The yellow season.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
Listen, be there at the dargah of Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya sharp at 4.30 pm, 13 February.
The short-lived season of Sufi Basant starts from that great shrine exactly that instant. The ceremony follows the first day of Basant Panchmi festival that heralds the end of cold nights and days.
Every year as winter walks away to make space for Delhi’s brief spell of spring, the Delhiwallas mark the shift of the season by offering yellow mustard flowers—or even yellow marigolds– at the shrine of the aforementioned 14th century Sufi saint. Most pilgrims will be dressed in yellow clothes, and almost all will have some yellow in their clothes. It could also be a turban or a scarf.
There will also be music.
After the evening prayers, the qawwals of the dargah will offer Hindi poems composed by Amir Khusro. Seven centuries ago, poet Khusro, whose grave, too, lies in the dargah, had attired himself in a happy shade of yellow to bring a smile to his beloved, Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya. The Sufi saint had been grieving over his nephew’s death. The tradition of wearing yellow in the shrine on Basant has been observed since then, and, of course, it will continue until the world continues to have even a single soul steeped in too much sadness.
Pictures taken from previous Sufi Basants