Thursday, February 24, 2005

Urdu in Guyana

The history of Urdu in Guyana begins in the mid nineteenth century when Urdu-speaking villagers from India were brought to Guyana, by the British, to work as labourers. Until the late 1960s, Urdu and Hindi were the main languages spoken by these people and their descendents.

Two main developments led to the decline of the Urdu language. Urdu started to be perceived as the language of the minority community - Muslims, though it was spoken by both Hindus and Muslims of Guyana in the past. Though, now many people have moved to English as their primary language. Another factor in decline of Urdu is the reduced contact between the Guyanese people of south asian extraction and between Indians and Pakistanis.The second blow came when the Muslim community gradually moved fromits Indianess towards Arabness and as a result, Urdu suffered. However, Urdu is still taught at many a madrasas along with Arabic, for religious instruction.

Qasida is popular among the Urdu speaking Guyanese population, though its popularity is rapidly declining. Sad'r Islamic Anjuman offers programmes for teaching qasida and even country-wide qasida competitions are held in Guyana.

Contributed by:
Muhammad Aurangzeb Ahmad

1 comment:

Unknown said...


Wonderful update. Where is it from? Please consider if including it on the article on Urdu at:

Maybe it could be a section in that article titled "Urdu in the West Indies".