Shahar Khans back on streets to wake up people

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Srinagar, May 17: The holy fasting month of Ramazan, the ninth month of Islamic calendar, began in Kashmir valley, where Shahar Khans are back on streets to wake up people to consume ‘Shahri’, meals before the fast started.
The significance of Shahar Khans remained there despite people having latest electronic gadgets, including alarm facility in mobile phones.
Jammu and Kashmir Governor N N Vohra, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and several other mainstream and separatist leaders have greeted people on the occasion and prayed for peace in the state.
Lakhs of people joined the special ‘Taraweeh’ prayers last night in mosques, Khankhas, Jamia Masjids and other religious places in Kashmir valley and Ladakh region, where the ‘Ramadhan Moon’ was sighted on Wednesday.
People throng markets in the valley, including summer capital, Srinagar to purchase essentials and dates for the fasting month.
However, people alleged that there was no fixed price of anything, particularly vegetables and date and shopkeepers were selling according to their own rates since there was no market checking at any place through the out.
‘Sahar Khans’, persons — who wakes up people by beating drums and reciting the verses of Holy Quran and ‘Naat Khawani’ to praise the holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)– have again hit the streets.
Shouting ‘Wakat-e-Sahar’ (it is time to take meals before the start of the fast), Sahar Khans in different areas said they wait eagerly for arrive of this holy month for the entire year. Though people are paying us money and other material by way of gifts, but we are doing this service mainly for internal peace and satisfaction.
However, they complained that there are stray dogs everywhere in the city and elsewhere in the valley. “We don’t face any objection from security forces and police personnel deployed at different areas in the city, but stray dogs are a problem,” they said.
Though people are now using latest electronic gadgets, including mobile phones to get early and prepare and eat “Sahari”, the significance of Shahar Khans is there, said residents of uptown. Besides repeated announcements are being made from mosques through loud speakers asking people to eat Sahri.
Until 70s and 80s Sahar Khans were in demand as very less number of people had watches to know when the time of Sahri will end as not much mosques had loud speakers.
During the Ramazan, people will have to observe 15 hours and 35 minutes fast on Thursday and the duration will increase further by few minutes in the month.
People observing fast will not have even to drink water during the entire period from dawn to desk.