KHIZR KHAN AND DEVAL DEVI
A LOVE LOST FROM DAY ONE
Battle between father and son
Sultan Allauddin Khilji was a remarkable man. Like all other Sultan, the Hindu writers have painted a horrible image of him, contrary to the facts. In a remarkable book (1990) on the Sultan, Dr Ghulam Sarwar Khan Niazi has done away with all the wrongs falsely attributed to that man.
Amir Khusrow in 1316 (revised 1318 after death of Khizr Khan) wrote a MASNAVI that is a poem, by the name of ASHIQA, on the tragic romance of Khizr Khan and Deval Devi. A very complicated relation. Sultan Alauddin Khilji was not on good terms with his wife Mahru, who was mistreating him all the time. Allauddin Khilji fell in love with a Hindu Princess Kamla Devi, and married her. Sultan Allauddin had an eldest son, who was his heir and his name was Khizr Khan (Mahru’s son). Kamla Devi had a daughter from a Hindu Raja from previous marriage. Queen Kamla Devi requested Sultan Allauddin to get her beloved daughter back from her ex-husband and the Sultan sent his army to retrieve her from her father. The mother and daughter moved into the palace, and the Prince fell in love with the daughter of his mother. Although they were not brother and sister, yet the relation was very complicated. Khizr was so hopelessly in love with Deval Devi, that he ran away with her. Kamla Devi did not like that, and disallowed this relation. The Sultan too voted against the relation, but Khizr Khan disobeyed even his own father on the matter. Queen Mahru resented both Kamla Devi and now resented her daughter even more. She insisted that her son Khizr Khan marry her niece, the daughter of Alp Khan. Khizr Khan succumbed but soon fell ill. Queen Mahru seeing the possibility of losing her son agreed to the other marriage finally. The eunuch Kafur Khan intrigued against them, and removed people from power. Mubarak Shah rebelled against those in power, and first put Kafur Khan to death, and then he had Khizr Khan murdered. Then to spite the memory of this love, he took Deval Devi forcibly in his harem as a slave girl. The end was most tragic. It is the first famous romance of a Muslim Prince with a Hindu Princess, and is a celebration of that relation in the tradition of famous love legends. The end result was a natural tragedy.
Legend has it that Khizr Khan and Deval Devi love for each other was phenomenal. He had taken her to Delhi, and fell in the intrigues of the Court. He sacrificed an empire for her. So much fabricated stories exist about this episode, that none is reliable. The most reliable of course is Amir Khusrow himself, who wrote a poem about the love affair (1295-1320) of the two. And the beautiful part of this narrative is that Khizr Khan had himself requested Amir Khusrow to write about his love affair. And the details of the affair were provided to him by a slave girl of the court. It was written when this thing was still in process. Who won and who lost? That does not matter. For the Sultan responsibility mattered most. For the Prince love mattered more than that. Conflict was a natural outcome. The result the love affair was celebrated with manuscripts of ASHIQA appearing in Indian history from time to time. Emperor Akbar had many Royal copies made, and it is the first illustrated manuscript done at his court. Seals prove that many Emperors were very fond of reading it. In fact it was a favourite even of Emperor Aurangzeb. And people think that he had no appreciation of anything Hindu. Then why he patronized them all the time.