India: Covid continues to cast a cloud on "Tazia" makers
There seems no respite for the artisans engaged in the rare trade of Tazia making in Lucknow as it’s the second consecutive year when there are no takers for tazia – the replicas of the mausoleum of Imam Hussain in Iraq that are buried during Moharram to commemorate the martyrdom of Hussain in the battle of Karbala. The over two-month-long Moharram is likely to begin from August 11.
According to Hindustantimes.com, this year too, the district administration has denied permission for the processions in wake of the ongoing pandemic and the possible third wave of Covid, which has added to the woes of tazia makers. Those engaged in making tazia said the situation has further pushed this fading trade towards oblivion and left artisans hand to mouth.
“We were ready with the tazias thinking that the situation will be normal by Moharram. But, following the confusion over tazia processions, people seem to be avoiding keeping tazia at home, which used to be the tradition during Moharram,” said Sarfaraz Mirza, a tazia maker at Rauza-e-Kazmain – the structure in Old City said to be a replica of the tomb of Hazrat Musa Al-Kazim and his grandson, the ninth Imam Hazrat Taqi al-Jawwad in Iraq.
The compound of Rauza-e-Kazmain houses more than 90 families engaged in tazia making and also serves as a biggest ‘mandi’ of tazias of all shapes and sizes.
“We generally start making tazias much before Moharram. This is team work in which the entire family gets involved,” said Begum Tahira, a traditional tazia maker.
She said each family prepares around 1,500 to 2,000 tazias, depending upon the amount they want to put in. These tazias prepared from bamboo sticks, glossy paper and other decorative items range from ₹10 to ₹40,000.
Faiyaz Haider, another tazia maker, said the pandemic situation has made things worse for those engaged in this trade.. Mohd Shahenshah, one of the oldest tazia makers, said Kazmain is a hub of the finest tazia makers.
In Lucknow, the tazias are buried in Tal Katora Karbala, in Purana Najaf and Kala Imambada while people of Sunni faith bury it at Phool Katora in Mahanagar area of Lucknow.
Nawab Jafar Mir Abdullah, a member of the Royal family of Awadh, said during Moharram, those of Shia sect house tazias at their respective imambaras in their houses.
“Those who do not have enough space often convert a small portion of their house to keep tazia, commemorating the martyrdom of Imam Hussain in battle of Karbala,” he said.
“Tazias are mostly buried on the 10th Moharram while some of the families bury it on Chehellum – the 40th day of the martyrdom of Imam Hussain while some bury it on the last day of Moharram,” added Abdullah.