Belagavi: A village in Belagavi district, which does not have a single Muslim family, has been observing Muharram for more than a century now. Hirebidanur village in Saundatti taluk of the district observes Muharram for five days every year.
The streets of the village are illuminated with colourful lighting to mark the occasion.
The village has a mosque, called the ‘mosque of Fakireshwar Swami’, where a Hindu priest conducts religious proceedings in the traditional Hindu way. Villagers offer prayers to fulfil their vows. Rs 8 lakh has been sanctioned by Area MLA Mahantesh Koujalagi recently for the renovation of the mosque building.
Located at 51km from Belagavi, Hirebidanur has a population of 3,000.
Times of India has quoted Yallappa Naikar, the priest at the mosque as saying, “We invite a moulvi from nearby Bevinakatti village during Muharram every year. He stays in the mosque for a week and offers prayers the traditional Islamic way. On other days, I take the responsibility of the mosque,” said . Naikar said two Muslim brothers established two mosques — one near Gutanatti and another at Hirebidanur – “a long time ago”.
After their death, locals continued worshipping at the mosques and observe Muharram every year without fail.