Book Review: Song of the Dervish
Author: Meher Murshed
Thirteenth century Hindustan: Sultans ruled Delhi. Seduced by gold, they eyed rich neighbouring kingdoms. They marched from one land to another, plundering and preying on the women of the vanquished. The sultan’s court was a cauldron of intrigue, where brother killed brother for the throne. Amidst this orgy of violence, greed and lust, there emerged a Sufi dervish called Nizamuddin Auliya. He offered calm to a people ravaged by fear; he offered hope where there was none. The dervish spoke of tolerance and peace among religions. There are as many paths to the One as there are grains of sand. Nizamuddin realised his Maker by feeding the hungry. He knew what hunger was like. He had gone hungry too.
The dervish, like all Chishti Sufis, would have nothing to do with sultans, who were wary of him. One wanted Nizamuddin’s severed head brought to his court. Nizamuddin’s closest disciple was Amir Khusro, the court poet of sultans, the dervish’s soul. Music was prayer for Nizamuddin. Amir Khusro created (No Suggestions), Sufi devotional music, for his master. Song of the Dervish tells the stories of people who feel Nizamuddin’s presence today, 700 years later. He offers hope and heals. No one goes hungry, no soul leaves troubled from the dervish’s doorstep.
Song of the Dervish brings to life stories about people who have been touched by the teachings and blessings of the great Sufi saint, Nizamuddin Auliya. Anybody who has an interest in spirituality will be mesmerized by the book.
Meher has chosen an interesting theme for the book and tells the stories interspersed with snippets from Nizamuddin Auliya’s life. There are riveting accounts of people who came to visit the dugrah in moments of desperation such as the account of Kanwal Nain Sharma.
The author himself got addicted to the Sufi saint’s teachings while listening to the now famous ‘Man Kunto Maula.’ Meher has researched a lot for the book and the accounts of people from different walks of life makes for an interesting read. The language is simple and the incidents narrated are eye opening. But the book is for people who have a bit of faith in spiritual matters.
The text though struggles a bit because of repetitions and lack of flow due to the structure of the book. Nevertheless, its a good effort and will appeal to anybody who is inetrested in Sufism.