Hindu contribution to the Marsiya. by Intizar Husain

City of Karbala on river Euphrat (Furat)

karbala 2 krore 50 lach zairien

IN our school and college days we all loved to assist friends set up `sabeels` alongside Lahore`s traditional `Ashura` procession, providing cold drinks to the thousands who mourned. Sects and beliefs never mattered then. But then neither did one`s religion.

For well over 1,332 years, the tragedy of Karbala moves everyone who hears about it, be they Muslim, Christian, Hindu, Sikh or any other religion. This is one incident that brings out the need to support those with a moral position. As children we attended the `sham-ighareeban` with our Shia friends, and learnt the lesson of supporting those in the right. Everyone respected the beliefs of others. Yes, there were always a few silly chaps who wanted attention, but they were at best ignored.

The ancient city of Lahore is connected to the tragedy in no uncertain terms. Historical accounts say seven brave warriors from Lahore died while fighting in the Battle of Karbala. It is said their father Rahab Dutt, an old man who traded withArabia in those days, had promised the Holy Prophet (Peace be upon him) to stand by his grandson in his fight to uphold the truth. That pledge the brave Rajput Mohiyals of the Dutt clan from Lahore upheld. Today they are known as Hussaini Brahmins, who lived in Lahore till 1947. Then there is the fact that besides the Hindu Rajputs of Lahore, in the battle also fought John bin Huwai, a freed Christian slave of Abu Dharr al-Ghafari, whose `alleged` descendents, one researcher claims, still live inside the Walled City of Lahore. I have been on the track of these ancestors for quite some time and have been able to trace one Christian family living inside Mori Gate. They claim to have a connection with a `Sahabi` whose name they cannot recollect. M. A. Karanpikar`s `Islam in Transition`, written over 250 years ago, made this claim, but I do not think it is a claim worth pursuing.

But the most powerful claim of Lahore as the place where the descendents ofHussain ibn All came lies in the Bibi Pak Daman graveyard, where the grave of Ruquiya, sister of Hussain ibn Ali and wife of Muslim ibn Ageel, is said to exist. Also graves here attributed to the sisters of Muslim ibn Ageel and other family members. Many dispute this claim. But then no less a person than Ali Hasan of Hajweri, known popularly as Data Sahib, came here every Thursday to offer `fateha` at the grave, informing his followers that this was the grave of Ruquiya. The place where he always stood to offer `fateha` has been marked out, and his book also verifies this claim. Mind you detractors exist, of this have no doubt, but the supporting evidence is quite strong. Let me begin the story of the Dutts by going through the record of the Shaukat Khanum Hospital and the recorded fact that Indian film star Sunil Dutt, who belonged to Lahore, made a donation to the hospital and recorded the following words: `For Lahore, like my elders, I will shed every drop of blood and give any donation asked for, just as my ancestorsdid when they laid down their lives at Karbala for Hazrat Imam Husain. Makes you think -but then there is this account which says that the seven sons of Rahab Dutt lost their lives defending the Imam at Karbala. The Martyr`s List at Qum verifies this. History records when the third thrust by Yazid`s forces came, the Dutt brothers refused to let them pass.

The seven Punjabi swordsmen stood their ground till they were felled by hundreds of horsemen. In lieu of the loyalty of the Dutt family to that of the Holy Prophet (Peace be upon him) was coined the famous saying: `Wah Dutt Sultan, Hindu ka dharm, Musalman ka iman, Adha Hindu adha Musalman.` Since then, so the belief goes, Muslims were instructed never to try to convert the Dutts to Islam. A grieving Rahab returned to the land of his ancestors, and after staying in Afghanistan, returned to Lahore. I have tried my very best to locate their `mohallah` inside the Walled City, and my educated guess is that it is Mohallah Maulian inside Lohari Gate. Later theymoved to Mochi Gate, and it was there that the famous Dutts lived before 1947 saw them flee from the hate of the people they gave everything for. The most interesting thing about the Hussaini Brahmins is that they are highly respected among Hindus, and even more amazingly it is said that all direct ancestors of Rahab Dutt are born with a light slash mark on their throat, a sort of symbol of their sacrifice. I was reading a piece by Prof Doonica Dutt of Delhi University who verified this claim and said that all true Dutts belong to Lahore.

I must point out to an amazing version of these events that an Indian historian, Chawala, has come up with. It says that one of the wives of Hazrat Imam Husain, the Persian princess Shahr Banu, was the sister of Chandra Lekha or Mehr Banu, the wife of an Indian king Chandragupta. We know that he ruled over Lahore. When it became clear that Yazid ibn Muawiya was determined to eliminate Hussain ibn Ali, the son of Hussain (named Ali) rushed off a letter to Chandragupta asking for assis-tance. The Mauriyan king, allegedly, dispatched a large army to Iraq to assist. By the time they arrived, the Tragedy of Karbala had taken place. In Kufa in Iraq a disciple of Hazrat Imam Husain is said to have arranged for them to stay in a special part of the town, which even today is known by the name of Dair-i-Hindiya or `the Indian quarter` The Hussaini Brahmins believe that in the Kalanki Purana, the last of 18 Puranas, as well as the Atharva Veda, the 4th Veda, refers to Hazrat Imam Husain as the avatar of the Kali Yug, the present age.

They believe that the family of the Holy Prophet (Peace be upon him)is Om Murti, the most respected family before the Almighty. All these facts bring me back to our days as school children working hard to provide relief to the mourners on Ashura. Reminds me of our neighbour Nawab Raza Ali Qizilbash, who invited us to his `haveli` every year to see the preparations before the event. Raza Bhai is no more, and neither is the tolerance that we all enjoyed so much. Source: Dawn Prediction about Karbala in Hindu books

Acharya Pramod Krishnan about Imam Hussain on Hussain(a.s) Day 2012 ========================================================================= See also some comments on this articles: Abdul Nishapuri says: November 27, 2012 at 4:52 am Hindu followers of Muslim imam By Yoginder Sikand One of the most important events in early Muslim history was the battle of Karbala fought in 680 CE in which Imam Hussain, grandson of the Prophet through his daughter Fatima and her husband Imam Ali, was slaughtered along with a small band of disciples in a bloody battle against the tyrant Yazid. This event occurred in the Islamic month of Muharram, and it is for this reason that this month is observed with great solemnity in many parts of the Muslim world. What is particularly striking about the observances of the month of Muharram in large parts of India is the prominent participation of Hindus in the ritual mourning.

In several towns and villages, Hindus join Muslims in lamenting the death of Hussain, by sponsoring or taking part in lamentation rituals and tazia processions. In Lucknow, seat of the Shia nawabs of Awadh, prominent Hindu noblemen like Raja Tikait Rai and Raja Bilas Rai built Imambaras to house alams, standards representing the Karbala event. The Hindu Lambadi community in Andhra Pradesh have their own genre of Muharram lamentation songs in Telugu.

Among certain Hindu castes in Rajasthan, the Karbala battle is recounted by staging plays in which the death of Imam Hussain is enacted, after which the women of the village come out in a procession, crying and cursing Yazid for his cruelty. In large parts of rural India, Hindus believe that if barren women slip under a Moharrum alam they would be blessed with a child. Perhaps the most intriguing case of Hindu veneration of Imam Hussain is to be found among the small Hussaini Brahmin sect, also called Dutts or Mohiyals, who are found mainly in Punjab. The Hussaini Brahmins have had a long martial tradition, which they trace back to the event of Karbala. They believe that an ancestor named Rahab traveled all the way from Punjab to Arabia, where he became a disciple of Imam Hussain.

In the battle of Karbala, Rahab fought in the army of the Imam against Yazid. His sons, too, joined him, and most of them were killed. The Imam, seeing Rahab’s love for him, bestowed upon him the title of Sultan or king, and told him to go back to India. It is because from this close bond between Rahab and Imam Hussain that the Hussaini Brahmins derive their name. After Rahab and those of his sons who survived the battle of Karbala reached India, they settled down in the western Punjab and gradually a community grew around them.

The Hussaini Brahmins practised an intriguing blend of Islamic and Hindu traditions. A popular saying refers to the Hussaini Brahmins or Dutts thus: Wah Dutt Sultan, Hindu ka Dharm Musalman ka Iman, Adha Hindu Adha Musalman Oh! Dutt, the king [Who follows] the religion of the Hindu And the faith of the Muslim Half Hindu, half Muslim. Another story, which seems less reliable, is related as to how the Dutts of Punjab came to be known as Hussaini Brahmins. According to this version, one of the wives of Imam Hussain, the Persian princess Shahr Banu, was the sister of Chandra Lekha or Mehr Banu, the wife of an Indian king called Chandragupta.

When it became clear that Yazid was adamant on killing the Imam, the Imam’s son Ali ibn Hussain rushed off a letter to Chandragupta asking him for help against Yazid. When Chandragupta received the letter, he dispatched a large army to Iraq to assist the Imam. By the time they arrived, however, the Imam had been slain. In the town of Kufa, in present-day Iraq, they met with one Mukhtar Saqaffi, a disciple of the Imam, who arranged for them to stay in a special part of the town, which even today is known by the name of Dair-i-Hindiya or ‘the Indian quarter’.

Some Dutt Brahmins, under the leadership of one Bhurya Dutt, got together with Mukhtar Saqafi to avenge the death of the Imam. They stayed behind in Kufa, while the rest returned to India. Here they built up a community of their own, calling themselves Hussaini Brahmins, keeping alive the memory of their links with the Imam. The Hussaini Brahmins believe that in the Bhagwadgita Krishna had foretold the event of the Imam’s death at Karbala. According to them, the Kalanki Purana, the last of eighteen Puranas, as well as the Atharva Veda, the fourth Veda, refer to Imam Hussain as the divine incarnation or avatar of the Kali Yug, the present age.

They hold Imam Ali, Imam Hussain’s father, and son-in-law and cousin of the Prophet Muhammad, in particular reverence, referring to him with the honorific title of ‘Om Murti’. The Hussaini Brahmins, along with other Hindu devotees of the Muslim Imam, are today a rapidly vanishing community. Younger generation Hussaini Brahmins are said to be abandoning their ancestral heritage, some seeing it as embarrassingly deviant.

No longer, it seems, can an ambiguous, yet comfortable, liminality be sustained, fuzzy communal identities giving way under the relentless pressure to conform to the logic of neatly demarcated ‘Hindu’ and ‘Muslim’ communities. And so, these and scores of other religious communities that once straddled the frontier between Hinduism and Islam seem destined for perdition, or else to folkloric curiosities that tell of a bygone age, when it was truly possible to be both Hindu as well as Muslim at the same time.

http://www.milligazette.com/Archives/2004/16-31May04-Print-Edition/1605200441.htm ======================================================================== Asma bint Marwan says: November 27, 2012 at 9:11 am Verily this warms the cockles of my `Dehriya’ Hindostanee heart!Will read and re-read this post.An aside:denizens of LUBP may wish to look up Allama Zameer Akhtar Naqvi’s speeches on the web,while we are on the subject of our own tradition of Husainiyat and all related syncretic spirituality. Many thanks for the above material; ham tah-e-dil se mashkoor hein. ======================================================================== Mustafa says: November 27, 2012 at 11:13 am I really appreciate that a sect of Hindus love Imam Hussein (A.S) . The history of Hussaini Brahmins is very interesting! Also there are many other Non Muslims, Jews and Christians and others who love Imam Hussein (A.S). This is because he dusnt belong to a sect or just Muslims but to humanity ==========================================================================

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