The condescension expressed here is not only unwarranted; the manner of analysis is inappropriate to a stylized narrative form embedded in premodem Indo-Islamic society. It demeans the genius of a predominantly oral-based culture, and fails to recognize the integrity of the genre's own rules of discourse. The time has come for critics and literary historians to consider why areas of literary activity such as the dastan and qissa hold (or held) such sway, rather than trivializing them because they do not conform to historically and culturally mediated doctrines of literary realism. Such an objective seems clearly intended by Pritchett's work, if not always perfectly realized, and her efforts are certainly worthy of commendation. Now that she has opened the door, let us hope that folklore and folk-based genres will attract the attention of other advocates of a more spacious concept of the Urdu literary tradition.
Annual of Urdu Studies, #7 115