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Friday, August 28, 2009

700th Anniversary of Amir Khusrau (October 24, 1975)

The stamp is horizon-tal and rectangular in shape. Portrait of Hazrat Amir Khusrau appears in multicolour in a circle inside a decorated square at fire right- side of the stamps. Two musical instruments ‘Sitar’ and ‘Tabla’ invented by him appear in relief form in the blue tinted rectangular background at left. The inscription

meaning ’The bird of sweet notes’ appears at the top right portion of the rectangle.The stamp is horizon-tal and rectangular in shape. Portrait of Hazrat Amir Khusrau appears in multi-colour in a circle inside a decorated square at fire right- side of the stamps.
Two musical instruments ‘Sitar’ and ‘Tabla’ invented by him appear in relief form in the blue tinted rectangular back-ground at left. The inscription

meaning ’The bird of sweet notes’ appears at the top right portion of the rectangle.
The denomination figure “20 P” appears in the lower left corner of the stamp in red. The wordings “700th Anniversary of Hazrat Amir Khusrau” appear in black at the top of the rectangle while the words ‘Postage’ appears along side the left edge of the stamp. ‘Pakistani in Urdu and English appear in black in the bottom right corner of the rectangle. In the case of Rs. 2.25 stamp, the back-ground in decorated square is in red colour while the inscription (FARSI TEX)”and Rs. 2.25 in blue.
Amir Khusrau’s poetical portraiture of life and the sublime emotions which found expression in his poetry and the music he composed have continued to entertain, and inspire generations of peoples for the last seven centuries. The Government and people of Pakistan are participating in the world-wide celebrations of 700th Anniver-sary of birth of this immortal Muse to pay our homage to this versatile genius and to affirm our faith in his noble message of humanism. Amir Khusrau was born at Mu’min Pura (Patiali) in the 651 of Hijra corres-ponding to 1252-1253 of the Christian era. He lost his father at the age of eight and came over to Delhi under the loving care of his maternal grandfather, Imad ul Mulk. He started composing poetry at the early age of twelve. When he was twenty he lost also his maternal grandfather and adopted Malik Chhajju, a nephew of the reigning monarch (Balban) and the most powerful noble at the Court of Delhi, as his temporal master. In the same year, i.e. 671/1272-73, he published the first anthology of his poetic compositions which he aptly named Tuhfat-us-Sighar (‘The Gift of Youth’).
The poet, then entered the court of Prince Mohammad, the son of Balban who was Governor at Multan and served there for about 5 years. Prince Mohammad who was one of the most accomplished princes valiant urbane and cultured was a great patron of poets and men of letters. He greatly honoured Amir Khusrau in his court and gave him proper recognition. When prince Mohammad was killed in a battle with Tartars who had attacked Lahore and Multan, Amir Khusrau composed a heart rending elegy on the prince’s death and return to Delhi. The poetic compositions of this period were collected by him in the anthology named Wast-ul-Hayat (‘The Middle of Life’).
The poet then entered the service of Go-vernor, Oudh, but to the great relief of his mother whom he loved immensely, he returned to Delhi which saw a succession of monarchs and a frequent change of dy-nasties. While court intrigues and palace revolutions were a normal feature of the political life of those troubled clays, there was a firm sheet-anchor of moral values in Sufi hospice of Hazrat Sultan Nizam-ud-Din Auliya. Amir Khusrau’ s primary loyalty was to the great saint and to the values for which the saint had devoted his life. But he at the same time kept in touch with the court. He did not owe allegiance to the person of the ruling monarch but he consi-dered himself duty bound to the Crown which was the symbol and a rallying point of the forces of law and order in an otherwise anarchic society. He was entrusted by his spiritual mentor with the most difficult task of upholding the higher humanistic values at the corrupt court of the Delhi Sultans and he fulfilled this assignment most eminently. He was deservedly loved by the saint and was the closest to him among his innumerable disciples.
In the year 698/1298-99 he lost his dear mother. And in 724/1324 with the death of the saint was extinguished the Ethereal Light of Delhi. Khusrau was in Bengal on his military duties with Muhammad Tughlaq at that time. He hastened back to Delhi when lie received the tragic news., and he fell down in a swoon. He did not survive long after the death of his Master, and after the separation of a few months went back to his eternal home to have a tryst with his beloved. This happened on Friday night, the 18th Shawwal or perhaps, 29th Dhi-qa’ad, as recorded by Firishta, 725 A.H. (1325).
Khusrau was a prolific writer and a man of versatile genius. The actual number of his works is a highly debated question.
The output of Amir Khusrau’ s poetic genius is simply staggering in its quantity, quality and variety. It is claimed on good authority that he composed about three hundred thousand couplets in Persian and as many in Old Urdu or Hindwi, Punjabi and Brij Bhasha. Of the latter hardly a fragment has survived and that too, in unauthenticated versions. Nevertheless, his position as the Chaucer of Urdu literature is incontrovertible and he is best remembered among the common people of the South Asian subcontinent as a composer of these simple and elegant pieces of poetry in the local dialects most of which, it is a pity, are no longer available in their authenticated versions or in book form. Of his Persian poetry, as well, not all but certainly the largest part of it, has come down to us in very well-arranged and authenticated versions. He tried his hand in all the branches of Persians poetry, Ghazal, Masnawi. Qasida, Rubai and Tarjiat, and having excelled in all of them stands unique and unparalleled in the whole history or Persian poetry.

a) Diwans (Collection of Poems and Ghazals)

  1. Tohfatus Sighar (comprising poems written at the age of 16-19)
  2. Wastul Hayat (poems written at the age of 20-32)
  3. Ghuarratul Kamal (poems written at the age of 34-43)
  4. Baqiah Naqiah (poems written at the age of 50-64)
  5. Nehayatul Kamal (poems written during the last part of his life)

b) Maanawis

  1. Matla-ul-Anwaar (An exposition of Islamic values)
  2. Shireen-o-Khusro
  3. Laila-o-Majnon
  4. Aina-i-Sikandari. (An epic comprising episodes from the war between Chinese emperors and Sikandar.)
  5. Hasht Behisht. (Story of Romance between Dilaaram and Behram Guar)
  6. Qiranus Saadian. (An epic devoted to glorification and and description of reconciliatory epi-sodes between Bughra Khan and Kaiqobad)
  7. Miftahul Fatuh (eulogy of Feroz Khilji)
  8. Davalrani Khizr Khan (Story of love between Prince Khizr Khan & Devalrani)
  9. Noh Sepehr. (Description of a quarrel between Mubarak Khilji and Prince Khusro Khan).
  10. Tugblaq Nama.(Description of the region of Ghiasud-din Tughlaq).


  1. Aijaz-e-Khusravi. (A commentary on contemporary styles of Persian prose with an exposi-tion of Khusrau’s own style)
  2. Khazainul Fatuh. (A description of historical victories).
  3. Afzalul Fawaid. (A collection of Sayings of Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya).

d. Miscellaneous

  1. Nisab Badiul Ajaib.
  2. Gharyal.
  3. Shehr-e-Asohobe.
  4. Khaliq Ban. (Ancient Urdu Poetry).
  5. Risala Cheestan. (A collection of enigmas).
His prose is much too ornate and full of literary artifices some of which were his own innovations. However, they contain gems of literary criticism. Though he chose poetry as a vehicle for his historical writings, his place as the most accurate his-toriographer of his times is assured.
He was a great musician and instrumentalist and the greatest composer of music that Muslim India has produced. Again, like his Urdu poetry, his original compositions have not been preserved but in the absence of the notation system in the music of the subcontinent it is not the least surprising. But he certainly pioneered the fusion of two highly developed traditions of Music: the Central Asian and the South Asian.
He was the bridge, the cultural. catalyst. the harmonizer and the humanist. Above all, he was a Man: a Great Man.