Foundation, NJ U. S. A
the Message Continues ... 5/119
Newsletter for July 2011
Article 1 - Article 2 - Article 3 - Article 4 - Article 5 - Article 6 - Article 7 - Article 8 - Article 9 - Article 10 - Article 11 - Article 12
by Dr Ausaf Sayeed
Urdu writing in its various primitive forms can be traced to Muhammad Urfi (Tadhkirah - 1228 AD), Amir Khusro (1259-1325 AD) and Kwaja Muhammad Husaini (1318-1422 AD). As Urdu started flourishing in the kingdoms of Golconda and Bijapur, the earliest writings in Urdu are in the Dakhni (Deccani) dialect. The Sufi saints were the earliest promoters of the Dakhni Urdu. The Sufi-saint Hazrat Khwaja Banda Nawaz Gesudaraz is considered to be the first prose writer of Dakhni Urdu and some treatises like Merajul Ashiqin and Tilawatul Wajud are attributed to him but his authorship is open to doubt. The first literary work in Urdu is that of Bidar poet Fakhruddin Nizami’s mathnavi ‘Kadam Rao Padam Rao’ written between 1421 and 1434 A.D. Kamal Khan Rustami (Khawar Nama) and Nusrati (Gulshan-e-Ishq, Ali Nama and Tarikh-e-Iskandari) were two great poets of Bijapur. Muhammed Quli Qutb Shah, the greatest of Golconda Kings who was a distinguished poet, is credited with introducing a secular content to otherwise predominantly religious Urdu poetry. His poetry focused on love, nature and social life of the day.
Among the other important writers of Dakhni Urdu were Shah Miranji Shamsul Ushaq (Khush Nama and Khush Naghz), Shah Burhanuddin Janam, Mullah Wajhi (Qutb Mushtari and Sabras), Ghawasi (Saiful Mulook-O- Badi-Ul-Jamal and Tuti Nama), Ibn-e-Nishati (Phul Ban) and Tabai (Bhahram-O-Guldandam). Wajhi’s Sabras is considered to be a masterpiece of great literary and philosophical merit. Vali Mohammed or Vali Dakhni (Diwan) was one of the most prolific Dakhni poets of the medieval period. He developed the form of the ghazal. When his Diwan (Collection of Ghazals and other poetic genres) reached Delhi, the poets of Delhi who were engaged in composing poetry in Persian language, were much impressed and they also started writing poetry in Urdu, which they named Rekhta.
The medieval Urdu poetry grew under the shadow of Persian poetry. Unlike the Hindi poetry, which grew out of the Indian soil, Urdu poetry was initially fed with Persian words and imagery. Sirajuddin Ali Khan Arzu and Shaikh Sadullah Gulshan were the earliest promoters of Urdu language in North India. By the beginning of the 18th century a more sophisticated North Indian variation of the Urdu language began to evolve through the writings of Shaikh Zahooruddin Hatim (1699-1781 AD), Mirza Mazhar Jan-e-Janan (1699-1781 AD) Khwaja Mir Dard (1719- 1785 AD), Mir Taqi Mir (1722-1810 AD), Mir Hasan (1727-1786 AD) and Mohammed Rafi Sauda (1713-1780 AD). Sauda has been described as the foremost satirist of Urdu literature during the 18th Century. His Shahr Ashob and Qasida Tazheek-e-Rozgar are considered as masterpieces of Urdu literature. Mir Hassan’s mathnavi Sihr-ul-Bayan and Mir Taqi Mir’s mathnavies provided a distinct Indian touch to the language. Mir’s works, apart from his six Diwans, include Nikat-ush-Shora (Tazkira) and Zikr-se-Mir (Autobiography).
Shaik Ghulam Hamdani Mushafi (1750-1824), Insha Allah Khan (Darya-e- Latafat and Rani Ketaki), Khwaja Haider Ali Atish, Daya Shankar Naseem (mathnavi: Gulzare-e-Naseem), Nawab Mirza Shauq (Bahr-e-Ishq, Zahr-e-Ishq and Lazzat-e-Ishq) and Shaik Imam Bakhsh Nasikh were the early poets of Lucknow. Mir Babar Ali Anees (1802-1874) excelled in the art of writing marsiyas. The last Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar was a poet with unique style, typified by difficult rhymes, excessive word play and use of idiomatic language. He has authored four voluminous Diwans. Before the national uprising of 1857 the reign of Bahadur Shah Zafar witnessed the luxurious spring of Urdu poetry immediately followed by the chilly winds of autumn. Shaik Ibrahim Zauq was the Shah’s mentor in poetry. Next to Sauda he is considered to be the most outstanding composer of qasidas (panegyrics). Hakim Momin Khan Momin wrote ghazals in a style peculiar to him. He used ghazal exclusively for expressing emotions of love. Any description of Urdu literature can never be complete without the mention of Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib (1797-1869), who is considered as the greatest of all the Urdu poets.
With his passion for originality, Ghalib brought in a renaissance in Urdu poetry. In the post - Ghalib period, Dagh (b. 1831) emerged as a distinct poet, whose poetry was distinguished by its purity of idiom and simplicity of language and thought. Modern Urdu literature covers the time from the last quarter of the 19th century till the present day and can be divided into two periods: the period of the Aligarh Movement started by Sir Sayyid Ahmed Khan and the period influenced by Sir Mohammed Iqbal followed by the Progressive movement and movements of Halqa-e-Arbab-e-Zouq, Modernism and Post modernism. However, Altaf Hussain Hali (1837-1914) is the actual innovator of the modern spirit in Urdu poetry. Hali’s works include Diwan-e-Hali, Madd-o-Jazr-e-Islam or Musaddas-e-Hali (1879), Shakwa-e-Hind (1887), Munajat-e-Beva (1886) and Chup ki Dad (1905). Hali showered the art of writing biographies with a critical approach in his biographies Hayat-e-Sadi and Hayat-e-Jaweed. Hali was the pioneer of modern criticism.
His Muqaddama-e-Sher-o-Shaeri is the foundation stone of Urdu criticism. Shibli Nomani (b.1857) is considered as the father of modern history in Urdu. He has produced several works based on historical research, especially on Islamic history, like Seerat-un-Noman (1892) and Al Faruq (1899). Shibli also produced important works like Swanih Umari Moulana Rum, Ilmul Kalam (1903), Muvazina-e-Anis-o-Dabir (1907) and Sher-ul-Ajam (1899). Mohammed Hussain Azad was an important writer and poet of this period. He laid the foundation of modern poem in Urdu. Ab-e-Hayat, Sukhandan-e-Pars, Darbar-e-Akbari and Nazm-e-Azad are some of his outstanding literary works. Other leading poets of modern period include Syyid Akbar Husain Akbar Allahabadi (1846-1921), who had a flair for extempore composition of satiric and comic verses, Khushi Mohammed Nazir (1872-1944), who composed Jogi and Pani Mein, Mohammed Iqbal (1873-1938), Durga Sahai Suroor (d.1910), Mohammed Ali Jauhar (d.1931) and Hasrat Mohani (d.1951). Iqbal’s poetry underwent several phases of evolution from Romanticism (Nala-e-Yateem and Abr-e-Guhar Bar) to Indian Nationalism (Tasvir-e-Dard, Naya Shivala and Tarana-e-Hindi) and finally to Pan-Islamism (Shakva, Sham-o-Shair, Jawab-e-Shakva, Khizr-e-Rah and Tulu-e-Islam). Fani Badayuni (1879-1941), Shad Azimabadi (1846-1927), Yagana Changezi (1884-1956), Asghar Gondavi (1884-1936), Jigar Moradabadi (1896-1982), Akhtar Shirani, Faiz Ahmed Faiz (1912-1985), Miraji (1912-1950), N.M.Rashid (1910-1976), Akhtarul-Iman (b.1915), Ali Sardar Jafri (b.1913), Makhdoom Mohiuddin (1908 -1969), Kaifi Azmi (b.1918), Jan Nisar Akhtar (1914-1979), Sahir Ludhianvi (1922-1980), Majrooh Sultanpuri (1919-2000), Asrarul Haq Majaz (1911-1955), Nasir Kazmi, Ibn-e-Insha and Dr Kalim Ajiz have taken the Urdu poetry to new heights.
A new generation of poets emerged around the sixth decade oftwentieth century. The leading poets of this generation include Khaleelur Rahman Aazmi, Himyat Ali Shair, Balraj Komal, Ameeq Hanafi, Kumar Pashi, Makhmoor Saidi, Mazhar Imam, Dr Mughni Tabassum, Bani, Munir Niyazi, Suleman Areeb, Aziz Qaisi, Saqi Faruqi, Iftekhar Arif, Saleem Ahmed, Qazi Saleem, Shafiq Fatima Shera, Bashar Nawaz, Akbar Hyderabadi, Waheed Akhter, Shaz Tamkanat, Zubair Razvi, Muztar Majaz, Mushaf Iqbal Tausifi, Zohra Nigah, Kishwar Naheed, Zahida Zaidi, Siddiqua Shabnam and others.
The short story in Urdu began with Munshi Premchand’s Soz-e-Vatan (1908). Premchand’s short stories cover nearly a dozen volumes including Prem Pachisi, Prem Battisi, Prem Chalisi, Zad-e-Rah, Vardaat, Akhri Tuhfa and Khak-e-Parvana. Mohammed Hussan Askari and Khwaja Ahmed Abbas are counted among the leading lights of the Urdu Short story. The Progressive Movement in Urdu fiction gained momentum under Sajjad Zaheer (1905-1976), Ahmed Ali (1912-1994), Mahmood-uz- Zafar (1908-1994) and Rasheed Jahan (1905-1952). Urdu writers like Rajender Singh Bedi and Krishn Chander (1914-1977) showed commitment to the Marxist philosophy in their writings. Krishn Chander’s Adhe Ghante Ka Khuda is one of the most memorable stories in Urdu literature. His other renowned short stories include Zindagi Ke Mor Par, Kalu Bhangi and Mahalaxmi Ka Pul. Bedi’s Garm Kot and Lajvanti are among the masterpieces of Urdu short story. Bedi’s important works include collections of short stories, Dana-o-Daam Girhen, Kokh Jali and Apne Dukh Mujhe Dedo etc., collection of plays “Saat Khel” and a novel Ek Chadar Maili Si (1972). Manto, Ismat Chughtai and Mumtaz Mufti form a different brand of Urdu writers who concentrated on the “psychological story” in contrast to the “sociological story” of Bedi and Krishn Chander. Some of Ismat Chughtai’s leading short stories are Chauthi Ka Jora, Do Hath, Lehren and Lihaf. Manto dealt in an artistic way with many unconventional subjects, like sex, which were considered taboo by the Middle-class. His Thanda Gosht, which dealt with the subject of necrophilia, shocked the readers. Another of Manto’s praise-worthy works was Khol Do, which tackled the horrors of partition. Ahmad Nadeem Qasmi (b.1915) is another leading name in Urdu short story. His important short stories include Alhamd-o-Lillah, Savab, Nasib and others. In the post-1936 period, the writers belonging to the Halqa-e-Arbab-e-Zauq produced several good stories in Urdu. Upender Nath Ashk (Dachi), Ghulam Abbas (Anandi). Intezar Hussain, Anwar Sajjad, Balraj Mainra, Surender Parkash and Qurratul-ain Haider (Sitaroun Se Aage, Mere Sanam Khane) are the other leading lights of Urdu short story. Several leading fiction writers emerged from the city of Hyderabad in the contemporary times, which include Jeelani Bano, Iqbal Mateen, Awaz Sayeed, Kadeer Zaman, Mazhr-uz-Zaman and others.
Novel writing in Urdu can be traced to Nazir Ahmed (1836 - 1912) who composed several novels like Mirat-ul-Urus (1869), Banat-un-Nash (1873), Taubat-un-Nasuh (1877), Fasana-e-Mubtala (1885), Ibn-ul-Waqt (1888), Ayama (1891) and others. Pandit Ratan Nath Sarshar (1845 -1903)’s Fasana-e-Azad, Abdul Halim Sharar (1860 - 1920)’s Badr-un- Nisa Ki Musibat and Agha Sadiq ki Shadi, Mirza Muhammed Hadi Ruswa’s Umrao Jan Ada (1899) are some of the great novels and novelettes written during the period. Niaz Fatehpuri (1887 - 1966) and Qazi Abdul Gaffar (1862-1956) were the other eminent early romantic novelists in the language. However, it was Premchand (1880-1936) who tried to introduce the trend of realism in Urdu novel. Premchand was a prolific writer who produced several books. His important novels include Bazare-e-Husn (1917), Gosha-e-Afiat, Chaugan-e-Hasti, Maidan-e-Amal and Godan. Premchand’s realism was further strengthened by the writers of the Indian Progressive Writers’ Association like Sajjad Zaheer, Krishn Chander and Ismat Chughtai. Krishn Chander’s Jab Khet Jage (1952), Ek Gadhe Ki Sarguzasht (1957) and Shikast are considered among the outstanding novels in Urdu literature. Ismat Chughtai’s novel Terhi Lakir (1947) and Qurratul-ain Haider’s novel Aag Ka Darya are considered as important works in the history of Urdu novel. Khwaja Ahmed Abbas, Aziz Ahmed, Balwant Singh, Khadija Mastur,Intezar Hussain are the other important writers in Urdu in the contemporary times.
Urdu was not confined to only the Muslim writers. Several writers from other religions also wrote in Urdu. Prominent among them are Munshi Premchand, Firaq Gorakhpuri, Pandit Ratan Nath Sarshar (Fasana-e-Azad) and Brij Narain Chakbast (1882 - 1926), who composed Subh-e-Watan and Tilok Chand Mahrum (1887-1966), who composed Andhi and UtraHua Darya, Krishn Chander, Rajindar Singh Bedi, Kanhaiyalal Kapur, Upendar Nath Ashk, Jagan Nath Azad, Jogender Pal, Balraj Komal and Kumar Pashi. Akbar Allahabadi (1846-1921) was the pioneer among the Urdu humorists and satirists. Majeed Lahori, Mehdi Ali Khan, Patras Bokhari (1898-1958), Mirza Farhatullah Beg, Shafiq-ur-Rahman, Azim Baig Chughtai, Ibn-e-Insha, Mushfiq Khwaja, Mushtaq Ahmed Yousifi, K.L.Kapur, Amjad Hussain, Mujtaba Hussain, Himayatullah and Talib Khundmeri are the other leading names in the field of humour.
Prof. Hafiz Mohammed Sheerani (1888-1945) devoted long years to the field of literary criticism. Others in this field include Shaikh Mohammed Ikram (1907-1976), Sayyid Ihtesham Hussain (1912 - 1976), Mohammed Hasan Askari, Ale-Ahmed Suroor, Mumtaz Husain, Masud Husain, Shams-ur-Rahman Faruqi, Gopichand Narang, Mughni Tabassum (b.1930) and others.
Farhang-e-Asifya is the first Urdu dictionary based on principles of the modern lexicography, which was produced by Maulana Sayyid Ahmed Dehlvi (1846-1920) in 1892.
The Origins Of Urdu
Urdu was influenced by Persian and adopted the Persian script as opposed to the Arabic script. One of the many reasons why the language is spoken around Delhi and developed as a “lingua franca” in the first place was that it was spoken around Delhi, seat of the first and later the most extensive Muslim conquests.
Thus, its vocabulary was heavily influenced by Arabic and Persian right from the time when it began to develop as a separate language.
Mahmud of Ghazni invaded India in 1000 A.D. His second invasion was against Jaypal in 1001. At this time Persian and Arabic was introduced to the subcontinent. Firdausi is considered one of the first poets of Urdu. By the year 1100 the house of Ghaur had been established. The Muslim conquest of India had been formalized. Urdu had begun. The military camps had all sorts of people in them. When they wanted to communicate they spoke their own languages and dialects. These people communicated and gave birth to a new language. Urdu or Askasi was a Turkish word which means “lashkar” or army from a camp. Some called the language “askari” (word also means military in Turkish).
Even though she is a thousand years old, Urdu is considered a young language. This multi-cultural South Asian language, rich in literature, and history can be understood by millions around the world. Urdu is a Turkish word (Ordu) that translates to “lashkar” an “army camp” or an “army caravan”. The English word “horde” is of the same origin. The language developed as a means of communication between the soldiers of different nationalities who served under the kings.
Urdu started out as an army “language” where people of different religions and nationalities mixed together and wanted to talk to each other. Out of the cauldron, a new language and a new culture came into existence. This new culture centered around Lucknow and Delhi, in Northern India is responsible for the renaissance, growth and proliferation of art, painting, music, and architecture of pre-British South Asia. The culture born of the confluence of many languages and many religions exuded a sophistication now found in the North Indian and Pakistani population. The emperors, kings, rajahs, nawabs and badshahs of the region supported with gold and silver the poetry and the literature that was an essential part of their court.
The new languages were very instrumental in the transformation of the nationalities and races that inhabited the Northern part of the South Asian subcontinent. Many South Asian languages, Kashmiri, Gujjar, Punjabi, Gujrati and Hindi are very similar to Urdu, and have a lot of commonalities with Urdu.
The history of Urdu and other language systems in South Asia
اردو ھے جس کا نام ھمي جانتے ھین داغ
سارے جہاں میں دھوم ھماري زبان کي ھے
Urdu hai jis ka naam hamin jaantay hain Daagh
Saray jahan main dhoom hamari zaban ki hai!!!
Urdu is a language spoken and understood by about a billion people on this planet. It is one of the major languages of Asia. It however remains almost totally unknown in the West, especially America. This apathy about Urdu is partly due the fact that the Subcontinent is largely ignored in matters of culture and edification. The Lingua Franca of Northern India is understood by every sixth person on this planet. The resilience of this wonderful language is almost unprecedented. The language crosses culture, religion, creed, caste and national boundaries. With some official patronage in the land of its birth, the language is known by many names. Urdu is spoken in the far corners of the globe.
The original and formal full name of the language is Zaban-e-Urdu-e-Mualla. The long title has been shortened to the nick name Urdu. Urdu papers are published from all major cosmopolitan centers of the planet, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, London, Bradford, Manchester, Toronto, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Islamabad, Lahore, Delhi, Karachi, Srinagar, and hundreds of other cities. Urdu language radio broadcast inundate the airwaves on Short-wave, Medium-wave and FM. Today the language is encroaching the Internet. From the shopping malls of Singapore, to the skyscrapers of Dubai, from the jungles of Nairobi to the beaches of Fiji, from the ski slopes of Kashmir to the streets of London, from the shops of Toronto, to the taxis of Chicago– Urdu is survives as a live and vivacious testament to its speakers.
As varied as Chinese in accent and dialect, it is understood by more people who speak Mandrin. Its history is as controversial as the history of its peoples. Almost as old as English, the language had humble beginnings as a pidgin dialect that slowly evolved into a polished language. Urdu led to the cultural unity of Northern India. It has impacted the British Empire and it effected the lingua franca of the world– English. Many of the words used in English have South Asian origins. Kabob, Sahib, Raja, Qamarband, Bazaar, Pajama, Bengal, Curry, Saffron are only some of the examples of Urdus influence on the rest of the planet.
In any discussion of cultural and religious unity, and in any discussion of mystical Sufisim, (one of the highest forms of Islamic and religious thoughts), Urdu remains the common factor between the peoples of various religions and creeds of Northern and Western parts of the Subcontinent. According to Barbara Metcalf, (in an interesting discussion on Urdu in her book Islamic revival in India), Urdu was indeed a major factor that led to the Northern Indian Hindu-Skih-Muslim “Mughlea” culture with its lavish architecture and profound literature, and rich Indian-Middle-Eastern-Sino-Central-Asian heritage. Urdu spans religions and races. It always has and always will. It was the language of Muslim kings and Hindu rajas, and Sikh princes and Parsi courtiers. It spawned a culture and architecture that has survived centuries.
People have died for it, and people are as parochial about it as the Franco-phones are about French in Quebec. Its detractors are jealous of its popularity, and its enemies hate the phenomenal growth the language has seen.
It continues to grow day and night, sometimes at the expense of other languages and dialects.
“Ameer Khusro is considered by some the first Urdu poet. At his time this language was used only for some poetry purpose and was called “Rekhta” not Urdu until Mirza Ghalib’s time. Ghalib was first Urdu prose writer in the form of letters to his friends. He called it “Urdu-e-Mu’alla” means superior Urdu to distinguish from the version spoken by masses .Ishfaq”
The Slave Dynasty of India was firmly established in India between the years 1206-1290. These were the days of the creation of URDU. The Khilji’s ALSO provided Urdu a cradle in the years 1290-1320. The Tughlaq’s officially used Persian as the court language but they gave Urdu the importance it deserved.
The Lodhi’s used Urdu as the court language. Stanley Wolpert in his book A New History of India says the following about Sikandar Lodhi (1498-1517):
” has been hailed as the wisest and most dedicated , hard working , and far-sighted sultan ever to sit upon Delhi’s the throne. He wrote poetry himself and invited scholars of every sort to his side, encouraging the compilation of books on medicine (Ma’dan-ul-shifa) as well as music (Lahjat-i-Sikandar-shahi)”
Urdu was given great patronage and the language clearly on the way to becoming the Lingua Franca of at least northern India. During the Lodhi era, Urdu was FIRMLY past the crib, and was in the population. With Babur’s advent he immediately recognized Urdu as the language to be dealt with. Both Babur, Sher Shah Suri and Humayun glorified the language.
Stanley Wolpert in his book A New History of India says the following about the year 1595:
“The importance of Persian cultural influence in the Mughal Empire and court can hardly be exaggerated: it was found in Akbars Sufisim but also in the reintroduction of Persian as the official language of Mughal administration and law (Persian had been used by the Tughlaqs but not the Lodis). The elegant decadence of Mughal dress, decor, manners, and morals all reflected Persian court life and custom. Mughal culture was however more than an import; by Akbars era, it had acquired something of a “national” patina, the cultural equivalent of the Mughal-Rajput alliance. The new syncretism which has come to be called “Mughlai” is exemplified by Akbar’s encouragement of Hindi literature and its development. While the Persian and Urdu languages and literature received the most royal patronage and noble as well martial attention, the emperor also appointed a poet laureate for Hindi. Raja Birbal (1528-83) was the first poet to hold the honored title, thanks to which many other young men of the sixteenth century were induced to study the northern vernacular that has now become India national tongue, helping to popularize it through their poetry and translations of Persian classics. Most popular of the Hindi works of this era was the translation of the epic Ramayana by Tulsi Das.”
This is what “Yaswant Malaiya” says:
According to what I have seen, the term “Urdu” dates from Shahjahan’s time (1628 to 1658) when he built the fort in Delhi. Other terms have been used for it (Hindavi or Rekhta) but around 1850 the term Urdu was in common use.
However if we define Urdu by its basic structure, it can perhaps be dated to as far back as 13th century or so. The Farsi poet Ameer Khusro (1253-1325) wrote verses in a dialect that can be regarded to be Urdu.
Firdausi (940-1020), who wrote Shah-Nameh, was certainly a great poet, but I am not aware of him writing Urdu.
You can see a translation of Shah-Nameh at
However in a way, you can say that Urdu existed around 1000 AD. Many manuscripts of Apabhransha books from that period are now known. Apabhransha is regarded to be the old form of modern north Indian languages.
At the time of the birth of Urdu, Sanskrit was NOT a spoken language, it was more like Latin and Hebrew, available to scholars. The fifteenth century saw the rise of the Mughal empire (1526-1857), and these three centuries were the golden period of Urdu.
Delhi and Lucknow became centers of Urdu poets and writers. Poetry became the fond habit of the rich and the poor. Great eulogies (”qaseeda”) were written for the kings and the nawabs, and the poets were paid handsomely in gold. On the death of the loved ones great obituaries (”marsiyas”) were written. The sonnets in the form of “ghazzal” were written for lovers and other topics.
Around the nineteenth century, poets like Iqbal used Urdu to rile the masses against the British colonialism.
Urdu and Hindi …..which came first… the chicken or the egg syndrome
The earliest use of Brahmini is disputed but the earliest known inscriptions in Brahmini are in the Muyara period, possibly from Chandragupta’s period found at Sohguara, Mahastan; unless we can date the Piparawa casket to right after Buddha’s cremation. Here is what an Indian historian (In an interesting article on Urdu: A Historian Looks at Hindi-Urdu Debate 8 December 1995; Copyright: India Abroad Publications) says about Urdu and Hindi:
`Hindi” and `Urdu” did not exist as languages; they were to be formed out of the myriad languages of northern India by soldiers (`Urdu’ means `language of the camp’) and others who needed a common language (over the regional tongues of the north, such as Bhojpuri, Mythali, Khari Boli, Braj, etc. Certainly, there was no relationship between a particular language and a particular religious group. The nobility (including Hindus and Muslims) preferred Persian as the tongue of the elites: common folk (including Hindus and Muslims) spoke their local languages and used local idioms which transcended religion.
In the ongoing debate over Hindi-Urdu, most commentators betray a minimal familiarity with the historical and linguistic record and yet, they can write with confidence about Hindi-Urdu.
Hindi and Urdu are modern languages: in a very real sense, their most effective development began after 1947 when they became the State languages of India and Pakistan respectively. It was after that date that Hindi was Sanskritized …”
The earliest use of the word “Hindi” was by Sharfuddin Yazdi in Zafarnama (1424). Hindi simply means zaban-e-Hind the language of Hind.
About the Author : The author is a PhD by qualification. He is currently the Chief Coordinating Officer of the Indian Culture Centre (ICC), Doha, Qatar
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