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Netherfield Ball – Jashn-e-Rekhta, India International Centre

The party secrets.

[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]

One evening The Delhi Walla attended the inaugural ceremony of Jashn-e-Rekhta held in the Fountain Lawns of the India International Centre (IIC).

The two-day Urdu literary festival was hosted by Rekhta Foundation (I have written about its fabulous poetry website here) in collaboration with the IIC.

The sundown began with chauffer-driver cars queuing up in the portico to let loose their stockpile of Delhi’s smart set. One erect white-haired woman sashayed out holding a long slim cigarette; another invited notice with her gigantic pearl necklace. There were hardly any black-haired people save for the volunteers, politely guarding the front seats for the VIPs.

Sighted on the first row — Allahabad-based writer Shamsur Rahman Faruqi, Pakistan-based novelist Intizar Hussain and Bombay-based film lyricist Javed Akhtar.

Thanks to strategically placed spotlights, the audience was bathed in a blue glow.

A trilingual (Urdu+Hindi+English) speech by Rekhta’s founder, Sanjiv Saraf, was succeeded by a “Sufi rendition” — film playback singer Rekha Bhardwaj tried to gloss over her nervousness by whirling like a Turkish dervish at regular intervals.

Meanwhile, the trees swayed wildly in the unseasonably cold breeze; and the reflected light from the IIC’s dining hall quivered gently in the dark waters of the fountain.

Later, the evening dissolved into a cocktail party – probably in homage to Ghalib.

Party with a difference



3. (Shamsur Rahman Faruqi, left, with Intizar Hussain)






4 thoughts on “Netherfield Ball – Jashn-e-Rekhta, India International Centre

  1. Good function and great tribute to vocal Urdu. My observations:
    1. Majority of the signage were in English Script, giving the message that Urdu has changed its script?
    2. No paying food arrangements were made. Even India International Centre was serving to members only and refused meal to me, despite readiness to pay.I learnt that there was a private party (latter understood it was tribute to Ghalib – Indian Cocktail)
    3. Space was not sufficient and I witnessed the function of Munawwar Rana sitting outside the auditorium and on the pavements.(Tribute to Begum Akhtar and Mushaira fucntion)
    4. I participated from Mumbai and not familiar very much with Delhi but being from a BIG city,could manage. I finally dined at Khan Market Metro Station.
    5. Tantrums of Poets from Mumbai were visible by their absence for Mushaira.
    6. Crowd Management including Audience Management lacked the professionalism.
    Hope some lessons are learnt and wisdom would prevail for any such functions next time.

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