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Home / Art and Culture / Jashn-e-Rekhta: For the love of Urdu, a language that defines a composite culture

Jashn-e-Rekhta: For the love of Urdu, a language that defines a composite culture

Over the last five years, this cultural festival has sought much interest from specifically the younger generation.

art-and-culture Updated: Dec 13, 2019 12:14 IST
Henna Rakheja
Henna Rakheja
Hindustan Times, Delhi
For the love of Urdu, a language that defines a composite culture.
For the love of Urdu, a language that defines a composite culture.(rekhta.org)
         

salīqe se havāoñ meñ jo ḳhushbū ghol sakte haiñ
abhī kuchh log baaqī haiñ jo urdu bol sakte haiñ

This anonymous couplet loosely translates to how there are still a few people who can speak Urdu language, and thus can gracefully dissolve happiness in the atmosphere. Some of these few, have initiated to spread the awareness of this language, and their endeavour has turned into a popular annual fest, Jashn-e-Rekhta.

Over the last five years, this cultural festival has sought much interest from specifically the younger generation. “Close to 80% of our audience comprises youth. For them, it’s a language of romance and expression,” says Sanjiv Saraf, founder of the Rekhta Foundation. He adds that this percentage has made them curate the festival keeping in mind what will interest the young. “We ensure that the final line-up is a combination of entertainment, and information and education about Urdu language,” adds Saraf.

Catch It Live
  • What: Jashn-e-Rekhta 2019
  • Where: Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium
  • When: December 13 (6.30 PM-9 PM) to December 15 (11 AM to 9 PM)
  • Nearest Metro Station: Pragati Maidan on Blue Line

The long list of popular names – who will participate/perform at the fest – includes filmmaker Anubhav Sinha, poet-lyricist-screenwriter Javed Akhtar, actor-director Sachin Pilgaonkar, actor-lyricist Piyush Mishra, actor Lubna Salim, actor Divya Dutta, and singers Jaspinder Narula and Harshdeep Kaur, to name a few. Sachin Pilgaonkar shares that he will talk about his lesser-known love for Urdu language, and says, “I fortunately got close to people who could share knowledge of this language with me. Not many know that Meena (Kumari, actor) aapa — with whom I had the privilege of working on Majhli Didi (1967) —told me ‘You must learn this language; this will be helpful to you in future’. She could foresee a lot of things and saw to it that she imbibed an interest for this language into me. I’m a Marathi; it took me little time to get into understanding it, but in the first year itself I came close to it. In fact, I used to go to her place [to learn Urdu].”

 

Alongside getting to know such trivia, there will be soulful performances by artists such as sitar virtuoso Shujaat Khan and Sufi Kathak exponent Manjari Chaturvedi. Ask Saraf about the rising number of performances in the fest, and he explains, “There’s no other language that lends itself to so many performing arts. Whether it’s dastangoi, mushaira or ghazals, all are intricately linked with this language and have a symbiotic relationship with it. Urdu has something for everyone, so, we have a stage for open mic where upcoming performers can showcase their talent whereas the main stage will be for more popular artists.”

 

Highlighting the fact that Urdu isn’t merely a language but a composite culture, the festival will even have a food court with different cuisines such as Awadhi, Dakhni, and Kashmiri, which has been impacted by the Urdu culture.

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