The Urdu Language
لسانِ اردو : ماضی, مستقبل, و حال
The History تاریخ در میکدہ یک روز یک شخص نے کہا ہے
ہمارے شہر کا والی گدا بیحیا
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 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, servants of Britain. At this point the leaders and educated among the Muslims knew that if they didn’t create their own state, they would soon be Indianized loosing their religion, culture, and identity.
The Muslims created their state to the far West of the Empire, bordering Iran. They left the cities from which they ruled such as Agra to the Hindus. Islamic architecture and signs of Muslim rule can still be found in India to this day. The land of the Muslims came to be known as the Islamic Republic of Pakistan (اسلامی جمہوریہِ پاکستان), translated as ‘the Land of the Pure’. There were great visions for the people, the country, and the state (ایمان, اتحاد, و نظم) Faith, Unity, and Discipline :based on three main principles. A leadership by the will of the people that would institute the Shari’a system (Islamic Law) while at the same time promoting education and the progression of the nation. A dream of economic, technological, and scientific progression abstaining from that which the Creator forbade and remaining steadfast on what He commanded. Urdu was at that time the language of the government, educational system, and the people.
Then befell unto Pakistan tragedies that could be lamented until the Day of Resurrection. Corrupt men and women took control of the country and used the power for personal gain; education and literacy fell greatly. The Urdu language was directly affected by these events. Media and technology were on the rise and more and more people had access to motion video pictures. Soon the common man was drawn to the glamour of English movies and the indecency of Indian films; the study and usage of Urdu grew to minimal levels. After a military coupe d’etat Pakistan fell into the hands of Musharraf and his officers. Now, the future of the Urdu language looks grim resting in the hands of those ready to compromise themselves and their faith. Continued in ‘Future’ section.