THANKS TO GUEVARA SAHAB & THE WRITER OF THIS COMPREHENSIVE ARTICLE ON HUSAINI BRAHMINS ABOUT WHOM I OFTEN COLLECTED BITS OF INFORMATION AND FORWARDED BUT THIS SEEMS TO BE MUCH MORE AUTHENTIC STORY . HOW I WISH I WOULD HAVE ALSO MET THE LADY AND IF BY A STROKE OF LUCK IT HAPPENS , I SHALL FURTHER COLLECT MORE INFORMATION AND FORWARD TO MY READERS AND FRIENDS .
IN THE MEANTIME PLEASE GO THROUGH THIS AND IF YOU ALREADY KNOW SOMETHING MORE ON THIS TOPIC , KINDLY LET ME KNOW . I HAVE A COLLECTION OF MY BLOGS AT zaheerhusain.wordpress.com AND YOU ARE INVITED TO COME TO THE SITE WHENEVER YOU HAVE A LITTLE SPARE TIME.
WHO ARE HUSSAINI BRAHMINS ? :
With the arrival of Muharram this year, I was reminded of an encounter I had with an unusual, intelligent girl in Delhi who asserted that she was a Husaini Brahman.
I recall referring to Prem Chand’s play ‘Karbala’ in one of my addresses, which was based on a Indian legend. The legend was about a group of eight Hindu brothers who had somehow reached Karbala determined to die fighting for the cause that Imam Husain stood for. They fought bravely and sacrificed their lives in devotion to Imam Husain. It was in this context that I was talking about Husaini Brahmans,who seemed to have vanished from the social scene in India.
All of a sudden, a girl from among the audience stood up and challenged my statement. She said, ‘Here I am before you. My name is Nonica Dutt. I belong to a Husaini Brahman family.’ It was clearly a pleasant surprise for me, something like discovering a rare bird while walking through a jungle.
The girl promised me an exclusive meeting to enlighten me with interesting information about the Husaini Brahmanian background of her family. But the proposed meeting kept on being postponed for one reason or the other. Finally, on the last day of my stay in Delhi, I received a call from her.
‘Let us meet now,’ she said ‘But I have no evening to spare for you. Today is the last day of my stay in your city,’ I said. ‘But I am already in the lounge and I must meet you,’ she said.
So we finally had a meeting. She entered my room with two large volumes under her arm. I proposed a detailed sitting on my next visit, which was due after a month or so. ‘But in the coming months, I will not be in Delhi. I am moving to Germany and will spend four months at the Humboldt University.’ Nonica Dutt taught history at Jawahar Lal University and had been honoured with a fellowship from the Humboldt University. Hence she was on her way to Germany.
‘I,’ she said, ‘told my mother about your comments regarding Husaini Brahamans and how I introduced myself as one. To that she said, did you tell him that we don’t perform the rituals the Brahmans are obliged to perform. That we don’t go to the temples?’
‘Should I presume from this,’ I asked, ‘that you have turned Muslim.’
‘No, we are not Muslims,’ she exclaimed.
‘Then what are you?’ I inquired.
‘We are Husaini Brahmans,’ she said with a certain sense of pride and added, Now, I will tell you about a sign each and every Husaini Brahman carries with him/her. On his/her throat s/he bears a line of cutting, which is indicative of the fact that s/he is the descendant of those Brahmans whose throats were cut in the battle of Karbala.’ Then she told me about the ritual carried out on the birth of every child in her family. She said, ‘Among Brahmans, after child birth, the ritual of Moondan is performed. In our family this ritual is performed in the name of Imam Husain.’
She then went on to tell me the historical facts. ‘I will now tell you about the history of our martyred forefathers.’ Pointing to the two books placed on the table she said, ‘our entire history is conserved within these two books.
When needed, I will quote from them.’ Considering their worn out and pale pages, the books, which were written in English, seemed to be centuries old.
The history of Husaini Brahmans, as told by Nonica Dutt, begins with ten Brahmans going to Karbala with the determination to die fighting for Imam Husain. Among them were Rahib Dutt and his seven sons who fought bravely and resolutely. With the blessings of Imam Husain they met their death in a heroic way.
Rahib Dutt was the lone survivor of the battle. From Karbala he escaped to Kufa, where he stayed for some time. It is said that Rahib had the privilege of meeting the members of the Imam’s family after the massacre. He introduced himself by saying, ‘I am a Brahman from Hindustan.’ The reply came, ‘Now you are Husaini Brahman. We will always remember you.’
Rahib went from Kufa to Afghanistan, and from there came back to India where he stayed for a few days in Nankana. Nonica paused for a while and then spoke, ‘In the Sialkot district there is a town known as Viran Vatan. That place is our ancestral home. We are the descendants of Rahib Dutt. He had brought with him a hair of Imam Husain, which is ensconced in the Hazratbal shrine in Srinagar,
Kashmir along with a hair of Prophet Muhammad. She then recited a few couplets from the book she had brought along with her, in which these incidents have been recorded. ‘These couplets,’ she said, ‘are very popular among the Husaini Brahmans.’
Nonica shut the book and said ‘Let me inform you that Sunil Dutt, the famous film actor and politician of India was also a Husaini Brahman. And the father of Nargis, the famous film actress and wife of Sunil Dutt too was a Husaini Brahman.’
She got up saying ‘Now I must go.’
‘I think,’ I said, ‘after you return from Germany, I should make a point to come to Delhi so that you can introduce me to your father. I will perhaps be able to know much more about your ancestors from him.’
She said goodbye and left hurriedly. I had been under the impression that the story of the eight Brahmins was just a legend. But Nonica firmly believed that it is a historical fact. And it is the belief of Nonica and her community that really counts. For them the event is a reality.
Muzaffarpur, Bihar, India: On the tenth day of Muharram, the first month of Islamic calendar, Shia Muslims across the world spend the day in mourning to commemorate the 1327-year-old martyrdom of Hazrat Imam Hussain, his family and followers. Here on Sunday, a group of Hindus participated in the Muharram procession with equal veneration.
They claim their lineage to Hussaini Brahmin sect. And, from this year, they have revived their centuries-old tradition of shedding tears in the memory of the martyrs of Karbala — which their ancestors used to do. Mostly Bhumihars, the group marched barefoot from Bara Imambara in Brahampur locality here beating their chest and chanting “Ya Hussain”.
They also carried a banner proclaiming their sentiments towards the Imam Husain and his martyrdom. “Our ancestors also fought in support of Imam Hussain and sacrificed their lives in Karbala and we are equally pained at the historical martyrdom,” said Bhumihar Brahmin Mahasabha convenor Arun Kumar Sharma.
References in several books and records confirm that some Hindus did join Imam Hussain, the grandson of Prophet Mohammad, when he was through a bloody battle against Yezid at Karbala (in Iraq) on October 10, 680 AD.
The sect, which was later named Hussaini Brahmin, had settled on the banks of river Euphrates. Subsequently, they returned to India and assumed various titles like Dutts, Mohiyals, Tyagis and many others. They also practised an intriguing blend of Islamic and Hindu traditions.
This was the first time in recent memory that the people claiming the lineage joined the Muharram rituals in this part of the country. The late Sunil Dutt, who belonged to Hussaini Brahmin sect, used to attend Muharram processions.
Asked why this practice remained discontinued for decades Sharma, a practicing lawyer, said: “We can say this was the fault of our fathers and grandfathers who did not teach us about this aspect of our historical and cultural heritage.”
Marching in the procession ahead of the band of young Shia youths injuring their chest and back with blades fixed to chains, small daggers or even razors, Upendra Prasad Shahi said, “The battle of Karbala was a war to save humanity and faith. We are proud that our ancestors, too, sacrificed their lives.”
Legend has it that Rahib Sidh Dutt had fought on behalf of Imam Hussain in the battle of Karbala, sacrificing his seven sons in the process. Rahib was the leader of a small band of career-soldiers living near Baghdad at the time of the battle of Karbala. In his novel “Karbala”, Munshi Prem Chand mentions about Hindus fighting for Imam Hussain and referred to them as descendants of Ashwastthama, son of Dronacharya.
“We should, rather, feel proud of this tradition,” said Sharma who has painstakingly pursued the Hussaini Brahmin sect. said Bhumihar Brahmin Mahasabha convenor Arun Kumar Sharma claimed that members of Hussaini Brahmin sect should help revive this heritage because before the advent of Islam, they had blood relations with the people of the Islamic world.
Syed Hashim Razavi