Thursday 25 October 2012

The king who was a Prem Margi

In an earlier article I had written about Ibrahim Adil Shah 2 and his love for poetry and fine arts. Another king, who was equally adept at poetry is Ali Adil Shah 2. He was the eighth king of the Adil Shahi empire.
Ali Adil Shah II (1656-72) was the grandson of Ibrahim 2.  He ascended the throne at an young age of 19 years.  He faced continuous attacks from the Mughals on one hand and Marathas on the other.
If Aurangzeb wanted to  annexe  Bijapur, Shivaji wanted to expand his empire. The continuous conflicts with both  took a heavy tool on the young Adil Shah he took to poetry to relieve his tensions.
He was a fairly good poet and he wrote under the pen name of ‘Shahi’.
Ali Adil Shah wrote extensively in various genres of poetry in Dakhani. He composed 21 songs in 21 ragas. His compositions exhibit a strong influence of the ‘Prem margi’ school of Hindi poetry. In a number of his poems, a woman pines for her lover. The long poem ‘Birhani Mukhammas’ is perhaps the best example of that. Its refrain is:

“Koi jao kaho muj sajan sat; Main neha bandhi toon keeta ghat”

(Go, tell my lover, that while I deeply loved him, he betrayed me)

Prof. Zeenat Sajida, a former head of the Urdu Department of the Osmania University and a leading authority on Dakhni edited an anthology of Ali Adil Shah II poems called ‘Kalam-e- Shahi ’ in 1962. According to her, this poem became so popular that many others wrote similar poems, which causes some confusion regarding the identity of their authors.

This and a few other poems describe most graphically the condition of  a lover separated from her beloved (Birha in Hindi)

“Main chhaon hoon piya sang lagi rahun dayam; Yak til juda na hona vaslat ise Kate hain

(I’ll always be my lover’s shadow; then I will not separate from him.)

Like his grandfather, Ali too was well-versed in Indian culture and tradition. He knew the Indian epics.  In a song in Bhairvi raga,  he gives a vivid description of Shiva, the God of destruction.
Ali Adil Shah’s masterpiece is  ‘Chouda Ratan’ (Fourteen Ratnas or gems) in raga Kanra. In that he exhibits his  knowledge of the story of  churning of  Amrita (the churning of sea).
This is a story from the Puranas . The devas and the rakshahas decided to churn the ocean to obtain nectar. When both the Devas and the Rakshahas began churning, the ocean yielded fourteen gems including the Moon, Iravati-the elephant of Indra, and finally the amrit.
The gods managed to divide the amrit among themselves and the Rakshahas were left with nothing. Ali Adil Shah 2 shows a deep understanding of Hindu mythology and the intricacies of the Indian classical music.
Ali was given the title “Ustad-e-alam’ by his court poet Nusrati. He died young. He was succeded by another young king, Sikander who was the last Adil Shahi. Aurangzeb led an expedition against Bijapur in 1686 and annexed it after a long drawn out siege.   


Nusrati  has given us valuable information on Ali’s efforts to kpp the empire intact and his efforts to contain Shivaji and Aurangzeb.
Many of the events of the time are in Ali Nama, a chronicle of the life and times of Ali Adil Shah 2.
Apart from this work, Nusrati is best remembered  for his long love song Gulshan-e-ishq. (The Garden of Love) which is the story of  Kunwar Manohar and Madhumalati.

Nusrati  has introduced Persian and Arabic words into Dakhni.

Another contemporary of Nusrati is his blind friend and poet Syed Miran Miyan Khan
He was better known as Hashimi. He has written in his own genre called Rekhti. His important love poem is Yusuf Zuleikha.

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