Abul Hasan Yaminuddin, better known as Amir Khusrau (1252-1325) after being decorated with the title of Emir by one of his patrons, had the unique distinction of being a soldier, courtier, sufi, poet, litterateur, and music maestro. Although the details of his life and works remain uncertain to a considerable extent, we have much that help us construct his figure in various avatars that he richly represented. It has been generally agreed upon that after suffering the onslaughts of Chengez Khan, his father, a Turk chieftain, migrated to India during the reign of Shamsuddin Altamsh who gave him a high position in his army. Khusrau was born in Patiali in Etah district of Uttar Pradesh where his father had settled. While he was still eight years old, his father was killed in an army action after which his mother brought him to Delhi to live with his maternal grandfather who also passed away when he was only twenty years old. An extremely intelligent and resourceful person who honed many skills of poetry and courtly manners, he did not find it difficult to seek his source of sustenance when he was left on his own to do so. Khusrau had a unique distinction of serving with many princes, chiefs, and emperors like Malik Alauddin Kashlu Khan alias Malik Chhajju, Bughra Khan, Khan Mohammad, Sardar Hatim Khan, Kaikobad, Jalaluddin Firoze Khilji, Alauddin Khilji, Qutbuddin Mubarak Shah, Gheyasuddin Tughlaq and Mohammad Tughlaq. Even while he held high positions in several courts, he remained a devoted disciple of Hazrat Nizamuddin from whom he sought his spiritual strength, and at whose feet he lies buried.
Khusrau was a very prolific author and poet of rare distinction. He is widely respected as a Persian, Hindavi, and Rekhta poet who evolved a unique diction and an inimitable language, beyond the apbhransha, for his literary expression. He assigned a new role to human speech which is evident from the astounding variety of nearly a hundred works he produced in poetry and prose that broadly include several divans, mathnawis, treatises, and other compositions. Even though the number of his works cannot be ascertained for sure, nor can the authenticity of works ascribed to him be determined with any confidence, he remains an iconic poet on account of the works available from different sources. Moving beyond literature, Khusrau also made his contribution to music. He created ragas, developed khayal, tarana, qaul, and qawwali, as also invented tabla and sitar, the two instruments that clearly distinguish and characterise Indian music from others. Khusrau is extremely remarkable for defining the various forms and genres of literature and arts as the domains where the sublime and the plebeian could meet together and complement each other. He wrote on a variety of subjects that include patriotism, liberalism, integration, folk life, and the catholic values of living that emerge with a fine blending of social norms and cultural practices, as well as dialects and dictions.
Notable Urdu poet, writer, journalist, broadcaster, translator, critic, researcher, linguist and lexicographer Shaan ul Haq Haqqi was born on 15th Dec 1917 in Delhi. He acquired his BA from A.M.U and Master in English literature from St. Stephen’s College, Delhi. Haqqi published two anthologies of poems, Tar-i-Pairahan (1957) and Harf-i-Dilras (1979), a later collection of his selected ghazals was published under the title, Dil ki Zaban. His other publications include, Naqd-o-Nigarish (criticism), Maqalaat-e-Mumtaz, Shaakhsaanay (Short Stories), Maqam-e-Ghazal (edited work of Hafiz Hoshiarpuri), Nashid-i-Hurriyat, Nukta-e-Raz, Bhagvad Gita (Urdu translation) , Darpan Darpan (translation of poetry from various languages), Intikhab-e-Kalam-e-Zafar, Qitaat-e-Tareekh-e-Wafat-e-Ahle-Qalam-wa-Mutaliqeen-e-Ahle-Qalam, Lisani Masail-o-Lataif, Nazr-e-Khusro PaheliaN Keh MukarniyaN, Aaeena-e-Afkar-e-Ghalib, Nok Jhonk, Suhaanay Taraanay, and children’s literature with the title, Phool Khilay Hain Rung Birangay (Poems for children), Anjaan Rahi (translation of Jack Shaffer’s novel Shane), Teesri Duniya (translation of essays on politics and economy), Soor-e-Israfeel (translation of Bengali poet Qazi Nazrul Islam), Khayabaan-e- Pak (anthology of Pakistan’s folk poetry of about 40 poets). He also wrote his autobiography that was serialized in Urdu journal Afkaar.He also translated the Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra, and Chanakya Kautilya’s Arthashastra. He tried his hand at other genres of poetry, such as Peheylian, Kehmukarnian, and Qitat-i-Tareekhi too. He was associated with the Urdu Dictionary Board for 17 years from 1958 to 1975, compiling a monumental 24-volume dictionary, which may be termed as his labour of love. Apart from Urdu Dictionary Board’s work, Haqqee Sahib compiled two dictionaries. The Oxford English-Urdu Dictionary and Farhang-e-Talaffuz is a pronunciation dictionary of Urdu. He died of lung cancer in Mississauga, Canada on October 11, 2005 at the age of 88 and was buried in Toronto, Canada.