A show of unity

Come Holi, and the Muslims in the old city area of Chowk get ready to welcome the “barat” (procession), comprising the holy revellers from different areas of the city.
Revellers come atop camels, horse-driven chariots and elephants, beating drums and other musical instruments and throwing “abirs” and “gulals” on one another.

They begin their journey in small groups from various localities. The groups converge on a particular point. From there a huge procession moves to the Chowk.
Muslims, who assemble at a vantage point, welcome the “barat” by showering flower petals on revellers and throwing dry colours on them.

This time, the revellers were led by local MP and BJP leader Lalji Tandon, who sat atop an open jeep throwing colours on their Muslim brethren. “The ‘barat’ is the reflective of the Ganga-Jamuna culture of the city,” Tandon said.
Tandon, who has been part of the “barat” for many years, said it was an example of Hindu-Muslim unity.

“It has been a tradition for the past many years,” says Irfan Mohammad, who was among those who welcomed the “barat.” People assembled there said the procession was taken out even when there was tension elsewhere in the country following the demolition of the Babri Mosque in Ayodhya.

“Muslims in Lucknow are known for celebrating the festival of colours along with their Hindu brethren. It was witnessed during the era of the nawabs of Awadh as well,” says well-know historian and expert Yogesh Praveen, who has penned many books on the history of Lucknow.

“The queens of Awadh also used to give their dresses to the Holi revellers for throwing colours on them and then they used to wear those clothes,” Praveen said.
In another example of amity, Muslims in Uttar Pradesh’s Kanpur town celebrated Holi with the only Hindu family living in their midst at Dada Mian Crossing in the Bekanganj area.
DH News Service

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