Hidayat Inayat-Khan, son of the Indian mystic and musician Hazrat Inayat Khan and Pirani Ameena Begum Ora Ray Baker Inayat-Khan of Albuquerque, New Mexico, was born into a family of very remarkable personalities. Hidayat’s great-great grandfather was Tipu Sultan, the "Tiger of Mysore", last "Supreme Potentate of All India", whose palace on the fortified island of Sering Pathan was guarded by living tigers.
The great Sultan’s principle, in resisting the English conquerors to the death, was, "Better to live one day as a tiger than one year as a sheep". The Sultan’s citadel was destroyed in a historic battle and one of his sons was killed in the mutiny of 1857,
Tipu Sultan, a 1792 portrait
leaving a daughter, the Princess of Mysore who was miraculously saved and raised in secret within the precincts of what used to be the citadel. Later she became the bride of India’s famous singer and musician, Mula Bux who was known throughout India as "The Morning Star of the East" and was raised to the rank of princehood by the ruling Raja.
At a lecture during his first visit to America, Hazrat Inayat met the young woman destined to be his wife, Ora Ray Baker, later Pirani Ameena Begum.
Ora Ray was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in 1892, and counted among her relations Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of the Christian Science movement. Although the couple were attracted to each other, Ora Ray's brother, who was her guardian, objected, and did everything possible to keep them apart. When Inayat and his brothers left for England, therefore, they could not say good bye, and spent several months in miserable separation.
It was only when she was tidying up her brother's desk
Amina Ora Ray Inayat-Khan
that Ora Ray found the address of Inayat's family in India, and was able at last to re-establish contact. They were married in London in 1912. Pirani Ameena Begum (to whom Inayat also gave the name Sharda) bore four children: two girls, Noorunnisa, born January 1st, 1914; and Khairunnisa, born June 3rd, 1919; and two boys, Vilayat, born June 19, 1916; and Hidayat, born August 6th, 1917.
Mula Bux founded the first Academy of Music in India and invented the music notation system that bears his name. He restored the fundamentals of Indian classical traditions in all fields of music and in so doing received rewards and recognition from monarchs all over India. The first royal child to be born from his union with the Princess of Mysore was a daughter called Khatidja, who later became the mother of Inayat Khan
Hidayat's Father, the Sufi Mystic, Hazrat Inayat Khan
In 1919 Hazrat Inayat Khan moved from London with his family to the continent, eventually settling in the Parisian suburb of Suresnes in a large house which he named Fazal Manzil or "blessed home". In his early years, Hidayat’s life had an extraordinary, almost fairy-tale quality, for he was surrounded by the atmosphere of his remarkable father and most loving mother and there was a constant stream of visitors coming to their home drawn by the twin magnets of music and the Sufi Message. Sadly, those magical days ended abruptly when Hazrat Inayat Khan passed away during a visit to India in 1927 at the age of 45. Hidayat was 10 years old. Even as a young man, Professor Inayat Khan had become a great singer, vina player and composer.
Prof. Inayat Khan as a Young Man
He was crowned "Tansen" at the court of the Nizam of Hyderabad, the "Saintly King", Mir Maheboob Ali Khan. It was this great Nizam who granted Hidayat’s father all the necessary help in breathing new life into India’s most sacred music
and propagating it across India.
Professor Inayat Khan was also the author of several books on Indian music, in particular Minca-I-Musicar, in which several songs of the author’s own composition are published in the Mula Bux notation. Another ancestor of Hidayat’s was Saint Jumma Shah from Punjab, whose holy tomb near Lahore is still visited by numerous pilgrims in homage and gratitude for the inspiration which radiates from his shrine. In 1988, Hidayat Inayat-Khan assumed the role of Representative-General of the International Sufi Movement and Pir-o-Murshid of its Inner School. He divides his time between Holland and Germany.