Dastangoi: The Lost Art of Story-telling in Urdu

Event Date: 
Friday, November 8, 2013 - 6:30pm
A unique opportunity to see a traditional art form in a modern guise.
Dastangoi is the once thriving art of Urdu storytelling in North India which came to an abrupt end with the death of the last great practitioner in 1928. Mahmood Farooqui's perfomance of this lost art will be based on the pioneering work S. R. Faruqi, this great Urdu scholar and practitioner of this art. 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). 

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.

Mr. Farooqui will be a Scholar-in-Residence at the UC Berkeley. 


  • $10 Student with ID,  
  • $30 General,  
  • $50 VIP
Buy tickets online.
Event Contact: 510-642-3608
This event is sponsored by the India Community Center and Berkeley Urdu Initiative.