Hundreds of men from remote areas of Kashmir come to towns and cities like Srinagar to don the role of a ‘Sahar Khawan’, a drum beater, who goes around a town to wake up people for the pre-drawn meal, Sehri.
Mohammad Rafiq Kataria from Kupwara’s Kalaroos, who has been a drumbeater for the last 25 years, wakes up early in the morning to start his work at 3 am.
“We wait 11 months for Ramzan to come as whatever people donate to us at the end of the holy month, it provides for our families for the entire year,” he said.
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Mohammad Mehboob Khatana, who has been coming to Srinagar for the last 20 years during Ramzan, said he is hopeful of getting a good reward from the almighty for waking people for the pre-dawn meal. “We wake people up for fasting. We do this for a living with hopes of getting rewarded,” Khatana said.
Another traditional drumbeater, Ghulam Rasool Payar, said “I have been doing this work for the past 50 years. We do not press anyone for payments. We accept whatever people donate to us out of their free will.”
Asked if the modern gadgets had diminished the significance of Seharkhwaan, Payar said it has not affected their work.
“Ramzan has started and so have our preparations. This is a month of blessings from the almighty,” Maulana Mehmood, an Imam, said, adding that he will pray for peace in Kashmir and everywhere in the world.
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