Help The Kashmir Monitor sustain so that we continue to be editorially independent. Remember, your contributions, however small they may be, matter to us.

‘Dark-e-Azadari’: A first-of-its-kind walk to build Shia-Sunni bonds in Kashmir

Moharrum Procession in Pulwama 1

Srinagar:  A first-of-its-kind ‘Dark-e-Azadari’ heritage walk is being held in Zadibal on Monday in an effort to build bonds between Shias and Sunnis in Kashmir.

“This is a first of its kind walk that we are organizing. We have named it ‘Dark e Azadari – Journey to Aza Khana of Zadibal’. Kashmiris staying here and outside the Valley from both Shia and Sunni communities will take part in the event. The new generation does not know what an ‘Imambargah’ is. We will take guests on a walk to these places and also tell them about the history and architecture of the place,” said Iliyas Rizvi, an oral historian and heritage researcher.


Rizvi, who is organizing the event, said they were hoping that the event will develop bonds between sects and also initiate a discussion on the religious and cultural significance of Muharram-related ceremonies.

“Besides Imam Bargah Zadibal, there are places and houses, which have a rare historical background with memories. We want to tell people about the traditions and uniqueness of ‘aza’ in Kashmir and what Kashmir has contributed to ‘marsiya’ literature. We have also selected places in Zadibal like Jalali House, Rizvi House, and Malik House where the walk will take place,” he said.

Rizvi said the walk will also commemorate the 100th anniversary of the taking out of the Ashura procession from the historic Jalali House.

“In 1921, the Ashura procession had started from the Jalali House and our walk will commemorate its 100th anniversary. People are not aware of the houses where ‘marsiya’ was held and from where Ashura processions were taken out,” said Rizvi.

Muharram is usually associated with ‘marsiya’ and self-flagellation events, but not many are aware of the history and cultural significance of the ‘Aza Khanas’ of the old city and the distinct Muharram related mourning ceremonies of Kashmir.

“We especially want to make aware the young generation from different backgrounds and to clear myths that have created a mindset. We also want to bring the communities together and exchange ideas on our cultural heritage,” he added.