Urdu is both an aristocratic language as well as the commoner’s language. It is the commoner’s language because in fact the later Mughals had become almost (though not quite) commoners, having lost their Empire. It is at the same time not the common man’s language, since the common man’s language is Hindustani, not Urdu. The later Mughals, despite being pauperized refused to be treated like paupers and insisted on being treated with respect as aristocrats. Urdu has the graces, polish and sophistication of an aristocratic language. Thus Urdu has a dual nature; it is both the common man’s language (aawaam ki zubaan) and also the aristocrat’s language (the common man’s language being Hindustani or Khariboli). This may sound a paradox, but it is true, and in fact this is the beauty of Urdu, that while it is the language of the common man, expressing all the problems, worries, sorrows and hopes of the common man, it is also a language of grace, polish, sophistication and dignity.
It has been mentioned above that Urdu is basically a combination of two languages, Hindustani (or simple Hindi) and Persian, the former being the common man’s language, while the latter being the aristocrat’s language. It has also been mentioned that Urdu is a special kind of Hindustani, not a special kind of Persian (because the verbs in it are all in Hindustani). Continuing this analysis it may be stated that the content of Urdu i.e. the feelings and ideas expressed therein are that of the common man, but its form of expression is aristocratic. In other words, Urdu expresses the troubles, sorrows, anxieties and hopes and aspirations of the common man, but its style (andaz-e-bayan) is not that of a common man but that of an aristocrat.
For instance, the greatest Urdu poet Ghalib had a horror of the commonplace in the mode of expression in poetry. Regarding himself an aristocrat, he had an intense desire to be different from the common masses, and his poetry is marked by its originality and unconventionality. Ghalib was of the firm view that the language of poetry should not be the same as the spoken language. Hence he often expresses his thoughts not directly but indirectly, by hints and suggestions. The same is true of many other Urdu poets. They often express their thoughts and feelings not in simple, direct language but by insinuations, allusions, indications, and in a roundabout way, the aim being to appear sophisticated and elitist, instead of being common place. This sometimes makes the work difficult to understand (the great Urdu critic and biographer Hali regarded one-third of Ghalib’s verses too recondite to be regarded as being in Urdu), and sometimes several meanings can be attributed to the same verse.
However, the aristocratic style and sophistication (andaaz-e-bayan) of Urdu is what makes it powerful, and enables the emotion and thoughts of the common man to be expressed forcefully and robustly.