New Delhi, Feb 13 (PTI) Lyricist-poet Javed Akhtar, actor Naseeruddin Shah, historians Narayani Gupta, Irfan Habib and William Dalrymple will be among the speakers at 'Meer ki Dilli, Shahjahanabad: The Evolving City' festival here.

Celebrating the third centenary of 18th century Urdu poet Meer Taqi Meer, Urdu organisation Anjuman Taraqqi Urdu (Hind) will organise the four-day festival at the India International Centre, starting Thursday.

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"The Festival hopes to bring out the essence of Shahjahanabad with scholarly discussions delving into its history, culture and evolution. It will feature 30 sessions with over 40 speakers and cultural programmes each evening throughout the four days," the organisers said in a statement.

Veteran actor Naseeruddin Shah will recite poems by Delhi poets while poet Javed Akhtar will hold a session on the cultural history and poetry of Dilli School during the festival.

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The opening day will host sessions by Urdu poet and critic Saif Mahmood, former diplomat Shyam Saran, and former union minister Salman Khurshid.

A new version of Meer's autobiography, "Meeri Ki Khudnavisht Sawaneh", translated into Persian by Dr Sadaf Fatima will also be unveiled during the festival.

Over the course of the festival, speakers such as historians Irfan Habib, Swapna Liddle, former diplomat Pavan K Varma, conservation architect Ratish Nanda, singer Rene Singh and women's rights activist Syeda Saiyidain Hameed will discuss on topics of history, architecture, geography and poetry of Shahjahanabad.

Other speakers at the festival include historian Rudrangshu Mukherjee, theatre veteran M Sayeed Alam, historian of science Dhruv Raina, writer Urvashi Butalia, dastango Mahmood Farooqui and journalist-author Vir Sanghvi, among others.

The festival will come to an end on February 18.

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