Ameer Khusro, the voice that still echoes in the corridors of shrines across Pakistan and India. Born in 1253 in Patiyali, Kasganj district, modern-day Uttar Pradesh, India, Ameer Khusro is a prolific icon in the mystic history of the subcontinent. A poet, a musician, and a scholar – Ameer Khusro is a prolific icon in the mystic history of the subcontinent. Ameer Khusro is labeled as the “Parrot of India” and rightfully so. Ameer Khusro’s prominent works are mostly in the Persian and Hindavi. Although he does have some works in Arabic as well.
Ameer Khusro wrote many playful riddles, songs and legends which have become a part of popular culture in South Asia. His riddles are one of the most popular forms of Hindavi poetry today. It is a genre that involves double entendre or wordplay. Innumerable riddles by the poet have been passed through oral tradition over the last seven centuries. Through his literary output, Khusrau represents one of the first recorded Indian personages with a true multicultural or pluralistic identity. Musicians credit Khusrau with the creation of six styles of music: qaul, qalbana, naqsh, gul, tarana and khyal.
Born in the town of Patiala in Northern India, Ameer Khusro was a court noble and a poet, initially in the court of other smaller nobles and princes, then later permanently at the court of the Sultan of Delhi. Later, Ameer Khusro spent most of his life dedicated to the Sufi saint of Delhi, Muhammad Khawaja Nizam ud din Auliya. His inherent and deep attachment to Khawaja Nizam ud din Auliya took him to a parallel universe of mysticism. This mystic journey led him far away from worldly desires and entirely immersed into the art of spiritual salvation. Ameer Khusro was so deeply devoted to his spiritual mentor Nizam ud din Auliya that he could not bear the news of his passing. His devotion was so intense that he passed away shortly after Nizam ud din Auliya’s death, that too on the soil of Nizam’s shrine. Ameer Khusro is one of the disciples of Nizam who are buried in Nizam’s shrine. This shrine is a place for pilgrimage for both Hindus and Muslims to this day.
A renowned couplet of Khusro’s works goes:
“Aaj rung hai hey maan rung hai ri maa, rang hair ri
Moray mehboob kay ghar rang hai ri
Sajan milaavra, sajan milaavra,
Sajan milaavra moray aangan ko
Aaj rung hai……..
Mohay pir paayo Nijamudin auylia
Nijamudin aulia mohay pir payoo
Des bades mein dhoondh phiree hoon
Toraa rung man bhayo ri……,
Jag ujiyaaro, jagat ujiyaaro,
Main to aiso rang aur nahin dekhi ray
Main to jab dekhun moray sung hai,
Aaj rung hai hey maan rung hai ri.”
– Ameer Khusro
What a glow everywhere I see, Oh mother, what a glow;
I’ve found the beloved, yes I found him,
In my courtyard;
I have found my Pir Nizamuddin Aulia.
I roamed around the entire world,
looking for an ideal beloved;
And finally, this face has enchanted my heart.
The whole world has been opened for me,
Never seen a glow like this before.
Whenever I see now, he is with me,
Oh, beloved, please dye me in yourself;
Dye me in the color of the spring, beloved;
What a glow, Oh, what a glow.