chapter  XX
2 Pages

CHAPTER XX

THE festival of the Saint Rajab Salar is known as ' the table-cloth, or napkin ' (kanduri), and it takes place on any Thursday or Friday in the month Rajab, the seventh month. Rajab Salar, known as Sayyid Mas'iid Ghazi, is said to have been the nephew of Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni, and was slain in battle with the Hindus at Bahraich in Oudh, on June 15, 1033 or 1034 A.D. His tomb is a domed building erected two centuries after the death of the martyr on the site of a temple of the Sun. Firoz Tughlaq of Delhi (A.D. 1351-88) added a well and other buildings; 1 The rite in his honour is done as follows : First, a hole which had been dug on a previous festival and had been filled with the refuse of the food offerings, is reopened for the Kanduri ki Fatiha, the blessing of the food, Kandiiri meaning' a table-cloth or napkin'. This.is called the fire-pit (alawa), but many people dispense with it. It is only superstitious women, deeming it unlucky to expose the sacred food to the light, who dig these pits to bury in them the refuse of the food. With the exception of fish and eggs they prepare all kinds of meat, bread, cakes, and vegetables, and arrange each person's share on a table-cloth (dastarkhwan). Incense is burnt, the Fatiha recited, and the food is shared and eaten. Some make images of little horses of wheat flour boiled in syrup with plates of gram intended for the horses. 2 These are eaten and shared indoors, most people eating a little of it before any other food. Sometimes these horses are known as ' loose ' (khule ghore), and these are eaten and shared out of doors after the Fatiha has been recited over them. Some people, especially those suffering from diseased legs, vow that if they recover health through the favour of His Excellency

Salar Mas'iid Ghazi, they will make 'loose horses' and recite the Fatiha' over tht,ro in his name.