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The Bleeding Heart

For Religion; Kolkata, India - Oct 2016
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For Religion; Kolkata, India - Oct 2016
Kolkata, India – Oct 2016

The Bleeding Heart, photo essay by Debarshi Mukherjee

The Muharram festival symbolizes the beginning of the new Islamic year. Muharram word is derived from the word ‘haram’ which means “forbidden”. People celebrate this as the first month of the twelve months of Islamic lunar calendar day when they see the crescent moon. It is celebrated by the people of Muslim community to commemorate the martyrdom of Imam Hussain (including his family members and followers), a grandson of the Prophet Mohammed. He was killed including with his family members and followers in AD 680 during the Battle of Karbala. People also remember Ali (the son-in-law of Prophet) and his elder son Hassan while celebrating the Muharram because they too suffered a lot and died for the rights of the whole Muslim community.
The entire month of Muharram is considered as sacred during which fighting is strictly prohibited. First ten days of this festival is called as the period of mourning. According to the history, it is considered that Prophet Mohammed had no successor as he never named anyone. So his followers have been elected as his successors. Hussain, the younger son of Ali, was assassinated on tenth day in month of Muharram that’s why the event is also referred as Ashura. This led to the division of whole Muslim community into Shias and Sunnis. The day is celebrated by the Shia Muslims by considering themselves rightful successors of the Prophet Mohammed (Ali, Hassan and Hussain). They mourn the death of Prophet’s successors during the Muharram and on the occurrence of crescent moon they recite the plaintive verses, on the sweetened cold drink by wearing the black dress in the memory of the Imam Hussain
Male and female participants congregate in public for ceremonial display of their devotion to Imam Hussain and in remembrance of his suffering. Expressions of grief / Matam, an act of mourning such as sine-zani (beating the chest), zanjeer-zani (beating oneself with chains) and qama-zani –also known as tatbir (hitting oneself with swords or knives) – have emerged as common features of the proliferating mourning-processions.

(by Debarshi Mukherjee)

A kid getting used to the act of mourning; Kolkata, India - Oct 2016

Getting ready for the act; Kolkata, India - Oct 2016

The Act of Mourning - Zanjeer-zani (beating oneself with chains); Kolkata, India - Oct 2016

The Act of Mourning - Zanjeer-zani (beating oneself with chains); Kolkata, India - Oct 2016

The Act; Kolkata, India - Oct 2016

The act of mourning; Kolkata, India - Oct 2016

The Act of Mourning - Sine-zani (beating the chest); Kolkata, India - Oct 2016

The Muharram Procession; Kolkata, India - Oct 2016

Part of the ritual; Kolkata, India - Oct 2016

The Act of Mourning; Kolkata, India - Oct 2016

Father and daughter - both participants of the Muharram procession; Kolkata, India - Oct 2016

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Debarshi Mukherjee
Debarshi Mukherjee (b. (1984), an Indian born photographer, has been associated in the field of photography for the last 3-4 years. He was recently acknowledged with Artiste FIAP distinction and BEPSS distinction for his photographic achievements. He is a member of the “Federation of Indian Photography”, the national photography body in India.
Within a short span of time his photographic efforts have been recognized globally in 30 + countries like India, Serbia, UK, Singapore, Romania, Scotland, Wales, Turkey, Switzerland, Russia, Hong Kong, Austria, Ukraine,Czech Republic to name a few. He has received multiple awards and critical acclamation for his photographic works. His works have also been featured / published on various websites (like National Geographic YourShot, Dodho, 1X etc.) and print media in UK (N-Photo Magazine). Debarshi's photographs have been part of exhibition galleries in India and abroad. Earlier this year, his work was exhibited at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Hawaii. His photograph will also be a part of the exhibit at “The Weather Photographer of the Year 2017” in UK. He was also the state winner for a nation-wide photography contest, which received critical acclamation from the Limca Book of Records. He loves to explore genres of Human Interest, Photojournalism, Environment, Street and documentary styles.
By qualification he is a B. Tech & Masters in Energy Management. He works as a Sustainability Manager in an organization of high repute. But his heart and his passion lie with photography. He believes in capturing a slice of life in each of his photographs, which uphold the reality and beauty of the world that surrounds us.

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