A man lights a cannon on top of the Raisen fort hill. About 40 km from Bhopal,(India) the residents of Raisen town still follow an age-old tradition which involves firing a cannon to signal the locals for Sehri and Iftar during the holy month of Ramzan. First started almost 250 years ago by the Nawabs, it is followed with much ardour by the youths, generation after generation.
Youths belonging to Muslim Teohar committee carry the cannon to the top of the hill. During the whole month of Ramzan,the cannon is fired twice a day to mark the simultaneous commencement and completion of fast.
Since the cannon is used for only one month, it is kept at the district armoury for the rest of the year.The present cannon uses 300 gm of gunpowder, significantly less than what was used in the past.
The sound of the cannon blast can be heard throught out the town and 50 villages surrounding the area.
Weighing over 47 kgs and measuring three and a half feet long , generations of Sakahwat Ullah and his family have carried the responsibility to fire the cannon at the stipulated time. The cost of firing the cannon and its maintenance is borne by the Darool Qaza, Muslim Teohar Committee and the local body.
In the past, a much bigger cannon that is a permanent fixture on the Raisen Fort was used for this purpose. However, during the fifties, its operation was terminated owing to destruction of the fort.
Youths distribute sweets after successful installation of the cannon on the top of the Raisen fort hill.
As soon as the mosque beams the red light, the cannon is fired signalling locals the beginning and end of their days fast respectively.