#WitchWeek2022 Day 5: Persian fantasy in Hindi literature

Chandrakanta: Bringing Persian Fantasy into Hindi Literature by Mallika Ramachamdran

A beautiful princess, a brave prince, scheming villains, battles, masters (and mistresses) of disguise and of every ruse and stratagem, enchanted mazes, and magic—this is the world that Devaki Nandan Khatri’s Chandrakanta wafts us off to.

Published in 1888, Chandrakanta was a milestone of sorts in Hindi literature, for while its author Devaki Nandan Khatri was fluent in various languages including Hindi, Persian, and Urdu besides Sanskrit and English, he chose to write the book in everyday, colloquial Hindi, making it accessible to a wider readership.

But more than just language, the novel, based on the Persian–Arabic dastan (story telling/ornate oral history) tradition but Indianizing and naturalizing it, is credited with introducing such Persian literary elements as aiyaars and tilisms to Hindi literature.

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