 13th century. He built a palace and a court of justice in Prabhadevi, as well as the first Babulnath temple.

Dargah of Mahimi in Mahim
In 1343, this island was possessed by the Muslims of Gujarat. It was in their reign that the old Mahim mosque was built. A dargah of Makhtum Fakir Ali Paru was built here in 1431.
In 1543, the Portuguese captured the islands of Mumbai. In 1662, these islands were given to the English King, King Charles II, as a part of the wedding dowry for the Portuguese princess, Catherine of Braganza. After British acquired Mumbai, they built the Mahim Fort here in order to protect themselves from the Portuguese. The fort today stands in ruins.
The Causeway connecting Mahim and Bandra (corrupted from "Bunder" meaning port in Persian) was completed in 1845 at a total cost of Rs. 1,57,000 donated entirely by Lady Avabai Jamsetjee Jeejeebhoy, wife of the first baronet Sir Jamsetjee Jeejebhoy with a stipulation that no toll would be charged to citizens for its use by the government.
In 1847, a small group of Scottish missionaries decided to start a new school, now one of the most high profile schools in Mumbai – the Bombay Scottish School

Bandra Worli Sea Link across Mahim bay.
Mahim is surrounded by Bandra in the North, Arabian Sea in the West.
[edit]Schools and Educational Institutions
Mahim has a number of schools and educational institutions. Some of the well known schools in Mahim are Bombay Scottish School, Mahim, St. Michael's High School, Canossa Convent High School, Saraswati Mandir English Primary School,Saraswati Mandir High school, Victoria High School, KJ Khilnani High School, Iqra International School and R C Mahim School. Reputed colleges and professional educational institutes such as Ruparel College and St. Xavier's Technical Institute are also located in Mahim.
[edit]Important Landmarks in Mahim
1. St. Michael's Church
2. Makhdoom Ali Mahimi Dargah
3. Paradise Cinema
4. Shitladevi Temple
5. Hinduja Hospital
6. Mahim Fort
7. Mahim Bunder
8. Xavier Institute of Engineering
9. S.L. Raheja Hospital
10. Canossa Convent High School - Celebrities like Amrita Rao and industrial magnate Shweta Sabne attended this school
11. St. Michael's High School - Celebrities like Zakir Hussain (musician), Wendell Rodricks (Fashion Designer), Nadeem of Nadeem-Shravan, iconic heart surgeon Dr.Mukesh Hariawala, musician Clinton Cerejo, DJ Lloyd Gueizelar attended this school
[edit]Mahim Bay
Mahim Bay is a large bay, part of the Arabian Sea in Mumbai India. The southern end is Worli, northern end is Bandra Reclamation and Mahim is in the centre. The bay was named after the islands of Mahim and Salsette were merged in the early 19th century. The Mithi River drains into Mahim Creek which drains into the Bay, and forms the border between the city and its suburbs.
During the colonial era, the Portuguese built a watch tower called Castella de Aguada on the northern side. Later, the British built the Worli Fort to the south and Mahim Fort near the creek to defend the seven islands of Bombay against attacks by the Portuguese and the Marathas. Bandra-Worli Sealink crosses the Mahim bay.
[edit]Mahim Creek

Mahim Creek
Mahim Creek is a creek in Mumbai, India. The Mithi River drains into the creek which drains into the Mahim Bay. The creek forms the boundary between the city and suburbs. The creek is swamped by mangroves and has a mini-ecosystem within it.
It now has the Bandra-Kurla complex with corporate offices on both its sides.
The depth of the creek is 15 feet (4.6 m)
The waters of the creek are foul smelling due to the dumping of untreated industrial effluents further upstream. In recent years, the mushrooming of slums around the waters have caused concern for the mangrove ecosystem, vital to the ecosystem of Mumbai.
In 2006, it was the site of mass hysteria as thousands claimed its waters had turned "sweet."
[edit]Mahim Causeway

The Mahim Causeway
The Mahim Causeway is a vital link road connecting the city of Mumbai with its northern suburbs. The causeway links the neighbourhoods of Mahim to the south with Bandra to the north.
The Mahim Causeway was built between 1841 to 1846 to connect the island of Salsette with Mahim. The swampy area between the two islands made travel dangerous and thus a need for a causeway arose. The British East India Company, who governed Bombay at that time, refused to fund the project. This led Lady Jeejeebhoy, wife of the first baronet Sir Jamsetjee Jeejeebhoy, to donate the entire amount of Rs.1,57,000/- on the condition that the government would not charge a toll for its use or disturb the Koli community who lived around the area[2]
The Mahim causeway forms the link between Swami Vivekanand Road and L.J.Road, being the stretch between Bandra masjid and Mahim church (St. Michael's). It is not to be confused with the Bandra-Worli Sea Link, a major infrastructural project opened on June 30, 2009 which is designed to ease traffic across the causeway by building another bridge across the Mahim Bay.
[edit]The Mahim fort

Mahim fort
Mahim Fort, which was once visible from the Mahim Causeway and Bandra Reclamation, is barely visible now. The Mahim Fort along with Fort St George in South Mumbai was an important base during the time of the British Empire. Other forts in Mumbai and Salsette Island include Sion, Worli, Sewri and Mazgaon. The fort St George was built in 1669, by the former Governor of Bombay, Gerald Aungier.
Thomas Grantham then strengthened the fort's ramparts in 1684. In the year 1772, 111 years after Bombay was taken from them, the Portuguese attempted to attack this fort. The British replied fiercely with cannonballs. In fact, the Bandra church also bore the brunt of their fire. There were about 100 soldiers and 30 cannons in the Mahim Fort at that time.
Today the fort is almost ruined and encroachers and hutments occupy it.

Handi Sai Has Hidden His Face From This Illusory World

in an unmarked
grave hurriedly
buried at kota
he lies from
the world
of the chancawalli
rafaees he has
broken all ties
his flesh now
at peace
a new sunrise
closer closer
to paradise
handi sai
has shut
his eyes
a shroud
in silence
sighs a broken
chillum solemnly
cries ..a cruel world
he came he saw
he paid the price
akhri salam
his sacrifice

Kashmiri Bawa Serving Sufi Kava

Shias Have Been Killed By Those Who Recite The Kalima

my tribute to late sibte jaffar saab

And Death Was Stealthily Waiting In The Wings

he passed
the mortal
mans soul
a poisonous
sting broke
the wretched
cosmic string
death proclaimed
himself as king
master of the ring
from ashes to ashes
from smoke to smoke
back to nothing

The Black Magic Of India

Handi Sai

Hassan Ganda

Black Gold Of India

The Dhuni At Mahim Dargah of Makdhoom Shah Baba

Ek Roti Ka Sawal Hai Baba

The Peace loving Rafaees Of India

The Rafaees are Sufi body piercing Sect , they live in nomadic groups headed by a Murshad , and they are adherents of Ghaus Pak or connected to the Chishtiya order of Holy Saint Khwajah Moinuddin Chishty.

One of their heads Noubat Ali Baba sits at Jalali Chowk Ajmer .

You will find the Rafaees at both the Dhunis of Nizamuddin Aulia Dargah.

At Mahim Dhuni the Chancawalli Rafaees from Shancawali Dargah at Andheri East come during the Urus of Makdhoom Shah Baba and when it ends they move to the smaller one at Mahim Main Road of Fakhruddin Shah Baba.

They follow the Urus circuit , in Feb they reach Haji Malang and finally all Rafaees will gather at Ajmer for the Urus of Khwajah Garib Nawaz.

Believe Me The Rafaees Are Not The Easiest People To Shoot

269,640 items / 2,141,019 views

Now after so many years of introspection, of documenting the Rafaee blithe spirit , and going back over those twelve thirteen years , I realize I was lucky and had I not been cogently introduced  to them by Fahad Pathan son of the late Imam of the Makhdhoom Shah Dargah mosque I doubt I could have shot them, and besides the Murshad of that time Sikandar Wali Baba loved being photographed loved talking his pidgin  English to impress his followers and Murids that he was more educated than them them at all level not just the spiritual one.

After his death several Murshads took his place but shortlived , both Handi and Barsati Baba died prematurely , the present Sarkar Ali is defiant and wont give in easily.

As these Rafaees originally come from ChanSha Wali or ShansaWali or Chancawalli as I call them , they spend their time in transit at Mahim main dargah and than after  Makhdhoom Shah Babas Urus shift to  Fakhruddin Shah Baba Dargah newly renovated on the main road.

They keep the Fires burning of the Dhuni a fire concept among naga sadhus too.

And there is a lot of hash or chillum smoking at the Dhuni one of the common feature among the Sufi Rafaees and the Hindu Naga Sadhus.

For the Rafaee the Urus is akin to the fervor of the Nagas at the Shahi Snan..

The Rafaee follows the Sandal of the particular Holy Saint performing his rituals his self infliction or body piercing acts .. and getting ample alms on that day from bystanders murids and the general crowd including the shops they pass by.

During their stay at the Dhuni Urus time they serve niyaz , kill a goat or two offered by their rich patrons and give food to their followers and the poor.

They also do charity , being mendicants themselves.

There is a lot of curing of possessed souls exorcisms too.

These bawas are are self confessed holistic healers and in local parlance do Dua Tawiz.

The radicals hate them for their life style and the chillum gatherings and several other reasons considering their acts not part of regular fundamental religion that the radicals follow.

As a photographer I shoot this Sufi sect this was my genre and as a Malang following the teachings of my Peer Syed Ali Baba Masoomi Asqan  I believe live and let others live .. we are all paths leading to Oneness of Human Spirit hope Peace And Reality .

The Rafaee And The Flame

held within
a poetic frame
his bounty
his name
the chillum
burns the soul
aflame held
master of
the game '

Chancawalli Rafaees

The Dreadhead Rafaee

The Beggar Poets Dinner

The Rafaee

Kashmiri Bawa

The Rafaee Dhuni

The Holistic Feeling Hand of a Malang

now forgotten
the essence
of healing
always young
the flesh was
willing the spirit
high strung
ashes to ashes
dung to dung

The Restless Rafaee

Amanat Ali Baba

Shahensha Baba

Amanat Ali Baba

Handi Sai

Handi Sai

Kashmiri Bawa Rafaee

Where There Is Smoke ...And Dhuni Fire

Hassan Ganda or Don Jaun Baba

The Death of a Rafaee - Late Handi Sai

The Rafaee