Keeping the Genius of Khusrau Alive

New Delhi
Keeping the Genius of Khusrau Alive
If one sets about the task of reviving 14th century Sufi legend Amir Khusrau's legacy, his pioneering contribution to the devotional musical artform of 'qawwali' is where much of the work begins.

One of the most revered Sufi legends of Delhi -- Khusrau is one of the major subjects of the revival and preservation efforts in Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti area, where the qawwali tradition is being discussed, debated and compiled in its purest form.

Jashn-e-Khusrau -- a collection in book form of the events of a 2010 festival that celebrated the mystical poetry of Khusrau as performed in the genre of qawwali, was released today by Minister of Culture Kumari Shelja.

The book not only compiles the discussions, debates and lectures that were conducted during the 2010 festival, but also elaborates in detail on the vast repertoire of 'khanaqahi qawwali', with essays on the history, tradition, and literature of the genre.

"We not only should celebrate Khusrau but we also have to take him out to this world. We owe it to the rest of the world to keep him alive.... We should familiarise the world with Khusrau," said Shelja, before the historic monument of Chausanth Khamba came alive with Wajahat Hussain Badayuni Qawwal and his group's rendering of Khusrau's kalam.

Shelja said while the commercial aspect of tourism was important, efforts should also be made to link tourism to the desire to share the rich history and legacy of the capital with active participation from the local population.

"I feel very strongly that being proud of our heritage, we should be happy sharing it with the outside world," she said while commending the efforts of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture to revive the heritage of the area with active participation of the local people.

The book comprises of essays that introduce the history, and literature of 'khanaqahi qawwali' as attributed to Khusrau, a beloved disciple of Sufi saint Nizamuddin Auliya.

It also compiles his Sufi poetry that has been kept alive for over 750 years by the qawwali singers of the Chishtiya tradition, in calligraphy along with transliterations and translations.

What also comes with the book are three music discs, that would be a delight to ears of lovers of Sufi tradition.

The compilation is part of a larger effort by the Archaeological Survey of India and the Aga Khan Trust for Culture to document, revive, disseminate the 700 years of intangible living cultural heritage of Nizamuddin Basti.
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