TCF event: Dastaan Goi

I received the follwing writeup from TCF, regarding their recent event. Just to make it clear, it is not written by me :)

The Magic of Dastaan goi

Who hasn’t been fascinated with stories? Dating back to medieval Iran, the tradition of telling stories (Dastaan goi) has always held an enchanting charisma. Narrators or dastaan gohs since those times of grandeur have carried this art of conveying events in words, images, and sounds and have recited magical tales around camp fires, street corners, in coffee houses and even palaces.

Last week in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad, the magic of Dastaan goi was shared by a talented duo from India, Mahmood Farooqui and Murtaza Danish Husain, who enthralled their audience and captured the imagination of their Pakistani fans.

The Dastaan goi evenings were the latest fundraising events held by STCF, a dedicated group of Supporters of The Citizens Foundation (TCF), which is one of the largest non-profit organizations in the field of education in Pakistan. TCF has built more than 300 purpose-built schools nation-wide and provides quality education to about 40, 000 economically less-privileged children dwelling in urban slums and rural areas of the country. The funds raised from the events went towards TCF’s nation-wide Education Program.

Held in Karachi on the 3rd and 4th of April at the Mohatta Palace Museum and FTC Auditorium respectively, these evenings had a charm of their own. The timeless beauty of Mohatta Palace and the unfolding excitement of Tilism-e-Hoshruba held the audience spell-bound. At FTC Auditorium, in stark contrast to the night-black stage drop, the Dastaan gohs donned white and settled on a simple white masnad with bolsters surrounded by glittering silver ware and burning candles. They wove their tale so beautifully and animatedly that at the end of their narration, the avid listeners requested an encore, a request graciously obliged by the story-tellers.

On 5th April 2007 at the National Library Auditorium in Islamabad, it was yet another night of splendor. In their impeccable Urdu, Mahmood and Murtaza, took everyone back to the world of sorcerers, demons, warriors, Laqa the giant and many more. Filled to its capacity, the auditorium witnessed a successful event.

In Lahore, under the starry nights at Bagh-e-Jinnah Open Air Theatre, Dastaan goi was held on the 7th and 8th of April. Consisting of one of the oldest theatres of the city, Bagh-e-Jinnah came alive with the imagery created by Mahmood and Murtaza. Over 800 enthusiasts enjoyed the magical evening at Bagh-e-Jinnah.

Anusha Rizvi from India was the Executive Producer, costume and set designer of these events. Formerly a television journalist, she is now an independent filmmaker and is currently working on her first feature film for which she has also written the script. Mahmood Farooqui is a Delhi based Dastaan go, writer, actor, and theater director. He is currently working on his first book based on the Uprising of 1857. Danish Husain on the other hand is a man of theater also based in Delhi, who has distinguished himself as an accomplished dastaan go. He is also a published poet and writer.

8 Comments so far

  1. MB (unregistered) on April 12th, 2007 @ 12:38 pm

    The TCF guys will sure go to heaven. Great cause. Great work. Proud Karachiites.

    Few elites who have dedicated their energies in Khi & in Pakistan to a great cause and are working hard to bring a change in Pakistan.

    We use to hear stories from elders once in a while. I wonder if the kids today have same interest in it.

    Can you please post a video or more pics from the event ?

  2. Daniel Pennant (unregistered) on April 12th, 2007 @ 1:46 pm

    The Magic of Dastaan goi was unbelivable, sometimes it could explain what scientists didn’t explain, so many person would belive in it by heart. I mentioned it on and there were many different minds on it.

  3. Hasan Zuberi (unregistered) on April 12th, 2007 @ 2:42 pm

    TCF team, that includes every member at its place, is doing wonders in this “Enlightened” Country. Led by a team of professionals, as per my experience they are the best managed organisation in NGO/NPO sector in Pakistan.

    @ MB:
    I have a total of 10 pics; out of which you already saw 3, for more pls provide me your email and will send it to you.


    Hasan Zuberi
    PR Dept. TCF

  4. Dilli_Bahar (unregistered) on April 12th, 2007 @ 5:20 pm

    @MB : to comlement your comment when we were little kids our elders used to mention about a mythical creature by name of “Garrad pankh” in their stories.The other day i was reading “Ajmal-e-Azam” by Intezaar Hussain in which he also refers to this Garrad devta and this left me wondering how traditions or folk lores are interlinked and represent a particular region or period in time.
    Must’ve been a lovely and exciting event that i missed :-(

  5. Hush (unregistered) on April 12th, 2007 @ 7:13 pm

    Anybody Desis in US interested in collaborating starting the art here??
    Email at

  6. Sufi (unregistered) on April 12th, 2007 @ 10:12 pm

    Hasan Zuberi, ever heard of Flickr?

  7. Abdulrahman "AR" Rafiq (unregistered) on April 13th, 2007 @ 1:57 pm

    Thanks for posting – interesting article. We in the Silicon Valley also recently had a similar TCF event on March 23, 2007 see

  8. Hasan Zuberi (unregistered) on April 16th, 2007 @ 4:48 pm

    Sufi Sahab,

    Yes I have, but I as part of TCF eam not authorised to do it … if you can help, drop me few lines.

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