Dastangos narrate Chughtai's 'Gharwali'
A 16th-century Urdu oral storytelling art form, Dastangoi was revived in 2005 and since then this format has been prevalent in India, Pakistan, United States and other parts of the world. At the centre of Dastangoi is the Dastango, or storyteller, whose voice is his/her main artistic tool while orally recreating a dastan or a story.
Narrowing down to 'Gharwali,' the play revolved around a man called Mirza Irfan who changes the track of the plot when he first keeps Lajjo as his maid and later marries her. However, the sprightly nature of the young woman doesn’t gel with her marital status. When Mirza catches her with a young boy he waits for no explanation and files a divorce. Yet, that is not the end of their relationship and his admiration for her. He overruled his own decision and brought Lajjo to his household yet again, this time too as a maid.The way the artists explored the expanse of the stage and the beaming energy with which they narrated ‘Gharwali,’ intelligently presuming different postures and using different accents was exceptional. They simplistically conveyed the sadness that lurked beneath the chirpy tale of Gharwali.It is surprising that even after 75 years the story was first published, ‘Gharwali’ still saw a few “tsk tsks”, raised eyebrows, and provoked frowns.Ismat Chughtai's work has always reflected her thoughts. Talking about her creations, she once said, "I've put down everything with objectivity. Now, if some people find them obscene, let them go to hell. It’s my belief that experiences can never be obscene, if they are based on authentic realities of life.”