Preparations underway for 'Juta Maar' Holi celebrations in UP's Shahjahanpur

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Shahjahanpur (UP), Mar 21 (PTI) Preparations are underway for the 'Juta Maar' Holi celebrations in Shahjahanpur in Uttar Pradesh on March 29 when a large number of revellers are expected to descend on the city, officials said.

Senior police and administrative officials have reviewed the arrangements and issued directions for ensuring smooth celebrations.

Superintendent of Police S Anand said a large number of police personnel will be deployed during the celebrations.

'For the procession of Bada Laat Sahab and Chhota Laat Sahab, a demand has been made for five circle officers, 30 police station in-charges, 150 sub-inspectors, 900 constables, two companies of PAC (Provincial Armed Constabulary) and two companies of RPF and two drone cameras. The men and machinery will possibly reach by March 25,' he said.

Elaborating on the history of the procession of 'Laat Sahab', Vikas Khurana, the head of History department of Swami Shukdevanand College, told PTI, 'On the day of Holi, the procession of 'Bade Laat Sahab' is taken out on a buffalo cart with Holi revellers beating him with 'juta' (shoes).' The Holi tradition dates back to early 18th century during the time of Nawab Abdullah Khan, the last emperor of Shahjahanpur founder Nawab Bahadur Khan clan, who was popular among both Hindus and Muslims.

He said this tradition continued till 1857. However, this event symbolising the Hindu-Muslim unity was not liked by the British, and in 1858, Mardan Ali Khan, the commander of military ruler of Bareilly Khan Bahadur Khan, attacked the revellers and both Hindus and Muslims were killed in the violence.

After 1947, the administration changed the name of the procession to 'Laat Sahab', and since then it is known by this name.

The procession of 'Laat Sahab' begins from Phoolmati Devi Mandir and proceeds towards Baba Vishwanath Mandir. Similarly, the procession of 'Chhote Laat Sahab' begins from Ram Chandra Mission ke Sarai and ends there itself after taking a small round.

According to the organisers, this time 'Laat Sahab' will come from Delhi. 'Laat Sahab' had come from Rampur last time. PTI CORR NAV SMN SMN