Monday 27 August 2007

Amir Khusraw Dehlavi

اَگر فِردؤس بر رُو-ائے زمین اَست،
ہمین اَست-او ہمین اَست-او ہمین اَست۔

Agar firdaus bar roo-e zameen ast,
Hameen ast-o hameen ast-o hameen ast.

If there is paradise on face of the earth,
It is this, it is this, it is this (Hindustan)

These are the immortal words of Amir Khusro. Ab'ul Hasan Yamīn al-Dīn Khusrow (Persian: ابوالحسن یمین‌الدین خسرو, Devanagari: अबुल हसन यमीनुददीन ख़ुसरो) (1253-1325 CE), better known as Amir Khusraw Dehlavi or Amir Khusraw Balkhi (in Persian: اميرخسرو دهلوى , امیر خسرو بلخی) is one of the iconic figures in the cultural history of the Indian subcontinent. A Sufi mystic and a spiritual disciple of Nizamuddin Auliya of Delhi, Amir Khusro (or Khusrau) was a notable poet and musician. He has been termed as the "father of qawwali" (the devotional music of the Sufis). He is also credited with enriching the Hindustani classical music by introducing Persian and Arabic elements in it, and was the originator of the tarana style of music. The classical music tradition in both India and Pakistan traces its roots to the 13th-century poet and musician Amir Khosrow, who composed the earliest ragas, the traditional rhythmic form. The invention of the Indian Tabla is usually attributed to Amir Khusro.
Amir Khusro, a Hindustani Turk was born of a Turkish father, Saif ad-Dīn Mahmoud, who was one of the chiefs of the Lachin tribe of the Karakhitais of Kush and a Rajput (Rawal) mother, in India.
Khusro was a prolific classical poet associated with the royal courts of more than seven rulers of the Delhi Sultanate. He is popular in much of North India and Pakistan, because of many playful riddles, songs and legends attributed to him. Through his enormous literary output and the legendary folk personality, Khusro represents one of the first (recorded) Indian personages with a true multi-cultural or pluralistic identity.
He wrote in both Persian and Hindustani. He also spoke Turkish, Arabic and Sanskrit. His poetry is still sung today at Sufi shrines throughout Pakistan and India. Amir Khusro was the author of a Khamsa which emulated that of the earlier Persian-language poet Nizami Ganjavi.
The present generation seems to be losing our rich heritage & culture to the M-TV onslaught & my teenage children would have heard of Aerosmith but never Amir Khusro. Maybe, it is our education system, which does not even inculcate the basics of our rich cultural heritage even as part of an extra-curricular course. Even if we talk about the generation who are in their 30s-40s today would probably never have heard of Amir Khusro.
I hope and pray that some die-hard Indian heritage conservationists such as me will create some awareness about our poetry & music which was there & flourished mch before the West even existed. Let me end my blogging today by putting down an immortal Hindvi pem by Amir Khusro. This is one of the most romantic poems ever written anywhere in the history of this universe:

छाप तिलक सब छीनी रे मोसे नैना मिलाइके
प्रेम भटी का मदवा पिलाइके
मतवाली कर लीन्ही रे मोसे नैना मिलाइके
गोरी गोरी बईयाँ, हरी हरी चूड़ियाँ
बईयाँ पकड़ धर लीन्ही रे मोसे नैना मिलाइके
बल बल जाऊं मैं तोरे रंग रजवा
अपनी सी रंग दीन्ही रे मोसे नैना मिलाइके
खुसरो निजाम के बल बल जाए
मोहे सुहागन कीन्ही रे मोसे नैना मिलाइके
छाप तिलक सब छीनी रे मोसे नैना मिलाइके

Chhāp tilak sab chīnī re mose nainā milāike
Bāt atham keh dīnī re mose nainā milāike
Prem bhaṭī kā madvā pilāike
Matvālī kar līnhī re mose nainā milāike
Gorī gorī baīyān, harī harī chuṛiyān
baīyān pakaṛ dhar līnhī re mose nainā milāike
Bal bal jāūn main tore rang rajvā
Apnī sī kar līnhī re mose nainā milāike
Khusro Nijām ke bal bal jaiye
Mohe Suhāgan kīnhī re mose nainā milāike
Bāt atham keh dīnī re mose nainā milāike

You've taken away my looks, my identity, by just a glance.
By making me drink the wine from the distillery of love
You've intoxicated me by just a glance;
My fair, delicate wrists with green bangles in them,
Have been held tightly by you with just a glance.
I give my life to you, Oh my cloth-dyer,
You've dyed me in yourself, by just a glance.
I give my whole life to you Oh, Nijam,
You've made me your bride, by just a glance.

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