Amir Khusrau: Life and Works

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Amir Khusrau was a Turk and a Soldier by birth. His title 'Turkullah' which means (The Turk or Soldier of God), which was bestowed upon him by his Pir Sheikh Nizamu-Din-Auliya, shows that he was of Turkish origin.1 His ancestors had migrated to India in the early 13th century on the eve of Changis Khan’s Onslaughts. His father Amir Saifu-Din-Mahmud Settled down at Patiyali (in District Etah in Uttar Pradesh, which was situated on the bank of the river Ganga and entered the service of Sultan Shamsu-Din-iltutmish (1211-36 A.D). During this period owing to the extremely turbulent condition of Central Asia and Persia as a result of mongol ravages, poets, Qadis, imams, muftis darweshes, doctors of religion sand law and other learned man were constantly migrating to India. They were given a welcome Shelter and patronage by the Sultan and Delhi was fast becoming the centre of a great civilization and culture.2 EARLY LIFE OF AMIR KHUSRAU

Amir Khusrau’s father Saifu-Din-Mahmud was an Amir (Noble) and held a respectable position in the army. He was married to the daughter of Imad-ul-Mulk, an important noble of Iltutmish and later on Balban. A child named 'Abul Hasan Khusrau' was born to them in 1253 A.D. at Patiyali, who later on was known as Amir Khusrau. He spent his early childhood, playing on the banks of the river Ganga along with the country folks. His father was very particular about his studies and Khusrau was sent to Maktab at an early age. Some scholars were also engaged to teach him at home. He was a genius and born a poet.3 Several incidents which show his natural talent and god gift to compose excellent verses even at such a tender age are generally recounted. For example once he was asked in a learned assembly by Khwajah 'Ijju-Din' to compose a verse with four discordant things, namely hare, egg, arrow and melon; he composed a quatrain which read “A thousand eggs of Amber are stuck to every hair in the tresses of that beauty, do not considered her nature to be straight like an arrow, far like the melon, the seeds of love are concealed in her heart”.4 He was about eight on the death of his beloved father, he composed a torching coupled in a grief of death of his father, which reads as follows; "Saif passed away form me, leaving my heart cut into two parts. Tears roll down my eyes and I remain like a solitary pearl."5

After his father’s death, Khusrau was brought up in the house-hold, and under the care, of his maternal grandfather Imad-Ul-Mulk. He was a great noble who not only lived with luxury but who was also a patron of art and literature under him, young Khusrau got an excellent opportunity to read the Persian classics and practice poetry. The sophisticated, cultural environment prepared the young genius for the highest ideals of Persian poetry.6 When he was nearly 20, in year 1272 A.D, Khusrau enrolled himself in the cortege of Malik Jhujhu (also called Malik Chhajju). The Malik greatly liked the young poet. After some time when his relations with the Malik became slightly strained, Khusrau attached himself to the court of Bughra Khan (Son of Sultan Balban, who was the governor of the fortress of Samana on the western frontier). Khusrau travelled to Lakhnauti (Bengal) with him, when Bughra Khan was invited to accompany the sultan against the rebel Tughril, who was reduced defeated after a hot chase when Bughra Khan was appointed governor of Lakhnauti, Khusrau, allergic to its climate, preferred to return to Delhi with the Sultan in 1281.7

Soon thereafter, he was introduced to Prince Muhammad, the eldest son of the sultan and the heir-apparent, who was then the governor of Multan. The poet’s fame had already reached the prince. He was pleased to hear a few verses from the poet and readily took him to his court. Khusrau went to Multan with him. Khusrau lived at his court along with another great poet of his age, like Amir Hasan. Both were close friends. He married at this time, though his family...
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