Tuesday, June 07, 2005

My Experiences with Urdu

Urdu language may never die but Urdu script is definitely facing a threat in India. People have already been writing Urdu in Hindi script and now among the English-knowing Urdu-speaking population, there's this new trend of writing Urdu in Roman script. Ironically enough, i am a part of such group, myself.

It isn't that i don't love or like writing in Urdu script but the fact is i don't have that skill of writing in it faster than i write in Hindi or English. The reason was the insignificant need of Urdu in our daily lives. Hindi became the National language and English - the professionally official language. In light of these facts, Urdu script lost to other languages despite the love I have for the language I call my mother tongue. Well, the only advantage that Urdu got in my life is that i used to write letters to my mother in Urdu when i was studying at Aligarh. They were short but sweet. I used to get my mother's reply with all the corrections. This is how i learned to write whatever Urdu I can. Once we got telephones and mobile phones, the practice of letter writing was also taken away from me.

But I haven't lost on it yet. I am still trying to read every bit of Urdu text that catches my eye and attention. I try to visualize writing words, phrases, song lyrics and shers in Urdu. This is what takes me closer to writing Urdu. And I have this small but beautiful dream that one day I will blog in Urdu and bring it back in my life.

In India, I get to read Urdu on the Railway stations of the states which have Urdu as one of their official languages. I get to read it on signboards, notice boards of Masjids, Madrasas, Hospitals backed by Muslim institutions and on posters of seminars and conferences conducted by institutions like SIO, IRF etc. Another example of Urdu reading material is promotional pamphlets of new establishments and shops in the city, distributed outside Masjids after Friday prayers.

I also remember my mother trying to get us to read a children's Urdu publication called "Khilona" which we didn't like much because of its poor printing quality and unattractive graphics.

I think, this is most of what i could recall from my personal experience with Urdu.

~ Qais

6 comments:

Hypocrisy Thy Name said...

Firstly, It is Urdu which was known as Hindi before 1947. Hindi otherwise is no language. Script of Hindi was the same as Farsi. The way you say Hindi is being written is actually a copy of Sanskrit. Bangla and Gurmukhi were also written in a similar fashion. I don't know what is going on now in India.

Qais said...

Well, i am not that well-informed as you might be but i do know that Hindi is written in devnagri script which is much older than Urdu. One basic difference between these two languages is Urdu is dominated by Arabic and Persian Influence while Hindi has a Sanskrit influence.

I don't want to adopt a Jingoistic approach by claiming Hindi to be a by-product of Urdu or vice-versa.

To me, what matters more is that these languages (Urdu and Hindi) brought two different civilizations together and I have greater love for one which has arabic and persian influence, and happens to be my mother tongue.

iFaqeer said...

The best description I have seen of this situation is that Urdu and Hindi, (together with the various dialects in North India and Pakistan) form a "diasystem". See:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diasystem
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urdu#Urdu_-_Hindi_-_Hindustani
and
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hindustani_language

iFaqeer
http://iFaqeer.blogspot.com

urdudaaN said...

Yours is a great blog.
As you don't want to go any deeper to know what Urdu actually is and how it shaped (even though it will be once in a lifetime exercise) it will surely disappear.
The greatest damage to Urdu has been caused by Urdu-speaking people, much the same way the earth has been vandalised by its own children, i.e. us.

urdudaaN said...

And the 'sher' praising Urdu, written at the top of this blog, only makes me think that Urdu has already disappeared.

indscribe said...

The situation has worsened so much that even on the epitaphs of graveyards Urdu is disappearing even in North India. But still the language will survive. Inshallah!