[Photos] Alam Procession by Bohra Youth
It started from the Masjid in Moiyyad Pura under strict surveillance of the
The Dawoodi Bohra Community (youth), in its regular yearly traditional mourning procession on the day of Aashura, the 10th of Moharram, took part in the Alam Procession held on Dec 5th Monday.
It started from the Masjid in Moiyyad Pura under strict surveillance of the law keepers and consummated at the Masjid in Vagpura, after a 2 hr procession through the streets of Bohra wadi. All the members of the community strode along with the procession, participating in the Maatam and joining along with the Marsiyahs and Nauhas recited by the various groups in the procession.
Children were seeing leading the procession, while performing Maatam and each house along the streets was filled with people who were watching the procession.
‘Alam means “flag” or “sign” in Arabic.
Historically, the family of Prophet Mohammed (SAWS) had a unique flag that represented the Bani Hashim (the clan of the Holy Prophet) in specific. One honorable member of the family would be chosen to carry this as a representation to others. Earlier it was green in color and was given to hazrat Ali Ibn Abi Talib by Prophet Mohammad (SAWS) himself, and then Ali Ibn Abi Talib gave this Alam to his son Al Abbas Ibn Ali who held this Alam till his last breath in the Battle of Karbala.
After the event of Karbala, Alams during Azadari (mourning) procession have become an essential feature.
People who hold these Alams are referred as Alamdars (the Flag Bearers). Abbas ibn Ali (R.A.) is always called Abbas Alamdar. Post Karbala Alams are invariably linked with him for his sacrifices and loyalty towards his brother Imam Hussain (A.S.)
As mentioned above although Alam procession is linked with Shi’a muslims, the Bohra community, though Shi’as, do not have the tradition of Alam procession. The Alam procession of Udaipur reformist Bohras is only around 40 years old. It started when this faction was ex-communicated in early 1970s.
Earlier the Bohras used to take out Azadari procession on Ashura recting Nohas (wailing poems), Marsiyahs (Elegies) and Salaams (salutations) beating their chests and wailing. They added Alams to show their solidarity with other Shi’a groups.