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Dastangoi: The Lost Art of Story-telling

By Mahmood Farooqui

Friday, October 05, 2012
7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Auditorium A103B
Fowler Museum

Dastangoi was once a thriving art of Urdu story-telling in North India. Its last great practitioner died in 1928, but it has recently regained critical acclaim due to the work of distinguished scholar, filmmaker, and performance artist, Mahmood Farooqui. This is a rare opportunity to experience this unique art form, and participate in its revival --which has been underway since 2005. For more information on this art form see: Dastangoi Blogspot

Mahmood Farooqui of New Delhi, India is a dynamic figure whose range of interests and activities make it difficult to categorize him: he is at once a historian, a theatre persona, a filmmaker, and a critic. He might best be characterized as a cultural critic, and he is one with impressive scholarly credentials. His academic training includes degrees from St. Stephens College, Delhi University, Oxford University (as a Rhodes Scholar), and Cambridge University. His scholarly publications include his recently published book of translations (from Persian and Urdu) of documents that provide keen insights into the everyday experience of the Rebellion of 1857-58 in Delhi, Besieged: Voices from Delhi, 1857 (New Delhi: Penguin/Viking, 2010).

He is currently in residence in the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor this September and October as a “Visiting Scholars from the Muslim World” fellow and is doing research for his current writing project: a study of the late-nineteenth century publication and circulation of the forty-six volume Dastan-i-Amir Hamza in India. Farooqui’s project examines the publication of the Dastan-i-Amir Hamza as a crucial moment in the cultural history of modern India, pointing to the interconnections between oral storytelling traditions and print culture.

Farooqui’s scholarly work notwithstanding, he is perhaps best known in India for his film Peepli Live (2010), which he co-directed, a scathing critique of post-liberalization media culture and politics in India. In addition to these impressive accomplishments, Farooqui is also almost single-handedly reviving a traditional performance art of story-telling, dastangoi. He has published on this subject, and received awards for his cultural work in this arena. His engagement with dastangoi is more than scholarly, however. Farooqui is a performance artist who is reviving this art form through his own practice. His performances have been critically acclaimed.

Translation Tilism Hoshruba 

Free and Open to the Public!


Parking: $11 Lot 5
Pay by space parking available in Lot 5 



Peyton Park

Sponsor(s): Center for India and South Asia, Comparative Literature, Pakistan Arts Council of Pacific Asia Museum

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