Do you know about the "Out Sound" custom practiced in Kurnool during Ramzan?

Several cities in North India use the "Out Sound" ritual to notify the public of the Sehri and Iftaar timings by bursting fireworks

Do you know about the Out Sound custom practiced in Kurnool during Ramzan?

 Image Source/Sayed Haris Bokhari

HYDERABAD: Muslims around the world observe Roza during Ramadan, one of the holiest months in the Islamic calendar. Ramadan rituals are observed for 29–30 days, beginning with the first sighting of the crescent moon and concluding with the last.

The Muslim community fasts from dawn to dusk and indulge in Sehri, the pre-dawn meal, and Iftar, after breaking the fast in the evening. They traditionally break their fast in the evening by consuming dates and water before having the Iftar meal with friends and family during the Iftar timings.

The Muslim community places a premium on adhering to the Sehri and Iftaar periods. Hence, they adhere to the Sehri and Iftaar timings during the Ramzan season and strictly adhere to the schedules.

Several cities in North India use the "Out Sound" ritual to notify the public of the Sehri and Iftaar timings by bursting fireworks.

Kurnool is the only city in South India that still uses "Out Sound" to notify Ramadan timings (iftar and Sehri). This sound can be reportedly heard by more than 60 percent of the city. This unusual custom dates back to over 250 years and is still followed in the city of Kurnool.

"This was the system in vogue before the advent of clocks and watches for knowing the time of the day or night." A number of cities in North India, especially Bhopal, have a similar system of cannon fire or cracker systems for announcing the start or end of the Ramazan fast. "And yes, it's still practised in Kurnool City," said Mohammed Shafiullah, a senior historian.

It takes one week to prepare the "out cracker," which bursts throughout the Ramzan season in Kurnool. According to local vlogger Sayed Haris Bokhari, this practise was also strictly observed in Kurnool even when the entire country was under lockdown.

Image Source/Sayed Haris Bokhari

Sayed added in his vlog that this ‘out cracker’ is placed within a 4-5 foot iron pole shortly before sehri and iftaar hours to notify people in the city of Ramzan season. During the Ramadan season, this 250-year-old practise is observed to enable residents to know the accurate Sehri and Iftaar timings.

This custom, which is widely practised in Old City of Kurnool, used to alert people in the vicinity of 5–10 kilometres earlier. However, due to increased noise pollution, the ‘Out cracker’ currently only reaches up to two kilometres, according to Sayed.

"This kind of practise was reportedly maintained in Hyderabad as well; a cannon was fired in Golconda to follow the timings," says Dr. Haseeb Jafferi, Sufi Trails Cultural Curator. Most people followed these practises prior to the advent of sirens. "Cannons were used in most Indian cities, including Jaipur and Bhopal," he added.

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