IN PICTURES: Paintings from Indian artists and European patrons show how Muharram was celebrated in the 19th century

The paintings show the existence of that very culture and its recognition in the era while speaking mildly about then existing cultural dynamics.

The month of Muharram has had immense significance, particularly in Muslim societies. Celebrated as the month of mourning across the world by the Shia community, it commemorates the significant battle of Karbala that occurred in 680 AD.

The grandson of Prophet Muhammad (SAWW), Imam Hussain, was martyred along with his family members and companions while the women were taken as prisoners and subjected to humiliation.

Since then, Shias across the world mourn the deaths and condemn the brutality in the form of gatherings and processions. With Matam, mild to extreme self-flagellation, food being distributed among the believers, massive blood donation drives, and huge gatherings led by Alam as shabeeh – the tragic incident is narrated and the events are recalled.

Usually wearing black and participating every year like a ritual, the Shia customary mourning has gathered the attention of people belonging to other religious identities as well.


Also See: Clothing Brands Face Intense Backlash Over Their ‘Muharram’ Collection


People belonging to many other religions also see Imam Hussain as a revolutionist and reformist who dominantly changed the course of history by his rigid stance against oppression. Due to this, Muharram has had historical significance and is embedded in many cultures.

Due to being celebrated in such a synchronized fashion with multiple religious representations, Muharram also caught the eye of the British, who found this mass-mourning culture both interesting and strange. It can be well reflected by these paintings made by anonymous Indian artists and European patrons.

The paintings show the existence of that very culture and its recognition in the era while speaking mildly about then existing cultural dynamics.

Here, have a look:

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