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

Rekhta (Urdu: ریختہ ‎, Hindi: रेख़्ता, rextā), was the Hindustani language as its dialectal basis shifted to the Khariboli dialect of Delhi. This style evolved in both the Perso-Arabic and Devanagari scripts and is considered an early form of Urdu and Hindi.[2]

Origin and usage[edit]

Rekhta means "scattered" but also "mixed" and implies that it contained Persian.[3] Rekhta is a very versatile vernacular, and can grammatically change to adapt to Persian grammar, without sounding odd to the reader.[4]

The term Rekhta was in greatest use from the late 17th century until the late 18th century, when it was largely supplanted by Hindi/Hindwi (Hindavi) and later by Hindustani and Urdu, though it continued to be used sporadically until the late 19th century. Rekhta-style poetry (poetry using a mixed, off-Urdu language) is still produced today by Urdu speakers, and is in fact the most common linguistic form of writing poetry in the Urdu language. Rekhta was also used for forms of poetry like Masnavi, Marsia, Qaseedah, Thumri, Jikri (Zikri), Geet, Chaupai and Kabit.

The following popular sher by Mirza Ghalib also tells us that the linguistic term rekhta was extended in 19th century North India to poetry written in the 'rekhta' vernacular (as opposed to poetry written in Persian, then considered the classical language)

ريختہ کے تُمہیں اُستاد نہیں ہو غالِب
کہتے ہیں اگلے زمانے میں کوئی مِیر بھی تھا

Reḳhte ke tum hī ustād nahīṅ ho ġhālib, (Translation: You are not the sole grandmaster of Rekhta, Ghalib)
Kahte haiñ agle zamāne meñ koī 'mīr' bhī thā (Translation: They say, in the ages past, that there was one (called) Mir)


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

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Rekhta". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  2. ^ "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.
  3. ^ Hindustani (2005). Keith Brown (ed.). Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics (2 ed.). Elsevier. ISBN 0-08-044299-4.
  4. ^ UCLA Language Materials Project: Urdu