Amir Khusro or Khusrau Dehlawi was the popular name or the pen name of Ab’ul Hasan Yamin al- Din Khusrow, who was of Indian origin and was one of the crème of the Indian music circuit, a scholar as well as a poet who took the nation by storm with his range of work.
Born to an affluent family in Uttar Pradesh region of India from a Turkish father and an Indian mother, this man was associated with more than seven kings of Delhi during his time, his life is truly an inspiring one!
A prominent yet one of the most shadowed over iconic figures in the cultural scenario of the Indian subcontinent till date, Amir Khusro was from a Persian descent who was not only a noted poet who wrote primarily in the Persian language but also in Hindavi, he also had his musical side which was Sufi based due to him being a disciple of the great Sufi mystic Nizamuddin Aluliya of Delhi.
His initial life was tough where he lost his father pretty early on and got to stay with his grandparents where he got in touch with the royalty and their cultural best. This indeed might have been the turning point which shifted his focus completely to music and poetry than anything else.
The great music and poetic icon, Amir Khusro has been accredited with a range of things and for enriching the cultural diversity of the nation, he is often regarded as the one who brought in the vocabulary in verse form also known as the Khaliq Bari, which had Persian, Hindavi and Arabic terms associated and used all together.
Such was the greatness and merits of this man, Amir Khusro is called the “Father of Qawwali”, yes the devotional music form in Sufism, and also is the founder of the genre of music “ghazals” which are still pretty much prevalent in the nation of India and the neighboring nation of Pakistan till date. While his contribution to the Indian music circuit is immense, it would be rather safe to say that he was the person who introduced the use of Arabic, Turkish and Persian elements into the Indian Classical music scene and was the founder of the styles of music such as the tarana and the khayal.
Amir Khusro’s contribution to the Indian subcontinent is perhaps more than just what he did for the Indian classical music scene which holds its significance and importance to many till now, but also made his presence equally felt in the poetic scene of the nation! Being an expert in almost all of the styles of Persian poetry which originated in the medieval Persia, he was extremely competent with Nizami’s khamsa to Khaqani’s qasidas which led him to contribute his bit to the Indian poetry as well. He used his poetic brilliance in bringing about a startling change into how ghazals were created to how the qata, do- baiti, mansnavi, rubai and the tarkib- band were written and used years after.
Amir Khusro can also be regarded as the Royal Poet under the then Sultan of Delhi, Alauddin. While in Allauddin’s kingdom he wanted all kind of toxic elements to never enter the premises of his kingdom, Khusro being the man he was helped in proliferating the Sultan’s wishes and started helping out the countrymen in whatever way he could.
While Amir Khusro took up to help the Sultan, he was responsible for restoring the faith and discipleship of the people in the kingdom. Under his expert supervision, he used to mentor and help out people from all the strata of the society, the rich or the poor, people from every possible social statuses, beggars to the elites, uneducated to the educated men and women and so on. To add to his reputation, Amir Khusro took onto himself to educate everyone about the importance of hygiene and conducting a clean and sin free life and even encouraged people to confess their sins and bad habits to him so that they get on the right track in life.
Under his guidance, things in Sultan Allaundin’s kingdom started to improve for better where his religious and related teachings were so widespread that it impacted the lives of almost all in the kingdom. While he used to discuss the mystic issues of life with other scholars around in his time, he tried his best to make people understand the importance of leading a good life where prayers became important for everyone from a child to a man to even women, who all prayed together without any boundaries.
While Amir Khusro was not only active in terms of music, poetry, literature or the concept of social reforms, one of the other thing that he hugely contributed to was for the cause of the peaceful coexistence of the Hindus and the Muslims all together in the same society. Surprising, isn’t it? Well, this man started off a movement by himself to cater to his belief by writing in the Hindavi language which were easily read and deciphered by the Hindus, young children and elderly which were earlier deemed tough due to his writing in the Persian dialect.
The best thing about this famous poet, musician and social reformer and a lot more in his times, Amir Khusro is sadly forgotten by many in the present time. His life and work do speak volumes about how this man might have been, but a certain and significant mention should be on the fact that this person was a proud Hindustani.
His life, his work, his writings in the Hindavi language were all dedicated to his Hindustani connect that his mother inculcated into him perhaps and thus he is also said to have mentioned the same in one of his books famously known as the “Ghurra- ul- Kamal”.
His contribution to the culture, music and the poetic scenario of the Indian subcontinent is immense and more than amazing where it is said that he once uttered about Kashmir the famous lines, “If there is paradise on earth, it is this, it is this, it is this.”