Amir Khusrau : the Mystic Genius

If there was one single person who could be credited with influencing hindustani classical music the most, it undoubtedly is Amir Khusrau (or Khusro) (1253-1325). He was a sufi saint, darvesh, philosopher, devout disciple, linguist, historian, warrior, inventor, a naughty humorist, lyricist, singer, musician and poet par excellence…the list is endless.

Amir Khusrau, one of the most versatile personalities of medieval India, was born in the year 1253 in a place called Patiyali, Uttar Pradesh in India. Also known as Amir Khusrau Dehlavi, this creative classical poet was associated with the royal empires of more than seven rulers of Delhi. Known for his immense contribution in literature and music, this legendary personality was born of a Turkish father and an Indian mother. He lost his father at a young age and then moved in with his maternal grandparents. His grandfather served as an attendance master of soldiers at the royal palace of emperor Ghayasuddin Balban.

Khusrau was exposed to all famous literary figures of his time when he accompanied his grandfather to the royal courts to attend the private congregations. This inspired him to take up poetry and indulge in fine arts like music. He also learnt horse riding and received training in martial arts. The famous Sufi saint Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya was his spiritual mentor.

Zeehaal-e-Miskeen :  (Download)

Bahut Kathin Hai Dagar Panghat Ki :  (Download)

Kahe Ko Byahi Bides :  (Download)

Aaj Rang Hai Maa :  (Download)

Chhap Tilak :  (Download)

Amir Khusrau is often acknowledged for creating ‘Khayal‘ of North Indian Classical music (popularly known as Hindustani Classical Music). He modified Dhrupad and added Persian tunes and beats to it. He created Qawwali on the likes of Bhajans. The poems he wrote were in Persian and a combination of Brijbhasha and Persian, which he called as Hindvi. These poems later were developed into Hindi and Urdu. Many of his poems are even today used in Hindustani Classical as Bandishes and as Ghazals by Ghazal singers.

In one of the above songs the phrase ‘Zeehaal-e-Miskeen‘ comes from a poem of Amir Khusrau. The unique thing about this poem is that it is written in Persian and Brijbhasha. In the first verse, the first line is in Persian, the second in Brijbhasha, the third in Persian again, and the fourth in Brijbhasha. In the remaining verses, the first two lines are in Persian, the last two in Brijbhasha. The poem showcases Amir Khusrau’s mastery over both languages :

‘Zeehaal-e-miskeen makun taghaful
duraye naina banaye batiyan
ki taab-e hijran nadaram ay jaan
na leho kaahe lagaye chhatiyan

Shaban-e-hijran daraz chun zulf
wa roz-e waslat cho umr kotah
Sakhi piya ko jo main na dekhun
to kaise kaatun andheri ratiyan’

Amir Khusrau is credited with fashioning the Tabla as a split version of the traditional Indian drum, the Pakhawaj. He is believed to have brought Sarod into the mainstream hindustani classical music. Popular lore also credits him with inventing the Sitar.

Aeri Sakhi :  (Download)

Tori Soorat Ke Balihari :  (Download)

Amma Mere :  (Download)

Jo Piya Aavan Kah Gaye :  (Download)

Note : The above sound files belong to Government of India archives and are of lo-fi (mono) sound quality !!

20 Comments

  1. Meena Vathyam said,

    September 6, 2008 at 8:00 am

    found ur site accidentally. Great work and educational for me

  2. arundhathi chander said,

    September 9, 2008 at 10:31 pm

    your site was very informative.i have been trying to get info on amir khusrau for my school programme where we are doing a piece on sufi saints.this site was a big help

  3. Anonymous said,

    November 24, 2008 at 4:08 pm

    totally enamoured of this article.. bal bal jaun mai..

    anurag

  4. indianraga said,

    November 25, 2008 at 1:34 pm

    at last one comment on this post….bahut kathin hai dagar panghat ki…:-)

  5. Ghazala said,

    February 10, 2009 at 11:36 am

    @indianraga WOW!!!!!
    what a fabulous treasure you have.BTW, is the piece ‘aeri sakhi’ by the Late Jaffer Badauni? Please check out my esnips folder for a few qawallis I’ve uploaded.I have a large collection of qawallis both persian and poorbi, but haven’t had time to upload them. Also in my other random folder there’s a piece of classical piece but I’m not sure who the singer is. Perhaps you could help.

  6. indianraga said,

    February 10, 2009 at 12:23 pm

    @ Ghazala
    Will you please give me the URL of your profile on eSnips.

  7. chintan said,

    March 20, 2009 at 11:10 pm

    Dear Indianraga,

    Khusro has not only been instrumental in defining key aspects of Hindustani music I was pleasantly surprised to see that Bharatnatyam performances are also embellished by Tillana which are a direct derivative of Tarana created by Khusro and made famous in so many Qawwalis.. Thanks for creating this gem..

    Its a pity that most of these are 8 kbps files can we get them with better bit rates..

    Regards
    Chintan

  8. Zeeshan Chishty said,

    July 10, 2009 at 12:21 pm

    Amir Khusro merey most favourite ideal mein seh hein, i love Amir Khusro personality, singing, art and etc.

    plzzz mujeh agar ap Amir Khusro G k mein download karna chahraha hun Qawwalies per ho nahi rahi hein, plzzz agar ap mujeh send kardein merey ID per z4zeeshan.libra@gmail.com, z4zeeshan.libra@hotmail.com

    or ye QAWALI, “Aaj Rang hai re maa” jitny b ap k pas logon ki awaz mein hein plzz send me

    bundle of thanks

  9. naveen said,

    November 5, 2009 at 4:24 pm

    Very enjoy.

  10. Gaurav ghurayya said,

    November 18, 2009 at 2:11 pm

    Gr8 efforts guys loved ur wrk

  11. November 26, 2009 at 7:58 am

    Thanks very much for all this wonderful information. cheers

  12. indianraga said,

    November 26, 2009 at 9:06 am

    @ Lorraine Lapp

    ‘Yo Brother’, its really good.

  13. Rabeel said,

    May 14, 2010 at 10:30 pm

    Amazing I love him very much. He is my spiritual Teacher. I just found it from Google search engine. So good sharing dear.
    Regards
    Sag-e-dargah Niyaziya

  14. nikhildube said,

    July 29, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    Nice to listen these songs

  15. SHAHAB HUSAIN said,

    November 21, 2010 at 1:42 pm

    Greetings IndianRaaga.

    Hearty compliments for the excellent effort.
    I was wondering if you could access any clippings of Ustad Murli from AIR archives.? He was one of the rare gems of Indian Qawwali who sang in Takrar style. Unfortunately, this amazing style of qawwali rendition is dead now.

    Warmest,

    Shahab

  16. indianraga said,

    November 21, 2010 at 3:30 pm

    Sorry, I don’t have access to AIR archives. However I will try to find the clips from other sources.

  17. SHAHAB HUSAIN said,

    November 27, 2010 at 11:22 pm

    Greetings Indianraaga, once again.

    Would eagerly look forward to good news.

    As a lead, please check out few clippings of ustad murli on you tube.

    Warmest,

    Shahab

  18. pradeep said,

    March 18, 2011 at 10:54 pm

    Could you please upload the files again. I will grateful if could also email when you do so.

    thanks
    pradeep

  19. گђrιηι∂ђι ... said,

    July 7, 2011 at 6:35 pm

    lovely….wat must say..looking fwd to more..like they say…

    “Utlub al-‘ilm min al-mahd ilal-laHd Seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave (Ali ibn Abi Talib)”

  20. dharmender Kumar srivastava said,

    July 7, 2013 at 5:41 pm

    Nice


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