ALAPPUZHA: In the past three decades, during Ramadan months, Muslim homes under the Chathanad and Kaichoondi juma masjids in Alappuzha have been waking up to the Muhammad Basha’s Urdu ballads, accompanied by arbana (drum) beats.
The Andhra Pradesh native did not disappoint the believers and turned up in the coastal district last week and continued his ritual, which is known as athazha paattu. “I come here every year during Ramadan month for athazha pattu, the custom to wake up the believers.
I’ve been visiting homes and singing songs in Urdu to wake them up. They give me zakat (donation) for my songs at the end of the fasting period,” said Basha.
“I belong to the Fakeer community, which performs the age-old ritual in Andhra Pradesh. For the past several decades, members of my community have been travelling to various locations of the country to sing during the month of Ramadan. I first came here 30 years ago with my father and I’m continuing the custom even after his death,” said the 50-year-old, a native of Mallasamudram in Chittoor district.
Apart from the ones in Urdu, they opt for Malayalam songs, particularly that of Moyinkutty Vaidyar and other Mappila artists.