The Tradition of storytelling in Urdu (Dastan Goi)

Arghan Div Brings the Chest of Armour to Hamza...

Arghan Div Brings the Chest of Armour to Hamza, from Volume 7 of the Hamzanama, supervised by Samad. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A folio from the Hamzanama

A folio from the Hamzanama (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dastan Goi

The Old Persian legend of Dastan e Amir Hamza is the epic tale of good and evil.Amir Hamza tells the story of a Persian noble man who happens to in love with the daughter of the Persian king. King is under a lot of bad influence and tries to kill Amir Hamza through treachery but he escapes. Later through the help of his friends Amir Hamza is able to win the whole country.

The legend of Dastan e Amir Hamza is under the influence of both Persian and Islamic culture.

Mughal emperor Akbar ordered the pictorial elaboration of took fourteen years to complete this project. It included fourteen hundred Mughal miniatures apart from text to complete this project.

Tilism e hoshruba

Till eighteenth century it became a popular folklore of Urdu in Lukhnow India. Muhammad Hussein Jah and Ahmed Hussain Qamar wrote an Urdu classic based on the exploits of Umroo Ayyar and named as Tilism e consisted of vast epic spread over 46 volumes, 42,000 pages and comprising at least 25 million words.

Armies of amir hamza are now at a dead end of world known to man. The evil mister of former emperor Nosherwan has taken refuge under the arms of a very power patron Afrasyab. Tilisme e Hoshruba is a whole realm of supernatural world. It is ruled by the emperor Afrasyyab who is himself great sorcerer and through his magical powers control the squadron of wizards and human armies. Amir Hamza sent his army under the command his one of the grandson the noble prince Asad to recover the fugitives.

This large-scale painting depicts the Battle o...

This large-scale painting depicts the Battle of Mazandaran. It is number 38 in the 7th volume of the Hamzanama, as inscribed between the legs of the man in the bottom center. It depicts a battle scene in which the protagonists Khwajah ‘Umar and Hamzah and their armies engage in fierce battle. Originally, the faces were depicted; these were subsequently erased by iconoclasts, and repainted in more recent times. text on verso (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Umroo Ayyar and his four pupils fight alongside the princely army to defeat the Afraaysab .They also have the help from the newly converted and dissatisfied faction of Tilism e Hosruba.  


Demons, ghosts and jinee and a whole lot of sorcery are involved in this epic battle. To fight the supernatural come the special breed of warriors known as Ayyars. Ayyars are different from chivalrous, virtuous and honarable protagonist of medieval era .Umroo Ayyar is the best of lot. He is a highly intelligent trickster and spy. Umroo Ayyar makes a balance for the supernatural realm with his cunning and charms to always manipulate the situation in his favor in this epic saga of good vs. evil. Umroo has got many tricks, he has a voice of an angel, his ability to take role of any person and most importantly his Zanbeel, a small bag where he can gather all the treasures of the world make him uniquely qualify to be the right hand of Amir Hamza The relationship between Umroo and Amir Hamza get strained when Umroo ayyar try to start a successful rebellion against his former lord Amir Hamza. But after some time Umroo realizes his mistake and patch things up with his benefactor. Amir Hamza is kind of a patron to him.

Contemporary Dastan Goi

Contemporary dastan goi in Pakistan is focused on children story books. Mazhar kaleem M.Aand Zaheer Ahemed have written of vast collection of Umrroo Ayyar novels. These novels only present glimpse of the original version but they were still able to preserve the legend in the minds of younger generation. These novels are published under the banner of Yousaf brothers

In 1970 Ferozsons published abridged and simplified version two series of original Dastan e Amir Hamza and Tilism e Hoshruba.

Musarraf ali Farooqi has translated the original version of Tilism e Hoshruba into English in 2007.