A wintry evening to be spent at leisure and old tales waiting to be heard — a perfect combination! On the evening of December 8, Dwarka residents listened in rapt attention as master storytellers Nadeem Shah Suhrawardy and Vusat Iqbal deftly spun tales in Urdu of an era long lost.
The event was organised by Dwarka Collective at Appu Enclave in Sector 11.
Dastangoi artistes, Nadeem Shah Suhrawardy (left) and Vusat Iqbal, perform at Appu Enclave
This centuries-old tradition of storytelling in Urdu, known as Dastangoi, flourished in the 16th century at the darbars of Mughal emperors. Dastangoi is a combination of two Persian words, "dastan", meaning story, and "goi", meaning narration.
The artistes performed Dastan Umru Ayyar and Ghirbaal Jadu ki from Tilism-e-Hoshruba.
Before the performance, Suhrawardy explained the significance of this tradition to his audience. He spoke on how such tales formed an intrinsic part of social life in the 16th century.
He added, “This style almost vanished with the death of the last classical Dastangoi artiste in Delhi in 1928. However, one publisher from Lucknow made an effort to compile these tales into a book of 46,000 pages. I will perform only 12 pages from it.”
After the performance, the stage was thrown open to the audience for a question-answer session.
During the interaction, Suhrawardy said, “Storytelling as an art form is slowly gaining lost ground. A lot of exciting work is happening in the regional languages. We are working on Rajasthani folktales, and also on the writings of Sharat Chandra Chattopadhyay.”
The programme was anchored by Pulkeet Mehra, a resident of Appu Enclave, and a member of Dwarka Collective.