Lucknow, Sep 29 (IANS) Two days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi underlined the importance of storytelling in his ‘Mann ki Baat’ programme, a Lucknow-based ‘dastango’ (storyteller) is all set to represent India at a special event being organized by the Harvard University on October 8.

Himanshu Bajpai, 33, will participate in a one-and-a-half-hour long session titled, ‘Khusrau’s River of Love: Cosmopolitanism and Inclusion in South Asian Traditions’.

The programme will showcase melody of words and music with ‘dastangoi’ by Himanshu Bajpai and rendition of Khusrau’s poetic works by Ali Sethi, an international artist of Pakistani origin.

The performances will be interspersed with analysis and commentary by Professor of Middle Eastern Studies Murray A. Albertson and Professor of Indo-Muslim and Islamic Religion and Cultures at Harvard University, Ali Asani.

“Prof Asani will also moderate a live interactive session with us where we will take questions from the audience across the world. It is an honour to be a part of this unique event which will be viewed across the globe. Our segment will definitely bring forth the vibrance of South Asian syncretism,” said Himanshu.

‘Dastangoi’ is a medieval period art form of oral storytelling.

Himanshu gave his first public performance of the medieval oral storytelling art form in 2014. He has a number of national and international events to his credit, including the ones in Dubai and Turkey.

He received the President’s award in February 2020 at the Rashtrapati Bhawan where he also gave a performance.

In its recent history, South Asia has witnessed a deep polarization of society, fuelled by nationalism that seeks to exclude “the others” through the lens of caste, religion, ethnicity, language, gender and race. This has largely overshadowed the region’s rich, inclusive legacy exemplified by poet and mystic Amir Khusrau.




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