News & Events

Aashura in Udaipur - 2009

Orthodox play politics with Moharram procession


Marsiya procession on the 10th of Mauharram by the Udaipur Bohras is a tradition that is almost a hundred years old and to this day is being continued by reformist Bohras. Every year this procession originates at the Mohiyyadpura masjid at around 2:30PM and finishes at the Wajeehpura masjid at around 4PM. The Mohiyyadpura masjid is shared by both orthodox and reformist groups for their majlises and prayers. For the last few years, it has become an annual ritual of the orthodox Bohras to interfere with the marsiya procession and create all sorts of hurdles for reformists.

This year was no different. Reformists needed the masjid for about 30 minutes start the procession, after which the orthodox group could have continued their majlis for the rest of the day. Rather than vacating the masjid, they deliberately extended their majlis by an hour. The reformists waited for them to finish. The Aamil instigated the crowd to disturb the procession, and they started verbal and physical abuse against the reformists and started playing "Ghanu jeevu" at a high volume on the public address system. This of course drowned the marsiyas of the procession but refomrists kept their cool and continued with the proceedings by concentrating on the solemnity of the occasion.

The Orthodox tactic is to make reformists give up their rights to the Mohiyyadpura masjid and change the route of the procession. Reformists of course would not allow such a thing to happen. Prior to the occasion they met the police officials of Udaipur and informed them about the need of police presence to maintain law and order in the Bohra mohalla. The police is aware of the long history of the struggle and knows that this procession is carried out every year. They assured the reformists of their support. There was a heavy police presence in the mohalla and they ordered the orthodox group to let the reformists perform their ritual peacefully.

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