Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Khusrau: Nami Danam Che

Ab'ul Hasan Yamīn ud-Dīn Khusrau (Hindi: अमीर खुसरो; 1253–1325), better known as Amīr Khusrau Dehlvi, was a Sufi musician, poet and scholar. Khursau the mystic, disciple of Nizamuddin Auliya of Delhi,  inventor of the musical instruments sitar and tabla, sponsor of the first qawwali, originator of the khayal and tarana styles of Indian classical music - is an iconic figure in the cultural history of India.

Below, Jafar Hussain Khan Badauni and party perform the famous qawwali Nami Danam Che Manzil Bood Shab Jaaye, traditionally attributed to Amir Khusrau.

नमी दानम चे मंज़िल बुद शब् जाए के मन बुदम,
ब हर सू रक़्स-ए-बिस्मिल बुद शब् जाए के मन बुदम।

Nami danam che manzil bood shab jaaye ke man boodam
Ba har su raqs-e-bismil bood shab jaaye ke man boodam.

I wonder what was that place - last night where I was,
In every way half-slaughtered victims of love, last night where I was.

परी पैकर निगार-ए-सर्व कदे लाला रुख़सारे,
सरापा आफ़त-ए-दिल बुद शब् जाए के मन बुदम।

Pari paikar nigaar-e-sarw-qade laala rukhsare;
Sarapa aafat-e-dil bood shab jaay ke man boodam.

There was a fairy-like beloved, cypress-figured, tulip-cheek'd,
Playing ruthless havoc with hearts of lovers, last night where I was.

रक़ीबन गोश-बर-आवाज़, ओ-दर नाज़-ओ-मन तरसा,
सुख़न गुफ़्तन के मुश्किल बुद शब् जाए के मन बुदम।

Raqeeban gosh-bar-awaaz, o-dar naaz-o-man tarsa
Sukhan guftan ke mushkil bood shab jaay ke man boodam.

The rivals for the smallest sound of her voice were thirsty
Stood struck I, unable to speak, last night where I was.

ख़ुदा ख़ुद मीर-ए-मजलिस बुद अंदर लामकां ख़ुसरो,
मोहम्मद शम्मा-ए-महफ़िल  बुद शब् जाए के मन बुदम।

Khuda khud meer-e majlis bood andar laamakan Khusrau -
Muhammad shamma-e-mehfil bood shab jaay ki man boodam.

God Himself was Master-of-Ceremonies in that Heavenly court, Khusrau -
Where Muhammad too was shining like a candle, last night where I was.

There is an eerie story behind the song.

Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia directed Khusrau to switch his attendance to a gathering presided over by a "rival" master - Hazrat Shah Qalandar.

Khusrau was puzzled but did as he was asked. The master ignored him. One day, Hazrat Qalandar asked Khusrau - How is it that I have never seen your old Master Nizamuddin at the Lord's gathering in Heaven? Khusrau had no reason to doubt this assertion, so he was crestfallen and sad.

Meeting Khusrau some time later, Nizamuddin perceived something was amiss, and, upon questioning, learnt what had happened. He laughed - Tell Qalandar that he himself should take you one day to the Lord's gathering in Heaven, and that you will yourself seek out your old Master there.

And so the next time Qalandar poked fun at Khusrau, he asked to be taken to the Lord's gathering. Qalandar held his palm on Khusrau's heart and lo, he was transported to the ground floor of an eerily lit palace where shining figure after shining figure was in attendance. But there was no Nizamuddin Aulia there.

Not seeing Nizamuddin, Khusrau asked the Master of Ceremonies if his old Master would be coming. The figure pointed upwards to the next floor, where the scene repeated itself - shining saints and prophets, but no Nizamuddin. So Khusrau was led in turns to levels 2, 3, etc till 7 - and in this highest of floors levels he saw a mysterious veiled lady at whose feet the lovers writhed in the agony of Love. Khusrau approached the strange figure in a trance.  He removed the veil of this person - only to come face-to-face with his old Master Nizamuddin.  Khusrau shrieked to fall at the feet of this figure, and as he fell Qalandar withdrew his hand from Khusrau's heart, the brilliant lights vanished, and he was back in Old Delhi. On his way back home through the alleys lit by earthen lamps, Amir Khusrau composed "Nami Danam Che."

Dr. Tahir ul Qadri, a scholar of Sufi Islam, recounts the story (in Urdu) here.

Khusrau was born in Etah, Uttar Pradesh, India. His father Saif-ud-Dīn Mahmūd was a Turkic officer and a member of the Kara-Khitai Lachin tribe of Transoxiana. At the invasion of Genghis Khan, Saif-ud-Din migrated from his hometown Kesh, near Samarkand, to Balkh, and thence to the court of the Delhi Sultanate of Iltutmish. Khusrau's mother was of a recently-converted-to-Islam Rajput tribe. The metaphor of this 'mixed' parentage - Trans-Oxian and Cis-Indus - is also found in Khusrau's synthesis of Persian imagery and Hindvi music.

परी पैकर निगार-ए-सर्व कदे लाला रुख़सारे,
सरापा आफ़त-ए-दिल बुद शब् जाए के मन बुदम।

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