Amir Khursa-Tuti-e- Hind, an overpass of two cultures, his contribution in the field of music and poetry
By Mushtaque B Barq
The dust of your doorstepis just the right thing to apply,
If Surmah (kohl powder) does not show its beauty in the eye!
Early life and his service to Indian music.
Amir Khusrau, popularly known as ‘Tuti-e-Hind’(parrot of India), one of the most resourceful personality of medieval India who has not only added flavour in Hindustani classical music by blending Persian and Arabic components, the fusion of two different cultures thereby materialized into rich classical music of India, earned but has also a special place in the heart of Sufi master Nizam-u- Din Auliya of Delhi. As he became disciple of Nizam-u- Din Auliya , his heart was set on things beyond sordid worldly intrigues and ambitions. It is related that his father Amir Saif-ud-din Mahmud took the infant to a Sufi of high spiritual standing. The Sufi cast his eye upon a child and remarked “This child will be God-inspired and unique in his age. His name will last till doomsday and surpass Khaqani’. Thus he blessed the child to grow up a popular and loving figure1. He is regarded as the “father of qawwali”(the devotional music of the Indian Sufis). He has improved Hindustani classical music by introducing Persian and Arabic elements in it, and was the originator of the khayal and tarana styles of music.
The invention of the Tabla is also traditionally attributed to Am r Khusrow . He invented Sitar, combining the Indian Vina and Iranian Tambura; Mridang was modified into Tabla; his remarks on Indian music merits attentive consideration, for he is acknowledged through his art. He introduced a new melody, Sazgari by combining Purvi Gauri, Kangli and a Persian rag; an intermixture of Khatrag and Shah- Naz gave birth to Zilaj and Sazgari by combining Purvi Gauri, Kangli and a Persian rag; an Ushshaq, Munwafiq came to fore when Turi, Malwa, Dugah and Husaini were intermixed 2. The main musical instruments enumerated by him are Paikan, Ajab- rud, Duhal, Chang, Rabab, Daff, Shahnal, Tambur, Bablik, Dastak, Dastan, Bitara-i-Hindi, Qanun, Duhlak.
Amir Khusrau was a Turk. ‘Turkullah’( The Turk or soldier of God) bestows upon him by his Pir Sheikh Nizam-u-din Auliya confirms his Turkish origin. His father Amir Saifud-Din Mahmud migrated to India from the city of Kush, presently Shehr-e-Sabz, in Central Asia, on the borders of the Taijik and Uzbek Republic of USSR, and married the daughter of an Indian nobleman, Imad-ul- Mulk3. and settled down in Patiyali Utter Pradesh, which was then situated on the bank of river Ganga and entered the service of Sultan Shamsud-din Illtutmush (1211 to 36 A.D.) after his ancestors migrated to India in early 13th century on the eve of Changis Khan’s attack, resulting poets, quadis, Imams, mufti’s and the rest of the top crust of humanity from Central Asian to take refuge in India, where these dignitaries were welcome by Sultan and Delhi was become centre of attraction where great civilization and culture which soon excelled Bukhara and Baghdad4 . Amir Khusrau had a son by the name of Malik Muhammad, the son like his father had an aptitude for poetry. Amir Khusrau also had a daughter namely Afifa, she finds her name in famous Hasti Bihisht.
He has written Ghazal, Masnavi, Qata, Rubai, Do-Beti and Tarkibhand. A musician and a scholar, Am r Khusrau wasas prolific in tender lyrics as in highly involved prose and could easily emulate all styles of Persian poetry which had developed in medieval Persia, from Kh q n ’s forceful qasidas to Nez m ’s khamsa. His contribution to the development of the ghazal is significant. Ghazal is the best form of Persian poetry, and Amir Khusrau, without doubt, is one of the best ghazal-writers in Persian literature. The main features of ghazal are purity and fluency, delicacy, tenderness and elegance, love and life, softness and refinement, rhyme and harmony, music and melody, frenzy and burning passion, which abound in the lyrics of Amir Khusrau and thrill the minds and soul of readers. Major Saleem assessed the talent of the poet when he said that Amir Khusrau “sang extempore to his lyre while the greatest and fairest watched his lips to catch expression as they came warm from his soul6”It was ‘the gazal all fire’which Khursau chose for his personal offerings on the altar of Sama and set it to Sur and Tala—the Sur holding up the sentiment, the Tala coinciding with the mood and the whole melodic piece making the emotional flames rise thick and high. In these melodic moulds were poured tonal ingredients from Iranian airs and Hindi tunes to give final shape and fastest color to the finished pieces, all of which have served as ‘written misic’for the qawwal gharanas.
He evolved his own style in poetry, yet he drew inspiration, as he admitted himself, from the classical masters of Persian poetry. Thus he followed Sa’di in ghazal, Razi Neishapuri and Kamal Ismail in qasida and Nizami in masnawi, in the realms of philosophical and didactic poetry, Sana’ I and Khaqani served as his model8. While discussing the merits of his poetry Amir Khusrau mentions the masters he has imitated. In the ethical and didactic poetry he has kept Sanai and Khaqani as his model. In qasida he has copied Raziud-din Nishapuri and Kamalud-din Isfhani; while in Masnavi and ghazal his models are Nizami Ganjawi and Sa’di Shirazi respectively. But in muqatta and rubaiat , muamiyat and lughz he has none to follow. Similarly his prose is the creation of his ownself having no model to copy:
Nasar bandh tabeait khama ke haich anser amniat nidarav, Khalasa jo har manat waashab takheel ranaiko maloom
( My prose is the outcome of the nature of my pen which has no resemblance with any. It is the choice of myself as is known wellto men of imagination)
Amir Khusrau refers to Indian music, its modes and instruments in so many of his works. This has led many to believe that he himself was a performing musician and a ‘nayak’who not only sang and played so many instruments but experimented in evolving a synthesis of Iranian and Indian music. A study of his works reveals that all this belief was a part of the legend-making process and is not substantiated by any of his works. But a historian of Indian music can find many references in his writings e.g. the basic theories of Persian music, critical appreciation of Indian music and the instruments in use in those days. Dr. M. Wahid Mirza is of the opinion: “It is useless to enter here into the technical niceties of music or to try to establish the identity of all his inventions, but there is no doubt that the popular melodies, qual ad ghazal were first introduced into Indian music by Khusrau….”The first volume of Ijaz-i-Khusrau has a mention of theory and forms of music10. Amir Khusrau gave new lyrical contents to ghazal, there are two distinct phases of his ghazal-writitng: the one in which he sang to the court, the other in which he sang to his own soul; the one invoking ‘spring’with its green mantle bedecked with myriads of blossoms and flowers, the other singing essentially of ‘love’with its pangs and pathos; the one talking of the blood-tinged red wine served by the ruby-lipped ‘cup-bearer’(saqi), to other of the red-hot flame that burns the body and brightens the heart; the one primarily for the Sultan and his predominantly Turkish nobility and the other for every one- even for the neo- Muslims and the non- Muslims.
Amir Khusrau wasa versatile genius, a great poet, an equally great prose-writer, a wise courier, a soldier, a man of the world, a Sufi, a scholar, a historian, a linguist, a patriot, a noble, an artist, a man of wits and humour, a great musician and above all a great Indian 12 . He was about eight years old when the serene canopy of paternal care lost its shade, his father died in 659/1261. His grief stricken heart in the milieu of his father’s loss derived out his agony through his couplet: “Saif passed away from me, leaving my heart cut into two parts. Tears roll down my eyes and I remain like a solitary pearl”
After the death of his father, he was brought up by his maternal grandfather Imad-ul- Mulk, a patron of art and letters. Am r Khusrau learned Persian classic and discoursed with learned scholars, the artistic recitals of the poets and the melodious songs of the musicians. Amir Khusrau was a born genius and a great forerunner of Hindu- Muslim culture and as linguist he had no parallel in Arabic, Persian, Sanskrit and Bhasha. Shibli Nu’mani in his ‘She’rul Ajam vol.II, declares that Khusrau, while improving the old tunes and metres, invented many new ones by blending Persian and Hindi rhyme and rhythm in such a way that revolutionized world of music. He composed a large number of couplets, quibbles, riddles, and punning verses with mixed vocabularies of Persian and Hindi Brijbhasha. His efforts in liberating Hindi from the influence of Prakrit and Apharansa, making Hindi simple that led to the birth of Urdu are worth valued for the entire literary sphere of India. Persian and Brijbhasha were blended in gazals in pursuance of his mission to bring the two great communities of India closer by promoting linguistic and cultural relations13. He modified raga Dhrupad and added Persian tunes and beats to it. He created Qawali on the likes of bhajans. The poems he wrote were in Persian and a combination of Bhojpuri and Persian, which he called as Hindvi .One of his powerful and admirable gazal stands as witness to his poetic genius blended with fusion of Persian and Brijbhasha:
Zehaal-e-miskeen makun taghaful, Duraye naina banaye batiyan.
Ke taab-e-hijran nadaram ay jaan,
Na leho kahe lagaye chatiyan. Shaban-e-hijran daraz chun zulf, Wa roz-e-waslat cho umer kotah. Sakhi piya ko jo main na dekhun, To kaise kaTun andheri ratiyan. Yakayak az dil do chashm-e-jadu, Basad farebam baburd taskin.
Kisay pari hai jo ja sunave, Piyare pi ko hamari batiyan,
Cho shama sozan cho zaraa hairan,
Hamesha giryan be ishq an meh. Na nind naina na ang chaina, Na aap aaven na bhejen patiyan, Bahaq-e-roz-e-visaal-e-dilbar, Ke daad mara gharib Khusro.
Sapet man ke varaye rakhun, Jo jaye pauN piya ke khatiyan.
Meeting with Master Nizamu-ud-din Auliya
A legend is related to his meeting with master. It is said that while only a boy, he went to his Khanqah; but he did not go inside and preferred to stay at the door, remarking: I shall select my pir myself, and if he is bestowed with divine power he will converse with me even from distance.
“Thus sitting at the door, he composed:-
‘Tu an Shah-e-Kibar aiwan-i- qasrat Kabuttar gar nashinad baz gardad Gharib-e mustamande bar dar amad Biyayat andarun ya baz gardad’
(You are such a mighty King that if a pigeon sits on your palace, it turns into a hawk. An outsider and a needy person has to come at your door, please let him know whether he should come in, or go away). Nizam-u- Din Auliya who was invested with supernatural powers sent him the following verses in reply:-
‘Biyayat andarun marde Haqiqat Ki bama yak nafas hamraz gardad
Agar abiah buwad an marde nadan Azan rahe ki amad baz gardar’
(The person who knows the Truth may come inside so that we may exchange divine secrets between us for a moment, If that person is ignorant, then he should return on the same path from which he has come). Amir Khusrau immediately got up, ran to Sheikh, fell upon his feet and wept. The latter accepted him as his disciple and gradually the two became inseparably attached to each other. This famous relation has been described by the poet in these verses:
Har quam rast rahe, din-e va qiblah gahe,
Man qiblah rast kardim bar tarf kaj kuahe’
(Every people have their own religion and object of worship. I have also fixed my qiblah namely Nizam-u- Din Auliya who wears an inclined cap and I am submitting my reverence to him).
In praise for his master Amir Khusrau writes:
Mohe peer paiyo Nijamu-ud-din Aulia Nijamu-ud-din Aulia– Nijamu-ud-din Aulia eh maan rang hai– Nijamu-ud-din Aulia jag ujiyara- jag ujiyara voh to jag
ujiyara- eh maan rang hai- aaj
rang hai- maan rang hai.
( O Nizamu-ud-din Auliya, please be kind to me, The whole world has brightened. Colour in all directions today is the day of Colours).
The spiritual guide of Amir Khusrau, Nizam-ud-din Auliya, also known as Sultan-ul-Mashaikh, belonged to Badaun, a town in U.P. His name was Muhammad bin Ahmad Bukhari. He was a disciple of Shaikh-ul- Islam Faridudin Ganjshakar. He traced his initiative from Sheikh-ul-Islam Maudud bin Yousuf Chishti, (which according to Abdul Aziz ‘Ameeq’Haneef) to Khawaja Moinuddin Chishti. Amir Khusrau according to his own statement in Alzal-ul- Fawad, was admitted to this fold in 713 A.H. (1313 AD) and was given the four-plaited cap which was characteristic of the followers of this order. When Amir Khusrau attached himselfto nizam-ud- din Auliya, he renounced all his possession. The master was deeply attached to the poet and often prayed: ‘O God, forgive me for the sake of the fire of love burning in the heart of this Turk.’ the poet was fond of his master as is evident from these verse:
Nizam-ul haq Nabi Ra bazvi Rast
Ki Charakh AzRakash etuf maslasat
( Nizamul Haq (Din) is the right hand of the Prophet (saw); the blue sky is but a corner of his prayer carpet.)
Amir Khusrau was spiritually young by about 25 years when he rendered services to his master. In 698 A.H. he lost his mother and brother Qutlugh within a space of seven days. The joy of being a servant of his Pir and the sorrow of separation from his dearest ones awakened his heart anew. His imagination was tinged all over and his ghazal was now aflame with love. The poet was a man of wide and varied interests and his inquisitive and probing nature hardly left any subject untouched. His intimate experience from Khanqah to Darbar and from the rendezvous of poets to the battlefields sharpened and deepened his insight in the nature of man and things around. His career from 20th year of his age onwards has been summed up chronologically as under:
671 AH (1272 AD)— In the court of the chief chamberlain of the Sultanate, Alaudin Kishli Khan 673 AH ( 1274 AD) — In the court of Prince Nasiruddin Bughra Khan at Samana.
678 AH ( 1279 AD) — In the court of Prince Mohammad SultaN 683 AH( 1284 AD) — Martydoomof Malik Qaan
687 AH ( 1288 AD) — In the royal court of Sultan Jalalud-din Firuz Khalji
695 AH ( 1295 AD) — Courtpoet of Sultan Alaud-din Mohammad Khilji 716 AH (1316 AD) — Courtpoet of Sultan Qutub-din Mubarak Khilji 721 AH ( 1324 AD) — Death.
Major Works of Amir Khusrau
A)Diwans:- Tuhfa-tus-Sighr:- Collection of poems made about the year 671/1272. Most of its qasidas are inpraise of Balban and Prince Muhammad and beautifully written elegy on the death of Imad-ul- Muluk.
Wastul-Hayat :- It is second collection, composed in his 32nd year. Most of its 58 qasidas are in praise of Prince Muhammad to Jalalu-din Firoz Khilji and verses on the catastrophe of Multan
and Khusrau’s captivity.
Ghurratul-Kamaal:- It is the most important of his five diwans. It was compiled in 693/1294. It contained poems composed during the last ten years when Khusrau was at the prime of his youth and full of pathos. It contains more than 90 qasidas and other fragmented quatrains. The Diwan also contain extremely interesting quatrains which are as invaluable for the study of linguistics as for sociological conditions inearly medieval India.
Baqia-Naqia :- it is his fourth Diwan composed in 716/1316 and contains 63 qasidas, 165 couplets of Mathnawis, 200 fragments, 570 ghazals, 360 quatrains and other verses. It also contains elegy of Ala-ud- din Khilji.
Qissa Chahar Darvesh :- The Tale of the Four Dervishes
Nihayatul-Kamaal:- It is the fifth and last Diwan which he composed towards the close of his life in the year of his death 725/1325.
B)Mathnawis:- Qiran-us-Sa’dain :- It is the first long poem in Mathnawi form which the poet composed at the command of Kaiqubad. This Mathnavi is aboutthe historicmeeting of Bughra Khan and his son Kyqbad after long enmity(1289)
Miftah-ul-Futooh :- It is the second historical Mathnawi which he completedin 690/ 1291. It contains an account of the victories of of Jalaluddin Firuz Khilji (1291)
Ishqia/Mathnavi Duval Rani-Khizr Khan (Romance of Duval Rani and Khizr Khan) a tragic love poem about Gujarat’s princess Duval and Alauddin’s son Khizr (1316)
Noh Sepehr Mathnavi. (Mathnavi of the Nine Skies) Khusrau’s perceptions of India and its culture (1318). It celebrates the glories of Mubarak Shah’s reign. it is divided into Nine Sipihirs (Chapters), eachcorresponding to one of the nine traditional skies, hence the title of the work Nuh- Siphir.
Tughluq Nama (Book of the Tughluqs) inprose (1320)
C)Khamsa:- Matla-ul- Anwar:- 698/1298
Sheerin-Khusrau 698/1298-99 Aaina-Sikandari 699/1300 Hasht- Bihisht 701/ 1301-2 Majnun-Laila 699/1299-1300
D)Ghazliyat:- Collection of Lyrics
E)Prose Works:- Tarikhi- Alai
Afdal ul- Fawaid Ijaz-i-Khusrui
F)Hindi Poetry:- Khaliq Bari and numerous Hindi poems.
Nami Danam Chi Manzil Bud Shab Jai Ki Mann Budam Bahar Su Raqsi bismil Bud Shab Jai Ki Mann Budam Pari pakar nigari sarw gaddi lala rukhsari
Sarapa afate dil bud Shab Jai Ki Mann Budam
Khuda khud mire majlis bud andar lamakan Khusrau Muhammad shame mahfil bud Shab Jai Ki Mann Budam
This has been a fascinating piece of lyric but it is surprisingly noticed that above piece of lyric has not been traced in any manuscript copies of the poet.
Mushtaq B.Barq is a Columnist, Poet and Fiction Writer. He is the author of “Feeble prisoner, “ Wings of Love” and many translation works are credited to the author like “ Verses Of Wahab Khar” and “ Songs Of Sochkral”