“For Lahore, like my elders, I will shed every drop of blood and give any donation asked for, just as my ancestors did when they laid down their lives at Karbala for Hazrat Imam Hussain.” Sunil DuttThe tragedy of Karbala reminds us of a great sacrifice given by Hazrat Imam Hussain (AS), the grandson of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) alongside his kinsfolk and companions for the sake of Islam. He sacrificed everything what he had in terms of men and material only to uphold the dignity and veracity of Islam. Yazid, the incarnation of evil, tyranny, hypocrisy, mendacity, and malfeasance wanted Imam Hussain (AS) to take a pledge of allegiance on his hand and thereby affirm his despotic and immoral style of governance. Imam Hussain (AS) rejected his coercive and illegitimate demand. Imam Hussain (AS) realised that his submission before Yazid would be tantamount to an endorsement of his autocratic and unjust government that was erected in utter contravention of the pristine and democratic principles of Islam.Thus, the fierce battle between truth and falsehood ensued on 680 A.D. Imam Hussain (AS), the epitome of selflessness, intrepidity, courage and forbearance with his small contingent of faithful followers faced the storm of tyrant forces valiantly. Nearly, all of the members of Imam’s (AS) household and companions were martyred one by one even six years old infant Hazrat Ali Asghar was not spared, and was decapitated ruthlessly. Accounts reveal that seven brave Brahmin warriors from Lahore died while fighting for Imam Hussain (AS) in the battle of Karbala. According to one account, their father Rahab Dutt, an old man who traded with Arabia in those days, had promised the Holy Prophet (SAW) to stand by his grandson in his fight to uphold the truth.It is said that when Rahab Dutt found out that enemies had surrounded Imam Hussain (AS) and his family in Karbala, and wanted to spill the blood of innocents; he along with his seven sons reached to help him. His seven sons laid down their lives for the sake of Imam Hussain (AS) in the battle of KarbalaAnother account suggests that a childless Rahab Dutt personally visited Imam Hussain (AS) and wished in front of him to be blessed with a child. In response to his desire, he was informed that he had no child in his fate. Hearing that he wept bitterly and became senseless. At this moment, Imam Hussain prayed to Allah to bless him with children. It is said that when Rahab Dutt found out that enemies had surrounded Imam Hussain (AS) and his family in Karbala and wanted to spill the blood of innocents, he along with his seven sons reached to help him. His seven sons laid down their lives for the sake of Imam Hussain (AS) in the battle of Karbala. After the battle, Rahab Dutt met one of the family members of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and narrated the whole story. According to Vipin Mohan, who claims to be a Hussaini Brahmin, “The family member of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAW) told our ancestor Rahab Singh Dutt that from now you are not just Brahmins, but Hussaini Brahmins, we will always remember you”.The martyr’s list at Qum verifies the claim advanced by these mohyal Brahmins. Moreover, it is also recorded in history that when the third thrust by Yazid’s forces came, the Dutt Brothers refused to let them pass. The seven Punjabi swordsmen stood their ground till they were felled by hundreds of horsemen..Today, they are popularly known as Hussaini Brahmins, who were inhabitants of Lahore till 1947. However, after partition most of them settled in India. The famous Indian celebrities Sunil Dutt and his son Sanjay Dutt are Hussaini Brahmins. This fact was revealed by Sunil Dutt while making a donation to Shaukat Khanum Cancer Hospital. The hospital’s archive maintains the record of his following words: “For Lahore, like my elders, I shall shed every drop of blood and give any donation asked for, just as my ancestors did when they laid down their lives at Karbala for Imam Hussain (AS)”.Moreover, Intizar Hussain also wrote a column captioned as “Brahmins in Karbala” on Hussaini Brahmins in which he mentioned his encounter with a Hussaini Brahmin woman in India. He wrote that while he was talking about Prem Chand’s play “Karbala”, which was based on the legend of the seven Hindu Brothers who had somehow reached Karbala and fought for the cause of Imam Hussain (AS); when he mentioned that Hussaini Brahmins seem to have vanished from the social scene in India; all, a woman stood up and challenged his statement claiming that her name was Nonica Dutt and she belonged to the Hussaini Brahmin family.Nonica Dutt was a professor of history at Jawaharlal Nehru University. Intizar Hussain shared his conversation with Nonica Dutt in which she highlighted how her ancestor Rahab Dutt had sacrificed all of his seven sons in the battle of Karbala. He was the only survivor of the battle who went from Kufa to Afghanistan and from there back to India. He had brought with him a hair of Imam Hussain (AS) which is ensconced in the Hazratbal shrine in Kashmir. She further added an interesting and amazing fact about the Hussaini Brahmins; she said that all direct descendants of Rahab Dutt are born with a light slash mark on their throat, a sort of symbol of their sacrifice for Imam Hussain (AS) in Karbala. She also explained the ritual carried out in her family on the birth of every child. She said that, “Among Brahmins, after the child’s birth, the ritual of mundan is performed which is held in the name of Imam Hussain (AS)”.Additionally, the presence of Brahmins in Karbala was also authenticated by the noted Shia cleric Allama Hassan Zafar Naqvi. In an interview, he validated the claim propounded by the Mohyal community of Brahmins saying that there are plenty of historical evidences that verify the Brahmins participation in the battle of Karbala.To cap it all, the Hussaini Brahmins are a great source of inspiration for all those who believe in plurality and unity in diversity, and also who wish to uphold the truth irrespective of colour, cast and creed.The writer is a lawyer based in Jafarabad, BalochistanPublished in Daily Times, September 21st 2018.