Hazrat Amir Khusrau

Amir Khusrau (1253-1325) was one of the luminaries of medieval Delhi, a city that he loved also because it was the home of his Sufi master, Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya (1238-1325). Khusrau the ‘parrot of India’was a courtier-poet, whose Persian poetry was read in large parts of West and Central Asia. His Hindi compositions and riddles were on the lips of many people in north India. Over time he has especially come to be remembered as the founder of Hindustani culture (sometimes referred to as Ganga-Jamni) that is a synthesis of Muslim and Hindu elements, especially in the arts. In fact, in his Discovery of India, Jawaharlal Nehru considers Kabir, Guru Nanak and Amir Khusrau as the most important contributors to the development of a mixed culture in India. Khusrau’s personal background reflects this as well since his father was of Turkic stock from Central Asia and his mother an Indian.

Born Abul HasanYaminuddin Khusrau, and later given the title ‘Amir’ (Prince of poets), he was raised in a highly cultured environment and educated in all kinds of arts and skills from reading the Persian classics, learning languages to horsemanship and doing battle. Khusrau shaped the character of Indian cultural traditions in a distinct way through his contributions in the fields of Indian classical music, Sufism, qawwali, and poetry. In the sources, he appears as a learned and pious individual, charming to his friends and curious about the world around him, a figure in medieval Indian history with whom few can compare. Much of what we know about Khusrau comes from his own Persian writings. We learn about his affection for his maternal grandfather, his mother, brothers, and his children.