Jashn-e-Rekhta: From Javed Akhtar to Javed Ali, Delhi’s Urdu festival was a crowd puller

- December 11, 2023
| By : Tej Prakash bhardwaj |

Drawing a diverse and enthusiastic crowd, the Jashn-e-Rekhta festival played host to over 200 artists, featuring more than 50 engaging sessions and performances

The eighth edition of Delhi’s Jashn-e-Rekhta, known as the one of the largest festivals to celebrate Urdu language, drew a large crowd as renowned poets, scholars, and artists graced the event, fostering a creative exchange of ideas.

The three-day festival, which began on December 8 and ended on December 10 at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium,  witnessed over 200 artists and hosted more than 50 sessions and performances.

On the first day of the festival, playback singer Rekha Bhardwaj, composer and filmmaker Vishal Bhardwaj and lyricist Javed Akhtar came together for a ghazal and recitation performance/conversation at the festival. 

This was preceded by the inaugural speech by Sanjiv Saraf, the Founder of Rekhta festival.

On the second day, Akhtar joined author Saif Mahmood in a conversation about the progressive approach towards Urdu poetry. 

This year’s Rekhta Mushaira saw poets like Akhtar, Waseem Barelvi, Iqbal Ashhar and Nusrat Mehdi, among others from across the globe, who paid a tribute to the splendid legacy of Urdu and celebrate its timeless beauty.

Moreover, Filmmakers Sudhir Mishra and Anurag Kashyap discussed Urdu’s aesthetics and presence in the audio-visual media. Lyricists Varun Grover and Swanand Kirkire discussed the essence of Urdu in their writing in the session Hamare Naghmon Ki Jaan Urdu.

The third day of the festival saw Juhi Babbar Soni’s play titled With Love, Aapki Saiyaara, which portrays the resilience of women in society. Shinjini Kulkarni, granddaughter of Kathak legend Pandit Birju Maharaj, celebrated the late Pakistani playback singer and actor Noor Jehan’s timeless legacy through a dance tribute. 

Towards the end of day three, a discussion on ‘Reinventing self through Urdu’ was also held with Vikas Divyakirti and RJ Naveed and others on the panel.  In another important panel, celebrated author William Dalrympal discussed the late mughal poets and princes with Navtej Sarna. 

In the final hours of the event, the venue reverberated with Indian playback singer Javed Ali’s performances.

The event saw a huge turnout on all the three days. The attendees were happy with the new registration system. 

“Compared to last year, this year the arrangements are better. We are able to explore better, as the crowd is less compared to last year,” said Prajawl Sharma, who had been attending the festival for the past few years. 

The Urdu literature festival commemorated 300 years of the 18th-century Urdu poet Meer Taqi Meer through various sessions and performances.