Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh, India
|Alma mater||The Doon School|
St. Stephen's College, Delhi
St. Peter's College, Oxford
|Occupation||Author and storyteller|
Mahmood Farooqui is an Indian writer, performer and director. He specializes in a type of story-telling known as Dastangoi. Farooqui along with his uncle Shamsur Rahman Faruqi, noted Urdu poet and literary critic, revived Dastangoi, the ancient art of Urdu story telling. He was awarded the Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Pursakar in 2010 for it.
His book Besieged: voices from Delhi 1857 was awarded the Ramnath Goenka for the best Non-fiction book of the year. This book is a translation of mutiny papers providing a glimpse into the lives of ordinary people who found themselves stuck during the revolt of 1857. He was also a researcher for The Last Mughal, a book by William Dalrymple.
In August 2016 he was found guilty of rape by a lower court, but in September 2017 he was acquitted by the Delhi High Court in the absence of sufficient evidences to prove beyond doubt whether the act had taken place.The Court however noted that the survivor had displayed rape-trauma post the alleged violation of her sexuality. The High Court judgment was later upheld by the Supreme Court reiterating his innocence.
Farooqui completed his schooling from The Doon School and went on to read History at St. Stephen's College, Delhi. He was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship to read History at St. Peter's College, University of Oxford.
Farooqui began reinventing Dastangoi, the 16th-century Urdu oral storytelling art form, in 2005. Since then, he has performed thousands of shows across the world. Apart from bringing alive the old epic of Dastan-e-Amir Hamza, he has innovated Dastangoi by using it as a medium to tell modern tales. Some of his adaptations include stories on the partition of India; a retelling of Vijaydan Detha's Rajasthani folktale, Chouboli; an allegorical take on the trial and incarceration of Dr Binayak Sen; a collage based on AK Ramanujan’s scholarly essay, ‘300 Ramayanas’; a presentation on the life and times of Saadat Hasan Manto; and an adaptation of Lewis Carroll's world-famous classics 'Alice's adventures in Wonderland', and 'Through the Looking Glass'. His latest work is Dastan-e-Karan Az Mahabharata, a retelling of the life of the great Karna based on Urdu, Persian, Hindi, and Sanskrit sources.
He has over the years built a team of dastangos trained by him, including Ankit Chadha, Darain Shahidi, Poonam Girdhani and Himanshu Bajpai.
His publications include the award-winning Besieged: Voices from Delhi,1857, Habib Tanvir: Memoirs, a translation of theatre-director Habib Tanvir's memoirs from Urdu with notes and an introdution, Dastangoi,an introduction to the art of datangoi, and A Requiem for Pakistan: The world of Intizar Husain, a personal exploration of the literary and biographical world of Intizar Husain and brief history of modern Urdu Literary Culture.
He has also authored a wide number of articles- ‘Two Intellectuals of Delhi’, in The Uprising of 1857, Edited by Rosie Llewellyn-Jones, Mapin Publishing, India, 2017; ‘The Police in Delhi in 1857’, in Mutiny at the Margins: New Perspectives on the Indian Uprising of 1857, Volume I: Anticipations and Experiences in the Locality, Edited by: Crispin Bates, Sage, 2013; ‘The Mutiny in Delhi through the Mutiny Papers,’ 1857 Revisited: Myth and Reality, Ed. By Kirti Narain and Mohini C. Dias, Himalayan Publishing House, 2008; Nirmal Verma Ka Aatmbodh, essay in Hindi on the writer Nirmal Verma’s anti-colonial ideas in Nirmal Maya, ed by Madhuker Upadhyaya, Vani Prakashan, 2006; Contributed over a dozen reviews to Biblio: A Review of Books and to The Book Review Regular contributor to the Indian Express and other newspapers on books, history and culture; Weekly Column on Culture and Current Affairs in the newspaper Mid- Day Bombay 2002-7; among many others.
Rape conviction and subsequent aquittal
On 21 June 2015, Farooqui was accused of rape by an American researcher IANS, After a trial that started on 9 September 2015 and ended on 4 August 2016, Farooqui was convicted.  On 25 September 2017 the Delhi High Court acquitted Farooqui and ordered his release.  His acquittal was upheld by the Supreme Court of India in January 2018, which stated that "the high court judgment was well decided and cannot be interfered with" After the High Court his innocence was reiterated further in the Supreme Court.
- "Dastangoi is a fun tradition: Mahmood Farooqui – Times Of India". Articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com. Retrieved 27 March 2012.
- "An interview with Mahmood Farooqui – Rediff.com News". News.rediff.com. 14 September 2010. Retrieved 27 March 2012.
- "Walk Back in Time: Experience life in Nizamuddin Basti, the traditional way". The Indian Express. 29 November 2012. Retrieved 18 December 2012.
- Sayeed, Vikram Ahmed (14 January 2011). "Return of dastangoi". Frontline. Archived from the original on 18 January 2012. Retrieved 18 December 2012.
- Ahmed, Shoaib (6 December 2012). "Indian storytellers bring Dastangoi to Alhamra". Dawn. Retrieved 18 December 2012.
- Dec 24, 2011 07:50pm (2011-12-24). "COLUMN: Dastan and dastangoi for the modern audience - Newspaper - DAWN.COM". X.dawn.com. Retrieved 2016-08-14.
- "Manhood Farooqui revives the lost Indian art of the Dastans – The Rhodes Trust". Rhodeshouse.ox.ac.uk. 3 August 2009. Retrieved 27 March 2012.
- "The forgotten storytellers – Culture". livemint.com. 31 July 2009. Retrieved 27 March 2012.
- Business Standard (24 August 2010). "Lunch with BS: Mahmood Farooqui". Business-standard.com. Retrieved 27 March 2012.
- Yogendra Kalavalapalli (21 September 2010). "Cities / Hyderabad : Dastangoi floors one and all". The Hindu. Retrieved 27 March 2012.
- Besieged: voices from Delhi 1857 – Mahmood Farooqui – Google Books. Books.google.co.in. Retrieved 27 March 2012.
- Benjamin Lee, Indian director Mahmood Farooqui convicted of rape, The Guardian, 1 August 2016. Accessed 5 June 2017.
- Krishnadas Rajagopal (26 September 2017). "Mahmood Farooqui acquitted of rape charge". The Hindu.
- "Mahmood Farooqui | Muslim Voices: Arts & Ideas | Music, Poetry, Theater, Visual Arts, Film, Souk". Muslimvoicesfestival.org. Retrieved 27 March 2012.
- "'Peepli Live' co-director, Mahmood Farooqui, sentenced to 7 years in jail on rape charges". Economic Times. Delhi. 4 August 2016. Retrieved 4 August 2016.