This study considers how the worth of storytellers in Mughal India was related to the extent to which the genre of the romance (qissah/dāstān) was valued. It shows that the cultural capital possessed by Iranian émigré storytellers, such as ‘Ināyat Allāh Darbār Khān, Muhammad Tanbūrah, Mullā Asad, and ‘Abd al-Nabī Fakhr al-Zamānī, derived from a variety of roles apart from their roles as producers and performers of romances. The contribution of each to the raising of the worth of the romance genre in the hierarchy of genres must be considered in the light of the intersection of his role as storyteller with his other roles. This study briefly outlines three strategies whereby storytellers raised the worth of the romance: by activating its political exemplarity, by capturing young patrons among the nobility, and by presenting it as a model of linguistic excellence.
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Pasha M. Khan; What Storytellers Were Worth in Mughal India. Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 1 December 2017; 37 (3): 570–587. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/1089201x-4279260
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