I first walked on fire at Mira Road Juloos many years back and than subsequently at various other places , again at Mira Road at the Khoja Shia cemetery , at Aramabagh at the Khoja Shia cemetery at Mazgaon and several times at Supari Talao Bandra.
The most memorable experience of course was walking on fire at Hussain Tekri Jaorah, at all the places one is allowed to shoot the Ag Ka Matam, in India , only this place restricts photography completely..I dont know why and I have stopped asking the question completely.
Most of the places I walked on fire I carried my camera round my neck , not realizing that the fire had eaten up the back elements of my lens.
This was shot in Lucknow at Karbala Diynutdaulah next to Kazmain , this event in Athvi is organized by the staff of Bada Imambada. this was shot by a friendly photographer I normally carried two cameras with me.
This is my only picture of walking on fire, after I had walked on this fire I rushed with my burnt feet and walked on the fire at Roza Kazmain..
The Ag Ka Matam is a heritage bought by the Shias from Burma..and this heritage was introduced in Lucknow at Kazmain I am told.
I have shot the Lucknow Kazmain Athvi Ag Ka Matam extensively and participated in it too.
My feet because of my diabetes did trouble me the following day , and the following day after the Ag Ka Mata at Kazmain is the grueling procession of Chup Tazia , I would barefeet walk all the way with the Chup Tazia till Kazmain shoot the burial of the Tazias , and than cut my head with a short sword at Kazmain, and flagellate my back too.
Pictures you have seen at my Flickr set Shah Ast Hussain.
For a few yeas I have not participated in the Ag Ka Matam in Mumbai because of my doctors instruction..though it has not really bothered me as such.
I walk barefeet most of the time.
I also shot the Ag Ka Matam at Bada Imam Bada during Ashura ,but I think it does not match the Ag Ka Matam of Diynutdaulah or Kazmain..I think it is simply over hyped for the Iranian guest and the bureaucrats of the UP Ministry that come to watch it like a Circus event ..And I say this in truthfulness , the austerity of the Martyrdom of Imam Hussain for which this event is celebrated is totally missing.
But than some Shias do take offense if you call spade a spade..should be read in the right perspective.
However the Lucknowi Shia leads from the front and at Nakhas and Kazmain you can feel the power of Imam Hussain on the human soul be it any caste color or creed .
All in all one place that really celebrates Moharam the way it should be celebrated is Hyderabad , the Hyderabadis are unique Shia race leaving no stone unturned in the path of Ghame Hussain and Azadari.
I have seen the intensity of the Kolkatta Shia too.. and shot his spiritual angst too.
I have shot the Athvi at Mehmoodabad one of its kind , and the Raja of Mehmoodabad is an fervent devotee of Ghame Hussain.
His Zuljana is one of is kind in the country an Arab steed
And this was an old textless post that I have updated today.