(Image processed by Abhijit Dharmadhikari)
This is Rahmathullah, from Mulbagilu, Kolar Distirct. He is a Dervesh or Dervish, one among the many wandering ascetics who have decided to live a life of poverty. Behind him is the Dargah-E-Hazrat Manik Shah. This little dargah is tucked away behind a line of small hardware stores on Avenue Road and surrounded by sheet metal workshops and kerosene stove manufacturers.
This is the identity card issued by Dervesh Welfare Association (Sponsored by the Govt. of Karnataka) and signed by the District Collector of Kolar. Rahamatullah tells me that it allows him to lead the Dervesh life of extracting a living by going from door-to-door without being troubled by the police. He also told me that he will be entitiled to a small pension but I'm not sure if I heard right. But yes, the card helps.
The Dervesh of Karnataka, like their counterparts around the subcontinent, wander from place to place and shrine to shrine. And thanks to the Urs at the Cottonpet dargah, many of them are in Bangalore at the moment. Rahamatullah and his friends like these Qawalli singers, are camped here.