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Urdu Fest in Dubai Called Off After Deadly Attack on Security Forces in Kashmir

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Thousands of Urdu lovers took part in the annual Jashn-e-Rekhta in Delhi this year.

Jashn-e-Rekhta was set to make it international debut in Dubai this month end

Caravan News

DUBAI — Jashn-e-Rekhta, the three-day Urdu festival, which was set to make its international debut at the Dubai’s Zabeel Park on February 28 has been postponed for an indefinite period of time in the wake of the deadly attack on Indian security forces in Kashmir which claimed over 46 lives on Thursday, Gulf News reported.

Organisers of the fest in a statement said: “We extend our heartfelt condolences to the families of security personnel who lost their lives or were injured in the attack. In light of this tragedy, it has been decided to postpone the event till further notice.”

Organisers said they regret the inconvenience caused to ticket-holders and were making efforts to refund their money. A fresh date for the event was yet to be announced.

A celebration of the various facets of the Urdu language, the festival promised an eclectic mix of poetry, talk shows, ghazals and storytelling with top poets, artistes, literary scholars and singers from India, Pakistan, the UK and Canada in attendance.

The line-up of stars included Javed Akhtar, Shabana Azmi, Ali Fazal, Mahira Khan, Raza Murad, Anwar Masood, Sanam Marvi, Fareed Ayaz, Abu Mohammad, Tanya Wells among many others. The event was expected to draw between 8,000-10,000 people daily.

Though disappointed, many expats who were awaiting Urdu fest first time in Dubai said the decision to postpone it is the right decision in the wake of the unfortunate incident in Kashmir.

Indian expat Nigar Alam, 32, who was looking forward to the event said she’s disappointed to learn that it has been shelved but feels it was the correct decision. “My prayers are with the families of the soldiers who were martyred in the attack. The organisers did the right thing to call it off,” said the Sharjah resident, reports Gulf News.

Another Urdu lover, Dubai-based S. Masoud, 42, from Pakistan said he hoped the festival is held at a later date. “What has happened in India is indeed terrible. I join my friends from across the border to mourn the death of soldiers who lost their lives in the dastardly attack. That said, I genuinely want the festival to be held because its explicit aim is to bridge divides and bring people closer through the medium of Urdu,” he said.

One Urdu lover, however, differed with the decision to postpone Urdu fest saying, if there was a time to hold Jashn-e-Rekhta it was now.

“Today, passions are running high. This would’ve been the perfect opportunity to host a festival of poetry which unites cultures like nothing else,” he said.

(With inputs from Gulf News)

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