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Teen Tabarra-Madhe Sahiba,
|by Mahesh Chandra Dewedy|
I was never a scholar of Islamic religion and knew little to differentiate between a Shia and a Sunni until I was posted as S.S.P. Lucknow in March, 1980. I had taken charge as S.S.P., Lucknow in the forenoon and after meeting the staff posted in the office, I had proceeded to call on Mr. R.D. Pande, D.I.G. Lucknow Range. He was a very sober, understanding and affectionate person. After preliminaries and some wise-words about the importance and necessity of remaining politically updated, he added with a grave voice,
For his advice on Shia-Sunni riots I always feel indebted to the D.I.G. because the wise words of him made me become wiser about Islam and also about the long history of Shia-Sunni riots in Lucknow. At the time of Mohammad Sahab’s death a question arose as to who should succeed him to rule the Caliphate. Mohammad Sahab’s followers got divided in two groups - one which supported the view that his closest disciple should take over the reins and the other group wanted his son-in-law Ali to take over. The first group prevailed and first Abu Bakr, then Umar and then Usman became the Caliphs. It was only after the passing away of these three Caliphs that Ali could become the Caliph. The first group that holds all the four Caliphs in high esteem was called Sunni. The second group that calls the first three Caliphs as usurpers of the throne was Called Shia.
After attainment of independence by the country Sunnis further outgrew the Shias in number and also in political power. Then they started demanding more processions for themselves and curtailment of processions of Shias. The main plea of the Sunnis for reduction of Shia processions was that the Shias in their congregations used to recite Tabarra (Lanat or condemnation) against the three so-called usurper Caliphs. The Shias insisted on taking out their traditional processions and not allowing any fresh processions to Sunnis, which position the police had to endorse under rules. In all cases where there is dispute between two or more groups about some religious procession, Police is expected to follow the rule of adhering to tradition. So the hotter elements among Sunnis started taking out unauthorized processions and reciting Madhe-Sahiba in praise of all Caliphs including the three caliphs considered usurpers by Shias. In fact the Maulavis of the two sects incited the youngsters among Shias to recite Tabarra and among Sunnis to recite Madhe-Sahiba as a religious duty. The recitation of tabarra within hearing of Sunnis or of Madhe-Sahiba within hearing of Shias instantaneously turned the processions into battlefields and led to chhurebazi, aghzani, and bomb hurling in each others’ houses.
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