World's biggest celebration of Urdu culture comes to Dubai

Jashn-e-Rekhta festival will bring the best of Urdu poetry, music and literature to Zabeel Park

Indian poet and scriptwriter Javed Akhtar and his wife, actress Shabana Azmi, will perform at the festival's opening session. Reuters
Powered by automated translation

The world’s largest festival celebrating language is going international with the arrival of Jashn-e-Rekhta in Dubai.

The annual festival has been held every year since 2015 in Delhi, and celebrates Urdu poetry, music, literature, performance and more. It's organised by The Rekhta Foundation, a non-profit organisation based in India that works for the preservation and promotion of the Urdu language, literature and culture. The Foundation, established in 2013, operates the world's largest online repository for Urdu literature,, which has more than 20 million followers worldwide, including 350,000 in the Gulf.

The three-day event in Dubai opens on February 28, and promises to be a cultural extravaganza. Highlights include an opening night performance from poet and screenwriter Javed Akhtar and his wife, actress Shabana Azmi, who will be paying a theatrical tribute to the poems of Azmi’s father, the late poet Kaifi Azmi, alongside a ghazal poetry rendition by Jazvinder Singh.

The festival's second day goes international with the West Sings East section, featuring performances of traditional Urdu music from the UK's Tanya Wells and Brazil's Seven Eyes, as well as a performance from Qawwali (Sufi devotional music) giants Fareed Ayaz and Abu Muhammad.

Day three’s big draw looks set to be a session featuring actors Ali Fazal and Mahira Khan, along with actor/director Sarmad Khoosat, who will be talking about their experiences of the film industry. The festival will also feature a number of other performances and discussions.

Jashn-e-Rekta takes place in Zabeel Park, Dubai, from February 28-March 2, with tickets costing from Dh25. For more details visit