Jashn-e-Rekhta (“Celebration of Rekhta”), is the biggest Urdu festival in the world- a 3-day event held annually in New Delhi, that aims to celebrate the multi-faceted nature of Urdu – its beauty and versatility. The festival showcases not only Urdu poetry, but also Urdu literature, Qawwali, Calligraphy, performances like Ghazal, Sufi music, Recitations, panel discussions, debates, conversation on films, calligraphy workshopand includes a shopping experience as well as a food festival. It also provides a platform to Urdu lovers and enthusiasts to share their poetry and stories in various open forums. The slogan of the festival is “Celebrating Urdu” and it is attended by a huge number of Urdu lovers, especially the youth.
Jashn-e-Rekhta, in the past has seen participation from doyens of Urdu literature and prominent names from the film, music and TV fraternity not only from India, but also from Pakistan and the US such as Gulzar, Javed Akhtar, Prasoon Joshi, Pandit Jasraj, Waheeda Rehman, Ustad Rashid Khan, Tom Alter, Shabana Azmi, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, Gopi Chand Narang, Shamsur Rahman Faruqi, Zia Mohyeddin, Intizar Hussain, Nida Fazli, Ustad Hamid Ali Khan, Rafaqat Ali Khan, Anwar Masood, Sharmila Tagore, Prem Chopra, Anwar Maqsood, Nandita Das, Muzaffar Ali, Rekha Bhardwaj, Irrfan Khan, Amish Tripathi, Imtiaz Ali, Hans Raj Hans, Shubha Mudgal, Annu Kapoor, Wasim Barelvi, Rahat Indori, Munawwar Rana, Kumar Vishwas, Shilpa Rao, among many others.
The festival is organised by Rekhta Foundation a non profit organization that has been devoted to the preservation and promotion of Urdu language and culture. Founded by Sanjiv Saraf – a passionate lover of Urdu Poetry, the Foundation operates a free online resource www.rekhta.org launched in 2013, which has since grown to become the largest online repository of Urdu poetry and literature in the world, available in the Nastaleeq, Devanagari and Latin scripts, featuring over 40,000 Ghazals and Nazms and 25,000 couplets by over 3,400 poets. With the aim to preserve Urdu texts and publications which are out of print and generally inaccessible, the foundation has embarked on an ambitious project to scan and upload books, periodicals and manuscripts from various public and private libraries and collections. Already 44,000 e-books are available online and 2,000 e-books are being added every month.
To get people acquainted with Urdu, Rekhta has also launched a free online Urdu learning portal, aamozish.com, and also holds a unique classroom Urdu Learning Program to enable people to read and write the Urdu script or ‘rasm-ul-khat’, and gain access to the world of incredible Urdu literature and poetry in its original script. The foundation also holds events like Rang-e-Rekhta and Shaam-e-Rekhta in Delhi as well as other cities, to take Urdu to mainstream consciousness.