Region South Asia
Era term for Hindustani, 17th–18th centuries
Language codes
ISO 639-3
Glottolog rekh1239[1]

Rekhta (Urdu: ریختہ, Hindi: रेख़्ता rextā) was the Hindustani language as its dialectal basis shifted to the Khariboli dialect of Delhi. It's considered one of the Urdu dialects. Rekhta means "scattered" but also "mixed" and implies that it contained Persian and Hindvi/Hindi.[2] 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 is still produced today by Urdu speakers, and is the most common linguistic form of writing poetry in the Urdu language. Rekhta is a very versatile language, and can grammatically change to adapt to Persian grammar, without sounding odd to the reader.[3]

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)

Rexte ke tum hī ustād nahīṅ ho ğālib , Ghalib, you are not a master of Rekhta" (ريختہ کے تم ہی استاد نہیں ہو غالب), Ghalib, you are not the sole grand-master of rekhta [Translated from Urdu]

Kihte haiṅ agle zamāne meṅ koī mīr bhī thā, They say, in ages past, that there was one called Mir (کہتے ہیں اگلے زمانے میں کوئی میر بھی تھا).
Correct stanza is Kehte hain ke aglon me koi meer bhi tha کہتے ہیں کہ اگلوں میں کوئی میر بھی تھا - it is said that (in) formers there was someone (named) meer [Urdu Translation]

Rekhta was also used for forms of poetry like Masnavi, Marsia, Qaseedah, Thumri, Jikri (Zikri), Geet, Chaupai and Kabit.


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


  1. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Rekhta". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  2. Hindustani (2005). Keith Brown, ed. Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics (2 ed.). Elsevier. ISBN 0-08-044299-4.
  3. UCLA Language Materials Project: Urdu
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