Slogans for ‘Martyr Burhan Wani’ and ‘Azadi’ reverberate Muharram processions in Kashmir

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Srinagar: In the old city’s area of Kamangar, Rajorikadal, slogans of Azadi have been reverberating during Muharram processions (Juloos) in the past few days.

“Over the past years due to the rise of social media, a greater understanding of Imam Hussain’s message has expanded throughout the young generation,” a young man in his mid twenties told present during the processions told Free Press Kashmir.

Ever since Burhan Wani was killed in 2016, his face has regularly appeared in Muharram processions, leading many to believe that he, too, had been ‘martyred in the cause of justice against oppression’.

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“We believe in Hussain’s message,” said a young boy. “We believe that Burhan Wani was carrying Hussain’s message to the masses.”

It has become routine, the young boy said, to include Azaadi slogans while remembering those martyred in Karbala, where the fated war took place.

At first glance, it may seem untimely and even be accused by some as a form of bid’ah (innovation), however, the ‘link is undeniable’ for some.

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“There is a reason that a figure like Burhan Wani rose among the people,” a senior citizen told Free Press Kashmir. “He is like a messiah for some, just how the Imam was at that time. Just like how the Imam rose at a time when persecution was at its most gruesome, so did Burhan. This is a sign.”

While questions rise about his appearance, the processions’ crowd fattens every passing year, giving ode to two figures, one of them brandished a gun, while the other clutched a double-edged sword.

Although Muharram processions are banned in Kashmir by the government, small community level gatherings are seen as a sign of defiance against a ‘tyrannical order that interferes in the religious practices’.


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