Saturday, March 12, 2011

the faded colours of delhi

Aaj rang hai ri ma, rang hai ri. Mere mehboob ke ghar rang hai ri…

There is colour in the beloved’s house today. These lines are attributed to Hazrat Amir Khusrau Dehlavi. Some say it is a song about Holi. Some say it describes his first meeting with Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya. Perhaps it is about both. But what was the rang of the mehboob ka ghar? What colours did Khusrau and Nizamuddin (and everyone else) live amidst in fourteenth century Delhi? Much of what remains from the 14th century (and later) is dark and somber and unadorned now. But so much of Khusrau’s Hindavi poetry is about colour and brightness. Jag ujiyaro, jagat ujiyaro. This is the poetry of a bright, lit up,world. Surely it was not all metaphysical, metaphorical?

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