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Amir Khusrau (1253 - 1325) was a medieval poet, musician, courtier and historian par excellence. A disciple of Hazrat Khwaja Nizamuddin Auliya, Khusrau was a devout follower of the Chishtiya order while being associated with the courts of at least seven kings of Delhi. His fluency in Persian, the language of the court, and Hindavi, the language of the common people, enabled him to compose poetry, riddles and historical treatises in both languages making his work accessible to all strata of society. A cultural figure without parallel, he holds an exalted position in the international literary and cultural domains from Istanbul to Isfahan and Kabul to Rangoon.
Commenced in September 2009 with support from the Ford Foundation, Aalam-e-Khusrau, has been documenting and disseminating the multifarious contributions of the legendary Amir Khusrau through archiving, research, public performances, discussions and seminars, audio visual exhibitions, publications and fellowship and scholarship programme. The main objective of the programme is to bring forth a deeper and richer understanding of the legacy and relevance of Khusrau in this day and age. Aalam e Khusrau an integral component of Hazrat Nizamuddin Urban Renewal Initiative pioneered by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture in partnership with Archaeological Survey of India, Municipal Corporation of Delhi and Central Public Works Department, has successfully completed several projects since its initiation.

Hazrat Amir Khusrau, among the populace, is mainly cherished for his contributions to music, the qawwali tradition and his vernacular Hindavi compositions. The exact contributions of Amir Khusrau in the realm of music are still being argued among scholars and musicologists. Within the traditional musician families, however, Amir Khusrau is revered as an exponent of Hindustani music and attributed with the creations of many forms of musical compositions, including many instruments like sitar and tabla.

Amir Khusrau’s works cover a broad continuum of genres, from poetry to prose riddles, to creating the world’s earliest known dictionary in 1320 AD in both Persian and Hindavi. He worked as a poet, writer, and courtier with more than seven sultans of Delhi, from Ghiyasuddin Balban to Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq.

Khusrau used elements of astronomy in his poetry in various forms- poetically describing complete horoscopes, through the use of planets, stars and astrological symbolisms as metaphors to embellish his historical poems.

Amongst other things, Khusrau proudly writes about India. In the courts of Turks, Afghans and Persians and within the cultural background of Persianate civilization, he sings the praise of his country. In his writings, he compares India to Paradise, giving several reasons, and places Delhi in the centre of the civilized world. He is very proud of his Indian descent, and he glorifies its seasons, its people, its knowledge, its culture, and its animals and birds to prove its superiority over the rest of the world.

Devoted as he was to his poetry, Khusrau was a mystic at heart and a beloved disciple of Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya, to whom he dedicated all his works. He was in awe of the Sufi’s spiritual grandeur. In his later masnavis, he bestowed his Sheikh with praise even more beautiful than the sultans.

He met his spiritual mentor, Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya at his grandfather’s house early in his life. The friendship between the Sheikh and Khusrau grew later and various accounts tell us that he was Sheikh’s most favorite disciple. However, Hazrat Nizamuddin never made him his Khalifa, and Khusrau remained in the service of the royal courts till the end of his life.

Gori So’e sej par, mukh par daare kes
Chal Khusrau ghar apne, sanjh bha’i chahu des

Beauty sleeps on the bed, her hair across her face.
Come Khusrau, let’s go home, night has set over this place

This is the last doha, a two line poem, Amir Khusrau supposedly recited at the grave of his pir, Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya. Grief Stricken by the death of his Sheikh, who died on 03 April 1325, Amir Khusrau died six months later on 27 September 1325. From then, every year his death anniversary is celebrated as urs (wedding with the divine) signifying the importance and commonplace acceptance of Amir Khusrau as a Sufi. The mazaar of Amir Khusrau lies in the dargah compound of the Sufi saint, where he is venerated as a beloved of Mehbub-i-ilahi (beloved of the divine) and as a mystic in his own right.