HOME :: Our Mission is to educate, entertain and invoke critical thinking in creating a cohesive environment to work, socialize and function effectively through the medium of Poetry. Our purpose is to establish a new stream of Pluralism poetry in Urdu and Hindi languages - indeed, it is the 2nd most spoken language in the world. Mike Ghouse, Foundation for Pluralism, Studies in Pluralistic societies

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Finding’ the ‘lost’ Urdu

www.UrduHindi.net | Shared by Dalibagh from Indian Express.

The greatest linguistic shames of the century that I know are endured by three languages; Maya, Bo and Urdu.  Perhaps there are more, if you do know others, please share in the comment section below http://urduhindinet.blogspot.com/2015/02/finding-lost-urdu.html

1. Speaking Mayan language in Belize is a crime; they are prevented from speaking the language. The tyrants in Mexico do the same.  I was in Mexico with the high priest of the Maya tribe – and took them up to the Chichen-itza temple, they were afraid of going up there and praying. I took them up and dared the Mexican authorities and for the first time in 30 years they prayed in their own temple. |

2. The Bo Language - http://mikeghouseforindia.blogspot.com/2010/02/press-release-in-behalf-of-indians-of.html

3.  Urdu Language – Not all, but enough of the crazies among right wing Hindus and right wing Muslims alike have forced it to become the language of Muslims. How dumb and stupid!  Even in India, the Muslim Bengalis, Malyalees, Guajarati, Tamilians… and neither the Arabs nor the Indonesians, the largest Muslim population in the world speak Urdu.  Whereas Hindus of North India do speak Urdu, it is their language.  Urdu is the language of India, born and bred in India; it is also the official language of Pakistan.

The writer of the article Irene made a point to show the so called Urdu words in Hindi language.  What she failed to share was that the Urdu dictionary has almost all the “Hindi” words listed as Urdu words which I have checked, however I have not checked the Hindi dictionary if it has all the words known as Urdu words.  That is the way to go forward to be inclusive of the other.

I have always called it Hindustani, the only language in the world with three scripts – Devanagiri, Farsi and Roman.  Indeed, our website is UrduHindi.net to reflect that Unity.

I have not made the time to watch “Hindi” movies in a long time – three hours is a lot of time. However, I have learned to watch a few with my wife – we just watched “2 States” a must watch movie – there it is the common Hindustani in it – a blend of Urdu and Hindi that most people can understand. Then we watched Babul with Amitabh, Salman and John Abraham – It’s beautiful Urdu in it laced with specific Hindi words to describe the Hindu tradition.  We also watched Namaste London….

There was a song which talked about, “ choro urdu hindi ka Jhagda” cannot think of the whole song but there is another one that speak about kids “ bhasha ki takrar nahin mazhab ki deewar nahin” from the song in Do Kaliyan. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d95tEfX9pNE

My personal contribution to Urdu would be to make this a language free from Muslims and Hindus, and re-induction of words and similes that both people can relate. The references should not be merely Muslim history but Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Jewish, Buddhist, Christian, Adivasis and Dalit heritage as well. 

In 2012 we introduced a new stream of Pluralism in the poetry to seed the idea of one language that reflects the larger culture of the subcontinent.  Thanks to so many poets of Dallas for beautifully re-blending the cultures in their poetry.

There are many poems, but here are the two that reflect inclusion of similes (references) from subcultures of the Subcontinent – Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Christian, Jain, Jewish, Adivasis, Buddhist and others.

I propose that the Hindu and Urdu groups sit down with both the dictionaries and make random comparisons of 100 words and I hope someday both the Urdu and Hindi dictionaries will carry the same words.

I hope you like the following piece

Mike Ghouse

Such uninterested, defeatist “Urdu-is-dead-who-cares” attitude among Muslims will ensure the language continues to be denied the credit it deserves. In such times, it is good news that social media, and Pakistani serials are doing their bit for the Urdu cause. But here too, it would be great to see if praise for Urdu is not limited to just its poetry, but also extends to its simple, humble words that we use in our everyday lives. Ummeed hai hamari khwahish poori ho.

The young generation of Muslims can not read Urdu script although they speak Urdu at home. They were educated in Hindi medium and are comfortable with it. Unless parents teach their children Urdu at home they will not be comfortable with Urdu script. Although state governments have given some help to urdu schools their standards are low. There are no science and mathematics books in Urdu hence the emphasis on learning Urdu is on language and poetry rather than science and mathematics.

‘Finding’ the ‘lost’ Urdu: But did the language ever really go away? http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/finding-the-lost-urdu/99/

A large number of mushairas and qawwalis are being held in metropolitan cities, thus further helping Urdu make a “comeback”. A large number of mushairas and qawwalis are being held in metropolitan cities, thus further helping Urdu make a “comeback”.


A large number of mushairas and qawwalis are being held in metropolitan cities, thus further helping Urdu make a “comeback”.

Written by Irena Akbar | Posted: February 17, 2015 5:39 pm | Updated: February 17, 2015 5:47 pm

There is Faiz in the air. Urdu, the “lost” language of the poets, the hopeless romantics and the ardent idealists, is “re-emerging”. Several online Facebook groups are dedicated to varied Urdu poets, and Urdu learning websites such as Rekhta and Urduwallahs are becoming popular. Pakistani soap operas, broadcast on Zindagi channel, too are helping “revive” the language that “got lost due to Partition”. A large number of mushairas and qawwalis are being held in metropolitan cities, thus further helping Urdu make a “comeback”.

The question, however, is, did Urdu really go away? If anything, it has stayed on, through Bollywood songs, and since the 1990s, through Hindi news channels. Hindi news channels relay “khabrein”, not “samachar”, as was by Doordarshan. Reporters talk of a “shakhs”, not a “vyakti”, and use “adalat” instead of “nyayalaya”, for example. So, since the 1990s, the use of Urdu in popular media has gone beyond just Hindi cinema and extended to television news. Certainly, the language has not been “dying” as Urdu “revivalists” claim.

What has been dying is not the language, but the credit given to the language. Most people don’t know that many of the words spoken in Hindi films or news channels are Urdu. This is not a case of war between Hindi and Urdu. Both languages are closely linked to and depend on each other for their survival. After Partition, Urdu came to be identified with Muslims. “Muslim” Urdu became the state language of Pakistan and was imposed on native Punjabi, Sindhi and Pashtun speakers. In northern India, the land of Urdu and Hindi, the language lost its popularity among non-Muslim Hindi speakers because of its “Muslim” label. Publishers of Urdu books began focusing only on religious literature, further making it less attractive for the non-Muslim audience. In sad contrast, there was a time when Hindu poets like Firaq Gorakhpuri added so much to Urdu heritage.

After Partition, and even now, it is Hindi cinema and news that have ensured Urdu its space in popular culture. But let’s not get patronising here. Urdu writers such as Salim Khan, Javed Akhtar, Sahir Ludhianvi and Shakeel Badayuni have contributed immensely to Hindi cinema. In fact, many Hindi film titles are in Urdu, like Mohabbatein, Kurbaan, Dil, etc. Most Hindi film singers and actors take classes in Urdu diction. Had it not been for Urdu, would we ever have timeless Bollywood dialogues like “Mogambo khush hua” or “Kitne aadmi the” or “Main tumhara khoon pee jaaoonga”?

Yes, “khush”, “aadmi” and “khoon” are Urdu words. And here is the flipside to the Hindi-Urdu marriage. Urdu has so often been used in Hindi cinema — which is a good thing — that Urdu words are now mistaken as Hindi — which is a bad thing. Hindi has helped Urdu grow in popular culture, but in the process, it has stolen (for lack of a better word) many Urdu words and added to its lexicon. How many of us know that “paani”, “duniya”, “gussa” and “baad” are Urdu words? In Hindi, these words are translated as “jal”, “jag”, “krodh” and “pashchaat”. Some people, thankfully, call this mixed lexicon “Hindustani”, thus acknowledging the frequent use of Urdu in Hindi. In fact, even as the government goes overboard in promoting Sanskrit, its ministers use Urdu words like “Ram-zaade” or “Haraam-zaade” to put their messages across.

But it’s neither the fault of Hindi or Urdu for the dying acknowledgment of the use of Urdu. Languages are used by people, and it’s only people who can make them thrive, survive or perish. So, for the sake of acknowledgment of the the use of Urdu, Hindi and Urdu speakers need to put in their efforts. Sadly, that’s not how it is. Take Zindagi channel. Despite garnering critical appraise and TRPs not just for broadcasting better content but also for “bringing back Urdu to the living rooms”, it has adopted a new tag line: “India’s premium Hindi channel”. When everyone is loving the Urdu being spoken in its serials, why not call itself “India’s premium Urdu channel”? Some say it is a way to attract more viewers. But how will Urdu in its tag line repel viewers? My sad guess is the channel’s decision is probably because of the language’s “Muslim” association.

And here comes the responsibility of Urdu speakers, primarily Muslims of north India. I am not getting into how governments, Muslim political leaders or organisations need to go about Urdu’s cause. I am talking about ordinary Urdu speakers. Here’s a small but telling example. I follow a Facebook page called “Lucknow”. A year or so back, the page would share posts which would display a word, its origin and its use in a couplet. The word, and the couplet, would be displayed in Roman and Devnagri scripts. The origin of the word would invariably be mentioned as Persian or Arabic. It was clear the word belonged to the Urdu language. But why no mention of Urdu? I asked the administrator of the page if, alongside the Roman and Devngari scripts, the word could be written in Persian script, so that people know it’s Urdu. The administrator, a Lucknow-based Muslim, said he had a “space problem” and “nobody understands Urdu”. It’s when other followers of the page, mostly non-Muslim, started demanding that they would like to read the word in Persian script, that the administrator agreed to my suggestion.

At the launch of an Urdu daily in the capital about two years ago, prominent Muslim businessman Sirajuddin Qureshi had said that he had started an Urdu newspaper some time back but no Muslim family he knew subscribed to it and so he had to shut it down. Also, when the Census was being conducted sometime in 1999-2000, some of our Muslim neighbours had said their native language was Hindi, even though they spoke Urdu at home. Their explanation: “Who cares about Urdu now”.

Such uninterested, defeatist “Urdu-is-dead-who-cares” attitude among Muslims will ensure the language continues to be denied the credit it deserves. In such times, it is good news that social media, and Pakistani serials are doing their bit for the Urdu cause. But here too, it would be great to see if praise for Urdu is not limited to just its poetry, but also extends to its simple, humble words that we use in our everyday lives. Ummeed hai hamari khwahish poori ho.

1 comment:

  1. Speaking English does not promote integration into British, American and Australian societies, and broaden opportunities. English speaking Muslim youths are angry, frustrated and extremist, thanks to state schools with monolingual non-Muslim teachers and English language. English language is not only a lingua franca but also lingua frankensteinia. Human right are also covers linguistic right. Cultural and linguistic genocide are very common. British schooling is murdering community languages like Arabic, Urdu and others. English is today the world killer language. Linguistic genocide is a crime against humanity and British schooling is guilty of committing this crime. Language is not just a language. It defines one's culture, identity and consciousness. It defines how we think, communicate and express ourselves. The fact is the most South Asian Muslims have come to know Islam by way of Urdu, the children's alienation from the language that connects them the heritage of their parents and grandparents is disturbing.

    “A good grasp of one’s mother tongue is an essential base for a child who then has to get to grips with the language of their host country,” reckons Amelia Lambelet of the Fribourg Institute of Multilingualism. Therese Salzmann, an expert in multilingualism at the Swiss Institute of Youth and Media, agrees. “The teaching of mother tongues reinforces self-confidence and gives the child a feeling of security.” She adds that “taking account of a child’s double cultures is a determining factor in their social integration and professional success.”

    The sound knowledge of one's owns language would appear to help – not hinder the acquisition of a second language and bilingual children may even have cognitive advantages and that the ability to speak more than one language is going to be increasingly important for the world of the future. Therefore, Muslim children and young Muslims have potentially a major educational advantage, although sadly this is not being developed well at present. British policy makers now recognise bilingualism as an educational asset rather than a problem. Education plays a central role in the transmission of languages from one generation to the next. The teaching of mother tongues is essential in terms of culture and identity. Arabic is a religious language for the Muslims but for Pakistanis, Urdu is also essential for culture and identity. Blind Muslim children in Bradford are learning to read Arabic and Urdu Braille, by a blind teacher who travelled from Pakistan.

    A Muslim is a citizen of this tiny global village. He/she does not want to become notoriously monolingual Brit. A Muslim must learn and be well versed in Standard English to follow the National Curriculum and go for higher studies and research to serve humanity. At the same time they must learn and be well versed in Arabic, Urdu and other community languages to keep in touch with their cultural heritage and enjoy the beauty of their literature and poetry. English is their economic language while Arabic and Urdu are their religious, social and emotional languages. It is purely an educational question.

    The largest ethnic minority groups in British schools are children of Pakistani origin: a community often accused of resisting assimilation and integration. Ann Cryer, the MP for Keighley blamed Imams for not speaking English. She should blame British schooling for not teaching Urdu/Arabic to Pakistani children, thus depriving them of understanding the Sermons in Arabic/Urdu. They are unable to enjoy the beauty of Urdu/Arabic literature and poetry. Imams are not part of the problem rather than the solutions. There is a proposal to teach Urdu as a compulsory language instead of French and German in British schools. The linguistic abilities of large number of Muslim children were being ignored because they had to learn another European language as well as mastering English.