Sahar Khan: Kashmiri tradition to awaken people during Ramzan

In the month of Ramzan, when Muslims across the world fast for a month, people in Muslim majority Kashmir are awaken by a person called Sahar Khan – who beats a drum in every locality to awaken people for pre-dawn meals. This is a centuries old tradition but many believe it won’t be taken ahead by coming generations.

In this story, Abdul Ahad, a 60-year-old Sahar Khan, continued the tradition after his father and uncle passed away. Ahad started it thirty-six years ago despite his children’s dislike. For his relief, his son-in-law has joined him to continue it further.

“My children tell me not to do this but I respond that I will keep doing it till I’m alive. It gives me relief,” says Ahad.

In summers, he leaves at around 1 am to start walking the streets with drums in Srinagar’s outskirts and in winters he starts at 4 am. “Now Ramzan will come in winters again in some years,” he says. “I have been a  Sahar Khan in summers, in winters, even when there used to be massive snowfalls. I will never stop, and now my son-in-law also joined me, so he will continue after me.”

Many people say that Sahar Khan helps them to wake up despite the modern technology of alarms and cellphones.

Camera by Vikar Syed and Sanjana Reddy

Video Editor: Vikar Syed

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