Saturday, January 3, 2015

The World Of Rafaees

Rafaees Sufi Street Performers Body Piercers

These are old images getting a new lease on their expiry date on my old CDS DVDS .. I have no back up as such, and all my images over 322,840 are housed at Flickr in different sets ..over 600 sets I think ..Views on my images at Flickr since 10 June 2007 is 36,985,626.

My most visited sets at Flickr was my Hijras In India set , Cross dressers Gay Parade Mumbai that I locked up completely from public view with absolutely no regrets .

People have to grow up to understand the Hijra ethos and not approach them as voyeuristic titillating pastime  and those who stole my Hijra pictures posted them on their sites will never see what I shot ..what I am still shooting .. this genre of people photography sadly is out of bound to all of them and in all humility nobody has shot the Hijra as sensitively humanly as I have .

And photography is about trust faith ,you cant just walk in as a cowboy and shoot ethnicity that is esoteric by nature ,,

Well back to the Rafaees that I have documented pictorially are simple people who turned their backs on domesticity and left homes to become ascetics  living in groups performing at Urus and thus sustaining themselves .

Most of the Rafaees because of their prowess and mind over stuff impress the poor and become holistic healers exorcists and do Dua Tawiz.

I dont endorse the people I shoot , I dont know what they do is real fake or sleigh of hand I merely shoot them you make your evaluation and estimations and this is not just a disclaimer but the way I am.. I am a photographer first and last and by shooting any community I am neither promoting their views or proselytizing their Order or Faith.

I have not shot the Rafaes for almost three years now , ever since I joined the order of the Malangs I began documenting the Madarriya order .. but the  Rafaees who impresses me most is Mehboob Ali Bawa and Noubat Ali Bawa.

A lot of strait laced pristine minded Muslims we have so many types of Muslims these days look down upon the Rafaee as drug users riffraff .. and keep away from them but the Rifai Silsila is not aggressive and promotes peace at all levels ..Sufism in India is basically a large overdose of Sunni thought in most cases.. is something I dont have to mention.

We dont have Nakshbandi or other orders the most famous all time favorite touched by all is the Chishtiya Order , the Qadri order that includes the Rifais too.

Than come the Malangs of the Madarriya Order owing spiritual allegiance to Hazrat Zinda Shah Madar Of Makanpur .

I am miles away from the theology or Tawassuf part of Sufi Islam I follow my Shia faith but I shoot Sufism as I see it in India .I try no to miss the Ajmer Sharif Urus come what may and my mentor is Peersab Fakhru Miya of Hujra No .6.

Most of the Murshads of this Chancawalli Raffaee order have passed away.. and the group splintered up too.

Possession At Dargahs During Sandal Time

I have been shooting possession exorcism at Dargahs  and mostly during the Urus of the Holy Saint the person carrying Sandal ,, [Sandal is sandal wood paste placed as offering at the Tomb of the Saint ,] always goes into a trance such is the power of the offering , he goes into a trance ..and those around him support him and help him reach the doors of the Holy Shrine ..

The other form of possession at Dargahs is Hazri , the entry of a spirit into the body of a person changing his her personality completely and this happens mostly among women I have shot them extensively they bang their heads against walls shake their hair , shout scream and it is a frightening scene very common at Makhdhoom Shah Baba Mahim .

The most frequented places for some of these mentally challenged people, with fits and spams is Mira Datar Unjha in Gujrat.. here the most deadliest cases of posssesion are bough to the Holy Shrine for holistic cure also known as Dua Tawiz .. The Khadims do the exorcisms ..and it is a unimaginable experience I shot some frames when I visited the Shrine ,, photography is not a favorite her as the patients are chained  on a leash with a lock under the charge of the guardian.

The other place is Hussain Tekri Jaorah, This too I have shot and exorcism dua tawiz is the remedy and this place is termed as a Spiritually Mental Hospital ..Some people fed up with their wards who are mentally challenged just leave them here to fend for themselves and you find them on the roads leading to the various Shrines ..

Strangely at some Holy Shrines fraudsters charlatans make fool of the gullible and take families for a big ride .. all this gave birth to Bangali Babas Tantriks most of them deceiving people and also causing bodily harm.

I remember a Sikh gentleman who contacted me on phone to connect him with a Malang to heal his ward I told him to believe in Wahe Guru and go and pray for him at the Gurudwara instead.

I have seen deceptions at some Dargahs  too but it is a huge spiritual Mafia deeply entrenched with connections in high places too.

Most of it you know too false godmen etc etc .

My subject has been Dargah possession and these are some frames you can check out ,,,including Hazri too.

I also go into a trance sometimes but it is called Sufi Kaif ..happens on Chatti at Ajmer during the Urus of Khwajah Garib Nawaz.

Living In Fear Blood Sweat And Tears ..

traffic signal kids
when the light turns
red magically appear
rubbing their noses
against the glass
of the rich lady's car
into dark tinted depth
of richness peer the
rich ladys lets out a
shout as the BMW s
glass gets smeared
no  she wont give
a single penny the auto
ricksha guy tells the
begging kids jeers
the signal turns green
driver changes the gears
the kids sadness on their
dirty faces as the rich
ladys car disappears
god above watches
he has eyes but sadly
no ears .. their pleas
he cannot hear ..

an old year passes away
20 -15 another happy
new year...3 cheers