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.