Slike stranica

baradhurry was brilliantly illuminated every night, but on the ninth night the light was as that of day.

On the seventh day a procession took place in honour of Kassim, the cousin of Hassain, who lost his life on his wedding-day, and trays of silver covered with the leaves of the mayndee are carried about then from house to house, with weeping and lamentation. The mayndee yields the red dye and paint so much used in marriage feasts and processions, and hence the trays of mayndee carried about in memory of Kassim's untimely death.

On the eighth day ceremonies are performed in honour of Abas Alaam, who so bravely brought the water for his favourite niece.

But the ninth is the great day of the fast. In the mosques there is then a continuous reading of the Koran all day long, kept up by successive relays of moollahs, and the lives and deaths of Huzrut Aly and his martyred family are related; and on that night the illumination in the palace and the bazaars and the city was as if all the stars of heaven

had come down into Lucknow. The tazias were carried about in procession, and a horse -the horse of Hassain, called Dhool-dhoolall stuck over with arrows, followed the tazias, and the weeping women, with loud lamentations and beating of breasts, followed, and the multitude took up the wail, and the city mourned.

In the queen's household we had recitations all night on that ninth night; for the queen was devout. None slept. The martyrdom of Huzrut Aly and his family was described again and again, and prints of the chief scenes in the saint's life were exhibited, and we all wept and wailed all night long. I remember particularly the pictures of Fatima and her daughters, without veils and barefooted, the hut in the forest, and the spinningwheel, and the sheet of the 180 rags, and last of all the horrid murder. Oh! it was a sad sight. Three times during the night a solemn farewell to the dead brothers was spoken, the last farewell just as day dawned.

On the morning of the day when all the tazias, except the silver ones, were buried,


they were ranged in one of the courtyards of the palace, and three hundred men, reciters of the woes of the saint's martyrdom, and the martyrdom of his family, were engaged, and other men rattled together bits of wood as the people lamented. The men and women struck their breasts at intervals, shouting 'Hassain!' and Hoossen!' and it was no uncommon thing for blood to flow from this striking of the breasts, and serious injury to be done. On the conclusion of the recitation, the queen my mistress and the king and all the royal family walked in procession round the tazias, three times. They then threw dust and chopped-up straw into the air, in imitation of the ashes Fatima and her daughters had strewn on their heads, and then all of them uncovered their heads, and beat their breasts, shouting Hassain! Hoossen!' just as the servants and the multitude did. The farewell benediction was always spoken first by the queen my mistress, and afterwards by the king.


This done, the procession for the burial of the tazias was formed. Bearers of alums or

votive offerings first, then readers and reciters, then mourners, then more alum-bearers, and so on, till the tazias themselves came; the readers and reciters and mourners with each. The tazias were usually composed of a framework of wood, covered with silk, and the sides of talc or glass-all of the shape of the tomb, decorated with flags and such like, of brilliant colours, with tinsel representations of the water-skin of Abas Alaam, the spinning-wheel of Fatima, and other memorable objects connected with this mournful history.

When the procession had gone ahead some forty yards or so, the royal family followed with uncovered heads-my mistress first. Again they all beat their breasts, and cried "Hassain! Hoossen!' and lamented. They went so for about half a mile of enclosed walks, not in the public roads, and then returned, in their conveyance, to spend the day in reading, and praying, and in religious exercises. At least, so the queen spent it. No one was allowed to eat a morsel of food, or to drink a drop of water, all that day, till the proces

sion returned from the burial of the tazias, which was about sunset. Even the sucking infant on that day was deprived of its food till the burial was over, so strict was the fast.

But rigorous as the fast really is, it is not called a fast, and two or three grains of salt are put on the tongue in the morning, to prevent its being a fast, because it is said that the wife of the traitor who slew Huzrut Aly fasted for joy at the success of her husband's treason. May her tomb be defiled!

During the first five days of the Mohurrim, meat and drink were distributed to the poor, and on the sixth and seventh days large quantities of excellent and savoury dishes were given away-kabobs, and pillaus, and khoormas. On the eighth day the breakfast of Abas Alaam is offered, but only those who are pure in mind and body, having bathed and put on clean clothes, dare to partake of it. Even mentioning his name with unwashed mouth is a sin which has been severely punished. On the afternoon of the eighth day sherbet is given to the poor in memory of Hassain, and on the

« PrethodnaNastavi »