Explained: Why Urdu is an Indian Language, Not a Foreign Language


Recently, the University of Punjab, Chandigarh, had proposed to merge the Urdu language department with a foreign language school to be created after the merger of the French, Russian, German, Chinese and Tibetan departments.

The deserved move huge review from the Urdu department of the same university and the Chief Minister of Punjab, Captain Amarinder Singh also opposed this decision of PU and stated that Urdu is an Indian language like any other Indian language.

The Indian Express tries to explain why the “Urdu” language is an Indian language and not a foreign one.

What is the origin of the Urdu language?

According to Urdu language experts, the origin of the Urdu language took place in India several centuries ago and the names of three places – all in India – are cited in historical references where this language developed and flourished with different names.

Assistant Professor and Department Coordinator at Urdu Punjab University, Chandigarh Prof. Ali Abbas said that all historical references indicate that the origin of Urdu took place in the state of Punjab in India and the great poet Ameer Khusro, in his book ‘Ghurrat- ul-Kamal’ wrote that Masood Lahori (Masood Saad Salman), a renowned poet born in Lahore in the 11th century) composed poetry in Hindvi (Urdu), also called Dehlavi . This shows that Urdu was largely native to the Punjab, as Lahore was part of the greater Punjab only before the partition. The subject, the object, the auxiliary, the verb, the grammar, the tenses of Urdu are very Indian and resemble the Hindi language. “Even though it derived from the root words of the Persian and Arabic languages, they were transformed into the Urdu language in India,” he said.

He said that before his name was Urdu he knew other names including Hindustani, Hindavi, Dehlavi and Rekhta.
He also mentioned that we write it right to left but the same was the case with the Punjabi Shahmukhi language which was also written right to left.

“Despite its Persian script, Urdu is an Indian language because there are several examples of major Indian languages ​​that are written in scriptures derived from outside the country,” he informed. For example, the Punjabi Shahmukhi language is also written in Persian script.

How did it develop and flourish and where?

Experts said that according to historical references after its origin in the Punjab, Urdu developed and flourished in Delhi with part of the state of Haryana and some southern states where it was developed under the form of “Dakhni (Deccani) language”.

Historians have said that it developed and prospered in Delhi during the “Sultanate of Delhi” period from the 12th to the 16th century, and then during the “Mughal Empire” period in Delhi from the 16th century to the 19th century when several court poets used this language in their great poetry and writings. And then it was also developed in the Deccan States.

How does it relate to Deccan India?

When the Delhi Sultanate and then the Mughal Empire spread their wings towards the Deccan, the Urdu speaking people of Delhi spread the language to the south where it developed and flourished in the Dakhan (Deccan) states, mainly in Karnataka, now Telangana, part of Kerala and Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra. “The language even derived from local words from the local languages ​​of these states and developed it as a ‘Dakhni’ language which was somewhat distinctive from the Urdu language in the North,” said experts, who added that when the emperor of the Delhi Sultanate Muhammad -bin-Tughlaq had decided to move his capital from Delhi to Daulatabad or Devagiri or Deogiri (a current Aurangabad) in 1327 in Maharasthra with the migration of the inhabitants of Delhi, the many inhabitants of Delhi speaking Urdu spread its use in Maharasthra for seven years until the capital of the Sultanate of Delhi was not reversed to Delhi in 1334. In addition, the language gradually evolved and several new words, which were not not used in Northside, have become part of Urdu.

“During the Bahamani Sultanate in the Deccan from the 14th to the 16th century, mainly in Maharasthra, Karnataka and Telangana, Urdu flourished a lot because several scholars, who were part of the Deccan Sultanate, used Urdu and local words which then spread to other areas like Ahmednagar, Bijapur, Bidar and Golkonda (now in Telangana), ”said Prof Abbas, adding that there is no original reference to Urdu in no other part outside of India.

“Even the ruler of Golkonda Muhammad Quli Qutub Shah, a great scholar of Urdu, Persian and Telugu, has the merit of being the first Saheb-e-Dewan (Urdu poet) and of having developed ‘the’ Hindustani ‘in a new version, ”he added.

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What is the official status of Urdu in India?

It is one of the official languages ​​under the Constitution of India, it is one of the 15 Indian languages ​​written on Indian currency banknotes. It is one of the official languages ​​in states like Kashmir, Telangana, UP, Bihar, New Delhi, and West Bengal.

In the Punjab, all old tax office records are only available in Urdu.

Several million Indians speak this language in addition to having a great impact on about four dozen cities and regions where it is widely spoken.

After independence, much attention was not paid to the language and several states where Urdu was a compulsory subject in the school curriculum were no longer a compulsory subject now.

What are the famous Urdu words that we say daily?

Kanoon (Law) Darwaza (Gate), Kismat (Destiny), Akhbar (Journal), Taarikh (Date), Azadi (freedom), Imaarat (Building), Hukum (Command), Bahadur (Bold), Havaa (Air), Kitaab (Book), Gunah (Crime), Aurat (Woman), Dil (Heart), Dosat (Friend), Shukriya (Thank you) etc.


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