the stamp of authenticity.
In the fifteenth century came several notable travellers: Mahuan, a
Chinese, who recorded his observations on Bengal and Malabar; Nicolo
de Conti, an Italian; Abdur Razzaq, a Persian; and Athanasius Nikitin, a
Russian, who wrote about south India.
In the first half of the sixteenth century came Varthema, Domingo Paes,
Barbosa and Fernao Nuniz. On the whole, these different kinds of
sources are supplementary to the principal Persian chronicles.
Khusrau was born in 1253 AD in Patiala, India. His paternal ancestors
belonged to the nomadic tribe of Hazaras from Transoxiana, who crossed
the river Indus and migrated to India in the 13th century. Khusrau"s father
served Sultan Iltutmish in a high position. Khusrau was educated in
theology, Persian and the Quran. From his mother who was of Hindustani
origin and from his maternal grandfather he acquired both an intimacy
with the local languages as well as a rooting in the immediate cultural
ambience. His father died when Khusrau was only eight, hence he came
under the care of his maternal grandfather.
Amir Khusrau was writing poetry from a tender age. His genius
thrived and sustained itself with the support of his industrious
temperament and, indeed the fortune of getting generous patrons in nobles,
princes and kings. He emerged as one of the most original poets of India,
innovating new metaphors and similes. With his second collection of
verses, Wast-ul-Hayat, Amir Khusrau"s name spread from house to house,
wide and far and he came to be known in Persia as well. The famous poet
of Persia, Sa"di sent him compliments.
It was with his long, unique poem, Qiran-us-Sa"dain, written with
ceaseless labour of six months, at the age of 36, that Khusrau became the
poet-laureate of King Kaiqubad at Delhi. This poem is soaked in his love
for Delhi; he also writes on the mutual love between Hindus and Muslims
In Nuh Sipihr (1318), Khusrau"s fascination with India"s birds and