A sea of humanity poured into Old City streets on Thursday to celebrate Milad-un-Nabi, the birth anniversary of Prophet Muhammad.
Mellifluous renditions of naat (poems praising the Prophet) and qawwalis reverbed across the Old City as well as other parts of town. Green flags and buntings with the crescent moon and the star, symbol of Islam, were seen fluttering gaily. Both the young and the old took to the streets and joined in Milad festivities.
The much-awaited central Milad procession organised by Sunni United Forum of India (SUFI) began at Mecca Masjid around 11.30 am. Thousands of youth donning skull caps of varying hues indicative of their allegiance to various Sufi orders in the city joined the juloos. Under police escort, the procession from the Mecca Masjid made its way to Gulzar Houz via the historic Charminar. From there, it moved to Pathergatti and then to Darul Shifa via Salarjung Museum and to Mandi Miralam. It culminated at Moghalpura near Volta Hotel. Tributary processions joined in the central procession.
In an effort to maintain communal harmony, volunteers were stationed at sensitive areas.
The Milad procession this year came with a social message. During the procession, the devout carried banners condemning terrorism. While one banner read “We condemn all kinds of terrorism”, another proclaimed that “Terror has no religion”. The messages encompassed social evils like dowry. Patriotism was also on display as the tricolour fluttered alongside green flags on which the name of Prophet Muhammad was emblazoned.
Similar scenes, but on a smaller scale, were witnessed in other parts of town.
Neighbourhoods such as Banjara Hills, parts of Jubilee Hills and Khairtabad too witnessed some processions.
Milad speeches were delivered from elaborately designed stages in areas like Nampally, Mallepally and Aghapura.
But while revelry was largely controlled, observers pointed out that the celebrations had become shriller compared to last year. Activist Lateef Md Khan took to Facebook to express his anguish. “DJ, Music, Dancing, rash driving, all types of nuisance in the name of Milad un Nabi. I strongly condemn it (sic),” he wrote.
A resident of the Old City pointed out that traffic was thrown out of gear along the central processions route.
This, he said, went against the fatwa issued by Islamic seminary Jamia Nizamia which urged the devout not to inconvenience others. “I forgot about the procession and had to take a long detour to go to Madina from my house in Moghalpura,” Abdul Wahab, an engineer said.