By Manasi Deshpande
7 september 2015
The website attempts to revive Urdu as a spoken language in India.
A Delhi-based businessman, who faced difficulties learning the language, has created an online resource for Urdu that attempts not only to make accessible the rich treasure of literature to anyone but also help create a cultural bridge with Pakistan.
Named Rekhta, a classical name of Urdu, the website attempts to revive Urdu as a spoken language in India. The language continues to fascinate non-Urdu speakers through its treasure of poetry. It is difficult for those who do not know the script to get full access to that treasure.
Rekhta has facilitated this process. “I am a lover of Urdu poetry. I used to read it in Devnagari and there is nothing on the Internet if you want more. When I learned the script, I felt sad that there was a gap between this wonderful heritage and Urdu lovers because they don’t know the script,” said Sanjiv Sarar, Rekhta’s founder.
Mr. Sarar’s research and technical teams worked hard to collect authentic Urdu texts before they launched the website in January 2013. “We had to take into account the problems a beginner faces while learning Urdu. So it was developed as a solution to those problems,” said Dharmendra Saha, general manager of the website.
The site can be viewed in Urdu, Devnagari or Roman script. It is equipped with all the amenities an Urdu lover might need. Users can know the meaning of any Urdu word in a ghazal by clicking on the word. It also has a search engine to find any poet, prose, sher or meaning of a word.
Another remarkable feature of Rekhta is its e-book section. The website has digitised over 15,000 Urdu books so far and 13,000 of them are available on the site.
“We request libraries to help us in this initiative. We also get books from the personal collections of scholars and poets,” Mr. Sarar told The Hindu on the phone from Delhi. This is perhaps why Rekhta has gained momentum among Urdu lovers from all over the world.
The site is visited by over 18,000 people daily and counts many eminent personalities, including Amitabh Bachchan, among its Twitter followers.