Throughout my two summers in Hyderabad I heard stories of disputes between various men’s associations. Disagreements tend to arise especially it seems between a splinter group and its parent guild. Thus I heard from insiders and non-members alike of bad feeling between the Anjuman-e Masoomeen and Guruh-e Haydariyah (the latter was formed as the result of arguments among the leaders of Masoomeen). The flashpoint for quarrels, I was told, are the large public ashurkhanas in the Old City, such as the Hazrat Abbas ka dargah and Pari Mahal, where visitors throng and prestige is at stake for each of the groups that wish the distinction of leading the crowds in the performance of matam. At the great shrines the guruhan are expected to take turns in their devotions, succeeding each other with intervals of only minutes separating one group from the next. As one guild performs the next will be poised near the shrine’s entrance, its members keyed up and expectant; tired and thirsty too, perhaps, from the round of liturgies experienced during the ten days culminating in Ashura.
KeywordsSplinter Group Incense Stick Display Stand Male Prostitute Enclose Room
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