Tag Archives: अमीर खुसरो

अमीर खुसरो Amir Khusro ابوالحسن یمین‌الدین خسرو‎



Bahut Kathin hai dagar panghat ki,
Kaisay main bhar laaun madhva say matki?
Paniya bharan ko main jo gayi thi,
Daud jhapat mori matki patki.
Bahut kathin hai dagar panghat ki.
Khusro Nizam kay bal bal jayyiye
Laaj rakho moray ghoonghat pat ki.
Bahut kathin hai dagar panghat ki.



Amir Khusro

(1253 – 1325 / Patiali / India)

Ab’ul Hasan Yamin al-Din Khusrow

(Persian: / Urdu ابوالحسن یمین‌الدین خسرو‎; Hindi: अबुल हसन यमीनुद्दीन ख़ुसरौ, better known as Amir Khusrow (or Khusrau) Dehlawi was an Indian musician, scholar and poet. He was an iconic figure in the cultural history of the Indian subcontinent. A Sufi mystic and a spiritual disciple of Nizamuddin Auliya of Delhi, Amir Khusrow was not only a notable poet but also a prolific and seminal musician. He wrote poetry primarily in Persian, but also in Hindavi.

He is regarded as the “father of qawwali” (the devotional music of the Indian Sufis). He is also credited with enriching Hindustani classical music by introducing Persian and Arabic elements in it, and was the originator of the khayal and tarana styles of music.The invention of the tabla is also traditionally attributed to Amir Khusrow. Amir Khusrow used only 11 metrical schemes with 35 distinct divisions. He has written Ghazal, Masnavi, Qata, Rubai, Do-Beti and Tarkibhand.

A musician and a scholar, Amir Khusrow was as prolific in tender lyrics as in highly involved prose and could easily emulate all styles of Persian poetry which had developed in medieval Persia, from Khaqani’s forceful qasidas to Nezami’s khamsa. His contribution to the development of the ghazal, hitherto little used in India, is particularly significant.

Early Life and Background

Yaminuddin Abul Hasan Ameer Khusro was born in Patiali near Etah in northern India. His father, Amir Sayf ud-Din Mahmud, as a Turkic Officer and a member of the Lajin (Lachin) tribe of Transoxania, themselves belonging to the Kara-Khitais. His mother hailed from Delhi. Born of a Turkish Lajin (Lachin) later Saifuddin Shamsi, Amir Khusro eclipsed all his predecessors. His interests were kaleidoscopic and his genius versatile. But he enjoyed fame in the field of Persian poetry, in which his position is next to Saadi and can favorably be compared with Hafiz in lyrics.

The road to the well is much too difficult,
How to get my pot filled?
When I went to fill the water,
In the furore, I broke my pot.
Khusro has given his whole life to you, O Nizam.
Would you please take care of my veil (of self respect),
The road to the well is much too difficult.

Later Life

Amir Khusro served seven kings and three princes from the times of Sultan Balban to Mohammad Bin Tughlaq. His passion for his birthplace Delhi was ripped to the extent that when he was posted in Patiali, he not only lamented but completed a masanwi under the title ‘Shikayatnamah-e-Patiali’. Condemning Patiali and recalling the beauty and pleasure of his hometown Delhi, he compares himself with Joseph, who in separation from his home town Kan’an, feeling himself distressed, always pined for it.

“As Joseph, after having been taken away as a captive from his home town, Kan’an, used to sing the praise of his home town, so is the case with me. Though I happen to be faraway from my home town, yet I always sing of its beauty. My place was Quwat-ul-Islam (a title of Delhi) a qibla of the kings of seven climes (i.e. of the entire world). That place is Delhi, which is a twin sister of the holy paradise and true copy of Arsh (throne of God or a highest heaven) on the page of the earth.”

Literary Life

Poetry was inherent in Ameer Khusro. The day he was born, his father took him to a God absorbed darwesh, who said to his father, “You have brought one who would go two steps a head of khaqani (nightingale).”

In his early childhood, Khusro had developed a putting together in verse form worse of discordant meaning. Up to the age of sixteen, whichever book of verse he happened to lay his hand on, he tried to follow its author in the art of composition.

His adolescence ushered him under the guidance of both Mufti Muizzudin Gharifi and Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia, his mentor. Both of them guided him to the path of following the style of Saddi and Kamal Isfahani. Even at that young age, he used to lambaste his contemporaries, including Hasan Dehlavi in qitah (quatrains).

“And occasionally I used to lambaste my contemporary poets, with the sword of my tongue in a qitah form.” Ameer Khusro was quite indifferent in politics, he never indulged himself in the intrigues of courtiers. He is considered as the pioneer figure of the Indo-Muslim music. In fact, it was he who started the process of synthesizing Turko-Persian music with Indian music. He has credited three books on music just as three diwans of poetry.

“My verses have so far been collected in three diwans, would you believe, that if there were a system of notation for registering musical compositions, my performance in the field of music too, would have been collected in three registers” He invented number of ragas and raginis which include such novelties as Qaul, Qulbanah, Taranah. He also composed verses in Persian and Hindwi.

Royal Poet

On the one hand Sultan Aalauddin, for the sake of righteousness and expediency of empire, stamped out all kinds of intoxicants, the prohibited things, the wherewithals of disobedience, debauchery and wickedness with the use of chastisement and and on the other side Ameer Khusro opened wide the gate of discipleship and accepted all kinds of men as his murids, be they high or low, wealthy or impecunious, noble or faqir, learned or ignorant, high born or low born, urbane or rustic, soldier or warrior.

They all abstained from improper acts and if anyone would commit a sin, he would come and confess his guilt before Khusro and would indeed renew his discipleship. Men and women, young and old, merchants and ordinary men, slaves and servants and even young children began offering prayers regularly including the late morning prayers. Even the royal ameers, the armed acquirers, secretaries, clerks, sepoys and royal slaves, were particular about offering these supererogatory prayers. Owing to Khusro’s barakah (blessings), most people of the area including the high and low and irrespective of cast and creed became involved in prayers, tasawwuf (mysticism) and tark (renunciation) and turned to piety. During the last few years of Sultan Alauddin’s reign no person would talk of liquor, of beloveds, of debauchery and gambling, of obscenities and indecent life and no one would commit usury or usurp others’ rights.

Out of the teachings of Khusro, the shop people gave up lying and cheating and underweighing. Scholars visiting Khusro would talk of books on tasawwuf such as Fawaid-ul-Fuwad, Qut-ul-Qulub, Ihya-ul-Uloom, Kashif-ul-Mahjub, Awarif and Malfuzat of Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia. People visited the bookshops in search of the books on suluk (deportment and self-control). Owing to the increased demand among the Sufis for lota (water vessel used specially for ritual cleansing) and tasht (basin for washing hands), the prices of these articles had slightly gone up showing that most people bent towards spiritual Sufi lifestyle.

Ameer Khusro served as an ambassador of Hindu-Muslim unity in his time. His Hindu or Hindwi poetry for which he has been so popular among the school-going children as well as elderly generation. In his introduction to Ghurra-ul-Kamal, Khusro writes, “A few poems that I have composed in Hindwi, I have made a gift of them to my friends. I am a Hindustani Turk. I compose verses in Hindwi with the fluency of running water.”

Parrot of India

It was he, who himself called Tuti-e-Hind’ (parrot of India). ‘To speak the truth, I am an Indian Parrot. If you want to listen from me some subtle verses, ask me then to recite some of my Hindwi poems.” He himself did not collect and preserve his Hindwi poems but made a gift of them to his friends. His poem, Kaliq Bari is a lexicon composed of synonymous words, from four languages, Arabic, Persian, Turkish and Hindwi.

Religious Life

Ameer Khusro was a devout Muslim. He was a friend and disciple of Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia. He was a profound expounder of ethics and strict observant of Sharia. Sharia acquires meaning when it maintains a close relation with reality partaking the essence of reality-love of God. If Sharia is lacking in that or in other words if it is without ain (the alphabet meaning the essence of God-love) it becomes shar (evil). Like Shah Waliullah of the subsequent year, his attitude towards the Sufis of hypocrisy was very critical.

“Ah! what a shameful scene this band of the ‘pretenders to abstinence. They wear short sleeves (pose as fakirs) but keep their hands stretched in begging. They pretend abstinence but they are always in pursuit of money. They have commercialized faqiri (begging). How can one love God at the same time? As God’s unity is without any shadow of duality, he does not like dualism in the path of His love.

Ameer Khusro’s spiritualism, in fact, consisted in his philosophy of love, which he shared with all the Sufis. The depth of humanism in his poetry springs from that source of ‘Divine love’. He has composed as many as 99 works and four lac lyrics, which cover almost every aspect of life. He was a living legend. He was more of a qalandar (a free soul), though not less of a Sufi, Khusro’s humanism transcended all barriers of cast, colour and creed. In an autocratic age, when the king’s wilful actions were unrestricted, Khusro had the courage and the intrepidity to speak before the king, of the value of the equality of the man.

“Though my value may be, a little less, than that of yours yet, if your veins were to be cut open, our blood will come out of the same colour.”


Khusro not only upheld the values of equality and dignity of labour but also the principles of social justice. His love and respect for Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia reached the apogee that when he heard about his death at Lakhnawati, he immediately arrived and went to his grave, where he blackened his face and rolled over in dust in utter grief, tearing his garments. Six months after that event, he died on Friday 29th Ziq’ad 725AH/1325. His death is not a death in the literal sense of the world for, he would always remain one of the very few unforgettable legends of literature.

Amir Khusro’s Works:

Tuhfa-tus-Sighr (Offering of a Minor) his first divan, contains poems composed between the age of 16 and 19
Wastul-Hayat (The Middle of Life) his second divan, contains poems composed at the peak of his poetic career
Ghurratul-Kamaal (The Prime of Perfection) poems composed between the age of 34 and 43
Baqia-Naqia (The Rest/The Miscellany) compiled at the age of 64
Qissa Chahar Darvesh The Tale of the Four Dervishes
Nihayatul-Kamaal (The Height of Wonders) compiled probably a few weeks before his death.
Qiran-us-Sa’dain (Meeting of the Two Auspicious Stars) Mathnavi about the historic meeting of Bughra Khan and his son Kyqbad after long enmity (1289)
Miftah-ul-Futooh (Key to the Victories) in praise of the victories of Jalaluddin Firuz Khilji (1291)
Ishqia/Mathnavi Duval Rani-Khizr Khan (Romance of Duval Rani and Khizr Khan) a tragic love poem about Gujarat’s princess Duval and Alauddin’s son Khizr (1316)
Noh Sepehr Mathnavi. (Mathnavi of the Nine Skies) Khusrau’s perceptions of India and its culture (1318)
Tarikh-i-Alai (‘Times of Alai’- Alauddin Khilji)
Tughluq Nama (Book of the Tughluqs) in prose (1320)
Khamsa-e-Nizami (Khamsa-e-Khusrau) five classical romances: Hasht-Bahisht, Matlaul-Anwar, Sheerin-Khusrau, Majnun-Laila and Aaina-Sikandari
Ejaaz-e-Khusrovi (The Miracles of Khusrau) an assortment of prose compiled by himself
Khazain-ul-Futooh (The Treasures of Victories) one of his more controversial books, in prose (1311–12)
Afzal-ul-Fawaid utterances of Nizamuddin Auliya
?haliq Bari a versified glossary of Persian, Arabic, and Hindawi words and phrases attributed to Amir Khusrau, but most probably written in 1622 in Gwalior by ?iya ud-Din ?husrau
Jawahar-e- Khusrovi often dubbed as the Hindawi divan of Khusrau



Zehaal-e-miskeen makun taghaful,
Duraye naina banaye batiyan.
Ke taab-e-hijran nadaram ay jaan,
Na leho kahe lagaye chatiyan.
Shaban-e-hijran daraz chun zulf,
Wa roz-e-waslat cho umer kotah.
Sakhi piya ko jo main na dekhun,
To kaise katun andheri ratiyan.
Ke daad mara gharib Khusro.
Sapet man ke varaye rakhun,
Jo jaye paun piya ke khatiyan.






AMIR KHUSRAU’S CONTRIBUTIONS TO INDIAN MUSIC: A PRELIMINARY SURVEY Dileep Karanth This paper is due to be published in the Filliozat Felicitation Volume (eds. A.S. Venkatanathan, M. S. Krishna Murthy, Satkari Mukhopadhyaya), University of Mysore (in press). Introduction The name of the poet Amir Khusrau (1253-1325) is associated with several innovations in Indian classical music dating to the medieval period. Though Khusrau’s fame outside India is largely based on his Persian poetry, in India he is also remembered for his many putative contributions to Indian music. The writer of an anthology of Persian poetry describes his musical talent as follows: A superb musician in his own right and credited with the invention of several musical instruments and with having laid the theoretical basis for much of Indo-Muslim music, Khusraw imparted to his ghazals a lilt and melody that have assured their inclusion in musical programs in India to the present day.1 Khusrau’s fame as a Persian poet is indeed richly deserved. Known throughout the Persian-speaking world as Amir Khusrau-e-Dihlawi (Amir Khusrau of Delhi), Khusrau was court-poet to several kings in Delhi, most notable of whom was Sultan ‘Ala-ud-din Khilji. Contemporary (or even some later) historians however do not remember him as a musician, but only as a poet. For instance Firishta, who writes in detail of the court of ‘Ala-ud-din Khilji, lists Khusrau’s name among the poets, not among the qawwals or musicians.2 In this paper we attempt the beginning of a critical study of Amir Khusrau’s contributions to Indian music. While this subject has been much discussed, it is the aim of this paper to show briefly that a revision of the existing history (at least in the English language) is long overdue. A very important book H.az.rat Amir Khusro ka ‘ilm-e-musiqi (The Music of Amir Khusrau), by Rashid Malik, exists in Urdu, which deals extensively with this subject. Unfortunately it is still unavailable in English. Musical innovations ascribed to Khusrau Khusrau is said to be the inventor of the sitar3 and the tabla.4 But in addition to these musical instruments, he said to have been the originator of genres such as the tarana5 and the qaul. He is also said to have composed numerous new ragas. Muhammad Wahid Mirza, who is the author of an authoritative biography of Amir Khusrau, sums up Khusrau’s musical contributions: According to an old Persian work6 on Indian music (which is supposed to a be a translation of an older work7 written in the time of Rajah Mansingh of Gwaliyar), he invented the following new melodies: mujir, sazgari, aiman, ‘ushshaq, muwafiq, ghazan, zilaf, farghana, sarparda, bakharz, firodast, mun‘am (?), qaul, tarana, khayal, nigar, basit., shahana, and suhila.8 (In this quote, genres of music such as qaul, tarana and khayal have been conflated with names of ragas such as ‘ushshaq and aiman. Such inappropriate conflations abound in the secondary literature on Khusrau.) Difficulties in evaluating Khusrau’s musical legacy The chief difficulty in studying Khusrau’s contributions to music is that his own writings mention none of the contributions now ascribed to him, but later works attribute several innovations to him. These later works include Abul Fazl’s ‘Ain-i Akbari which was written in 1601. Five decades later came ‘Abd ul-Hamid Lahori’s chronicle of Shah Jahan’s reign, the Bâdshâh Nâmah. In the next decade, during the rule of the emperor Aurangzeb, appeared the Râg Darpan, which was followed in turn by the Tuh.fat-ul-Hind. The last-named work consisted of five volumes dealing with the arts and culture of India, one of which was dedicated to music. The Râg Darpan makes many more claims on behalf of Khusrau than does the Bâdshâh Nâmah.9 The fact that most such claims arose over three hundred years after Khusrau’s death suggests that these claims may be spurious. Khusrau’s biographer, Mirza is unable to confirm that Khusrau indeed invented the sitar and the tabla, claims which have been made so often that the matter is often assumed as proved. But unfortunately I have been unable to trace the name ‘sitar’ anywhere in Khusrau’s writings, although there are pages full of the description of the various instruments used in his time. Nor does any of his contemporary, or even later writers mention the name.10 The Tabla There is a widely quoted story that Khusrau invented the tabla by cutting up an existing instrument into two halves. But this story can be dismissed very easily, even with a very simplistic explanation: The story current among musicians that Khusrau cut the mridang into two halves and it thus became the tabla has no basis, for a mridang cut into two will not acquire the shape of a tabla.11 The two drums that make up the pair of drums called the tabla fulfill different functions. The left drum bayan is used to generate deeper sounds, and support the melody which is chiefly carried by the right drum. The two drums are different in size and shape, and have different membranes. The legend may also have a simple explanation based on folk etymology, though it does not explain the association of the name of Khusrau with the instrument. Classical Sanskrit sources and also Indo-Persian sources on music mention an instrument called the avaj which consisted of two drums. A single drum was called ardhavaj (half an avaj).12 This etymology could well be at the root of the persistent claim that the m®da©ga (or in some renderings, the d.hol) was divided into two parts, giving rise to the tabla. The tabla is also regarded by some as being of Middle Eastern origin, based on its name, derived from the Arabic word t..abl. However, the drums which go by this name in the Middle East are single-membrane drums, and lack the additional black central circular membrane (gabh/syahi) which is a feature of several Indian drums such as the pakhavaj and the m®da©ga. (This feature is very ancient, and certainly predates the advent of Islam in India, for it is mentioned as early as in Bharata’s Nat.ya Sastra.) The Indian tabla may be a drum indigenous to India, which may have been renamed in Islamic times. This view can be bolstered by the observation that the tabla has indigenous regional names such as the dukar. in Punjab13 and dokra in Kashmir.14 Also, according to the influential Persian encyclopedia Loghatnâmeh-ye Dehkhodâ, the word t..abl in Indian Persian contexts refers to the Persian drum tombak, which is a favourite instrument among the mystics (Sufis) of India (‘irfân-e Hind).15 That is, the word t..abl does not refer to the instrument now known as the tabla at all. This would again support the contention that the Perso-Arabic word t..abl, modified as tabla has been transferred to an indigenous drum. The Tarana Another of Khusrau’s contentious contributions is the genre tarana, described by Wade as a rhythm-oriented vocal genre featuring vocables and sometimes poetry, sargam, or drum syllables as text, frequently performed after khyal in medium or fast speed but occasionally sung slow speed; counterpart of Karnatak tillana.16 Wade adds that “the Karnatak version of tar¡n¡, which is called till¡n¡, is very similar and is said to have developed at about the same time.”17 In saying this, Wade confirms the accepted idea that Khusrau’s invention, the tarana, led to the development of the tillana. The textual content of the tarana is not verse, but vocables, such as in the phrase “Ta re da ni ta da ni”, (excerpted by Wade from a tarana sung by Salamat Ali and Nazakat Ali Khan). Occasionally a tarana may include a Persian couplet, but this couplet does not function as a poetic verse might in a song genre such as the khyal. Similarly, in a tillana …drum syllables, solfège, and brief passages of poetry provide the text. In dance tillanas, the rhythmic passages are composed so as to correspond with footwork, and drum syllables provide the only text.18 We will address the question whether Khusrau was indeed the originator of all these modes and genres mentioned above, by first looking at some writings which are widely quoted. We begin with S.Q. Fatimi, whose book contains much information about Khusrau’s music. Fatimi discusses some of Khusrau’s contributions with translations of excerpts from the Bâdshâh Nâmah: Half a century after the ‘Ain-i-Akbari came ‘Abd ul-Hamid Lahauri’s official chronicle of the first twenty years of Shah Jahan’s reign, named Badshah Namah. He wrote that before Amir Khusrau’s times git, chhand, dhurpad, and astiti used to be sung in Hindi, but the Amir introduced the following: Avval, qoul, keh be-qânûn-e gît mushtamal ast bar ‘arabî-o-farsî be-nazm yâ be-nasr va binâ-ye ân bar yek tâl ast yâ do yâ seh yâ chahâr (First, qaul, i.e., Arabic and Persian, poetic or prose, passages sung according to the rules of git, based on a single, or duple [sic], or triple, or quadruple tal (measure of time).) Dovvom, fârsî, ‘ash‘âr-i fârsî bâ tarâneh mubnî bar yek tâl farâham âvardeh (Second, Farsi, i.e. Persian couplets sung in the tarana (form of music) basing on a single tal (measure of time).) Sevvom, tarâneh keh bî ‘ash‘âr asâs-e ân bar yek tâl gozâshteh (Third, tarana, i.e., the singing of tarana without (words of) couplets based on a single tal.) Chahârom, tasnîfî, keh be-hindustânî zabân bar gozârad va ânrâ khayâl nâmîd va khayâl bish az bar yekjandî (?) bar sarâ’îdeh and. (Fourth, tasnifi, (lit. related to authorship, i.e. original) which he composed in the Hindustani language and called it khayal ….)19 We can see that Fatimi translates the word “tarâneh” as “tarana (form of music)” in both the second and third items listed in the Bâdshâh Nâmah. But this is incorrect. “Tarâneh” in Persian simply means “song”, “singing” or “poem”.20 In the second item, the word “tarâneh” simply means “song” or “singing”. That is, we are dealing with couplets in Persian being sung (as opposed to being recited). In the third item, we are told about a song or melody consisting of words without “poetry”, sung to a single beat. Fatimi translates the word “bî ‘ash‘âr” as “without couplets” but it is more appropriate to render it as “without poetry” because the word “‘ash‘âr” (‘ash‘âr being plural of the word shi‘r) more generally means “poetry”/“verses” and not necessarily “couplets”. Fatimi’s translation of the word tarâneh assumes that the word tarana in medieval Persian already meant what is now understood by tarana in Indian music. That is, he assumes the present meaning of the tarana in order to prove that it meant the same thing in Khusrau’s time. In fact, the correct translations of the second and third items should read: Dovvom, fârsî, ‘ash‘âr-i fârsî bâ tarâneh mubnî bar yek tâl farâham âvardeh Second, Fârsî, Persian verses sung (literally, with song), based on a single tala (or based on the beat ektala).21 Sevvom, tarâneh keh bî ‘ash‘âr asâs-e ân bar yek tâl gozâshteh Third, a song without verses, based on single tala (or based on the beat ektala). However, for the very first item we see that Khusrau’s contribution was that of a poet, and not that of a musician. Khusrau’s qaul clearly consisted of Arabic and Persian passages, sung according to the (existing) rules of git.22 Even in the case of the second and third items, there is no evidence that Khusrau introduced a musical innovation, there being only a mention of the words yek tâl, and the use of Persian text. The question still remains whether Khusrau really invented what is now called the tarana. An influential modern commentator on Indian music, Thakur Jai Deva Singh, answers in the affirmative. He writes: This was entirely an invention of Khusrau. Tarana is a Persian word meaning a song. Tillana is a corrupt form of this word. True, Khusrau had before him the example of Nirgit songs using sus.k-aks.aras (meaningless words) and pat.-aks.aras (Mnemonic syllables of the mridang). Such songs were in vogue at least from the time of Bharat. But generally speaking, the Nirgit used hard consonants. Khusrau introduced two innovations in this form of vocal music. Firstly, he introduced mostly Persian words with soft consonants. Secondly, he so arranged these words that they bore some sense. He also introduced a few Hindi words to complete the sense…. It was only Khusrau’s genius that could arrange these words in such a way to yield some meaning. Composers after him could not succeed in doing so, and the tarana became as meaningless as the ancient Nirgit. While Jai Deva Singh clearly admits the existence since ancient times of songs using words without semantic meaning, and drum syllables, he regards Khusrau as having invented the tarana genre for having introduced Persian words and for rearranging them to make some sense. The sense also needed to be complete only with the addition of Hindi words. Jai Dev Singh gives some examples of these words, but we prefer here to quote Ustad Amir Khan who seems to have been the first person in modern times to have expressed this view:23 Tanan Dar Aa — Enter my body; O Dani — He knows; Tu Dani — You know; Na Dir Dani — You are the complete wisdom; Tom — I am yours, I belong to you; Yala — Ya Allah; and, Yali — Ya ‘Ali. These translations are only partially correct. Tanan does not mean “my body” (but tanam would have meant it.) While tû dânî correctly means “you know”, û dânî is ungrammatical. Nâdir means “rarity”, and has meaning only as a single word — i.e., dir has no meaning at all. The translation “You are the complete wisdom” is simply incorrect; so is the translation “I am yours, I belong to you”. The reader who tries to make sense of the following verse attributed to Khusrau by Jai Deva Singh:24 Hayya ya dir tala laye — Hasan-o-Nizamuddin Auliya, dem dem dir dir tan tan tale ta — na na, na na, na na. will probably agree that the “tarana became as meaningless as the ancient Nirgit” even in Khusrau’s time! The syllables Dem, Dir, Tale have no particular lexical meaning. In spite of great efforts to read “meaning” into the tarana, we find it makes sense only as described by a distinguished artiste: For Bharata Natyam, Tillana is basically a structure which follows a particular sequence of phrasing and evolves in a certain way. It is performed, traditionally, at the end of a recital — usually fast paced, rhythmic and exciting. There are a set of syllables, or sollukottus, that are typical to a Tillana. They have no meaning — they are not meant to have any meaning. Usually the syllables are something like this: tom till ana udanata deem deem tana na dari tat da, etc. They are composed purely based on how beautiful they sound together. Traditionally, there is a short two line prayer within the Tillana towards the end. On the other hand, in the pushpanjali (flower offering usually done at the beginning of a recital), the Natya Shastra actually lays down certain syllables called “nandi shabda” which are said to have emanated from Shiva’s drum. Subsequently, the sounds became words and thus the creation was born. These “nandi shabda’s” are said to have an auspicious vibrations that bless the rest of the performance. Again, they have no meaning, but have been specifically prescribed by the Natya Shastra.25 The use of onomatopoeic syllables to mimic or notate music and dance is very ancient and traditional. There are many such schemes which cannot be attributed to Khusrau. However, a practice of attributing mystical significance to some syllables used in music did exist, but in Indo-Persian writings on music, it has been traced only as far back as the Shams al-As..wat of Ras Baras Khan Kalawant,26 which is dated 1698. This practice, which is attested in the practice of dhrupad alap, is without precedent, at least in the extant literature. Thus this tradition also cannot be ascribed to Khusrau, on the basis of the evidence at hand. Ragas attributed to Khusrau So far we have only discussed the linguistic contributions made by Khusrau (namely, the introduction of Persian and Arabic poetry and or terminology), or the instruments he is said to have invented. Now let us look at the more specific claims that attribute new ragas to Khusrau. For this we first look at the text which started the trend, namely, the Râg Darpan27 by Faqirullah Saif Khan, a work begun in 1662/1663 and completed in 1666. (In what follows, the Persian text has been taken from Malik’s edition, pp. 98- 99.28) Amîr ‘aleih. rah.matullah az jomleh-ye râghâ davâzdah râg râ gozîn namûdah ânrâ nâmhâ nehâdah badîn tartîb: The Amir, God’s Mercy be upon him, from among the ragas, chose twelve, and named them in this manner: Dar berârî va mâlasrî dogâh h.oseinî z.amm namûdah mowâfiq nâm kardah vîvâlî nîz gûyand. In Bairârî and Mâlasrî, he mixed Dogâh H.oseinî, and named it Movâfiq — it is also called Vîvâlî. Dar tod.î panjgâh va muh.ayyir keh gosheh-ye ûst yekjâ kardah muh.ayyir nâm kardah. In Tod.î he put Panjgâh and Muh.ayyir (which is a gosheh of Panjgâh) together, and named it Muh.ayyir. Pûrbî râ ghanam guyad va az maqâmât-e fârsî shahnâz dâkhil kardah. He called Pûrbî Ghanam, and of the Persian maqâms he introduced Shahnâz. Khat.-râg-râ zîlaf nâm gozâshteh. He named Khat.-râg as Zîlaf. Dar fârsî Khat.-râg -râg-râ ghazâl gûyand — dar pârsî va mârag va desî Khat.-râg yek ast. Dar ân tafâvut nîst. Gheir az Khat.-râg hîch râg nîst keh dar fârsî va hendî yekî bâshad. Âre ba‘azî râghâ hastand keh dar desî va mârag meyân-e ânhâ tafâvut nîst. Avval shash râg, dîgar kalyân, va deshkâr, va desâkh, gûjrî, gond., sorat.hî, sindhû, saindhavî, madhmât, sâvant, tarûn, bholâ, jaijâvantî, mangal bhairavî, marû, bangâl — shâyad chandî dîgar bâshad. In Persian, Khat.-râg is called Ghazâl. Khat.-râg is the same in the Persian system and in the Marga and the Desi systems. There is no difference between them. Other than Khat.-râg, there is no raga which is identical in the Persian and Indian systems. Of course, there are many ragas which are the same in the Desi and Marga systems. The first six ragas, then Kalyân, Deshkâr, Desâkh, Gûjrî, Gond., Sorat.hî, Sindhû, Saindhavî, Madhmât, Sâvant, Tarûn, Bholâ, Jaijâvantî, Mangal Bhairavî, Marû, Bangâl — there may be some more. Gaurah râ farghânah nâm kardah, chûn farghânah az maqâmât-e fars dâkhil kardah. He named Gaurah as Farghânah because Farghânah is one of the Persian maqâms. Va dar sârang navâ va basant z.amm namûdah ‘ushshâq laqab gozâshteh. And adding Navâ and Basant to Sârang, he named it (i.e., the result) the ‘Ushshâq. Dar gond., bilâval va gaur sârang va az maqâmât-e fars râst râ mulhaq sâkhteh, sarpardah nâm nehâdeh, In Gond., he added Bilâval and Gaur Sârang, and the Persian maqâm Râst, and named it Sarpardah. Dar kânhrah chand râg bâham makhlût kardah chonâncheh bâlâ tah.rîr yâft az as.l nuskhah, va ân nîz âhangî z.amm namûdah firodast esm gozâshteh. In Kânhrah, he blended a few ragas, as written above in the original manuscript, and further adding an âhang, named it Firodast. Dar aiman neirez z.amm namûdah ânrâ aimanî gûyad. He added Neirez to Aiman, and named it Aimanî. Pûrbî, Bibhâs,Gaurah, Gunkalî, va az maqâmât-e fars ‘irâq dar ân dâkhil kardah sâzgîrî nâm kardah. He blended Pûrbî, Bibhâs, Gaurah, Gunkalî, and a Persian maqâm ‘Irâq, and named the result Sâzgîrî. Va dar deshkâr bâkharz kaz maqâmât-e fars ast z.amm namûdah ânrâ bâkharz laqab gozâshteh. And adding the Persian maqâm Bâkharz to Deshkâr, he named it Bâkharz. Va dar kalyân nei-rez mulhaq sâkhteh ghanam laqab kardah. And blending Neirez in Kalyân, he called it Ghanam. Muh.tajib namânad keh dar sâzgirî bâkharz va ‘ushshâq va mowâfiq dar în chahâr râg kheilî kâr kardah tâ dîgar râg-o-maqâm be-t..arîq-e onîq z.amm namûdah. Dar dîgar râghâ chandân kâr nakardah be-joz ân-keh maqâmî makhlût.. namûdah va nâmî gozâshteh. Dîgar az jomleh-ye râghâ-ye amîr aiman basant ast keh aiman va basant râ yekjâ kardah. Let it be known that he did a lot of work on the four ragas Sâzgirî, Bâkharz, ‘Ushshâq and Mowâfiq, and only then beautified the other ragas and maqâms. On the other ragas he did not do much work other than blending a certain maqâm or giving them a new name. Another of Amir’s ragas is Aiman Basant which is Aiman and Basant brought together. It is difficult to determine what exactly were Khusrau’s innovations, because the words “z.amm kardan/namûdan” would literally mean “to add, annex, append”. For instance, in the absence of independent complementary information from other sources, it is difficult to understand what is meant by “adding the Persian maqâm Bâkharz to Deshkâr, and naming it Bâkharz”.29 But in any case, we see that at least some of the ragas Khusrau is said to have invented are no more than previously existing ragas renamed. The later work Tuh.fat-ul-Hind by Mirza Muh.ammad Ibn Fakhr-ud-din has its fifth volume devoted to music. Its eighth chapter has a discussion of ragas composed by Amir Khusrau. It lists as Khusrau’s contributions the following ragas: First, Muh.ayyir: It is said to be a composite of Ghârâ and a Persian maqâm. Some people say that is a composite of Tod.î and ‘Irâq. Second, Sâzgîrî: It is a composite of Pûrbî, Gaurâ and Gunkalî, and is one of the Iranian maqâms. Some people mention Bibhas instead of Pûrbî. Third, Yaman: It is a composite of Hind.ol and a Persian maqâm. Some people regard it as a composite of Aiman and a Persian maqâm. Fourth, ‘Ushshâq: It is a composite of Sârang, Basant and a Persian maqâm. Fifth, Movâfiq: It is a composite of Tod.î, Mâlasrî, Dogâh and H.oseinî, and it is also called Dîvalî. Sixth, Ghanam: It is derived by making small variations in Pûrbî. Seventh, Zîlaf: It is derived by making small variations in Khat.-râg. Eighth, Farghanâ: It is a composite of Gunkalî and Gaurâ. Ninth, Sarpardah: It is a composite of Gaud. Sârang and a Persian maqâm. Some people regard it as a composite of Gond. Bilâval, Pûriyâ and a Persian maqâm. Tenth, Bâkhrez: It is a composite of Deskâr and a Persian maqâm. Eleventh, Firodast: It is a composite of Kânhrâ, Gaurî, Pûrbî Syâm and a Persian maqâm. Twelfth, Ghanam: It is a composite of Kalyân and a Persian maqâm. Some people call it Neirez instead, and regard it as a composite of Pat.manjarî and a Persian maqâm.30 There are some contradictions in the claims of the Râg Darpan and those of the Tuh.fat- ul-Hind. There are some minor differences of spelling, such as in the case of Bâkharz and Bâkhrez. But there are more serious differences between the two sources. For example, the Râg Darpan unambiguously asserts that Khusrau did not compose all the twelve ragas associated with him — that he composed only a few of them, and renamed some (Ghanam, Zîlaf, Farghânah). The Tuh.fat-ul-Hind, however, claims that he composed all the twelve ragas associated with him, even if some of them involved only small variations in existing ragas. Perhaps the most significant difference is the fact the later work, the Tuh.fat-ul-Hind, is less detailed in its information. It mentions only two of the Persian maqâms which Khusrau is supposed to have used in his creations, namely, ‘Irâq and Neirez. However, while being less detailed, it is more emphatic in his conclusion that Khusrau actually composed the ragas associated with him. The process of myth-making involving Khusrau seems to have already been under way by the time the Tuh.fat-ul-Hind was composed. While the Râg Darpan attributes to Khusrau the creation of a raga Aimanî, whereas the Tuh.fat-ul-Hind attributes to him the creation of a raga Yaman. The raga Yaman (often called Yaman Kalyan, sometimes Aiman or Aiman Kalyan) is regarded by some to be a Middle Eastern raga borrowed into Indian music. It is sometimes credited to Khusrau, but sometimes more involved explanations are offered, such as this one by Sarmadee: Aiman is undoubtedly Yamana Indianized. Yamana (Southern Arabia) and Kalyana (near Bombay coast) have been trade-links and culturally congenial places of early medieval days. Hence the two ragas Yamana and Kalyana have always fraternized the way they have.31 This argument seems far-fetched in view of the fact that early Sanskrit texts do not mention any raga named Yamana. It is indeed true that there were far-reaching trade links between India and Arabia, dating to pre-Islamic times. For example, the island of Socotra (off the coast of Yemen) had a large Indian merchant population and even may have taken its name Socotra from the Sanskrit word Sukhatara-dvipa.32 However, a raga that entered Indian musical culture from Yemen, ostensibly along the west coast, would surely not have needed a thirteenth-century poet from Delhi to “invent” it, so that its ascription to Khusrau is suspect. (In fact, it is only the Arabic name that suggests a Middle Eastern origin for this raga; there is no other internal evidence that it is otherwise an innovation in Indian music.) The explanation is probably much simpler than the speculations offered by Sarmadee. It has been long noted that the Arabic word Aiman and the Sanskrit word Kalyan.a have the same meaning.33 After the conquest of the kingdom of Devgiri by ‘Ala-ud-din Khilji, its capital Kalyan.a was renamed Aimanabad. The use of the compound name for this raga, consisting of the juxtaposed words Aiman and Kalyan.a probably dates from this time. Conclusion Rashid Malik, author of the definitive work on Khusrau’s music alluded to above, points out that unlike other composers such as Tansen, Mirabai, Surdas or Ramdas, whose names are commemorated both in the texts and in the living traditions of the musicians themselves in form of raga-names such as Miyan ki Malhar, and Ramdasi Malhar, Khusrau’s name does not explicitly figure in any such raga-name.34 It is possible that Khusrau has been credited with the contributions made by a long list of musicians, whose names are now lost to us. Even the ragas now associated with Khusrau (by historians) have turned out to be largely ephemeral, and hardly figure in the repertoires of Indian and Pakistani musicians, whether Muslim or Hindu.35 In spite of the claims such as the one made by Thackston (see footnote 1), Khusrau’s impress on Indian music is simply not as great as his enormous fame could lead one to believe. As one of the brightest stars in the firmament of Indo-Persian poetry, he will certainly continue to be remembered by posterity with respect. But a careful reappraisal of his musical legacy may rehabilitate the work many great but as yet unknown musicians. * * * Transliteration scheme Long vowels in Indic words have been transliterated with the help of a macron, but long vowels in Persian words are indicated with the use of the circumflex. In the case of Indic words appearing in a Persian text, the Persian transliteration conventions have been followed. Thus, for instance the words Raga is spelled as Raga if it occurs in a Sanskrit work, but râg if it occurs in a Persian text. Arabic velar consonants have been transliterated with the help of two dots below the corresponding letter; Sanskrit retroflex consonants have been represented with one dot below the letter. Thus, t.. and s.. are Arabic velars, and t. is an Indic retroflex. Acknowledgments I am grateful to Dr. Pierre-Sylvain Filliozat and Dr. Vasundhara Filliozat for their initial willingness to share information in response to a stranger’s email, and their subsequent encouragement over the years. Anuradha Naimpally, an artiste well-known to dance-lovers in Austin, Texas, shared with me her knowledge of Indian dance. Dr. Katherine Butler Brown, a musicologist now at Corpus Christi College, sent me her Ph.D. dissertation, and it has proved to be an invaluable resource in my study. Dr. Yvette-Claire Rosser, also of Austin, Texas, kindly brought me books and manuscripts relating to music, from her study-trips to Pakistan and Bangladesh. My work would have been seriously hampered without this help. * * * Notes & References 1 A Millennium of Classical Persian Poetry, Wheeler M. Thackston, Bethesda, Maryland, 1994, Page 50. 2 H.az.rat Amir Khusro ka ‘ilm-e-musiqi, Rashid Malik, Lahore, 1975, pp. 198-199. 3 Sitar technique in Nibaddh forms, Stephen Slawek, Page 6. (Slawek rejects the claim, for it is lacking in substantiation, but notes that the legend is persistent.) 4 Music In India: The Classical Traditions, Bonnie C. Wade, New Jersey, pp. 135-136. 5 The Tillana music of Bharat Natyam is regarded as a genre derived from the tarana. The word “Tillana” is said to be a derivative of tarana. 6 Mirza here refers to the Rag Darpan by Faqirullah Saif Khan, a work begun in 1662/1663 and completed in 1666. 7 The work referred to here is the Man-Kutuhal, a work dedicated to Raja Man Singh of Gwalior (r. 1486-1517). 8 The Life and Works of Amir Khusrau, Mohammad Wahid Mirza, Idarah-i Adabiyat-i Delli, Delhi 1974 (1935), p. 238. (The words “mujir”, “sazgari” and “mun‘am” are misspelled — they should have been “Muh.ayyir”, “Sazgiri” and “Ghanam” respectively.) 9 Amir Khusrau’s Contribution to the Indus-Muslim Music, S. Qudratullah Fatimi, Pakistan National Council of the Arts, Islamabad, 1975, p. 21. 10 Ibid., p. 239. 11 Ibid. 12 The ‘Ain-i Akbari says that the “Ardhavaj is half of an avaj”. (Page 166, Excerpt related to music from the ‘Ain-i Akbari, reproduced in Barr-i S.aghir meñ musiqi ke Farsi ma‘akhiz, editor, Rashid Malik; translated and annotated by Khvajah H.amid Yazdani, Lahore, Idarah-i Tah.qiqat-i Pakistan, 1983.) 13 Pakhawaj & Tabla: History, Schools and Traditions, Aban E. Mistry, Mumbai, page 157. 14 S.ufyana musiqi: the classical music of Kashmir, Józef M. Pacholczyk, 1996, Berlin, p. 34. Pacholczyk points out that the Kashmiri dokra is simply the Hindustani tabla brought in from Punjab. 15 Loghatnâmeh, Ali Akbar Dehkhoda, Edited by Mohammad Moin and Dj. Shahidy, University of Tehran, NS 133, Lettre T, Fascicule 10, Oct 1967 (Mehr 1346), p. 184. 16 Music In India: The Classical Traditions, Bonnie C. Wade, 1979, p. 241. 17 Ibid., p. 177 18 Ibid., p. 204. 19 Amir Khusrau’s Contribution to the Indus-Muslim Music, S. Qudratullah Fatimi, Pakistan National Council of the Arts, Islamabad, 1975, pp. 15-16 20 In this sense, the word has entered Urdu as in the expression “Qaumi Tarana” (national anthem). 21 From the text, it is not possible to decide whether the Persian expression “yek tâl” means “one tala” or is a translation for the word “ektala”. 22 This fact has long been known. For example, footnote 2 of page 45, Essays of History of Indo- Pak Music, Abdul Halim, Dacca, 1962. 23 In a paper that he read at the Conference on the Music of East and West held at New Delhi in February, 1964. (Amir Khusrau’s Contribution to the Indus-Muslim Music, S. Qudratullah Fatimi, Pakistan National Council of the Arts, Islamabad, 1975, p. 17.) 24 Singh, op. cit., p. 274. 25 Anuradha Naimpally, personal communication, 8 October 2001. 26 Hindustani Music in the time of Aurangzeb, Katherine Butler Brown, Unpublished Ph.D. thesis, SOAS, 2003, p. 77. 27 Edited and translated into Urdu by Rashid Malik, Majlis-e Taraqqi-e Adab, Lahore, 1997. 28 Malik’s Urdu translation has been rendered into English by the author of this article. 29 It is also not clear what is meant by the word maqâm. Later Indo-Persian texts such as the Kitab-i-Nauras treat the word maqâm simply as an equivalent of the word raga/ragini. (Kitab-i- Nauras, (ed. Nazir Ahmad), Bharat Kala Kendra, New Delhi, 1956, p. 68.) 30 Tuh.fat-ul-Hind, by Mirza Khan Ibn Fakhr-ud-din Muh.ammad, edited by Dr. Nurul Hasan Ansari, Intesharat-e Farhang-e Iran, Khordad 1353 (May-June 1974), Volume 5, Chapter 8, pp. 421-423. (This excerpt was translated from Persian by the author of this article.) 31 Tarjuma-i-Manakutuhala And Risala-i-Ragadarpan.a, Ed. Shahab Sarmadee, New Delhi, 1996, p. 270, footnote 94. 32 The Wonder that was India; a survey of the history and culture of the Indian sub-continent before the coming of the Muslims, A. L. Basham, New York, 1968, 3rd rev. ed., page 230. 33 Khusrau’s Musical Compositions by Thakur Jai Deva Singh, in Life, times & works of Amir Khusrau Dehlavi (ed. Z. Ansari), p. 276, New Delhi, 1975. 34 Malik, H.az.rat Amir Khusro ka ‘ilm-e-musiqi, p. 102, pp. 236-237. 35 The Urdu sitar manual Qanun-i sitar, (Sayyid Safdar Husain Khan, Munshi Naval Kishor Press, Lucknow, 1873), for instance, mentions only the ragas Sazgiri and Sarparda. The most influential modern Urdu work on Indian music Ma‘arifunnaghmat (Thakur Nawab Ali Khan, 1873) mentions only Sazgiri and Aiman. * * *

* * *


see also :

Click to access ALI%20%20S.%20ASANI.pdf



Click to access Dudney%20dissertation%20prospectus.pdf




Alexander Visits the Sage Plato, from the Khamsa of Amir Khusro

Alexander  Visits the Sage Plato   from the Khamsa of Amir Khusro