Posts Tagged ‘quawalli’


At the Khusro Urs

   Posted by: aman    in Other

Khusro darya prem ka, ulti wa ki dhaar,
Jo utra so doob gaya, jo dooba so paar

The river of love, flows in reverse,
he who enters drowns, who drowns goes across

Richa told me about the Amir Khusro’s Urs at Khwaja Nizammudin Dargah. I reached and, as is the custom, I went into the sanctum sanctorum. When I was coming out a lady handed me some rose flowers to place on the holy shrine of Nizammudin Auliya. I placed them and picked up a few petals to give to the lady but she had vanished. I took them to Amir Khusro’s mazhar and thought of it as pollination.

The quawalli singing was not too great.

‘After all,’ said Manas, ‘we have now heard Nusret.’

I befriended Rahim the bearer of the fan. Rahim’s body is wasted but his smile and eyes shine. He fans people and begs for their grace, in the form of money. When he came to me, I refused to pay. ‘You get food at the Dargah kitchen. Why do you need money? To inject yourself?’

He smiled mischievously. When I was leaving to take an office conference call he gave me a full hug.

I anyway wanted to leave. The eyes I had seen all evening were getting to me. They were so familiar. They reminded me of the two pairs of eyes I had seen until a few years back. One full of search, other full of mistrust. Both looking for acceptance, the kind the quawalli listeners perhaps find at the Dargah of Nizammudin Chisti. Ulti is ki dhaar. The river of love flows in reverse.

I took the call from my car. Behind it were a couple of transgendered people arguing about something. I could not go and tell them to stop chattering. That I was taking part in an important meeting. During the call a group of drunken men came and parked their wobbly car with a screech. I thanked my stars my phone was on mute.

When I was finishing I saw two men approach a group of people sleeping on the roadside and search for money on them. My call was more important than the robbery. I stayed put in my safe car.

When I finished the call I again went in to listen to more singing. A big, burly man was being teased by small children. He obviously could not afford to chase them away and was shouting loudly. When I neared him he put out his hand in front of me. I held it and gave it a gentle squeeze. He smiled and patted my shoulder.

Chhaap tilak sab chin re mose naina milaike
Prem bhati ka madva pilaike
Gori gori baiyan, hari hari churiyan
baiyan pakar dhar linhi re mose naina milaike
Bal bal joon main tore rang rajva
Apni si kar linhi re mose naina milaike
Khusro Nijam ke bal bal jaiye
Mohe suhagan kinhi re mose naina milaike
Bat atham keh dini re mose naina milaike

You’ve taken away my looks, my identity, by just a glance.
You’ve intoxicated me by just a glance;
My fair, delicate wrists with green bangles in them,
Have been held tightly by you with just a glance.
I give my life to you, Oh my cloth-dyer,
You’ve dyed me in yourself, by just a glance.
I give my whole life to you Oh, Nijam,
You’ve made me your bride, by just a glance.

I left the Dargah past midnight, full of those eyes I had seen all evening: searching for forgiveness, for kindness, for being able to rise above their mistrust, for love. I hope I can go to the Urs again next year.

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