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Sufi Qawwali : the propaganda that is sweeter, reality that is bitter

  • INDOLOGY
  • Anhad Jakhmola | Team PresentMirror Indology | Updated: Aug. 20, 2020, 6:05 p.m.




Republic Media’s Editor-in-Chief, Arnab Goswami’s interview with Kangana Renaut, where she claimed how Mahesh Bhatt dresses himself in a sufi attire and recites its anecdotes. Whether she has said it with a stamp of authority or not is debatable. But it reminds us that the love for Sufi qawalis in Bollywood is unabated. But should attraction to melody and art take away the truth that is Sufism?


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Almost every movie these days had a song which was a Qawwali or indulging some special urdu based theme to get their song on the charts. Aamir Khusrau happens to be one of the most famous sufi poets in India. His song, "Chaap Tilak" is famous and covered across the length and breadth of the world. But there is an interesting story which no one knows.

Amir Khusro (the favourite disciple of Sufi Saint Nizamuddin Auliya)

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Let’s begin with above words of Nizamuddin Auliya, the shining light of Sufism, as mentioned by historian MA Khan, describing the stringent punishment meted out to non-believers.

Next time, when you listen to Abida Parveen rendering her mellifluous voice to 'chaap tilak sab cheen' written by Amir Khusro in Braj Bhasha (Full name Muhammad Hassan Yaminuddin Born in 1253 and died in 1325). He is said to be a great human being and considered as father of composite culture of India. First of all, let us look at his unconditional love for Hindus in this melodious melancholy of his poetry translated in English, "The whole country, by means of the sword of our holy warriors, has become like a forest denuded of its thorns by fire. The land has been saturated with the water of the sword, and the vapours of infidelity have been dispersed. The strong men of Hind have been trodden under foot, and all are ready to pay Jizya. Islam is triumphant, idolatry is subdued. Had not the law granted exemption from death by the payment of poll-tax, the very name of Hind, root and branch, would have been extinguished."

The holy warriors means the god’s workers the Jihadis, forest denuded of its thorns by fire is for Hindus which have been killed. Water of the sword means Blood of Hindus and vapors of infidelity refers to Hindu religion. Jizya was a tax which Hindus paid in those centuries, just to live. They hand to buy the right to live as a Hindu by paying this tax. He was so delightful in the destruction of temples and killing of non-believers and infidels. Of course, many still should believe he was a saint or saint-like and that he was against non-violence.

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[Image Source : Words of Amir Khusrau, as described in The History of India, as Told by Its Own Historians - Sir Henry Miers Elliot]

Amir Khusro, has been eulogized as the shining example of India's composite culture. India's first president Rajendra Prasad wrote 'The beginning of India's composite culture can be traced to Amir Khusro's efforts. With such propaganda, composite culture became the prime instrument of inverting the so-called communal construction of history. But at least the communal construction of history was always based on hard facts unlike the secularist group that parrots away the meager instances of counter culture, in any case coupled with severe bowdlerization, text torturing, suppression and even destruction of contrary evidence. Since these groups, profoundly influenced by Marxist deny any objective history and rely exclusively on subjective viewpoints.

Khwaja Muinuddin Chishti, another Sufi figure with a makeover history

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[Image Source: A Legacy of Forced Conversion, Imperialism, and Slavery - M. A. Khan]

Khwaja Muinuddin Chishti came to India as an invader with the armies of Muhammad Ghori to fight Jihad against Hindus. He settled in the holy Pushkar. He used to kill slaughter cows and cook Kebab inside its temples. His followers used to abduct young queens of Rajas and offer them to him.

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[Muinuddin Chisti married a girl at an age of 90 years, Image Source: Ajmer, Historical And Descriptive - Sarda, Har Bilas]

Ajmer Sharif Dargah was built on a Hindu temple. Specifically the Buland Darwaza has sculpted idols which according to local tradition, which was earlier the site of a Mahadeva temple.

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[Image Source: The Shrine and cult of Moinuddin Chisti of Ajmer, Oxford university press 1993]

These secularist Marxists, their subjectivity canvasses all objectivity and anyone deviating from their exclusive path are to be defamed and crippled with academic apartheid. The proletarian readers are warned not to exercise their own minds in the interpretation of history based on their own understanding of the sources ' for history is too technical and scientific a subject to be grasped by the untrained mind. Can this Khusrau, who spewed venom on every aspect of Hindu identity, be considered as the harbinger of composite culture in India? This assertion comes from a man who had no agenda in pushing concepts of shared identities and openly expresses his disdain for the Hindu religion.

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[The regime of Babar and the place of non-believers in the same, Image Source : Muslim Revitalist Movement in Northern India - SAA Rizvi]

Most scholars state the importance of how kings were massively cruel or rigid and most chronicle writing folks had to adjust. Interesting enough, they ignore his praise for Khilji's Market reforms and conveniently forget this factor then. But let's give them some space for their argument. Granted, what gave the right to people to show him as some composite cultural symbol of unity in diversity?

Of course, one can always see the extent of Khusrau's poetry and praise it partially. Exactly the way we question the partiality and the hypocrisy that is marred by hatred for the non-believers. Why can't we just put scrutiny where it's required? When you're unsure about the true intentions of Sufism, why make it into some cultural symbol of Indic cultural unification, when it’s just another melodious Deoband out there? Enjoy your cultural evenings and songs with whatever it is you eat. But don't try to subtly divert from the truth.

This article has kind inputs from Amit Vaswani and Priyank Arora, whose researched facts were used in this article.

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