In the days before we were drowning in a sea of electronic gadgetry, fakirs or wandering minstrels woke up the faithful observing the Ramzan fast for their pre-dawn sehri. The fakirs would walk down the streets before dawn, singing songs related to the holy month.
Places such as Delhi and Kolkata had a rich culture of singing fakirs but the modern times have rendered their responsibilities redundant. A vocation followed by generations in these families has practically vanished.
101 India followed one of the last remaining fakirs of Kolkata, who still wanders the alleys during the holy month. Mohammad Sabbir, who has been doing this for the last 20 years, has a fixed routine -- he gets up at 1 am and roams around covering some 10 km, singing to wake those who intend to observe the fast, and returns home at 3:15 am.
Sabbir makes ₹4,000-5,000 a day during Ramzan, ₹8,000 during Eid and ₹500 for the rest of the non-Ramzan days. But, as Sabbir explains in the video, money is hardly a motivation for fakirs. They sing for blessings.
He thinks that after him and his generation, there will be no one to follow the tradition of the singing minstrels.
Watch 101 India's video here: