Saturday, 1 June 2013

When a language was born in Bangalore

Language is a means of communication and there are scores of cities in India which can lay claim to having contributed significantly to the growth and development of a language. However, there are only a handful of cities and provinces which can claim credit for having given birth to a language or for having pioneered the development of a new language.
Bangalore is one of the fortunate metropolises which can lay claim to having helped in the birth, origin and even in the initial growth of a language. Unfortunately, few people know about this and fewer are aware of  Bangalore’s link with Rekhta-a language which was a mix of several south Indian languages and which finally reached the royal Mughal court at Delhi came to be known as Hindustani.
Today, while we have realms of papers and research on Urdu, Persian and Hindustani, there are hardly a few on Rekhta-which can lay claim to be the progeny of  poetic Urdu and the language that Mirza Ghalib and other poets of Delhi liberally used in their writings.
The origin of Rekhta and its connection with Bangalore in itself is a romantic episode in the etymology of Indian languages. Rekhta first took shape in Bangalore when the Marathas first came to Bangalore under the leadership of Shahaji, the father of Chatrapati Shivaji.
Shahaji was one of the foremost military generals of the Adilshahis of Bijapur and he along with Ranadulla Khan had conquered Bangalore from Kempe Gowda in 1638. They banished Kempe Gowda to Magadi and planted the Adil Shahi flag n Bangalore.
Shahaji introduced Marathi as the official language of Bangalore province which was given to him as a jagir by the Adil Shah. This was the first time that Kannada speaking Bangalore had to contend with an alien language. Shahaji appointed Marathas to all important posts and all official and administrative letters, dispatches and work went on only in Marathi.
When Shahaji died on January 23, 1664 after an accidental fall from a horse, his son, Venkoji took over the reigns of Bangalore Jagir. Venkoji continued patronage to Marathi in addition to Persian which was one of the official languages of the Bijapur court of the Adil Shahis.
The Maratha domination of Bangalore continued till 1689 when the Mughals under Emperor Aurangzeb defeated the Marathas and occupied Bangalore. Though there is controversy over the number of years the Mughals occupied Bangalore, it can safely be said that they built the mosque at Taramandalpet which even today is known as Sangain Masjid.
The Mughals scrapped Marathi as the official language of Bangalore and Sira provinces and introduced Persian. However, they retained several Marathi and erstwhile Kannada administrative and everyday names.
The Mughul rule first in Bangalore and after 1789 in Sira province ensured that Persian and Arabian languages mixed with Kannada and Marathi, resulting in the birth of  Rekhta.
Rektha thus owes its origin to Bangalore. Rektha means scattered and this term for a language which was a harmonious mixture of two Indian and two foreign languages was in use from the late 17th century till the closing decades of the 18th century, when it was displaced by Hindi/Hindwi or Hindavi and later by Hindustani and Urdu.
Rektha was given a major fillip when Mirza Ghalib (1797-1869) used it extensively in his writings. Mir Tadi Mir (1723-1810), a  principal poet of the Delhi School of the Urdu ghazal who remains arguably the foremost name in Urdu poetry and  often remembered as Khuda-e-sukhan (god of poetry) and Muhammad Iqbal (1877-1938) also known as Allama Iqbal used Rektha.
Subsequently, Rekhta also came to be used for forms of poetry like Masnavi ( is a form of romance in Urdu poetry in heroic couplets which may extend to several thousand lines or shorter. Mir and Sauda wrote some of this kind), Marsia (It is usually a poem of mourning. and it can also be a genre to mourn the death of a friend. Lord Alfred Tennyson's poem 'In Memoriam' can be called marsia. The sub-parts of marsia are called noha and soz which means lamentation and burning of  heart respectively. Mir Babar Ali, Mir Moonis, Salamat Ali Dabeer, Mir Zameer and Ali Haider Tabataba are some of the nest exponents of this genre), Qaseedah, Thumri, Jikri or Zikri, Geet, Chaupai and Kabit.
Incidentally, the grammatically feminine counterpart of Rekhta is Rekti, a term first popularised by the eighteenth-century poet Sa’adat Yar Khan Rangin  (1756-1827) to designate verses written in the colloquial speech of women. His Rekti has love making as its theme. Another well-known Rekti poet was Insha Allah Khan Insha (1756-1817) of Lucknow. A multi-talented polyglot, he was the author of the first grammar of the Urdu language, Darya-e-Latafat.
Rektha is a form of poetry in which if one line was composed in Persian, the next was in any of the Indian languages like Hindustani, Punjabi and Bengali. The words are generally those which are used by a common man and they have emotional connotations. 
Rektha continued to be used sporadically until the late 19th century and Rekhta-style poetry is still being written by Urdu writers.
Of the early Urdu poets, Wali Muhammad Wali (1667–1707), played a remarkable role in giving the final shape to Urdu by substituting the idiom of Delhi for that of Dakhni and hence he is called the Father of Rekhta.
Wali's visit to Delhi in 1700 is considered to be of great significance for Urdu ghazals. His simple, sensuous and melodious poems in Urdu, awakened the Persian loving poets of Delhi to the beauty and capability of  Rektha which can be termed as an  old name for Urdu as a medium of poetic expression. His visit thus stimulated the growth and development of Urdu ghazal in Delhi.
He is the first established poet to have composed ghazals in Urdu language and compiled a Divan- which is a collection of ghazals- where the entire alphabet is used at least once as the last letter to define the rhyme pattern.
Before Wali, Indian ghazal was being composed in Persian– almost being replicated in thought and style from the original Persian masters like Saa’di or Abū-Muhammad Muslih al-Dīn bin Abdallāh Shīrāzī (1210-1291), Jami or Nur ad-Dīn Abd ar-Rahmān (1414-1492) and Khaqani (1121-1190). It was Wali who began using Indian language, Indian themes, idioms and imagery in his ghazals.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for your sharing this knowledge.I really appreciate to your blog topics,its very interesting topic..Keep it up!

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