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Delhi Archives – Amir Khusro, b. Patiali, Uttar Pradesh, 1253-1325

Maula Mere Maula

[Digging out old stories from The Delhi Walla]

At 72, the maker of Hindustani classical music lost interest in the world. Poet Amir Khusro, the 14th century courtier to seven kings, was in mourning after the death of his spiritual mentor, Delhi’s sufi saint Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya.

Khusro gave away his wealth, retired to Hazrat Nizamuddin’s tomb, died six months later, and was buried in the shrine’s courtyard.

Perhaps it is all a legend. How could one person singularly invent the tabla and sitar, produce the first raga and create the sufi music of qawwali? Most likely Hindustani classical music came out of a civilization, but Khusro’s poetic genius gave that civilization its Hindustani-ness.

Folksy and immediate, his language – a mix of Persian and Brij Bhasha – merged the ruling-class Muslim sophistication to the earthy sensibilities of the masses. His love poems for the God shaped the idea of India: Hindus and Muslims could co-exist and celebrate each other’s cultures. Today, the soul of subcontinent’s sufi shrines lie in Khusro’s qawwalis. His verses steer many to spirituality, love and, occasionally, ecstasy.

Click here to read the rest of this article originally published on The Delhi Walla in September 2012.

5 thoughts on “Delhi Archives – Amir Khusro, b. Patiali, Uttar Pradesh, 1253-1325

  1. Amir Khusro was a consummate courtier. But I guess one had to flatter the (majaazi)Sultan’s vanity if one wanted to make a career for oneself back in Medieval India.

  2. Lots of dust of time gathered through many centuries here. Few months ago I asked one Musician in Varanasi about tabla/Amir Khusro connection and the guy told me, He did changes, new things on the base of already existing instruments. Nevertheless the time … His art and Love for Murshid is everlasting and fresh.

  3. The Amir Khusrau that invented the sitar is different from the Amir Khusrau that probably did invent it, much later on, by making changes to the Persian sehtar.
    Anyway, the famous Khusrau lived in the 1300s & it is well-documented that the sitar as we know did not appear until the end of the Mughal era.
    Hope that is useful.

    1. Sorry- messed that comment up totally!
      that should read “different from the famous Amir Khusrau of this article”

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