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Great Poet Amir Khusro

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18th-Aug-2017       
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Literature Desk :
Khusro was born in 1253 A D in Patiyala, India, His paternal ancestors belonged to the nomadic tribe of Hazaras from Transoxiana, who crossed the river Indus and migrated to India in the thirteenth century. Khusro's father served the Sultan of Delhi, Shamsuddin Iltutmish, in a high position, and Amir Khusro was educated in Theology, Persian and the Quran. From his mother who was of Hindustani origin and from his maternal grandfather he acquired both, an intimacy with the local languages as well as a rooting in the immediate cultural ambience. When his father died when Khusro was only eight he came under the care of his maternal grandfather.
Amir Khusro was writing poetry from a tender age. His genius thrived and sustained itself with the support of his industrious temperament and, indeed the fortune of getting generous patrons in nobles, princes and kings. He emerged as one of the most original poets of India, innovating new metaphors and similes. To him the sun, for instance, would be the galloping deer, streams of fire, darts in the sky, washing agent for water and earth, and so on.
With his second collection of verses, Wast-ul-Hayat, Amir Khusro's name spread from house to house, wide and far and he came to be known in Persia as well. The famous world poet of Persia, Sa'di sent him compliments.
It was with his long, unique poem, Qiran-us-Sa'dain, written with ceaseless labour of six months, at the age of thirty six, that Khusro became the poet-laureate of King Kaiqobad at Delhi. This poem also got named as Mathnavi dar Sifat-I-Delhi because it is embellished with rich and poetic descriptions of Delhi that was the Garden of Eden for Khusro. The poem is soaked in his love for Delhi ; he also writes on the mutual love between Hindus and Muslims there.
In Nuh Sipihr (1318), Khusro's fascination with India's birds and animals, flowers and trees, its languages and people finds an impassioned expression. It was indeed due to his Sufi orientation, acquired mainly from his spiritual mentor, Nizamuddin Auliya, that he chooses to appreciate some aspects of Hindu religion and customs in Nuh Sipihr. In fact, through an anecdote in Hasht-Bihisht, he preaches religious toleration by narrating a dialogue between a Muslim Haji going to Makka and a Brahmin pilgrim going to Somnath. Amir Khusro's poetry offers a powerful metaphor for non-communal  thinking and living.
He wrote poetry in Persian as well as what he called Hindvi,a combination of local Bhojpuri and Persian, which later evolved into Hindi and Urdu.
He composed songs and riddles in the more common spoken dialect of the time, called 'Dehlavi Hindi' though he himself did not take these seriously they appealed greatly to the common people. Jawaharlal Nehru,the first Prime minister of Independant India in his book, 'Discovery of India' (1961) has ritten 'Khusro's enduring fame in India rests on the riddles, quibbles and songs written by him'.
Khusro's contribution to the Hindi language and Hindi poetry is even acknowledged by the Hindi critics of today. The language he used later developed into Hindustani. Many of his poems are even today used in Hindustani Classical as bandishes and as Ghazals by Ghazal singers.
His deep and growing attachment with Nizamudddin Auliya, took him away from more worldly ambitions and he turned more and more to spiritual seeking and ecstasy. When Nizammudin Auliya passed away Khusro tore his clothes and blackened his face and went to his master's grave. In a few months' time, in 1325 A.D., Khusro too passed away and was buried near that grave as desired by the master. These graves are a place of pilgrimage for both Hindus and Muslims to the present day. n

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