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Origin of Urdu Language

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Medieval Urdu literary works, Official languages of India

Mains level : Origin of Urdu Language

Context

  • Recently Punjab University had proposed to merge Department of Urdu language with school of foreign languages to be set up after merging departments of French, Russian, German, Chinese and Tibetan.
  • The move earned huge criticism and Punjab CM objected to this move of PU and said that Urdu is an Indian language like any other Indian language.

Origin of Urdu Language

  • The origin of Urdu language had taken place in India several centuries back and the names of three places-all in India- are quoted in the historical references.
  • All the historical references indicate that origin of Urdu had taken place in Punjab state of India.
  • The great poet Ameer Khusro, in his book ‘Ghurrat-ul- Kamal’ had written that Masood Lahori a renowned poet born in Lahore in 11th century had composed poetry in Hindvi (Urdu) which is also called Dehlavi.
  • This shows that Urdu was very much originated from Punjab as Lahore was the part of greater Punjab only before partition.
  • Even if it has derived some root words from Persian and Arabic languages then they were changed into Urdu language in India.
  • Before it is called Urdu, it was familiar with other names including Hindustani, Hindavi, Dehlavi and Rekhta.
  • The subject, object, auxiliary, verb, grammar, tenses of Urdu are very much Indian and like the Hindi language.

How it got developed and flourished and where?

  • As per the historical references after its origin in Punjab, Urdu got developed and flourished in Delhi along with part of Haryana state and some states in South where it was developed in the form of ‘Dakhni (Deccani) language’.
  • Historians said that it had developed and flourished in Delhi during the period of ‘Delhi Sultanate’ from 12th to 16th century and then during the period of ‘Mughal Empire’ in Delhi from 16th century to 19th century.
  • It flourished as several court poets used this language in their great poetry and writings. And then it was also developed in Deccan states.

Connection with Deccan India

  • When Delhi Sultanate and then Mughal Empire spread its wings towards the Deccan, Urdu speaking people of Delhi spread the language in South.
  • There it got developed and flourished in Dakhan (Deccan) states mainly in Karnataka, nowadays Telangana, part of Kerala and Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra.
  • The language derived even local words of the local languages of those states and developed it as a ‘Dakhni’ language which was a bit distinctive of Urdu language in North.
  • It was during the reign of Delhi Sultanate emperor Muhammad –bin-Tughlaq who had decided to move his capital from Delhi to Daulatabad or Devagiri or Deogiri ( a present-day Aurangabad) in 1327 in Maharasthra.
  • With the migration of Delhi’s people, the several Urdu speaking people of Delhi spread its usage in Maharashtra for seven years till the capital of Delhi Sultanate was not reversed to Delhi in 1334.

What is Urdu’s official status in India?

  • It is one of the officials’ languages under the Constitution of India, it is among the 15 Indian Languages written on the Indian Currency notes.
  • It is one of the official languages in states like Kashmir, Telangana, UP, Bihar, New Delhi and West Bengal.
  • In Punjab, all old records in the Revenue Department are available in Urdu language only.
  • Several million in Indian speak this language besides it has great impact on around four dozen cities and regions where it is spoken widely.
  • Post-independence much attention was not given to the language and several states where Urdu was a compulsory subject in school curriculum was no more a compulsory subject now.
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