(India) Festival Celebrates Hindu-Muslim Unity


HYDERABAD: Admirers of Sufism were at their ecstatic high on Monday night as the sacred environs of the Dargah of Hazrat Shaik Ji Hali in Old City reverberated with the devotional songs of the 13th century saint-poet Amir Khusro to mark the festival of Basant.
The Sufi Basant festival, a symbol of Hindu-Muslim unity, is celebrated at all major dargahs of Sufi saints on Basant Panchami, which heralds the spring . It is also dedicated to Saraswati, the goddess of learning and knowledge.

As Sufi singers recited the famous Khusro poem (a mix of Persian and proto-Hindi), Zehaal-e-miskeen makun taghaful, duraye naina banaye batiyan(Do not overlook my misery, by blandishing your eyes and weaving tales), the Dargah and the nearby Charkaman and Gulzar Houz were transformed into a realm of spiritualism and love.

Incidentally, the Dargah of Hazrat Shaik Ji Hali is located where once the palaces of the Qutub Shahi rulers stood. The Qutub Shahis introduced the Muslim participation in Basant, essentially a Hindu festival, about five centuries ago.

Mohammad Quli, the founder of Hyderabad, wrote many poems in Telugu and Urdu on Basant Panchami. He also wrote on Mrugashira that heralds monsoon. Though none of his Telugu poems are available, nine Basant songs in Urdu were compiled eight decades ago. The anthology, Kuliyat-Muhammad Quli Qutub Shah, was published in 1940.

 The idea behind holding Basant as a royal festival during Qutub Shahi period was to promote communal harmony. The Basant tradition was introduced in India by Amir Khusro, a follower of Hazrat Nizamuddin. It was revived in Hyderabad by Moulana Muzaffar Ali Soofi Chisti, custodian of Shaik Ji Hali Dargah.
The story goes that Khusro wanted to bring back the smile on the face of his teacher, Hazrat Nizamuddin, who had withdrawn from the world after the death of his nephew. Khusro dressed himself in yellow and sang carrying mustard flowers, bringing a smile on his teacher’s face. In fact, Khusro was inspired by a group of Hindu women who were out to worship Saraswati on Basant Panchami.

The Sufi Basant festival on Monday saw the participation of many dignitaries, including consul-general of Turkey Adnan Altay Altinors, deputy high commissioner of UK Andrew Fleming, Nalsar University VC Prof Faizan Mustafa and Intach Telangana co-convener P Anuradha Reddy.
Source: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hyderabad/a-festival-to-celebrate-hindu-muslim-unity/articleshow/62628132.cms

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