Religions can be both simple and complicated. It depends on how deep you are willing to dive into the ocean of spirituality. Amir Khusrow is among the rare few who have ventured into the deepest parts of spirituality. Fortunately, he was able to express and share his experiences in words with us.
Amir Khusrow’s family belonged to a Turkish tribe but had come to India as a refugee. He was born in the 13th century in Awadh. He learned both Urdu and Persian languages. But most of his works, despite the language, always praised his motherland. When these Shayaries (short Urdu poems) reached Persian countries, they named Khusrow Tuti-e-Hind meaning Parrot of India.
After the death of his father, he joined the army as a high-ranking officer. His intellectual importance was known to all so they kept him away from actual war.
During these times, great competition was going on for the right to rule North India. India was a place of abundance and North India was its access point. Forces from the middle-east, Mongolia, and central India were at war with each other.
Amir Khusrow saw the effects of these wars first-hand.
Devastated by war and its effects, Amir Khusrow started looking for a way to find inner peace. He was done with the conventional methods of Islam so he joined Sufism.
Sufism is not a religion in its purest form. It is a way to celebrate the union of humans and the source of its creation, irrespective of how it happens. They dance and sing songs of the beautiful union. This is where Amir found his home. His creativity met the newfound devotion and he started writing songs for Sufism.
These songs are called Qawallis. He is known as the founder of Qawallis. In these years as a Sufi saint, he wrote most of his important poems. He even achieved the level of Mystic during his twilight years. Mystics are people who pose knowledge beyond conventional human understanding. A lot of his poems do talk about being inseparable and uniting with the cosmic.
Amir Khusro was a romantic poet. But most of his works don’t depict love between humans rather they depict the love between him and the divine almighty. Before the enlightenment, he used to write love tributes to his motherland Hindustan.
It is always incredible to think how a man who lived 800 years ago, could still be relevant. But he is. Thanks to his Qawallis, Sufism became popular and still remains a part of Indian and Pakistani culture. They have found an important place in Indian music culture as well. His clever wordplay and meaningful Shayaris are still used by people in day-to-day life.
Only a few people have the gift of turning nightmares into dreams. The horror of wars could have left him creatively drained. But just like a phoenix Khusrow too rose from his lowest and wrote some of the best words ever written.