Rang - the Qalam
The story behind a beautiful Sufi Qalam
Rang is a beautiful and soul-stirring qalaam by Amir Khusrow, known as both the father of Qawaali in the Indian subcontinent and Urdu. He wrote it in the form of a letter to his mother, a beautiful piece of poetry, to describe his meeting and surrender to his beloved teacher, the mystic Nizamuddin Auliya.
Attached, is a performance by the late Amjad Sabri, and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, the undisputed, ever-green kings of Qawaali in Pakistan.
Legend has it that one day he decided to put his disciples to the test. After roaming in the bazaars of Delhi in their company during the day, after nightfall, he entered a brothel.
The courtesan led him upstairs with great respect and courtesy.
His disciples were waiting downstairs in anticipation, waiting for him to come downstairs.
Surprised and shocked, the courtesan asked Nizam what good luck she owes this visit and the honour.
Auliya asked her to call for food, water and liquor and give his students the impression that he has asked for them.
She obeyed and told her maid to act accordingly.
Upon seeing this, some of the disciples contemplated, "We were under a mistaken impression. Our teacher is not the saint we thought him to be all along. He has asked for liquor!"
Thus, they went away.
As the night progressed, more and more of his disciples left one by one.
Finally, at dawn, Nizam headed downstairs to find Khusrow waiting alone. Auliya inquired about the others. Nizam told the sage that they have left.
Nizam asked him, "Why did you not leave? Didn't you notice that I had asked for liquor and spent the whole night with the courtesan?"
Khusrow replied, "O Master! I might have left, but where could I have gone except towards your lotus feet?"
It was after this incident that Nizamuddin Auliya bestowed the title of Sufi on Amir Khusrow.
Several renditions have been recorded, however, we think Hadiqa Kayani's version takes the prize.
Which one did you like best? We shall look forward to hear from you!