Rekhta Takes Celebration of Urdu to Dubai in International Debut

Thousands of Urdu lovers took part in the annual Jashn-e-Rekhta in Delhi. — File photo

Caravan News

DUBAI — Jashn-e-Rekhta, a festival that has received unimaginable appreciation in the past five years in India and has blossomed in the hearts and minds of people, gears up to make its International debut, choosing UAE as its first stop. Jashn-e-Rekhta Dubai, a three-day literary and cultural festival will be held from Feb 28 to March 2 at Zabeel Park, Dubai, reports Sharjah-based newspaper Gulf Today.

The festival aims to transcend boundaries of culture and language by bringing together a galaxy of doyens, artistes, scholars and poets through Ghazal and Sufi performances, Discussions, Mushaira, Dastangoi and more; and to add to the richness and diversity of Dubai.

Organised by Rekhta that curates the world’s largest repository of Urdu poetry –, this celebration aspires to unite Urdu lovers from every part of the world, especially from the GCC region, to celebrate this unique language, its rich history and culture. It also endeavours to engage, enlighten and entertain audiences from socially diverse backgrounds.

Showcasing and celebrating various facets of Urdu language, and its reach, the festival on the second day will begin with Ghazal singing by Tanya Wells, a singer born and raised in London, who will delight the audience with her renditions of Faiz Ahmad Faiz’s ghazals and some Sufi songs, along with guitarist Paulo Vinicius from Brazil.

Another highlight of the second day will be a session with Javed Akhtar titled ‘Kaisi Hogi Duniya Adab Ke Baghair’ where he will talk about the relevance of Urdu literature and a world without it.

The lovers of spiritual music will be in for a treat as Fareed Ayaz and Abu Muhammad will perform traditional qawwalis at the festival. Belonging to the Delhi Gharana school of music, the Pakistani brothers are one of the most renowned qawwals of the Indian subcontinent.

A special highlight of Day 2 will be the Grand Mushaira which will witness some of the best poets from the universe of Urdu from India like Farhat Ehsas, Sheen Kaaf Nizam, Shariq Kaifi, Shakeel Azmi and from Pakistan such as Anwar Masood, Anwer Shaoor, Abbas Tabish as well as Asim Wasti from Dubai.

Dastangoi exponent Mahmood Farooqui along with Darain Shahidi will present ‘Dastan-e-Tilism-e-Hoshruba’ which is considered to be the world’s first magical fantasy epic and ‘Dastan-e-Chauboli’ – a Rajasthani folktale.

Other scholarly discussions on Day 3 include a discussion titled ‘Kahaani ka Sach’ in which eminent author Mustansar Hussain Tarar will converse with Asif Farrukhi about Urdu literature and the themes explored in the novels.

The Grand Finale of Jashn-e-Rekhta Dubai will be a Sufi Performance by the outstanding Sanam Marvi from Pakistan who will thrill the audience with her a power-packed singing.

Sanjiv Saraf, founder of Rekhta Foundation says, ‘‘Geared by the success of the India editions and giving in to the compelling demand from the connoisseurs of Urdu language from the UAE and GCC region, Rekhta has chosen Dubai for its International debut. Jashn-e-Rekhta Dubai will be a cultural extravaganza dedicated to the celebration of Urdu language, its literature and culture. It will be a treat for Urdu lovers who will be able to enjoy Urdu’s beauty through the myriad art forms that the language lends itself to. The festival, since its inception, has aimed at bridging divides and bringing people closer to each other and to the language. I invite one and all to join us as we celebrate our cultural heritage.”

An Urdu-loving businessman Sanjiv Saraf set up the Rekhta Foundation. This was purely a private initiative by an Urdu-lover that broke the myth that the language was no longer an attraction for younger generations.

“Rekhta” is the older word for the uniquely Indian hybrid language that eventually developed into Urdu.

When Sanjiv tried to learn Urdu but found there weren’t enough good resources online. Assuming there were millions like himself who loved the literature but had limited access, he set up Rekhta to preserve, archive, digitise and promote what he describes as a deeply expressive tongue, linked with love, romance and sophistication. With due respect to all others, he says, no other language matches the lyrical beauty, sweetness and magnificence of Urdu.

He also stresses that it isn’t just a language but a culture that transcends age, region and religion. He wants to expand its audience, and in this, he is succeeding.

One man initiative, Rekhta now employs a team of 60 people, including writers, scholars, IT professionals, music composers, editors, translators and social media handlers. The team has little doubt that there’s a surge of interest, especially among the younger generation.

(With inputs from Gulf Today)



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