Mahira Khan, Abida Parveen, Javed Akhtar, grace Jashn-e-Rekhta | The Express Tribune

In a grand celebration that resonated with the essence of Urdu literature, poetry, and cross-cultural exchange, Jashn-e-Rekhta assumed the spotlight in Dubai, captivating audiences from January 27 to 29. Zabeel Park underwent a captivating transformation into a focal point of linguistic and artistic vibrancy, setting the stage for a multifaceted celebration that united luminaries from the realms of literature, cinema, and activism.

The festival held the promise of weaving a rich tapestry of diverse events and engaging discussions that would leave a lasting imprint on the cultural landscape. A distinguished highlight of Jashn-e-Rekhta showcased the esteemed Javed Akhtar participating in an intellectually stimulating conversation alongside Pakistani human rights activist Arfa Sayeda Zehra and actor Adeel Hashmi.

This thought-provoking panel, aptly titled ‘Urdu Tehzeeb Aur Rishton Ki Lazzat,’ ventured into the nuanced intersection of literature, activism, and the exquisite nuances of language. Attendees were treated to a unique and enriching intellectual experience, delving into the profound connections between Urdu culture, meaningful relationships, and the broader socio-cultural tapestry.

Adding to the star-studded lineup, the second day of the festival witnessed the charismatic Mahira Khan, alongside the iconic Shabana Azmi and Bollywood director Shekhar Kapoor. The panel, titled ‘Kahaani Se Kirdaar Tak,’ provided insights into the world of storytelling and character building, showcasing the collaborative spirit that transcends geographical boundaries.

Mahira, expressing her joy at attending Jashn-e-Rekhta for the first time, emphasised the importance of such platforms where artists from around the world can come together, share stories, appreciate language, and celebrate their shared love for artistic expression. She shared in an Instagram video, “I’m extremely happy that I’m attending Jashn-e-Rekhta for the first time. I hope I come here repeatedly and receive such a platform repeatedly, where the community of artists from around the world, who love this language and appreciate it, sit together, converse, and talk about stories, and there’s shair-o-shayari, and jokes. We should sit together and rejoice.” 

On the same day, another engaging panel that was scheduled featured Samina Peerzada, Usmaan Peerzada, and Bee Gul, delving into various aspects of creative passion in a session titled ‘Mera Fann, Meri Zindagi.’ This discussion promised to unveil the depths of the artistic journey, offering a glimpse into the motivations that drive the creative process. Javed Akhtar, a literary maestro, was also scheduled to take centre stage in another intriguing panel discussion on the second day, highlighting the festival’s commitment to showcasing the multifaceted brilliance of this renowned figure in Urdu literature.

A highlight of the event was ‘Shab-e Rafta,’ a session of Sufi music on the first day, promising to enchant attendees with the mystical and soulful tunes of the Sufi tradition. This musical interlude added a spiritual dimension to the festival, resonating with the rich cultural heritage embedded in Urdu literature. A riveting performance by Abida Parveen saw the audience swaying alongside the soulful music and vocals. 

The collaboration between figures from India and Pakistan throughout the festival underscored Jashn-e-Rekhta’s commitment to fostering cultural unity and transcending geopolitical divides. The diverse range of panels, discussions, and performances showcased the power of language and art in bringing people together. Jashn-e-Rekhta in Dubai stood as a testament to the enduring influence of the Urdu language and literature, fostering unity, understanding, and appreciation for the diverse cultural tapestry woven through the beauty of words and art.

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