With the start of Muharramul Haram, which marks the beginning of Islamic Calendar year, graveyards (Shaher-i-Khamoshain) are thronged with gravediggers, masons, labourers and families members of those buried there, to repair, paint and clean graves of their near and dear ones.

One can see great rush in graveyards, especially in first ten days of the sacred month in form of maintenance of the graves. From gravediggers to mason and “part time” labourers, everyone generate a reasonable income in these days by quoting graves with mud mixed with husk.

“The rate of annual maintenance is determined by the site of a grave, keeping in view of its depth and length. We used to charge up to Rs200 for quoting a normal grave in the past. Now the charges for a trolley of clay costs Rs3000 to Rs4000 which was Rs300 to 500 in the past. The rate of quoting has swelled to double these days,” said, Muhammad Yousuf, a gravedigger who was working in Shah Hassan Purwana, the oldest graveyard of Multan.

Geera, another gravedigger working in Pak Mai graveyard said: “Mixing husk with mud is really a tough job. One has to take care of ratio and proportion of these two for quoting a grave. We are even demanding cheap rates as compared to inflation. After all, we have to nurture our families too.” Visiting graves is specially associated with Muharram and on Youm-e-Ashura, 10th of Muharram, a large number of men, women and kids throng the graveyards of the city with rose petals, fragrance candle, leaves of date tree, water and pulses for sprinkling on it.

Locally known as Babri, Ocimum, a fragrant plant is in great demand during these days and one can witness number of sellers on it outside every grave yard of the city. It is also used for putting on the graves on 10th of Muharram.