They say certain traditional stories that moves thousands of hearts never truly die and their slightest mention can stir emotions in the toughest of souls. But how warmly beautiful it is when those stories are not just words written in ink, but rather narrated in smooth voices that have mastered the skill of language. How appealing it is when the imagination sits back and rests to experience stories vividly being acted out through the eyes.
Such is the art of Dastangoi- a form of oral story-telling that a talented performer narrates to an audience, perfectly synchronising with gestures and voice tones, in a suitable decorum of a mehfil.
Having roots in Persia, the art of elocuting/narrating fascinating stories, once had its branches blooming in many areas.of the sub-continent. With fate giving birth to extraordinary kings of Dastangoi, a magnetically energized audience was left glued to their seats, thrilled to the bone. Their hunger to keep listening to epic stories of history, culture, magic, humour and war never really thawing until the end. However, as eras passed, and death cruelly took away all the masters of Dastangoi, the art began to fade, draining the color from the masterpieces of verbal stories and leaving behind memoirs in dark and light shades of itself, in hopes and despair.
Where the fire of passion exists, the will to brighten it never calms down as for the past few years, many passionate theatre artists are in pursuit to revive the art of Dastangoi. To caress and ignite the magical charm it once held in the hearts of literature lovers and paint the art of Dastangoi- close to its original elegance.
Even though, a greater portion of how the art was performed in the culture-rich days is still unknown, many performers are solid determined to once again, like years ago, spellbind an excited audience. To make them feel the power of alluring words in verbal stories and the intensity of the actions as if they were reading the pages of a holy scripture in the fiery eyes of the performers.
This November, the SZABIST Literary Society, is organizing a live Shaam-e-Dastangoi event, featuring a bomb trio of the most demanded and accomplished Dastangos -Fawad Khan, Nazrul-Hassan and Meesam Naqvi which will prove itself to be one of the most promising events ever.