How the syncretic culture of North Karnataka remains strong despite BJP’s rise

The syncretic culture of Hindus and Muslims celebrating each others’ festivals has been the norm for generations in several districts of north Karnataka | ANI/Twitter

Every year, on the ninth day of the Muharram, the first month in the Islamic calendar, Hindus and Muslims in Kurdi, a small village in Raichur district’s Manvi taluk, come together to mark the occasion.

The village, home to several Sufi shrines, also sees dargahs take out processions along the streets during the 10 day-festival which is observed by Shia Muslims to mourn the demise of Hussain Ibn Ali, grandson of Prophet Muhammad, at the Karbala battle in 680 AD.

The religious carry panjas, symbolic flags depicting the martyrs, on procession cars that weave through the village, stopping at the houses of prominent villagers.

People paint their bodies to offer milk and sugar to the Pirs (Sufi saints). In some nearby villages, people perform tiger dances. The story of the prophet's family and the Battle of Karbala dominate the folk literature presented during the festival.

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