Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya Basant Panchami Celebration - History

Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya Basant Panchami Celebration - History
The dargah of Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya Rahamatullah Allai in Delhi observes the festival of Basant Panchami in its own unique way. The story goes that once the saint was grieving the demise of his nephew. 

Unable to see his spiritual master in grief, Amir Khusro started wondering how to cheer up the Auliya when he noticed that a lot of people were wearing yellow in the village of Ghiyaspur (older name of Nizamuddin). Khusro asked people about it and was told about the festival of Basant Panchami.

Khusro immediately dressed as a woman in yellow clothes and went to dance and sing in front of Hazrat Nizamuddin. This gesture of Amir Khusro brought a smile on the face of the saint and since then Basant Panchami has been celebrated in his khanqah and dargah.



Only on this occasion, which falls on February 12 this year, are qawwali singers allowed perform inside the shrine of the Sufi saint.

These lyrics in the Purbi dialect of Hindi are sung in the Hindustani Raga Bahar and herald the beginning of basant, or spring. The song is sung on the eve of Basant Panchami, as part of festivities marking the occasion. This year it falls on Feburary 12 and will be celebrated at the dargah in New Delhi of the Sufi saint Hazrat Khwaja Nizamuddin Auliya. This is situated in the capital's Nizamuddin West, area, and is very close to Humayun’s Tomb, which is in Nizamuddin East.

How did Basant Panchami come to be celebrated at this dargah? The story goes back to the time of Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya, who lived from 1238 to 1325, after whom the dargah was named. Nizamuddin Auliya was a saint of the Chistiya silsila, one of four major Sufi orders in India. It was started by Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti, whose dargah is in Ajmer in Rajasthan. Khwaja Qutbuddin Bakhtiyar Kaki, popularly called Qutub Sahab, whose dargah is in Mehrauli, a locality in southwest Delhi, succeeded him. Baba Farid, whose dargah is in Pakpattan in Pakistan's Punjab province, succeeded Kaki, and Baba Farid was succeeded by Hazrat Nizamuddin.

He believed that saints needed to have ishq (love), aql (wisdom) and ilm (knowledge.) He used them all in generous measure. Although he lies buried close to many emperors and noblemen from the medieval ages, his dargah attracts more visitors and devotees than the other tombs.

The legend

Altamash Nizami, a direct descendant of Nizamuddin Auliya who is part of the dargah committee, told me a story about the origin of Basant celebrations there. Hazrat Nizamuddin did not have children but was deeply attached to his sister’s son, Khwaja Taqiuddin Nuh. But an illness took Khwaja Nuh away from this world, which immensely saddened the saint, who grieved over the loss for a long time.

His followers, particularly Hazrat Amir Khusrau, longed to see him smile once again.One day, Khusrau saw a group of village women dressed in yellow, carrying mustard flowers and singing on the road near the Khwaja’s chilla-khanqah, a retreat where he had spent his life reaching out to people, which is located behindHumayun’s tomb. Khusrau asked the women where they were going dressed like this. The women replied that they were going to the temple to offer flowers to their god. Khusrau then asked them whether this would make their god happy. When they said it would, Khusrau immediately dressed up in a yellow saree, and carrying mustard flowers, went before the saint singing sakal ban phool rahi sarson.


Recognising his favourite disciple and amused by his costume and song, the saint finally broke into a smile. This was commemorated as an occasion for rejoicing, and since then his followers have celebrated the onset of Basant by dressing up in yellow, carrying mustard flowers and singing qawwali.

Source: https://scroll.in/article/702044/how-delhis-hazrat-nizamuddin-dargah-began-celebrating-basant-panchami

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