Hazrat Ameer Khusau was a phenomenon that just came off seven centuries ago. His was indeed a multi-splendored life of 72 years. A versatile scholar par excellence, Khusrau was also a singer, poet, author who left an everlasting impact of his personality on whatever he touched.
His deep insight into Persian and Indian music inspired him to evolve and enrich Turko-Hindustani music: it acquired new facets. It assumed new dimensions.
His name is traditionally associated with the innovations qawwali, qual, qalbana, tarana and khayal, in ragas like Sazgiri and Farghana or their variations, in instrumental music, the sitar and the tabla, while in ghazals, he was the pioneer of Dogana (fusion of Persian and Hindustani lines into one). He wrote songs of sawan and of the parting daughter. He invented Do Sukhne, versified puzzles and Kah Mukarni. And because of all this Mir Khusro is still a name to conjure with in far flung villages of north India.
Born of a Turk father, a chieftain, and an Indian mother, Abul Hassan Yaminuddin Khusrau was brought up in maternal lineage. Khusrau called himself Turk-e-Hindustani and was proud of being an Indian. His love of the motherland filled him with a sense of fulfilment and pride which is so evident in his writings.
Author of five romantic masnavis (long narratives) in succession, he wrote them voluminously-18 thousand couplets on the pattern and theme of Nizami. He added five historical masnavis to the treasure of source material of medieval India.
Selections from his five Persian divans, compiled by himself, have appeared in five countries, namely Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, USSR and India.
Khusrau was a courtier and he held high positions in the courts of five emperors. He moved with the royal entourage and yet, was averse to blood-shed and flattery. He was a spiritual disciple of Hazrat Nizamuddim Aulia Chisti (1234-1325). The Chistia School of Sufism made Khusrau truly catholic and humane in his outlook. Therefore, in his normal life, he was very close to the masses and shared their hopes and aspirations, travails and tribulations.
The greatest Persian lyricist, Hafiz of Shiraz transcribed thousands of his lines and described him as Tooti-e-Hind (Songbird of India). European orientalists rated him among the world’s eminent poets. Iranians recognised him as an integral part of the history of their literature. He infused into Persian ghazals the amorous touch of Indo-Iranian music. Afghanistan owned him as Khusrav-e-Bulkhi, known as Dehlavi. His ghazals are sung in Soviet Asia and form a par of the curricula there.
While Khusrau could bravely stand the loss of his mother and youthful brother (1299) and continue to compose poetry, he could not bear the loss of his spiritual mentor, the 92 year old Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia. He burst out with only one doha and later the same year, followed in the footsteps of his Master to the heavenly abode:-
Gori Sove Sej pe Mukh par Dare Kes
Chal Khusrau Ghar Apne Sanjh Bhayee Chahun Des
Dr. Zoe Ansari (1975)
From the liner notes of this wonderful LP. Full of everything from qawwali to khayal by some of the greatest of India’s musicians.
01 Dohe (Nizamuddin Peer Auliya /Chakwa Chakwi do Jaane) [Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan]
02 Bandish (Jo Piya awan kah gaye) and Sawan Geet (Amman mere baba ko bhejo ji) [Sudha Malhotra, Krishna Kalle, Dilraj Kaur and Pushpa Paghdare]
03 Ze haal-e-miskin makun taghaful durae naina banae batiyan [Mukesh and Sudha Malhotra]
04 Yaar-e-man beaa beaa (Ektaal) [Kankana Banerjee]
05 Mukarniyan [Vani Jairam and Krishna Kalle]
06 Raga Zilaf [Pandit Jasraj]
07 Raga Emen Kalyan [Pandit Pratap Narayan and Kankana Bannerjee]
08 Man kunt-o-maulaho fa aliyun maulah [Shankar Shambu Qawwal]
09 Aaj Ranj hai [Shankar Shambu Qawwal]
10 Dohe (Khusrau rain suhag ki Gori sowe sej pe) [Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan]