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Friday27 May 2022

Urdu - The Origin And History Of The Language

The term Urdu derives from a Turkish word ordu which means camp or army. The Urdu language developed between the Muslim soldiers of the Mughals armies who belonged to various ethnicities like Turks, Arabs, Persians, Pathans, Balochis, Rajputs, Jats and Afghans. These soldiers lived in shut contact with one another and communicated in several dialects, which slowly and gradually advanced into current day Urdu. It is for this reason that Urdu is also referred to as Lashkari Zaban or language of the army.

During its development Urdu language also assumed various names like the term Urdu-e-Maullah that means the exalted army which was given by Emperor Shah Jahan and the time period Rekhta meaning scattered (with Persian words) which was coined by the scholars for Urdu poetry.

History and Evolution of Urdu Language

Evolution and development of any language is dependent on the evolution and development of a society where that language is spoken. Varied invasions and conquests on a spot have an effect on the development of its language. Urdu is no exception as it additionally underwent varied phases of development.

Urdu belongs to the Indo-Aryan household of languages. Urdu by origin is considered to be a descendent of Saur Senic Prakrit. The time period Prakrriti means root or basis. It is a later version of Sanskrit. As Prakrit language began to develop, it was influenced by Western Hindi dialects of Khari Boli, Brij Bhasa and Haryanvi.

With the approaching of Insha's Darya-e-Latafat*, a need was felt to distinguish Urdu with different languages especially Hindi. It grew to become a Hindi-Urdu controversy and as a result Khari Boli and Devanagari grew to become the identity of Indians while Urdu and Persian of Muslims. In this context, Persian and Arabic words replaced with Sanskrit served the purpose of differentiating Hindi from Urdu.

Urdu emerged as a distinct language after 1193 AD - the time of the Muslims conquest. When the Muslims conquered this part of the continent, they made Persian the official and cultural language of India. On account of the amalgamation of local dialects and the language of the invaders - which was either Persian, Arabic and Turkish, a new language advanced which later turned Urdu. Throughout the Mughals reign, Urdu was spoken in palaces and court and till the top of the Mughal rule; Urdu was the official language of most of Mughal states. This was the time when Urdu had turn into Persianized and enriched with Persian words, phrases and even script and grammar. With the approaching of the British, new English words additionally turned part of the Urdu language. Many English words were accepted of their real form while others had been accepted after some modifications.

At the moment, Urdu vocabulary comprises approximately 70% of Persian words and the rest are a combination of Arabic and Turkish words. Nonetheless, there are also traces of the French, Portuguese and Dutch language in Urdu. But these influences are little.

Urdu was taken to different parts of the country by soldiers, saints and sufis and by the widespread people. On account of the political, social and cultural contacts amongst the people of various speech and dialects, a blended form of language formed called 'Rekhta' (Urdu and Persian in blended form). Quickly people started to make use of the new language of their speech and in literature which resulted in the enrichment of Urdu language and literature.

Urdu Literature

The origin of Urdu literature dates back to the thirteenth century in India throughout the Mughal rule. Some of the eminent earliest poets who made usage of Urdu in his poetry is Amir Khusro who may be called the father of Urdu language. In literature, Urdu was often used alongside side Persian. Mughal kings had been the good patrons of artwork and literature and it was under their rule that Urdu language reached its zenith. There used to be a tradition of 'Sheri Mehfils' (poetic gatherings) in the kings' courts. Abul Fazal Faizi and Abdul Rahim Khankhana were the well-known Urdu poets of Mughal court. Likewise, Mirza Ghalib, Allama Iqbal, Hakim Momin, Ibrahim Zauq, Mir Taqi Mir, Sauda, Ibn-e-Insha and Faiz Ahmed Faiz have contributed to the evolution of Urdu language by their literary works.

It's indeed true that Hindi and Urdu are descendents of the identical language i.e. Prakrit, but where the Hindi took affect from Sanskrit and adopted Devanagri script of writing, Urdu absorbed words from Persian, Turkish and Arabic languages and adopted Persian-Arabic script and Nastaliq calligraphic type of writing and emerged as a separate language. However beside common ancestry, the two languages are as completely different as can be. There are marked grammatical, phonological and lexical variations in each languages.

Urdu was also used as a tool by the Muslims for freedom wrestle and for making awareness among Muslim communities in South Asia to unite under the banner of Independence from British Raj. For this, providers of Maulana Hali, Sir Syed Ahmed Khan and Allama Iqbal should notable, who via their poetry and prose provoked the mandatory spark within the lives of the Muslims. Urdu was chosen to grow to be the nationwide language of Pakistan on the time of Independence from British. Urdu is now the nationwide language of Pakistan, spoken and understood thoroughly by mainity of the population.

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