From Wikiquote
Jump to navigation Jump to search
The phrase Zuban-i Urdū-yi Muʿallá ("The language of the exalted camp") written in Nastaʿlīq script. - Urdu religious prose goes back several centuries, while secular writing flourished from the 19th century onward. Modern Urdu is the national language of Pakistan and is also spoken by many millions of people in India.
Lashkari Zaban ("Battalionese language") calligraphy in Nastaʿlīq script.

Urdu Language or more precisely Modern Standard Urdu, or Lashkari (لشکری), is a standardized register of the Hindustani language. Urdu is historically associated with the Muslims of the region of Hindustan. It is the national language and lingua franca of Pakistan, and an official language of six Indian states and one of the 22 scheduled languages in the Constitution of India. Apart from specialized vocabulary, Urdu is mutually intelligible with Standard Hindi, which is associated with the Hindu community. The Urdu language received recognition and patronage under the British Raj in India when the British Empire replaced the Persian and local official languages of North Indian states with the Urdu and English language in 1837.

Mushafi Ghulam Hamdani coined the name "Urdu" for the language around 1780 in his poems.


  • Urdu is a common denominator. It is the national language (national language of Pakistan). People in all the provinces of Pakistan speak Urdu.
    • Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Interview to Mr. Erich Dammen of Swiss Television at Rawalpindi, 9 August 1972
  • "In this catalogue of new demands there are some which on the face of them are extravagant and impossible, if not irresponsible. As an instance, one may refer to the demand for fifty-fifty and the demand for the recognition of Urdu as the national language of India. ... Their claim for the recognition of Urdu as the national language of India is equally extravagant. Urdu is not only not spoken all, over India but is not even the language of all the Musalmans of India. Of the 68 millions of Muslims, only 28 millions speak Urdu. The proposal of making Urdu the national language means that the language of 28 millions of Muslims is to be imposed particularly upon 40 millions of Musalmans or generally upon 322 millions of Indians."
  • “The poets of Delhi, proud of the ‘pure’ Urdu of the imperial camp… rejected the Dakani principle and practice of borrowing extensively from the Indian languages, especially if these borrowings were related to Hindu religion, culture and world-view… In this process imagery was drawn exclusively from Persian precedents, i.e., from the unseen and unexperienced sights, sounds and smells of Persia and Central Asia, rejecting totally the Indian sights, sounds and sensuous experience as materials regarded not sublime enough for poetic expression… It was a desperate unconscious clinging to the origins of the symbols of Muslim India’s cultural experience which had begun abroad, and an instinctive fear of being submerged into the Hindu cultural milieu. These modes of aesthetic appreciation, rooted so deeply in the essence of universal Islamic culture, remained more or less incomprehensible to the Hindu mind.
    • Aziz Ahmad, Studies In Islamic Culture in the Indian Environment, Oxford. 1964, pp. 252-55. [1]
  • "The very word Urdu came into being as the original Lashkari dialect, in other words, the language of the army."
    • Aijazuddin Ahmad. Geography of the South Asian Subcontinent: A Critical Approach. p. 120. 
  • “Throughout the whole range of Urdu literature in its first phase… the atmosphere of this literature is provokingly un-Indian - it is that of Persia. Early Urdu poets never so much as mention the great physical features of India - its Himalayas, its rivers like the Ganges, the Jamuna, the Sindhu, the Godavari, etc; but of course mountains and streams of Persia, and rivers of Central Asia are always there. Indian flowers, Indian plants are unknown; only Persian flowers and plants which the poet could see only in a garden. There was a deliberate shutting of the eye to everything Indian, to everything not mentioned or treated in Persian poetry… A language and literature which came to base itself upon an ideology which denied on the Indian soil the very existence of India and Indian culture, could not but be met with a challenge from some of the Indian adherents of their national culture; and that challenge was in the form of highly Sanskritized Hindi’.”
    • S.K. Chatterjee quoted in Aziz Ahmad, Studies In Islamic Culture in the Indian Environment, Oxford. 1964, pp. 252-55. [2]
  • In actual life, it is impossible to separate us into two nations. We are not two nations. Every Moslem will have a Hindu name if he goes back far enough in his family history. Every Moslem is merely a Hindu who has accepted Islam. That does not create nationality. … We in India have a common culture. In the North, Hindi and Urdu are understood by both Hindus and Moslems. In Madras, Hindus and Moslems speak Tamil, and in Bengal, they both speak Bengali and neither Hindi nor Urdu. When communal riots take place, they are always provoked by incidents over cows and by religious processions. That means that it is our superstitions that create the trouble and not our separate nationalities.
    • Mahatma Gandhi, Conversations with Louis Fischer, June 6, 1942, in Louis Fischer, A Week with Gandhi, pp. 45-46.
  • "Islamism immediately revived the lost cause of Urdu behind the smoke-screen of this Communist campaign against Hindi. It lauded loudly when progressive Urdu poets like Firaq Gorakhpuri lampooned Hindi in a language which was largely unprintable. Simultaneously, Islamism started parading Urdu as the great language of culture and refinement which will be lost to India for good if Urdu was allowed to go under. No Communist came forward to examine this “culture and refinement as a legacy of decadent Muslim courts and a frivolous Muslim aristocracy. No Communist questioned the heavy Persianisation and Arabicisation of Urdu which made it incomprehensible even to educated people, leave alone the man in Chandni Chowk. The recognition of Urdu as a second language has today become a sine qua non of Secularism."
  • Let me make it very clear to you, it is no doubt that the state language of Pakistan is going to be Urdu and no other language. Anyone who tries to mislead you is really the enemy of Pakistan. Without state language, no nation can remain tied up solidly together and function. Look at the history of every government judgement substitute language. Therefore, so far as the State language is concerned, Pakistan's state language shall be Urdu.

  • "Urdu begins, as matter of commonsense have begun, as soon as the Ghaznavi armies got to Lahore in 1027 -and Lahore was nowhere near the area of Khari (and still less of Braj and Adhvani)"
    • Central Asian Review Volume 15 (1967)
  • A word from Urdu will be seen intruding into Hindi like a crow among swans, at one place, while at another, a Hindi word in the midst of Urdu will ruin the flavor like salt in a sweet dish.
    • Premchand, quoted in Sheldon Pollock - Literary Cultures in History_ Reconstructions from South Asia-University of California Press (2003), also in Jain, M. (2010). Parallel pathways: Essays on Hindu-Muslim relations, 1707-1857.
  • It is equally important to know that Urdu poetry came under the influence of Persian poetry at a time when the latter had fallen into decadence. The result was that our poetry was tainted with narrowness and artificiality at the very outset of its career. ... Urdu poetry lacks freshness because, among other things presently to be discussed, it leaves out observation and borrows its imagery wholesale from Persia. From this it naturally follows that our medieval poetry, especially the gha^al^ has no local colour. In this respect, the contrast between Urdu poetry and Hindi and Punjabi and Sanskrit poetry is striking. The latter have grown out of the soil and absorbed its natural wealth and social background. And for this reason they make a deeper ap- peal to us than Urdu poetry. One of the most unfailing sources of aesthetic enjoyment in poetry lies in the idealization and recognition in it of things we see and love in life. It is not only that the sights and scenes we are familiar with come crowding to the mind when des- cribed in poetry and make the poetic experience richer and more significant. By far the greatest function of poetry, as I take it, is to send us back to life with an increased zest for it: it is a training for a fuller and more significant life. Your heart will not dance with the daffodils unless you have seen them disporting in the air, like Words- worth; and if you have seen them under the lead of the poet’s imagination, then your observation of them in future will acquire associations which it did not have before. In this respect the poverty of Urdu poetry is too palpable to require further comment.
    • M. Sadiq, "A History Of Urdu Literature." [3] also in Jain, M. (2010). Parallel pathways: Essays on Hindu-Muslim relations, 1707-1857. also in in Amrit Rai - A house divided _ the origin and development of Hindi_Hindavi-Oxford University Press (1984)
  • Urdu literary culture from the late eighteenth century on- ward does place an unfortunate stress, which is also entirely disproportion- ate to their value, on “purism,” “language reform,” “purging the language of undesirable usages,” and—worst of all—privileging all Persian-Arabic over all Urdu. Urdu is the only language whose writers have prided themselves on “deleting” or “excising” words and phrases from their active vocabulary. Instead of taking pride in the enlargement of vocabulary, they took joy in limiting the horizon of language, to the extent of banishing many words used even by literate speakers or their own ustads.
    • Faruqi, 2003, in Sheldon Pollock - Literary Cultures in History_ Reconstructions from South Asia-University of California Press (2003), also in Jain, M. (2010). Parallel pathways: Essays on Hindu-Muslim relations, 1707-1857.
  • After he (Abdul Haq) migrated to Pakistan, he said, at a meeting in Karachi held to celebrate the 92nd birth anniversary of Ghalib on 15 February 1961, something quite different —as this short extract from the press report appearing in the official fortnightly bulletin of the Anjuman Taraqqui-e-Urdu (Pakistan) shows:
    In his presidential speech Baba-e-Urdu [Abdul Haq) expressing his unhappiness over the disregard shown to Urdu in Pakistan said that Pakistan was not created by Jinnah, nor was it created by Iqbal; it was Urdu that created Pakistan. The fundamental reason for the discord between the Hindus and the Muslims was the Urdu language. The entire two-nation theory and all other differences of this nature issued solely from Urdu. Therefore, Pakistan owes a debt of gratitude to Urdu.
    Coming from the father of the Urdu Movement this was a stunning revelation.
    • Abdul Haq in Amrit Rai - A house divided _ the origin and development of Hindi_Hindavi-Oxford University Press (1984)
  • "In fact this mixture of locals and foreigners gave birth to the language of Urdu in Lahore that was called Lashkari Zuban (language of the army) at that time."
    • Khalid, Kanwal. Lahore During the Ghaznavid Period
Wikipedia has an article about: