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14th December, 2015 - Conference
Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales, Paris

The First Perso-Indica Workshop: Female Characters in Śukasaptati and its Persian Versions

Female Characters in Śukasaptati and its Persian Versions

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Perso-Indica Workshop: Female Characters in Śukasaptati and its Persian Versions

December 14th 2015, 16.00-18.30


16.00: Fabrizio Speziale, Introduction to the First Perso-Indica Workshop

16.15: Iran Farkhondeh, « “As long as You Know the Answer”- Women Characters in the Śukasaptati: Their Wits and Behaviours »

16.35: Discussion

16.45: Pegah Shahbaz, « Women Characters and Their Roles in Jawāhir al-asmār »

17.05: Discussion

17.15: Coffee-break

17.30: Syed Akhtar Hussain, « Thus Spake the Tūtī »

17.50 Discussion

18.00: Conclusion


Iran Farkhondeh (Université Sorbonne Nouvelle – Mondes iranien et indien, Paris), « “As long as you know the answer”- Women characters in the Śukasaptati: their wits and behaviours »

To introduce the Śukasaptati, we will first give a sketch of the frame story. We will present in the main lines the elements of Indian civilization that are necessary to understand the whys and therefores of women’s behaviors in the Sanskrit text. We will suggest a typology of women’s characters in the book. Finally we will try to delineate the aims of the author. Is he of the opinion that, as long as a woman has the wits to get herself out of trouble, she could behave according to her wishes?

Pegah Shahbaz (Université Sorbonne Nouvelle – Mondes iranien et indien, Paris), «Women Characters and Their Roles in Jawāhir al-asmār »

Jawāhir al-asmār (Jewels of Stories) is the earliest Persian translation, known thus far, of Śukasaptati (Seventy tales of the parrot) realized in 713-715 H. /1313-1315 A.D. by a secretary named ‘Imād ibn Muḥammad Ṯaġarī at the court of ‘Alā al-Dīn Ḫaljī (r. 1290-1316). Jawāhir al-asmār could be the same Persian verbose rendering that Ẓiyā’ al-Dīn Naḫšabī (d. around 751/1350-51) mentions in the introduction to his popular Ṭūṭī-nāma, as the most prominent source he used for preparing his Persian version of the tales of the parrot. This presentation will focus on female characters in Ṯaġarī’s translation. Women’s inherent role in tales and their noteworthy strategies for overcoming the norms of male-dominated societies will be studied in detail. By means of concrete examples, we’ll discover how the use/misuse of imaginary by women could appear as a defensive tool for and against them in narratives.

Syed Akhtar Hussain (Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi), « Thus Spake the Tūtī »

Since the translation of Kalīla wa Dimna into Pahlavi, Arabic and Persian, Indian Classics began to impact literature in the Middle East. Sanskrit texts namely the Panchatantra and Śukasaptati enriched Persian literature both in form and contents. The Ṭūṭī-Nāma, among others, is not only a translation of Śukasaptati but also a gem of Perso-Indic literature. Its translator Zia Naḫšabī presents the wisdom of India in a more impressive and elegant manner than it appears in the Sanskrit text. The Ṭūṭī-Nāma develops“Katha” into pure Persian literature and swells more in size and gives a full size picture of the Perso-Indic world wherein Prabhavati and Madan Vinod transform into Ḫujaste and Maymūn. Śukasaptati’s narratives reproduced with a twist here and a turn there in the Ṭūṭī-Nāma but however it transpires that the Indian threads are deftly woven in the Persian tapestry of the Ṭūṭī-Nāma

Location and info

Place: Salle des Placques, Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales, 2 Rue de Lille, 75007, Paris.

Organisation and contact: Pegah Shahbaz,