The Story of Dakhani.

A Tongue Untied: The Story of Dakhani is a film being made about “a vernacular form of Urdu spoken across the Deccan region”; as the website says:

Parodied and poorly regarded for centuries, Dakhani’s glorious history and rich legacy has been largely ignored. This film takes a close look at the continuing tradition of mazihiya shayri, or humour-satire performance poetry. From the early poets of the modern era such as Nazeer ‘Dahqani’, the badshah of Dakhani mazihiya shayri Sulaiman Khateeb, to the contemporary ones today including the seniors Mohd. Himayatullah and Ghouse ‘Khamakha’, the film looks at the wide range of humourists and satirists.

Including extensive travels across the Deccan plateau, interviews and conversations with poets, mushaira (poetry show) organisers, litterateurs, Sufi scholars, historians, linguists, actors, film directors, lyricists, playwrights, amongst others, the film also simultaneously uncovers the history of the language and of a composite culture.

From early mystical compositions of Sufi settlers of the 14th century, ornate fantasy tales by court poets, to romantic artistic creations of the sultans of the Deccan of the 15 & 16th centuries, the film traces the journey of the language over time till its precipitous fall in the early 18th century. The language is a marker of a great, rich mixed culture or mili-jhuli tehzeeb as it is commonly known; one that reveals the depth and beauty of syncretic Indo-Muslim traditions of central and south India.

It’s fun to watch the four-and-a-half minute video clip, with English subtitles, although most of the time I have no idea why people are laughing. Many thanks to Rajesh Devraj (of the blog Dick & Garlick) for the link!


  1. This looks awesome. As does the Dick & Garlick blog, but I’m not seeing any entries to the latter after Jan. 2014. Am I missing something?

  2. No, he went from updating rarely to not at all. I don’t like to nudge bloggers about not blogging, because who likes to be nudged? But I do wish he’d post more often!

  3. Thank you, thoroughly enjoyed the video.

    Other than in the last gathering, people aren’t laughing– they are praising the poets with cries of admiration, wah wah, etc.

  4. And he’s put up a new post!

  5. And he’s put up a new post!

    …giving us hope that Ἡλληνιστεύκοντος might do the same.

  6. Dammit, you’re just setting me up for renewed disappointment and despair.

  7. Well, he’s on facebook as opoujis.

  8. Thanks for that; I’ve added him as a friend.


  1. […] Hat links to an article on Dakhani, a south Indian Urdu […]

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