21 August 2009

Rekhti poetry

Very interesting is a study by Ruth Vanita entitled “Eloquent Parrots: Mixed Language and the Examples of Hinglish and Rekhti.” She defines rekhti poetry this way: "Rekhti is a genre of Urdu poetry, purportedly composed in ‘women’s language’, which arose in the 18th century and came into prominence in the early 19th century. Early literary Urdu, called rekhta, has a preponderance of Persian and Arabic vocabulary, but the language of rekhti, which approximates more to the non-literary language of everyday speech, incorporates words and idioms from north Indian languages and dialects." She traces today's Hinglish (Hindu + English) to rekhti. Here is yet another proof that literature precedes language, or as Jacques Derrida famously put it, writing precedes speech.


  1. That literature precedes language is as dubious/debatable as the egg-and-chicken conundrum.

  2. I have a new book just out on this genre: Gender, Sex and the City: Urdu Rekhti Poetry 1780-1870 (Palgrave-Macmillan, New York and Orient Blackswan, New Delhi)