Moharram in Lucknow, India.

The Moharram, 1795: Asaf al-Daula, Nawab of Oudh, listening at night to the maulvi reading from the scriptures during Muharram, c.1795.

Lucknow is known as a seat of Shia'ism and the epitome of Shia culture in India. Moharram which is observed in Lucknow is famous worldwide.

The processions of Moharram in Lucknow have a special significance. They were started during the reign of the Awadh Nawabs. The Majalises, processions and other rituals that are observed by the Shia community to commemorate the sacrifice of Hussain are known as Azadari.

The processions like Shahi Zarih, Jaloos-e-Mehndi, Alam-e-Ashura and that of Chup Tazia have special significance for Shia community, which are taken out with great religious zeal and fervour. These processions which started during the reign of the Awadh Nawabs continued till the year 1977.

Due to some Communal riots the Government of Uttar Pradesh banned the Azadari processions in the year 1977. After constantly protesting against the ban, several demonstrations, court arrests, self immolations and deaths of Shia youth, in the leadership of shia Maulanas, the Shias were successful in taking out the first Azadari procession in January 1998 (21st of Ramzan) with the permission of the Government.

Today the Shias have been given nine processions out of nine hundred that are registered in the festival register of the Shias.