1947 Partition of India and Pakistan Urdu
Many in the Indo-Pak sub continent still believe that the partition in 1947 between India and Pakistan should not have happened and the greatest damage to Urdu was probably done by the partition itself. Since then Urdu was branded in India as a foreign language, as a language of Muslims alone, so much so that even Muslims stopped studying Urdu to show their `patriotism’ and solidarity with their Hindu brethren. After 1947 Persian words which were in common usage were systematically sought to be replaced by Sanskrit words which were not in common use. This policy of hatefully removing Persian words which were in common use in Khariboli and replacing them by Sanskrit words which are not in common use resulted in creating an unnecessarily Sanskritized Hindi which the common man often finds it difficult to understand. Also this policy of hatred for Persian words resulted in almost genocide for Urdu.
Despite all hostile efforts the language which speaks the voice of the heart can never be stamped out as long as people have hearts. The evidence that Urdu lives in the hearts of Indians even today can be seen from the surprisingly large crowds which `mushairas’ attract, from all sections of society and in all parts of the country. If Urdu is a foreign language it is very surprising that the people of India love it so much, they buy Urdu poetry books, sing Urdu songs, etc.
I suggest that the Devanagri script be also used in publication of works of Urdu poets, since that will enable those who do not know the Persian script to read it. In my opinion one should not be too rigid about the script. Some ‘Progressive’ writers wanted that all Urdu should be written in Devanagri script, but I do not agree with this view. A flexible approach should be adopted leaving it to the individual to choose whatever script he wants.
What can be done is that in the left hand page the text can be published in the Persian script, while on the right hand page it can be published in the Devanagri script, with meanings of difficult words explained below in simple Hindi. The great Urdu writer Josh once said that Urdu suffered badly after 1947 because it was cut away from bread and butter. This is true. One main reason why people stopped learning and reading Urdu was because it would not help them in their livelihood (as it did before 1947).
I would like to appeal to Urdu (and Hindi) writers to use simple language. Often on reading some Hindi or Urdu work one finds it difficult to understand it. But if what is written is not even understandable what use is there of such literature? Today the people are facing terrible problems like poverty, unemployment, terrorism etc. Literature must contribute to the people’s struggles in the face of these problems, and that it can do by using simple language which the people can understand. It must be remembered that Mir and Ghalib wrote for select gatherings comprising of aristocrats and the educated elite. In the modern age Urdu writers must write for the masses, and for that they must use simpler language.