RegionSouth Asia
Eraterm for Hindustani, 17th–18th centuries
Language codes
ISO 639-3

Rekhta (Urdu: ریختہ [ˈɾeːxtaː]; Hindi: रेख़्ता [ˈɾeːxtaː]) was the Hindustani language as its dialectal basis shifted to the Delhi dialect. This style evolved in both the Perso-Arabic and Devanagari scripts and is considered an early form of Urdu and Hindi.[1]

Origin and usage

Rekhtā (from Persian verb ریختن [ɾeːxˈtan]) means "scattered" but also "mixed".[2] The name was given to an early form of courtly literature in Delhi, where poems were made by combining Persian and early Hindustani (referred to as Hindavi or Dehlavi). Sometimes this was done by writing some lines of the poem in Persian, and others in Hindavi. Alternatively, both Persian and Hindavi could feature in a single line.[3]

As Hindavi began to evolve into a literary language in the 18th century, the term Rekhta carried over to describe this new form. It denoted the Persianised, "high" form of Hindavi used in poetry, as opposed to the speech of the common population. The word was used alongside names like Urdu and Hindi. Its usage in this sense lasted into the 19th century, as evidenced by a sher of Mirza Ghalib:[3]

ريختہ کے تُم ہی اُستاد نہیں ہو غالِبؔ
کہتے ہیں اگلے زمانے میں کوئی مِیرؔ بھی تھا

Rēk͟htʻah kē tum hī ustād nahī̃ hō ġālib,
Kahtē haĩ aglē zamānē mē̃ kōī 'mīr' bhī thā

You are not the sole grandmaster of Rekhta, Ghalib
They say, in the ages past, that there was one (called) Mir

By the end of the 19th century however, the term Rekhta had largely fallen out of use, and terms like Hindi, Urdu, and Hindustani were favoured.[3]


Main article: Rekhti

The grammatically feminine counterpart of Rekhta is Rekhti, a term first popularised by the eighteenth-century poet Sa'adat Yar Khan 'Rangin' to designate verses written from the perspective of women. The Lucknow poet Insha Allah Khan was another well-known poet who composed rekhtis, according to Urdu scholar C M Naim.

See also


  1. ^ "Rekhta: Poetry in Mixed Language, The Emergence of Khari Boli Literature in North India" (PDF). Columbia University. Archived (PDF) from the original on 28 March 2016. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
  2. ^ Hindustani (2005). Keith Brown (ed.). Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics (2 ed.). Elsevier. ISBN 0-08-044299-4.
  3. ^ a b c Rahman, Tariq (2011). From Hindi to Urdu: A Social and Political History (PDF). Oxford University Press. pp. 29–31. Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 October 2014.