Matam for Devotion
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“(Once when he happened to pass by Karbala), Isa (Jesus) sat down and began to weep.
His disciples who were observing him, followed suit and began weeping too, but not comprehending the reason for this behaviour, they asked him: “O’ Spirit of God! What is it that makes you weep?”
Isa (Jesus) said: “Do you know what land this is?”
The disciples replied: “No.”
He then said: “This is the land on which the son of the Prophet Muhammad shall be killed”.
(Ali to Ibn Abbas – Bihar al-Anwar vol. 44,g. 252)
This was shot in Varanasi (Benaras) during the Mourning of Muharram which marks the anniversary of the Battle of Karbala when Imam Hussain ibn Ali, the grandson of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, and a Shia Imam, was killed by the forces of the second Umayad caliph Yazid I.
Those young devotees congregate together in public for ceremonial chest beating (matam) as a display of their devotion to Imam Husayn and in remembrance of his suffering.
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