State Library of Victoria \ Exhibitions \ Love and devotion
Skip to main content
Love and Devotion: From Persia and Beyond

Love and Devotion: From Persia and Beyond

Amir Khusrau

Amir Khusrau (1253–1325), often referred to as 'the parrot of India', was a native of Delhi. Considered one of the greatest of the Indian poets who wrote in Persian, he reworked Nizami’s Khusrau u Shirin, Layla u Majnun and Haft Paykar, renaming the latter Hasht Bihisht (Eight gardens of paradise).

Amir Khusrau's reworked title Hasht Bihisht refers to the Islamic notion of eight paradises and the promise of eternity. In this work Amir Khusrau presents a variation on the classic tale of Bahram Gur and Azada, which has been recounted by a variety of Persian poets since at least the time of the Shahnama.

In the early version, Bahram Gur, while still a prince, sets off to hunt with his beloved slave girl, Azada, an accomplished musician. After an altercation, Bahram Gur tramples Azada with his camel.

In Amir Khusrau's version, written several centuries later, the girl’s name has been changed to Dilaram. She survives her desert ordeal, and later learns to play the harp so beautifully that she enchants animals and regains Bahram Gur’s affections.

Love & devotion in the UK

The Bodleian Libraries is showing its own presentation of the Love and devotion exhibition at the Exhibition Room, Bodleian Library, in Oxford, England, between 29 November 2012 and 28 April 2013.

Learn more about how you can visit this exhibition on the Bodleian Libraries website.


Love and devotion: Persian Cultural Crossroads

This two-day conference held in April 2012 featured distinguished international guests and Australian specialists exploring cultural convergences in literature, the arts and architecture, history and philosophy within Persia's cultural sphere and Europe, from the 11th century to the present day.

For information on keynote speakers & topics discussed, visit our conference page

Visit the exhibition

The Love and devotion exhibition took place from 9 March to 1 July 2012. In-depth information about the exhibits and themes can be found on this website.

State Library of Victoria, 328 Swanston Street,
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, Tel +61 3 8664 7000