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Urdu (اردو)- The Beginning Posted by on May 24, 2017 in Uncategorized

Upon the conquest of the lands past the Indus, the Muslim armies gathered and prepared for their battles.  The strength of the communication between them could be the determinant of their fate.  Thus was laid the foundations of the Urdu (اردو) language.  It began with Muhammad bin Qasim, the Arab who entered what is now Pakistan proclaiming the message of the One God and his final messenger in the 700’s CE.  For the next thousand years many Arab, Persian, and Turkish armies conquered the region; some for worldly gains and others who sought benefit in the life to come.  A language that constituted all languages that came into power came to be known as ‘Urdu’, meaning camp, referring to history of the language how it came to existence through the army camps or as Rekhta (ریختہ), meaning molded or mixed.

The language of the Muslims of Central and Southern Asia was Persian for the time between 1000 CE and 1700 CE.  It was the language of the government, literature, and education.  After the 1700’s, Urdu emerged as the dominating force replacing Persian gradually.  Urdu, however, could be considered as a derivative of Persian as its vocabulary remained over 70% Farsi.  Urdu differentiated itself from its predecessor with additional grammatical usages and a greater influence of Arabic.  The most renowned Urdu literature is written by Mirza Assadullah Ghalib and Allama Iqbal and their works are read until today.

The fall of the Urdu language began in the late 1800’s.  Coincidentally it was the same time when the Muslims lost control of the region to the British after ruling (majority) Hindu India for over 1200 years.  The imperialist power gave great importance to the spread of English and chose Hindustani as the medium language for the average man.  Hindustani was the language mixed between Urdu and Hindi (with the scale slanted heavily towards the latter).  It was used as a tool to merge the Hindus and the Muslims into a single identity.  At this point the leaders and educated among the Muslims knew that if they didn’t create their own state, they would soon be loosing their religion, culture, and identity.

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About the Author:Nauman

I was born and raised in Pakistan and moved to the United States in 2004. I love writing about the Urdu language highlighting the peculiarities about the cultural, traditions, social events, places and personalities in Pakistan.