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Muslim Societies in South Asia Seminar

Ankit Chadha, Storyteller / Author

Chair: Ali Asani, Professor of Indo-Muslim and Islamic Religion and Cultures, Harvard University

Dastangoi, the lost art of Urdu storytelling, developed in eighth century A.D. around the adventures of an Arab hero, Amir Hamza. These stories became very popular in the 19th century North India. With the demise of the last known exponent of the art form in 1928, Mir Baqar Ali, the form also died with him. The modern revival has seen not just the performance of the traditional stories from the Hamza dastan, but also the adaptations of more local and contemporary themes. Ankit Chadha, a writer and storyteller, has been a practitioner of Dastangoi since 2010. His writing varies from biographical accounts of personalities like Kabir, Rahim, Dara Shikoh and Majaaz to modern folk tales on corporate culture, internet and mobile technology. Ankit also has works for young audiences and has worked on Urdu adaptations of children’s classics; including Alice and The Little Prince. He is the author of the award-winning book for children, My Gandhi Story, and the recently released, Amir Khusrau – The Man in Riddles.