Jashn-e-Rekhta: Celebrating the Language of Unity

Tripoto
14th Dec 2018

A language that unites

Photo of Jashn-e-Rekhta: Celebrating the Language of Unity by Rupa Abdi

या ख़ुदा यदि तुम्हारी इबादत संस्कृत में कर दी,

हे प्रभु तुम्हारी प्रार्थना को फ़ारसी मे गा दिया,

तो क्या तुम बुरा मान जाओगे ?

लोग तो यही कहते हैं

पता नहीं सच क्या है।

- कुंवर नारायण

Photo of Jashn-e-Rekhta: Celebrating the Language of Unity 1/21 by Rupa Abdi

This was Jashn-e-Rekhta's fifth edition and my first experience of this beautiful festival which show cases the rich culture and tradition of this intriguingly pluralistic country of India. It stretched from 14th to 16th December 2018, at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium, New Delhi.

Photo of Jashn-e-Rekhta: Celebrating the Language of Unity 2/21 by Rupa Abdi
First evening of the festival

It was a well thought out and well managed show. All the details of the festival were conveyed, to all those attending the show, well in advance. In this age when the accessibility to a large part of our art and culture is being hijacked by the corporate-elite combine, the entry to this festival was free !! It therefore came as a surprise when I found out that the founder of Rekhta organisation was a businessman called Sanjiv Saraf.

Photo of Jashn-e-Rekhta: Celebrating the Language of Unity 3/21 by Rupa Abdi
Shri Sanjiv Saraf, founder of Rekhta

This gesture was further appreciated by the audience considering the fact that a large number of big stars like the Wadali Brothers, Javed Akhtar, Shabana Azmi, Vishal Bhardwaj, Javed Jaaferi, Warsi Brothers, as well as Waseem Barelvi, Malini Awasthi, Mahmood Farooqui,Aasif Sheikh, Anu Kapoor, Kumar Vishwas, Sonam Kalra etc. were participating in this festival.

It was a three-day long festivals with four parallel sessions running from 11 am to beyond nine o'clock in the night. Whether you were a student of Urdu language, a budding poet, an academician, a fan of Urdu and Bollywood songs, or just someone who appreciated the pluralistic traditions of India- that is called the Ganga-Jamuni tehzeeb , there was something for all. Contrary to having been branded as the 'language of the Muslims' by those attempting to divide India, Urdu or Hindustani is a language of synthesis and unity. Where else will you find a Muslim poet write the following lines:

तू सबका खु़दा सब तुझ पे फ़िदा।

अल्लाहो ग़नी अल्लाहो ग़नी।

हे कृष्ण कन्हैया, नंद लला!

अल्लाहो ग़नी, अल्लाहो ग़नी।

इसरारे हक़ीक़त यों खोले।

तौहीद के वह मोती रोले।

सब कहने लगे ऐ सल्ले अला।

अल्लाहो ग़नी, अल्लाहो ग़नी।

- नज़ीर अक़बराबादी

And a Hindu poet write the following:

देखा जो उन्हें सर भी झुकाना न रहा याद,

दरअस्ल नमाज़ आज अदा हमसे हुई है।

- कृष्णबिहारी नूर

The program was inaugurated by Morari Bapu, one of the few contemporary religious gurus who is an advocate of Hindu-Muslim unity. In a very brief sermon he recited some of his own poetry:

ऐसी नूरानी महफ़िल मेरे लिए इबादत से कम नहीं।

(Such an illuminated mehfil is no less than worship for me)

आप जो मुझे शेर सुनाते हो वह शेर नहीं इश्क़ है,

(That which you recite as poetry to me is not poetry but love)

इस लिए मैं दाद नहीं दुआ देता हूँ।

(In response I shall not applaud you but will bless you)

Photo of Jashn-e-Rekhta: Celebrating the Language of Unity 4/21 by Rupa Abdi
Placards put up to educate the audience in common Urdu words

साँवले तन पे ग़ज़ब धज है बसंती शाल की

जी में है कह बैठिये अब जय कनैया लाला की

- Insha Allah Khan 'Insha'

Photo of Jashn-e-Rekhta: Celebrating the Language of Unity 5/21 by Rupa Abdi
Re-discovering Ghazal

There were a total of 34 sessions in the course of three days which included, among other things, qawwalis, ghazal renditions, Dastangoi,panel discussions, folk songs and book launches. Sprawled around the four event-pavilions were shops selling books of Hindi and Urdu prose and poetry, art ware depicting calligraphy and poetic verses of legendary Urdu poets and Sufi saints like Ghalib and Bulle Shah. There were ingenious attempts to make Sher-o-shayari appear cool to the young generation by printing catchy logos and smart captions in Urdu calligraphy on T-shirts, lamp shades and wall hangings.

Photo of Jashn-e-Rekhta: Celebrating the Language of Unity 6/21 by Rupa Abdi

The major highlight of the show was the presence of a large number of young adults among the audience. The youth, it seemed, was re-discovering romance in Urdu shayari !!

Photo of Jashn-e-Rekhta: Celebrating the Language of Unity 7/21 by Rupa Abdi
Wadali Brothers

ऐ देखने वालो

इस हुस्न को देखो

इस राज़ को समझो

ये नक़्श-ए-ख़याली

ये फ़िक्रत-ए-आली

ये पैकर-ए-तनवीर

ये कृष्ण की तस्वीर

मअनी है कि सूरत

सनअत है कि फ़ितरत

ज़ाहिर है कि मस्तूर

नज़दीक है या दूर

ये नार है या नूर

दुनिया से निराला

ये बाँसुरी वाला

गोकुल का ग्वाला

- हफ़ीज़ जालंधरी

Photo of Jashn-e-Rekhta: Celebrating the Language of Unity 8/21 by Rupa Abdi
Raag Roohani by Sonam Kalra

बोल कि लब आज़ाद हैं तेरे

बोल ज़बाँ अब तक तेरी है

तेरा सुतवाँ जिस्म है तेरा

बोल कि जाँ अब तक् तेरी है

- फ़ैज़ अहमद फ़ैज़

Photo of Jashn-e-Rekhta: Celebrating the Language of Unity 9/21 by Rupa Abdi
Shabana Azmi and Javed Akhtar discussing the life and poetry of their respective fathers

ओ पालनहारे निर्गुण और न्यारे

तुमरे बिन हमरा कौनो नाहीं

हमरी उलझन सुलझाओ भगवन

तुमरे बिन हमरा कौनो नाहीं

- जावेद अख्तर (songwritten for Bollywood film, Lagaan)

Photo of Jashn-e-Rekhta: Celebrating the Language of Unity 10/21 by Rupa Abdi
Dastangoi by Darain Shahidi and Mahmood Farooqui
Photo of Jashn-e-Rekhta: Celebrating the Language of Unity 11/21 by Rupa Abdi
Qawwali by Warsi Brothers

नंद के कुमार क़ुर्बान तेरी सूरत पै

हूँ तो मुग़लानी, हिन्दुआनी ही रहूंगी मैँ।

- बेगम ताज खान

Photo of Jashn-e-Rekhta: Celebrating the Language of Unity 12/21 by Rupa Abdi
Waseem Barelvi at the Grand Mushaira

फ़ैसला हो ही नहीं पाया बहुत बातों के बाद

कौन खुलता है यहां कितनी मुलाक़ातों के बाद

आंसुओं के सामने पत्थर दिली की क्या बिसात

अच्छे अच्छे घर दरज़ जाते हैं बरसातों के बाद

- वसीम बरेलवी

Photo of Jashn-e-Rekhta: Celebrating the Language of Unity 13/21 by Rupa Abdi
Book launch of Muztar Khairabadi's poetry by Javed Akhtar

'मुज़्तर' पिया परदेस सिधारे सुना है गोकुल धाम रे

दुखया जान के मुझ बिरहन को जल्दी मिलहो राम रे

- मुज़्तर ख़ैराबादी

Photo of Jashn-e-Rekhta: Celebrating the Language of Unity 14/21 by Rupa Abdi
Mahjabeen: A ribute to Meena Kumari by Kanupriya and Rashmi Agarwal

चाँद तनहा है, आस्मां तनहा

दिल मिला है कहाँ कहाँ तनहा

बुझ गई लौ, छुप गया तारा -२

घरघराता रहा धुआँ तनहा -२

ज़िंदगी क्या इसी को कहते हैं -२

जिस्म तनहा है और जां तनहा

हमसफ़र कोई ग़र मिले भी कहीं

दोनों चलते रहे तनहा तनहा

जलती बुझती सी रोशनी के तारे

सिमटा-सिमटा सा एक मकां तनहा

राह देखा करेगा सदियों तक

छोड़ जाएंगे ये जहाँ तनहा...

- मीना कुमारी (मेहजबीं)

Photo of Jashn-e-Rekhta: Celebrating the Language of Unity 15/21 by Rupa Abdi
Beautiful Calligraphy art and wood work

मथुरा की नगर है आशिकी का

दम भरती है आरज़ू इसी का

हर ज़र्रा सरज़मीं-ए-गोकुल दारा है जमाल-ए-दिलबरी का

बरसाना व नंद गांव में भी देख आए हैं जलवा हम किसी का

पैग़ाम-ए-हयात जाविदां था हर नग़मा कृष्ण की बांसुरी का ।

- मौलाना 'हसरत' मोहानी

Photo of Jashn-e-Rekhta: Celebrating the Language of Unity 16/21 by Rupa Abdi
Poetry and Prose in Urdu
Photo of Jashn-e-Rekhta: Celebrating the Language of Unity 17/21 by Rupa Abdi

There was a stall put up by the Rampur Raza Library which is one of the world's magnificent, unparalleled repository of cultural heritage and treasure-house of knowledge built up by successive Nawabs of Rampur State in present Uttar Pradesh. It contains very rare and valuable collection of manuscripts, historical documents, specimens of Islamic calligraphy, miniature paintings, astronomical instruments and rare illustrated works in Arabic and Persian languages besides 60,000 printed books.

Apart from the above you can find gems like Valmiki's Ramayana translated from Farsi to Hindi:

Photo of Jashn-e-Rekhta: Celebrating the Language of Unity 18/21 by Rupa Abdi

And Madhumalati which is a ballad of mystical Sufi romance. It is about a prince, Manohar, and his love for the beautiful princess Madhumalati. When they are separated they have to endure suffering, adventure, and spiritual transformation before they can be reunited and experience true happiness. The poem is also rich in mystical symbolism and the story of the two lovers represents the stages on the spiritual path to enlightenment. Madhumalati was written in the sixteenth century and it is an outstanding example of Sufi literature in the Indian Islamic tradition. It was originally written in a dialect of Eastern Hindi:

Photo of Jashn-e-Rekhta: Celebrating the Language of Unity 19/21 by Rupa Abdi
Photo of Jashn-e-Rekhta: Celebrating the Language of Unity 20/21 by Rupa Abdi

There was a variety of food stalls selling food as diverse as Afghani Chai to Litti Chokha

Photo of Jashn-e-Rekhta: Celebrating the Language of Unity 21/21 by Rupa Abdi
Sample of the Menu of two food stalls

We left the festival with poet Krishna Bihari Noor's lines ringing in our ears:

हमारे धर्म के फैलाव पर नज़र डालो,

हमारा धर्म मुहब्बत है ए वतन वालो !

हमारे धर्म के पैगम्बरों की सफ़ है बड़ी,

अशोक - अकबर- औ -गौतम -बुखारी - औ -तुलसी,

कबीर, ख़ुसरो -औ - चैतन्य -नानक और चिश्ती।

Photo credits: Rupa Abdi and Razi Abdi

Be the first one to comment