Mansooruddin Faridi/New Delhi
I am deeply grateful to Sanjeev Saraf who gave us this gift, salute to his passion and service. Rekhta is unique; there is a country that has Urdu as its official language (Read Pakistan) and others be it America or Canada, nothing like this – something concrete – has been done in the name of Urdu.
“Today, if we want to search for anything in the name of Urdu, we all turn to Rekhta's website. This is the success of Rekhta,” said Javed Akhtar, a poet and film personality at the inauguration of Jashan-e- Rekhta 2023 in the capital.
Jashn-e-Rekhta (Festival of Urdu) is an annual festival celebrating the language that emerged from India and evolved as a language of culture and sophistication.
People at the Jashn-e-Rekhta inauguration
Appreciating the efforts of Rekhta’s founder Sanjeev Saraf, Akhtar said Jashn-e-Rekhta has become an identity, and people know about it. “I was at the Mumbai airport and many people greeted me. When they knew I was going to Delhi to attend Jashan Rekhta, they were enthused and prayed for the success of the event”.
Javed Akhtar said that Jashn-e-Rekhta is now a part of life and a priceless gift for the Urdu-speaking people and lovers of the language.
The halls and spaces of jashn-e-Rekhta are well decorated
Speaking on the occasion, Saraf explained why for the first time one had to pay an entrance fee for the event. He made it poetic which is translated into English:
The city became so crowded with madmen
Enthusiasm for the forest has become poison
He said that there was a huge crowd in Jashan Rekhta last year after COVID-19, and the overcrowding was almost like chaos. He said this is the reason for him to levy entry fees for the event.
Visitors taking selfies at Jashn-e-Rekhta event
Sanjeev Saraf said that the success of Rekhta is evident from the fact that some two crore people have visited its website during the last year. “This makes Rekhta the world's largest Urdu dictionary. I have achieved success,” he said.
This time poet Mir Taqi Mir is the celebrated Urdu personality. Sanjeev Saraf said that Rekhta has now launched a mobile application for learning Urdu and poetry. This will be very useful for aspiring poets and writers.
He praised his wife Huma Khalil for her role in organizing Jashn-e-Rekhta. “Whatever pleasant changes you feel in Jashan-e-Rekhta are due to Huma Khalil,” he said.
Sanjeev Saraf opened his speech with Mir Taqi Mir’s lines from a poem
The venue of Jashn-e-Rekhta
This year, the entrance to Jashan-e-Rekhta is restricted while half of the main hall is reserved for ticket holders.
Despite this, Urdu lovers flooded the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium at the inaugural session. The three-day festival is one of the biggest literary festivals in the capital.
The audiences in happy mood
Nazim Akhtar of Delhi told Awaz-the voice that one should not judge Jashn-e-Rekhta based on money spent on attending it. “We feel that if paying for watching a ticket match strengthens the foundation of cricket so it does for Rekhta; it will be better for all of us.”
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Amish Kumar, said, “I am a student but I have no objection to paying Rs 300 for the ticket. We also have to evaluate how much we gain from the event. There is stuff of interest to everyone.”