PDA

View Full Version : Origins of Hindi



Anjuman-i Taraqqi-i Urdu
03-19-2018, 03:57 PM
I'm having a hard time understanding why this forum is called "hindi". This language didn't even exist until 1860 anyway, when North Indian Hindu nationalists essentially took the Urdu language and replaced the Nastaliq script with Devanagari script and replaced the Persian words with either Sanskrit words or English words. A simple study can be done...find me any piece of Hindi literature written before 1860. You won't be able to find any.


Urdu vs Hindi
A lot of debate over Urdu and “Hindi” languages has occurred since the turn of the 20th century. The official line today is that Urdu and “Hindi” are both registers of Hindustani language, with Urdu being the “Persianzed variant” of it, while “Hindi” being the Indic variant of it…but is this actually true? Turns out…it’s not. The Hindustani myth was made popular by Mahatma Gandhi in the 1920s to essentially bring harmony and closure to the debate. As you read on, you’ll understand why a conflict arose in the late 1860s and why both languages had become religious symbols – Urdu for Muslims and “Hindi” for Hindus. But upon introspection and a little common sense, it will become apparent to you as to which language existed for hundreds of years, and which language was simply invented out of thin air. Contrary to popular belief, Urdu was not a language of the Muslims. In fact, all Hindus living in the Delhi region spoke and wrote Urdu right up until the turn of the 20th century. What happened afterwards is where the story gets interesting.

~ Defining Urdu & Hindi ~
Before discussing this topic, we need to define terms. The term Urdu and Hindi have been around since at least the 16th century. What is today known as “Standard Urdu” was first referred to as "Zuban-e-Urdu-e-Mualla" (زبانِ اُردُوئے معلّٰى) or “language of the camp" in Persian. Urdu derives from Turkic Ordū meaning "camp" and was given this name due to its origin as the common speech of the Mughal Army. This language was written in the Nastaliq (نستعلیق‬‎) script using the Persian Alphabet and over time was given many names depending upon which region in the Mughul Empire you lived in and what dialect you spoke. Zaban-e-Urdu-e-Mualla has also been referred to as:

- Zaban-e-Delhi (زبانِ دہلی)
- Rekhta (ریختہ‬)
- Dakhani (دکنی)
- Zaban-e-Urdu (زبانِ اردو)
- Urdu (اُردُو‬‎)
- Hindavi (ہندوی)
- Zaban-e-Hind (زبانِ ھند)
- Hindi (ہندی)
- Hindustani (ہندوستانی)

Regardless of what name the language was called, there was one common denominator. The language was written in Nastaliq script – no it was not written in Devanagari script during this period…even the terms Hindi being used at this time were in reference to Zuban-e-Urdu-e-Mualla, a language written in Nastaliq. Irrespective of what dialect you spoke and irrespective of the fact that the population in the Delhi Subah was majority Hindu, it was Urdu that would became the common peoples language in this region for the next 350 years.

~ Khariboli and the origins of Urdu ~
No discussion on Urdu can be had without discussing Khariboli. This language was spoken in the Delhi region between 900 and 1200 AD. Khariboli derived from a series of Middle Indo-Aryan languages – these middle languages arose when the Aryans migrated to the Indus Valley in 1500 BCE and syncretised with the local Harappans giving rise to Vedic Civilization, and hence Vedic Sanskrit, which later evolved into Middle Indo-Aryan languages like Gandhari and Pali. From these Middle Indo-Aryan languages, arose languages like Khariboli, Braj Bhasha, Awadhi and Maithili, all of which were spoken natively around the Delhi region. These languages came to be regarded as rural and unrefined. However, Khariboli seem to have survived as it was spoken in the urban areas.

~ Influence of Persian ~
When Muslim rule began, the Delhi Sultanate, which comprised of several Turkic dynasties, introduced Persian to the region, and specifically around Delhi, from where they ruled. Later the Mughal Empire took control in 1526 – although the Mughals were of Timurid (Gurkānī) Turko-Mongol descent, they were Persianised, and Persian had gradually become the state language of the Mughal Empire. Khariboli, spoken in the urban areas, would begin coming in contact with Persian. This was especially true around Mughul courts, as Persian was the official language of the court, while Khariboli was the language of the common masses. Over this period, Persian would influence Khariboli and thus gradually a new language would form and be regarded as a “prestige dialect”. The Mughuls called this language “Zuban-e-Urdu-e-Mualla”. Amir Khusro, who lived in the 13th century during the Delhi Sultanate period, used this language in his writings and referred to it as Hindavi. As mentioned earlier, this language had many names – however, regardless of what name was given, it was written in the same Nastaliq script and Persian (Urdu) alphabet.

~ End of Muslim rule ~
In the 18th century, towards the end of the Mughal period, with the fragmentation of the empire and the elite system, Urdu came to gradually replace Persian as the lingua franca among the educated elite upper class in the Delhi region, though Persian still retained much of its pre-eminence. The term Hindustani by now was being used to describe Urdu. Again, regardless of what name it was given, the common denominator was that it was written in Nastaliq script using the Persian alphabet. Then the failure of the 1857 War of Independence occured against the British. This was a tragic defeat, especially for the Muslims. Following this uprising against Britain, the British initiated an investigative commission (Hunter Commission) to understand the reasons for the uprising and how it could be prevented in the future. The commission concluded that Muslims were the main cause of the uprising as “Mohemadans (Muslims) are bound in conscience to rebel against the Queen” as was stated. He also offered suggestions as how to prevent a further uprising – this included shutting down all Madrassas as well as the banning Persian. Banning Persian instantly brought Urdu to the forefront. In fact, the British promoted Urdu and in 1857 when the British Raj was established, both English and Urdu (Hindustani) were made official languages of the new colony. In fact, the British commonly used the terms Hindustani and Hindi to describe Urdu. Again, irrespective of the name given, it was written in Nastaliq script. I keep emphasizing this over and over again, as the next section will open up significant controversy.

~ North Indian Hindu Nationalism ~
When Urdu (Hindustani) was made an official language of the British Raj in 1857, this outraged many North Indian Hindu nationalists, particularly in Bihar. But the question is why? Urdu (Hindustani) was the language of the masses – Sumit Sarkar notes that in the 18th and the bulk of the 19th century, "Urdu had been the language of polite culture over a big part of north India, for Hindus quite as much as Muslims". If both Hindus and Muslims were speaking Urdu, why was there such an outrage when the British made it an official language of the Raj? Well, in order to understand this you have to understand the political environment of that time. This was 1857 and for the first time in over 950 years, a non-Muslim empire was ruling India. For conservative Hindus (particularly from the north), this was seen as a good omen and a rallying cry to establish a Hindu empire (Akhand Bharat). In order to achieve this, all evidence of the Muslim past had to be erased and hence Urdu had to be eliminated. This is where the birth of “Hindi” occurs.

~ Birth of “Hindi” movement ~
In 1867, some conservative Hindus in the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh of the British Raj began to demand that “Hindi” be made an official language in place of Urdu. This “Hindi” is not the same Hindi that was used to describe Zaban-e-Urdu-e-Mualla – hence why I use parenthesis to differentiate the two. Hindi and “Hindi” are not the same. Babu Shiva Prasad of Banares was one of the early proponents of “Hindi”. He proposed taking Urdu language and replacing the Nastaliq script with Devanagari script, to form a new language he called “Hindi”. He also proposed replacing Persian words with Sanskrit or English words. In a “Memorandum on court characters” written in 1868, he accused the early Muslim rulers of India for “forcing them (Hindus) to learn Persian”. In 1897, Madan Mohan Malaviya published a collection of documents and statements titled “Court character and primary education in North Western Provinces and Oudh”, in which, he made a compelling case for “Hindi”. Several “Hindi” movements were formed in the late 19th and early 20th century; notable among them were “Nagari Pracharini Sabha” formed in Banaras in 1893, “Hindi Sahitya Sammelan” in Allahabad in 1910, “Dakshina Bharat Hindi Prachar Sabha” in 1918 and “Rashtra Bhasha Prachar Samiti” in 1926.

~ Rise of “Hindi” ~
In 1881, the “Hindi” movement won its first major battle. Over 118 memorials signed by 67,000 people were submitted to the Education Commission in several cities of Bihar, demanding that the Nastaliq script of Urdu be replaced with Devanagari script and that the language be called “Hindi”. The proponents of “Hindi” argued that the majority of people in the region spoke “Hindi” and therefore introduction of Devanagari script would provide better education and improve prospects for holding Government positions. They also argued that Nastaliq script made court documents illegible and encouraged forgery and promoted the use of complex Arabic and Persian words.

~ Defending Urdu ~
Organisations such as Anjuman Taraqqi-e-Urdu were formed to protect Urdu’s status. Advocates of Urdu argued that “Hindi” simply did not exist – “Hindi” was essentially Urdu written in Devanagari script. Furthermore, with the forceful expulsion of Persian words from Urdu to “Hindi”, the language lacked standardisation and mature vocabulary. They also argued that the Devanagari script could not be written faster. The last and most important point was that Urdu was spoken fluently by most of the people in the region and disputed the assertion that official status of language and script is essential for the spread of education. This indeed is backed up with evidence – Sumit Sarkar gives figures for the decade of 1881 to 1890, which showed that the circulation of Urdu newspapers was twice that of “Hindi” newspapers and there were 55% more Urdu books as “Hindi” books. He gives the example of the Indian author Premchand, who wrote mainly in Urdu until 1915, until he found it difficult to publish in the language. Urdu in every sense was a real language. “Hindi” was simply not

~ Identity Politics ~
The seeds of discourse were planted in 1881, when “Hindi” replaced Urdu in Bihar. After 1881, “Hindi” would come to be known as the “language of the Hindus” and over the successive generations, Hindus would abandon Urdu in favour of “Hindi”, while the Muslims would retain Urdu. The Christians also chose to retain Urdu – specifically Protestant Christians, who were in significant numbers in Punjab. The reason for retaining Urdu was that the majority of Christian books in circulation at the time were mainly in Urdu, together with English translations. When Christian missions arrived in Northern India during the British Raj, the missionaries chose Urdu as this was the language spoken by the masses.

~ Conclusion ~
Urdu was not a language of simply the Muslims, it was a common language spoken in the Delhi region by both Hindus and Muslims, and later by Christians. In the 1920s, Mahatma Gandhi attempted to bring closure to the debate by proclaiming that both Urdu and “Hindi” were from the same language called Hindustani. However, it should be very clear to you all by now that the term “Hindustani” is synonymous with Urdu, as mentioned earlier. This is simply a myth, which continuously gets repeated by those who are unaware of history and by those who defend the existence of “Hindi”.

For “Hindi” speakers, I can understand that this is very offensive and shocking, however, a spade indeed needs to be called a spade. Continuously denying that “Hindi” was invented in the 1860s is intellectual dishonesty at its highest form. If indeed “Hindi” existed before 1860, where is all the Hindi literature? Where is all the Hindi poetry? Fact is, that it simply doesn’t exist – ask yourself why.

There is no logical explanation about why there was a need to replace the Nastaliq script with Devanagari script. Even the term “Hindi” being used is incorrect, since it the term was originally used to describe Urdu. And the trend continues to this day. Nowadays, Punjabi language in India is under attack by these same radical North Indian Hindu nationalists. In parts of Haryana, books and pamphlets are beginning to be distributed calling for Punjabi language to be written in Devanagari, instead of Gurmukhi script, which Indian Punjabis have used since the 17th century after they themselves abandoned Shahmukhi.

Does anyone else not see a bigger problem here?

Raza94
03-19-2018, 04:25 PM
Well Punjabi is under attack in Pakistan as well because we had Urdu imposed on us

parasar
03-19-2018, 04:32 PM
Hello Anjuman-i Taraqqi-i Urdu,
Welcome to the forum!

Hindu, Hind, Hindi, Sindh, Sindhu, India are all derived from that river on your map.
Initially India applied to the region currently mainly in modern Pakistan, but the Greeks started to apply the term to the whole subcontinent. Essentially it was given and defined by outsiders.
Pretty much like China - no such name existed within the Chinese until recently - it was a name given by outsiders who came into contact with the Qin. Now it has become part and parcel of the Chinese identity.

You should be able to request another sub-forum though, and the forum moderators may oblige.
Practically though the usage of Hindi (both script and words) here is negligible.

redifflal
03-19-2018, 04:38 PM
Flame thread.

Reza
03-19-2018, 05:12 PM
Discussions on the historical and linguistic origins of Hindi and Urdu are acceptable within this subforum, but this thread will be monitored for any infringement of the rules of this forum.

Please ensure that the discussion does not veer into a subject with clearly political or religious overtones, and that the conversation remains civil.

MonkeyDLuffy
03-19-2018, 05:49 PM
Well Punjabi is under attack in Pakistan as well because we had Urdu imposed on us

Thank you! Its similar in East punjab with Hindi and sanskrit words are being introduced to the language and Punjabi words are being phased out.

redifflal
03-19-2018, 06:23 PM
Discussions on the historical and linguistic origins of Hindi and Urdu are acceptable within this subforum, but this thread will be monitored for any infringement of the rules of this forum.

Please ensure that the discussion does not veer into a subject with clearly political or religious overtones, and that the conversation remains civil.

Then let us open a separate thread for this. Thread title and original post is clearly having religious and political overtones. Name calling and pissing all over the "North Indian Hindu nationalist" bogeyman is not political or what?

Raza94
03-19-2018, 07:07 PM
Thank you! Its similar in East punjab with Hindi and sanskrit words are being introduced to the language and Punjabi words are being phased out.

Really sad to see our language being attacked like this. West Punjab doesn't even have any schools that teach in Punjabi because we have decided that apparently Urdu is the best language although its only spoken by about 7% of the total population of the whole country. We are not from Lucknow, we are from Lahore,Amritsar,Lyallapur,Jallandher,Sialkot,Ludhi ana etc.

Hopefully one day people from both sides of Punjab will wake up and see what is happening to their culture.

redifflal
03-19-2018, 07:37 PM
What was the language of Punjabi Muslim elites prior to partition? From my understanding, all elite Muslims across the subcontinent always deferred to Urdu as their higher language. And ethnically elite Muslims never identified as Punjabi or Bihari or Bengali, or even of the subcontinent as a whole anyway... always part of some Afghan or Persian or Uzbek line of invaders. The regional identification for Muslims has been a rather late and reactionary process in lieu of democratization. My Pakistani friends have mentioned that Punjabi is seen as the language of the illiterate villagers and Urdu is the urban and sophisticated. This is a self imposed and basically a caste system. Mohajirs from Lucknow didn't impose that in Pakistan, the Punjabi Muslims did that to themselves.
Bengali Muslims also had antecedents of similar emotions. Check out the Nawab of Dhaka. But Bengali Muslims picked up guns for their language. Bengali Hindus of India are already secure linguistically.
Punjabis became Hindiized in India because of large refuge population settling in Delhi instead of in Punjab. Bengali Hindus would have been same way had we settled in say Bihar. In the state of Indian Punjab, you can do all official business in Punjabi as far as I know. The next challenge in India overall linguistically is to graduate all our higher learning like engineering medicine scientific research into our native languages. All this pathetic d1ck measuring contests with other neighboring Indian languages will end when the languages start earning you roziroti instead of just sentimental attachment.

Raza94
03-19-2018, 08:54 PM
Yes it is seen as the language for the villagers now for sure. But in the beginning a lot of Pakistani movies were in Punjabi and the most famous ones are in Punjabi. The reason it is seen as this way though is because no one ever did anything for the promotion of Punjabi. No literature and no schooling in Punjabi.

And why was Urdu made the national language of Pakistan to start with? I don't know where you are coming from when you say that all muslims deferred to Urdu. My grandparents all spoke Punjabi at home and so do my parents and aunts and uncles.

As for people not identifying with their ethnicity and claiming to be Arab/Persian, I do think that is huge now especially since everyone is Syed/Shah, but people mostly did that for higher status as Muslims. I can tell you though that my family is Punjabi, and damn proud. I think the reason Punjabis never picked up arms like Bangladesh is because they were not being treated unfairly. East Pakistan made up more than half the population of all of Pakistan and produced a lot but barely saw any returns, and that mixed with the whole language thing is what got them to pick up arms imo.

Anjuman-i Taraqqi-i Urdu
03-19-2018, 10:13 PM
Well Punjabi is under attack in Pakistan as well because we had Urdu imposed on us

Dear, Urdu was not imposed on Pakistan. Go to any other province and local language dominates. Rather its Punjabis inferiority complex which is the problem.

Government of Sindh uses Sindhi and Urdu because Sindhi people demand it. Government of KP now offers Pashto and Urdu eGov services because Pashton demand it. What is the Government of Punjab doing to promote Shahmukhi Punjabi? Why are Punjabis not demanding Punjabi language.

Urdu was chosen only to unite the country and provide a language bridge between the various linguistic groups. Urdu was also non native to any part of the country also. I am against imposing Urdu and 100% support regional languages becoming standard language of business, education and government.

Urdu should only be used when speaking with non native speakers of your own language. All over Pakistan people speak mother tongue first, then Urdu.

In Punjab however history played a part. I'll describe in detail soon.

Anjuman-i Taraqqi-i Urdu
03-19-2018, 10:19 PM
Hello Anjuman-i Taraqqi-i Urdu,
Welcome to the forum!

Hindu, Hind, Hindi, Sindh, Sindhu, India are all derived from that river on your map.
Initially India applied to the region currently mainly in modern Pakistan, but the Greeks started to apply the term to the whole subcontinent. Essentially it was given and defined by outsiders.
Pretty much like China - no such name existed within the Chinese until recently - it was a name given by outsiders who came into contact with the Qin. Now it has become part and parcel of the Chinese identity.

You should be able to request another sub-forum though, and the forum moderators may oblige.
Practically though the usage of Hindi (both script and words) here is negligible.

Yes I'm well aware of this...the real India is ironically Pakistan, while the current Republic of India is actually Bharat.

That being said "Hindi" today means something else. If anything this forum should be renamed Indo Aryan or Indic.

But Hindi is unacceptable IMO.

Ryukendo
03-19-2018, 10:26 PM
Yes I'm well aware of this...the real India is ironically Pakistan, while the current Republic of India is actually Bharat.

That being said "Hindi" today means something else. If anything this forum should be renamed Indo Aryan or Indic.

But Hindi is unacceptable IMO.

LOLWHUT semantically this is actually true!
:rofl:

O the ironies of history.

Anjuman-i Taraqqi-i Urdu
03-19-2018, 10:32 PM
Thank you! Its similar in East punjab with Hindi and sanskrit words are being introduced to the language and Punjabi words are being phased out.

With due respect, may I ask why Sikhs abandoned Shahmukhi and created Gurmukhi in the 17th century? This was the real tragedy of Punjabi as it divided the language and prevented it from maturing. Sindhi is still written in native Persio Arabic by both Muslims and Hindus in both Pakistan and India.

For those who are unaware, Punjabi is older than Urdu and began being written in Shahmukhi first.

Shahmukhi (شاہ مکھی ; meaning "from the King's mouth") is a Perso-Arabic alphabet used by Muslims in Punjab to write the Punjabi language. It is generally written in the Nastalīq calligraphic hand, which is also used for Urdu. Shahmukhi was adopted by Sufi poets of Punjab as early as the 11th century and over time became the conventional standard writing style for Punjabi language. Muslim rule had a deep impact on Punjabi language. What we know as contemporary Punjabi is the product of socio-cultural and interaction between the various Muslim empires and kingdoms which ruled Punjab and the Middle Indo-Aryan languages spoken at the time.

The Middle Indo-Aryan languages are a historical group of languages which are descendants of Vedic Sanskrit and the predecessors of the modern Indo-Aryan languages, such as Urdu, Sindhi and Punjabi. The Middle Indo-Aryan (MIA) stage in the evolution of Indo-Aryan languages is thought to have spanned more than a millennium between 600 BCE and 1000 CE. Gandhari is a modern name for the language of Kharoṣṭhi texts dating to between the third century BCE and fourth century CE found in the region of Gandhara and Central Asia. Gandhari is said to have been developed heavily during during Persian Achaemenid rule. The Kharosthi alphabet, derived from the one used for Aramaic (the official language of Achaemenids), developed in Gandhara and remained the national script of the region until 200 AD. Gandhari is said to have descended from Vedic Sanskrit or a closely related language. Gandhari appeared on coins, inscriptions and texts, notably the Gandharan Buddhist texts. It is notable among the for having some archaic phonology (some being characteristic of the Dardic languages of the modern region), for its relative isolation and independence, for being partially within the influence of the ancient Near East and Mediterranean and for its use of the Kharoṣṭhi script. Punjabi is said to have descended from this Gandhari language. Several different related languages would develop from the 4th century onward until the 10 century where Punjabi would begin appearing.

Ghaznavid rule in Punjab during the 10th century set in a process by which Punjabi language would be born. The Turks under the Iranian cultural influence adopted Persian as the language of the court, though their mother tongue was Turkish. What comes out of this new cultural matrix is an epoch-making book ‘Kashful Mehjub’ (Revealing the veiled) by an intellectually inclined mystic, Ali Bin Usman Hajveri, popularly known as Data Ganjbuksh who migrated to Lahore in early 11th century. His book, written in Persian, on the subject of the Sufi doctrine and practice, the first treatise of its kind, remains uncontested in the history of Muslim mystic tradition.

Immediately after, we come across the religious literature of Ismaili Shiites of Multan in the form of hymns called Ginan. The Ginans are a kind of bridge between the Natha compositions and contemporary Punjabi, showing the language in transition. They have indigenous words as well as borrowings from Arabic and Persian. During the rule of Ghazni, Mas’ud sa’d Salmon, born in Lahore in the 11th century, wrote his poetry both in Persian and Punjabi. He was said to have loved Punjabi as much as he loved Lahore, though his much referred to Punjabi poetry unfortunately seems to have been lost.

A phenomenal figure who transformed the literary and cultural course in Punjab was none other than Fariduddin Mas’ud, fondly called Baba Farid Shakarganj, a highly revered saint of the Chishti Sufi order. He was born in 12th century in Kothewal, Multan. Though schooled in Arabic and Persian as was the tradition, he chose Punjabi, his mother tongue as a medium of poetic expression which not only set the precedent to be followed by the later classical Punjabi poets and writers but also laid the foundation of contemporary Punjabi with the adoption of Shahmukhi. His idiom shows a refined blend of indigenous vocabulary and loan words, a sign of not only of his artistic mastery but also that of a starting point of maturing of a new literary tradition. He is undisputed in being acknowledged as the pioneer of the Punjabi literature.

Roughly from the 11th century to 19th century, many great Sufi saints of Punjab wrote in Shahmukhi. Bulle Shah is considered one of the greatest Sufi poets. Punjabi further developed through Sufi poetry under Shah Hussain (1538–1599), Sultan Bahu (1628–1691), Shah Sharaf (1640–1724), Ali Haider (1690–1785), Saleh Muhammad Safoori (son of Hazrat Mai Safoora Qadiriyya, whom Ali Haider had given great tribute) and Bulleh Shah (1680–1757).

Most were written in the Majhi dialect, which today has been adopted as standard Punjabi for education, media etc in Punjab. Punjabi has three phonemically distinct tones that developed from the lost murmured (or "voiced aspirate") series of consonants. Phonetically the tones are rising or rising-falling contours and they can span over one syllable or two, but phonemically they can be distinguished as high, mid, and low.

~ Lack of recognition ~
Despite Punjabi's rich literary history, it was not until 1947 that it would be recognized as an official language. Previous governments and empires, which had ruled Punjab, had favoured Persian and/or Urdu.

Persian maintained its position as the language of the courts from roughly the 11th century up until the 18th century and remained a language of power until the mid 19th century. After the annexation of Punjab in 1849, the British policy of establishing a uniform language for administration was expanded into Punjab. The British Raj employed Urdu (Hindustani) in its administrative language for the entire Northwest (Indus Valley) and North Central (Ganges plain) regions.

Despite its lack of official sanction for hundreds of years, the Punjabi language continued to flourish as an instrument of cultural production, with rich literary traditions continuing until modern times.

~ Comparison with Gurmukhi ~
Gurmukhi is a relatively new script when compared to Shahmukhi. Gurmukhi translates into “from the Gurus mouth” and was adopted by the second Sikh Guru, Guru Angad (1563–1606) in the 16th century. This was presumably done to differentiate Punjabi Sikhs from Punjabi Muslims. Gurmmukhi uses Brahmic script and hence Punjabi speakers who are taught Shahmukhi are unable to read Punjabi written Gurmukhi and vice versa, despite the fact that the language is understood by both when spoken. Many words were also loaned from Sanskrit in Gurmukhi to replace Persian words in traditional Shahmukhi Punjabi. Gurumukhi is considered the standard script for Indian Punjabis, however in the past century, many Punjabi Hindus have begun adopting Devanagari due to influence from Hindi.

~ Present status ~
Following the independence of Pakistan in 1947, Punjabis in the Province of Punjab chose to retain the traditional Shahmukhi script, whereas the State of Punjab in India adopted the newer Gurmukhi script.

Anjuman-i Taraqqi-i Urdu
03-19-2018, 10:41 PM
LOLWHUT semantically this is actually true!
:rofl:

O the ironies of history.

I blame European colonialism. Europeans named everything they conquered overseas as "India".

India or Indies (its more generalized derivative) had come, as if by definition, to denote an acquisition rather than a specific territory. India was yet conceptually concrete to Europeans: it was somewhere to be coveted as an intellectual curiosity, a military pushover and an economic bonanza. While the historic term of India exclusively referred to the Indus Valley (today known as Pakistan), the European definition of India was used to describe acquired territories across the world. Let’s go over some of them:

*British East India Company – present-day Bangladesh, Republic of India (Ganges plain & Deccan)

*British West Indies – The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Antigua, Virgin Islands, Dominica, Montserrat, Grenada, Cayman Islands, Guyana, Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago

*Dutch East India Company – present day Bangladesh, Republic of India (Ganges plain & Deccan)

*Dutch East Indies – present day Indonesia, Brunei & Malaysia

*Dutch West Indies – present-day Suriname & Netherlands Antilles

*French East India Company – present-day Puducherry, Republic of India

*French West India Company – present-day Dominica, Grenada, Guadeloupe & Haiti

*Portuguese East India Company – present-day Goa, Republic of India

*Portuguese East Indies – present-day Malacca (Malaysia) and Macau (China)

*Casa da India – managed all overseas territories including Brazil & Angola

*Spanish West Indies – present-day Puerto Rico, Cuba, Venezuela & Dominican Republic

*Spanish East Indies – present-day Philippines, Guam, and Papua New Guinea

*Danish East India Company – present-day Bangladesh, Bengal & Tamil Nadu (Republic of India)

*Danish West Indies – present-day US Virgin Islands

*Swedish East India Company – present-day Bengal (but it didn't last long).

Anjuman-i Taraqqi-i Urdu
03-19-2018, 10:47 PM
Then let us open a separate thread for this. Thread title and original post is clearly having religious and political overtones. Name calling and pissing all over the "North Indian Hindu nationalist" bogeyman is not political or what?

Dear I'm not being racist or trying to incite hatred. But the term North Indian Hindu nationalist is not a figment of my imagination. Indeed even today your brethern in South India are using this term whilst tweeting #StopHindiImposition.

poi
03-19-2018, 10:53 PM
Thank you! Its similar in East punjab with Hindi and sanskrit words are being introduced to the language and Punjabi words are being phased out.

This is our official language greviances thread lol.

Nepali is also under attack by Hindi words *panic attack ensues* and my kids started speaking English only. Damn angrezi *panic attack continues*

anthroin
03-19-2018, 10:56 PM
LOL! If we want to change the name of this section, won't "English (India)" or "English (South Asia)" or something like that be much better options? After all, people never use Hindi (or Urdu- I read that the colloquial registers of both the languages are very close to each other) or any other Indian language here most of the time. The idea of a language-based section like this for S. Asia does not work in principle because of the large number of official and recognised languages within South Asia (the diversity being such that even the official languages of nations at the central level (India with Hindi and English) do not have a tendency to have a language or two in common with other countries- Bangladesh has Bengali, Sri Lanka has Sinhala and Tamil, Pakistan has Urdu, Nepal has Nepali, etc.), and also because the Roman script which this forum is built for, is not typically used to write Indian languages and also because the scripts that are indeed used for writing Indian languages are wildly different from each other. So practically the language is anyhow going to be English with retroflexes written in Roman script.

It is actually much more sensible to name this section according to the name of the place under discussion which is South Asia, or something like that, rather than the norm followed here for other sections like French, Turkish, etc. which are I think the sole official languages of the relevant countries and which also use Roman script for writing, and in which the users of Anthrogenica do seem to communicate.

Edit: English is also nearly a fully functioning lingua franca akin to perhaps Sanskrit in India for medieval period, though it does not seem to have the sociolinguistic respect commanded by Sanskrit in India or Pali and Sanskrit in Sri Lanka, etc. That is, it is not treated as a classical language unlike Sanskrit and Pali but it's still emerged as a kind of high level lingua franca (with Hindi being another lingua franca on a relatively lower scale for India) for many parts of the subcontinent. Edit2: The above maybe only true for the educated middle class onwards up; others typically communicate in the local language of the place they go to stay, in a bits-and-pieces fashion, and the communication between the ones with awareness of English and others is also going to be in the local language rather than English. For example, I always used to communicate with my classmates when I was studying in Uttarakhand in English but with the shopkeepers, etc. in my unused textbook (and likely-full-of-mistakes) Hindi which one of those guys even made fun of once lol; I remember the specific incident too- I said mujhe AvaSyak nahI (yes with the -ahI in nahI well articulated lol; but I don't have so much of a Telugu accent except my voiced dental/alveolar sibilants are always voiced palatal stops) or something like that instead of perhaps the normal mujhe nahI cAhiye or mujhe jarUrat nahI.

Anjuman-i Taraqqi-i Urdu
03-19-2018, 11:03 PM
What was the language of Punjabi Muslim elites prior to partition? From my understanding, all elite Muslims across the subcontinent always deferred to Urdu as their higher language.

From roughly 1200 to around the 1800s, Persian was used as the "official language" in Punjab, while Punjabi was relegated to common language. The problem was no native Punjabi ever ruled Punjab except during the short lived Sikh Empire, and even then Sikhs initially used Persian as the official court language alongside Punjabi. That's how much influence it had.

This is in stark contrast to Sindh where local Sindhis dynasties always ruled. Yes they formed an alliance with the Mughuls, but they were always in control. This explains why Sindhi language is more matured and widely spoken in Sindh, while Punjabi language is not.


And ethnically elite Muslims never identified as Punjabi or Bihari or Bengali, or even of the subcontinent as a whole anyway... always part of some Afghan or Persian or Uzbek line of invaders.

The rulers were not native to Punjab. They were actually Central Asians and Persianized. Hence why Persian influenced Punjab so heavily.


The regional identification for Muslims has been a rather late and reactionary process in lieu of democratization.

Only in Punjab I would say. The rest of Pakistan's ethic and linguistic groups are very well self aware and proud.


My Pakistani friends have mentioned that Punjabi is seen as the language of the illiterate villagers and Urdu is the urban and sophisticated. This is a self imposed and basically a caste system. Mohajirs from Lucknow didn't impose that in Pakistan, the Punjabi Muslims did that to themselves.

I agree 100%. They did it to themselves. But this goes back much further. As I mentioned no native Punjabis ever ruled Punjab, which played a role in why Punjabis lack self awareness. Ironically even today tbe current Chief Minister of Punjab is ethnically Kashmiri.


Bengali Muslims also had antecedents of similar emotions. Check out the Nawab of Dhaka. But Bengali Muslims picked up guns for their language. Bengali Hindus of India are already secure linguistically.

I'd have to disagree. There were other factors that played into the debacle of 71, which I will go into at another time.


Punjabis became Hindiized in India because of large refuge population settling in Delhi instead of in Punjab. Bengali Hindus would have been same way had we settled in say Bihar. In the state of Indian Punjab, you can do all official business in Punjabi as far as I know. The next challenge in India overall linguistically is to graduate all our higher learning like engineering medicine scientific research into our native languages. All this pathetic d1ck measuring contests with other neighboring Indian languages will end when the languages start earning you roziroti instead of just sentimental attachment.

Same in Pakistan. Actually the real issue is English. Both countries are still mentally enslaved with the idea that English is superior. All our higher education is done in English which I totally reject.

We simply inherited a British colony and continue functioning as one under tbe guise of Azadi.

poi
03-19-2018, 11:13 PM
Yes I'm well aware of this...the real India is ironically Pakistan, while the current Republic of India is actually Bharat.

That being said "Hindi" today means something else. If anything this forum should be renamed Indo Aryan or Indic.

But Hindi is unacceptable IMO.

Damn, where to start. Pakistan would be "Hindu" if you want to use the term used by the Persians for the Sindhu river region. Europeans called the entire South Asia(and beyond) as "India". And "Bharat" was used to denote Pakistan(before its existence, obviously) as well, if you go back in history.

And you cannot rename Hindi as "Indo Aryan" or "Indic", because there are 200 other languages that are IndoAryan/Indic but are not "Hindi". Regardless of the ridiculous nature of your original post, I think it can be legitimately argued that this forum should be re-named. I agree with you.

Mods - please change this forum to "English", because we all converse in English here.

Anjuman-i Taraqqi-i Urdu
03-19-2018, 11:21 PM
Damn, where to start. Pakistan would be "Hindu" if you want to use the term used by the Persians for the Sindhu river region. Europeans called the entire South Asia(and beyond) as "India". And "Bharat" was used to denote Pakistan(before its existence, obviously) as well, if you go back in history.

Well yes and no. Bharat is not found in the Vedas...this region was referred to as Sindhu and Saptha Sindhu (today Sindh and Punjab) by the Vedas and referred to Ganga and Deccan as "Dasya Varta".

Bharat is a term that was I think used in the Puranas to describe Ganga/Deccan while they referred to the Indus Valley as "Vahika Desa".

These two regions are not exactly the same. Vedic and Puranic ideology somewhat clashed with one another initially. After that the Indus Valley came under Persian, Greek and Mauryan/Buddhist influences.


And you cannot rename Hindi as "Indo Aryan" or "Indic", because there are 200 other languages that are IndoAryan/Indic but are not "Hindi". Regardless of the ridiculous nature of your original post, I think it can be legitimately argued that this forum should be re-named. I agree with you.

Mods - please change this forum to "English", because we all converse in English here.

What exactly is ridiculous about my initial post? Hindi didn't exist until 1860. It's basically Urdu written in Devanagri.

Now India is trying to do a similar thing with Sindhi language. Ironically Sindhi Indians themselves have been the biggest opponent.

Raza94
03-19-2018, 11:41 PM
Dear, Urdu was not imposed on Pakistan. Go to any other province and local language dominates. Rather its Punjabis inferiority complex which is the problem.

Government of Sindh uses Sindhi and Urdu because Sindhi people demand it. Government of KP now offers Pashto and Urdu eGov services because Pashton demand it. What is the Government of Punjab doing to promote Shahmukhi Punjabi? Why are Punjabis not demanding Punjabi language.

Urdu was chosen only to unite the country and provide a language bridge between the various linguistic groups. Urdu was also non native to any part of the country also. I am against imposing Urdu and 100% support regional languages becoming standard language of business, education and government.

Urdu should only be used when speaking with non native speakers of your own language. All over Pakistan people speak mother tongue first, then Urdu.

In Punjab however history played a part. I'll describe in detail soon.

First off, don't address me as "Dear"

And yes I agree that Punjabis themselves do play a role in all this, they are not blameless. But like I said, Urdu should not have been the official language of Pakistan. It did little to unite the country as you can see with the whole Bangladesh situation, although there were other factors as I previously stated. India does not have an official language and they seem to be doing fine, or at least better than Pakistan.

In Punjab local language does still dominate. Whenever I go back I do hear Punjabi a lot but the main issue is that it is the older generations speaking it to their kids, and the kids respond back in Urdu (different story if you go to the pind though). There have been local Punjabi festivals held, usually arranged by local people and not governments though. You will even see Lohri festivals in some places now and they even had a Punjabi culture festival in Lyallapur. Unfortunately this is all a waste unless the government starts to back it up and we see it being taught in schools and even bring back some Punjabi movies. I mean they are making a Maula Jatt 2 and its mostly in Urdu from what I know.

Your earlier point though about non-native Punjabis ruling Punjab is a good point. That might have something to do with it.

As for your Shahmukhi/Gurmukhi argument, that I do not know much about. Although I do not know any West Punjabi who can write Shahmukhi, but majority of East Punjabis all know how to at least read Gurmukhi, but that probably has to do with majority of them being Sikh and their holy book is written in Gurmukhi.

poi
03-19-2018, 11:48 PM
Well yes and no. Bharat is not found in the Vedas...this region was referred to as Sindhu and Saptha Sindhu (today Sindh and Punjab) by the Vedas and referred to Ganga and Deccan as "Dasya Varta".

Bharat is a term that was I think used in the Puranas to describe Ganga/Deccan while they referred to the Indus Valley as "Vahika Desa".

These two regions are not exactly the same. Vedic and Puranic ideology somewhat clashed with one another initially. After that the Indus Valley came under Persian, Greek and Mauryan/Buddhist influences.



What exactly is ridiculous about my initial post? Hindi didn't exist until 1860. It's basically Urdu written in Devanagri.

Now India is trying to do a similar thing with Sindhi language. Ironically Sindhi Indians themselves have been the biggest opponent.

RgVeda's oldest books literally had Bharata in modern-day Punjab that became (mythologically at least) the ancestors of the subsequent Bharatas. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bh%C4%81ratas

I think there are valid points you make about cultural domination of (insert a language) in (insert a region or a terriroty), but that is true of any culture/civilization in the whole freakin HUMAN HISTORY! Languages change. What is Hindi today was not Hindi yesterday. Tomorrow's Hindi will be completely different.

Kulin
03-20-2018, 12:08 AM
"Urdu" as it is called was "Hindi" back in the day, and was mostly restricted to towns and other urban settlements, compared to modern "Hindi" dialects, which were regional dialects restricted to the large local masses (Hindus and local-descent Muslims). If you look at a lot of what is considered "Hindi literature", before the British period, it is mostly regional dialects such as Awadhi or Braj written in devanagari script, compared to the refined standardised "Hindi" AKA "Urdu" written in Nastaaliq, of the urban elite.

Most people used mixed language nowadays anyway. Highly Persianate Hindustani is rare, except in literature, but can also be found in lot of modern media, like Bollywood songs for e.g. On the other hand, the vast large rural masses of the Hindi belt (both Hindu and Muslim), still speak in regional dialects, which are way less Persianate in form (although obviously still containing a lot of Persian vocabulary).

For e.g., Yogi Adityanath, born in a village in the Garwhal (Uttarakhand), speaks in a very rural Hindi dialect, and his speech can be seen as being notable with his pronunciation of s/j instead of sh/z and mass use of Sanskrit words not found in urban varieties.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DGDm9ujHiPI


As for Hindi/Urdu imposition on the masses, its a pretty serious issue, although the mainly rural population will stay unaffected.

parasar
03-20-2018, 12:16 AM
Yes I'm well aware of this...the real India is ironically Pakistan, while the current Republic of India is actually Bharat.

That being said "Hindi" today means something else. If anything this forum should be renamed Indo Aryan or Indic.

But Hindi is unacceptable IMO.

Bharat was as section of Jambudip. It was region of the Bharat tribe of the Parushni river. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Ten_Kings

For example when Kharvel of Kaling (this was name by SE Asians knew India) sent his armies to Bharadvas (भरधवस), it was not the current Republic of India but its northwest section.
Nothern India is referred to as Uttarpath by Kharvel.

So essentially Bharat is an internal self-designated name of approximately the same region the Persians caled Hindu. As the name Hindu/India came to apply to the rest of the subcontinent so did Bharat over time.

Mingle
03-20-2018, 12:19 AM
Dear, Urdu was not imposed on Pakistan. Go to any other province and local language dominates. Rather its Punjabis inferiority complex which is the problem.

Government of Sindh uses Sindhi and Urdu because Sindhi people demand it. Government of KP now offers Pashto and Urdu eGov services because Pashton demand it. What is the Government of Punjab doing to promote Shahmukhi Punjabi? Why are Punjabis not demanding Punjabi language.

Urdu was chosen only to unite the country and provide a language bridge between the various linguistic groups. Urdu was also non native to any part of the country also. I am against imposing Urdu and 100% support regional languages becoming standard language of business, education and government.

Urdu should only be used when speaking with non native speakers of your own language. All over Pakistan people speak mother tongue first, then Urdu.

In Punjab however history played a part. I'll describe in detail soon.

Local languages besides Punjabi are also doing poorly in Pakistan. They aren't doing as bad as Punjabi is in Punjab, but still have a long way to go.

Where did you hear that the KP government offers eGov services in Pashto as well? Do you have a source?

Mingle
03-20-2018, 12:25 AM
As for Hindi/Urdu imposition on the masses, its a pretty serious issue, although the mainly rural population will stay unaffected.

They won't stay unaffected unless they are all illiterate, don't own any TVs/radios, or have any contact with urbanites. They will still be affected, they'd just be affected less.

kakiasumi
03-20-2018, 01:17 AM
This subforum should be renamed as South asia or SAARC. We can't use a single language to represent a population of more than one and half billion people from eight countries of SAARC.

Kurd
03-20-2018, 01:19 AM
Folks, IMO death of a language inevitably leads to a loss of a culture, and it would truly be a loss for everyone if various S Asian ethnicities lose their rich culture. Nothing irks me more than when I hear Indians or Pakistanis try to mingle as many English words as possible into Hindi/Urdu when speaking to try to impress someone or because of some inferiority complex, or parents trying to have their kids speak in English at home in lieu of their mother tongue.

So if you would like for cultural diversity to be preserved in the future you owe it to yourself and your kids to speak in whatever your native language is, and if you don't know how to, then learn it. A single (western) culture world would truly be a boring place.

@Anjuman

You have contributed some useful information, but I'm curious about your avatar. Am I mistaken to infer that you are a Pakistani Pashtun who would like for Afghan Pashtuns to be incorporated into Pakistan?

poi
03-20-2018, 03:46 AM
Folks, IMO death of a language inevitably leads to a loss of a culture, and it would truly be a loss for everyone if various S Asian ethnicities lose their rich culture. Nothing irks me more than when I hear Indians or Pakistanis try to mingle as many English words as possible into Hindi/Urdu when speaking to try to impress someone or because of some inferiority complex, or parents trying to have their kids speak in English at home in lieu of their mother tongue.

So if you would like for cultural diversity to be preserved in the future you owe it to yourself and your kids to speak in whatever your native language is, and if you don't know how to, then learn it. A single (western) culture world would truly be a boring place.

I agree with what you say in principle. If you have kids, it will serve you and your kid good if they keep up with their "native" language. Kids learning multiple languages will train their brains. I want my kids to learn and the oldest toddler does speak it at home after we pretend we can't understand English. She even sings Hindi songs although she probably does not understand a word of it. Chances are that she will know at least 3 languages by the time she is an adult. In the West, it is "cool" to keep up with your native tongue and culture.

However, speaking as someone who lives in America, back in the home country, there is no "cool" factor speaking your own language in its "pure" form. English is the cool factor. It indicates you're educated(only the educated know English, unlike in America/UK/Australia/SouthAfrica even the homeless and the mentally ill speak English). My relatives back home are amazed every time they hear my 3 year old speak in English. And here we try to get her to not speak English at home. When my parents come over, they speak with the kids in English. They, otherwise, do not speak English or even pretend English.

But the trend towards English speaking is inevitable due to English's dominance in science, tech, and the globalized financial world. Ironically, American nationalists are concerned about English being replaced by Spanish. lol

redifflal
03-20-2018, 04:11 AM
If folks are interested in a better reading of this Hindi/Urdu divide, I am posting an article by a Dr Rizwan Ahmad called Hindi is perfect, Urdu is messy:The discourse of delegitimation of Urdu in India
I can't find the link to it, but had it downloaded as pdf on my computer, so I'll just paste it here.

1. Introduction
In this chapter, I study the linguistic construction of Hindu identity in the
late 19th century in North India. I investigate the metalinguistic discourse
on Hindi and Urdu that Hindu nationalists constructed to deligitimate Urdu
as the official language of the courts of law and establish Hindi in its place.
Blommaert (1999) calls such debates “language ideological debates,” where
the structure and use of language constitute the central axis of discussion
and dispute. As language ideological debates are produced and reproduced
against the backdrop of sociopolitical conditions that involve struggles for
power and social identities, I argue that the representation of Hindi as perfect
and Urdu as defective entailed a process of sociolinguistic differentiation,
which contributed to the construction of Hindu identity.
The construction of Hindi and Devanagari as impeccable linguistic systems
began in the second half of the 19th century and continued into the 20th
century.The main venue for the production and dissemination of such an immaculate
conception of Hindi was the Hindi movement, which was launched
to install Hindi as the official language of courts of law by dislodging Urdu
(King 1994). The movement started in response to Act 29 of 1837 by which
the British colonial government replaced Persian with Urdu/Hindustani as
the official language of the courts of law in the North West Provinces and
parts of the Central Provinces of India.1 Persian had been the official language
of India for more than six centuries, since the establishment of the
Muslim Slave dynasty in the early 13th century.
The declaration of Urdu as the official language in 1837 sparked off a
series of petitions and memoranda from Hindus to the British government,
demanding the installation of Hindi written in the Devanagari script, displacing
Urdu, written in the Persian script, as the language of law courts. The
main argument was that the Persian script (and by implication the Urdu language)
was defective in that anything written in it was susceptible tomultiple
readings, thus encouraging fraud and forgery. Hindu nationalists argued that
the Devanagari script, by contrast, was perfect in all respects; it was a script,
they asserted, that lent a word written in it to one and only one reading, thus
avoiding any possible fraud. I refer to this socio-culturally informed conception
of Hindi and Urdu by Hindu nationalists as Hindi language ideology.
Although various aspects of the Urdu language and its speakerswere targeted
in the debate, in this chapter I focus only on the issue of script, because it
was socially and politically very salient and a focal point of both public and
intellectual debates of the 19th century.
The rest of the chapter is organized as follows. Section 2 gives background
information on Hindi and Urdu and their scripts. In section 3, I
discuss the existing studies, the theoretical framework of this paper, and the
empirical data. Section 4 provides the sociopolitical context of the Hindi language
ideology. Section 5 presents an analysis of the data. Section 6 starts
with a discussion on the outcome of the debate in terms of the reallocation
of the indexical value of Urdu and Hindi and ends with a summary and
conclusion.
2. Background on Hindi and Urdu
Hindi is mainly spoken in India and is the official language of the country.2
Urdu is spoken both in India and Pakistan. BothHindi andUrdu belong to the
Indo-Aryan sub-branch of the Indo-European language family. Linguists believe
that Hindi andUrdu along with other newIndo-Aryan languages such as
Bengali,Marathi, and Punjabi emerged fromthemiddle Indo-Aryan phase by
about 1000AD.3 Khari Boli, a dialect spoken in and around Delhi constitutes
the dialectal base of both Hindi and Urdu and provides their common grammatical
structure. Hindi andUrdu, however, orient to different sources for the
coinage of technicalwords – Hindi draws exclusively upon Sanskrit,whereas
Urdu depends onPersian andArabic in addition toEnglish and native sources.
Urdu has borrowed the phonemes /f/, /z/, /Z/, /x/, /Â/, and /q/ fromArabic
and Persian.4 It has also borrowed several morphological affixes such as
/-m´nd/, ‘having a quality,’ as in /hUn´rm´nd/ ‘possessing skill,’ and /ba-/
‘with’ as in /bab´rk´t/ ‘with blessings,’ ‘blessed.’5 Urdu has also borrowed a
large number of lexical items fromArabic and Persian, and therefore even in
spoken registers, while many words and sentences could be similar in Urdu
and Hindi, many are different (Russell 1996).6
Hindi is written in the Devanagari script – the script used to write Sanskrit,
the sacred language of Hindus. In addition to Hindi, Devanagari is
used to write other modern Indic languages such as Nepali, Marathi, and
Bhojpuri. Devanagari is an example of an abugida writing system – a type of
writing system which consists of symbols for both consonants and vowels.7
But unlike an alphabet system, for example English, where all vowels are
marked, abugida does not represent one particular vowel – the most common
vowel. In Sanskrit that vowel is schwa. So, in Hindi-Devanagari also, schwa
is not written except word-initially. In all other places consonant graphemes
are assumed to have an inherent schwa in them.8
Urdu employs a modified version of the Persian script, which itself is
an adapted form of the Arabic script. The modifications involved creating
graphemes for the native Indic phonemes such as voiceless aspirated and
breathy stops, e.g., /ph/, /th/, /kh/, /bh/, /dh/, /gh/, etc. An important characteristic
of the Persian script, and in fact the original Arabic script and all its
derivatives, is that short vowels are often not written, although diacritics for
them do exist. In Urdu these diacritics are called zabar, zer, and pesh, which
represent schwa /´/, high front lax vowel /ı/, and high back lax vowel /U/
respectively. Although the optional nature of short vowels makes writing in
Urdu fast, it does create the potential for some ambiguity. For example, the
Urdu word < > consists only of the consonant graphemes <p> and <l>;
the short vowel has not been marked, which means that it can be pronounced
with a zabar, a schwa, as in [p´l], ‘moment,’ like the English word ‘dull,’ or
with a zer, a high front vowel, as in / /, ‘to labor,’ as in the English word
‘hill,’ or with a pesh, high back vowel, as in the English word ‘pull.’
Another characteristic of the Persian script is that many graphemes have
the same basic shape differentiated either by the number of dots or their
position above or below a grapheme. For example, the graphemes < >,
<b>, and < ><p> share the same basic shape but are differentiated by
the number of dots. The grapheme<b>has one dot, whereas <p>has three
dots underneath it. Although in print, these graphemes are not confusing, in
non-careful handwriting, dots may not always be placed in the right place,
which may create some confusion.
This chapter will not go into the technical advantages or disadvantages
of the Devanagari and the Urdu scripts, because no script is perfect in terms
of representing speech in writing. Furthermore, a discussion of script in an
essentialized fashion is not very helpful, because it is not difficult to find defects
in any script. In India itself, protagonists of the Dalit movement, led by
lower caste Hindus, in their diatribe against Brahmins and the Sanskrit language,
point out a large number of defects in the Devanagari script (Ahmad
and Samant 2006). Sowhat this chapter shows instead is howcertain features
of the Urdu script were exploited by Hindu nationalists for the purpose of
creating linguistic and social distinctions, which went into the construction
of Hindu identity. In other words, I show the ways in which Hindu nationalists
essentialized the Urdu script by focusing on the technical features of the
script in a contextual vacuum and completely ignored how it actually works
in real life.
It is, however, worth mentioning that the potential ambiguity of the
Urdu script discussed above could happen only if words occur in isolation –
stripped of all linguistic and discourse contexts. Furthermore,Urdu speakers
and writers mark short vowels in places where contexts are not easily available
or the omission is likely to lead to confusion. For example, if the word,
< > were to occur in an elementary schoolbook, the appropriate vowel
would be supplied; if the intended meaning was ‘bridge’ a pesh, a diacritic
for the high back vowel would be placed above the consonant grapheme
<p>< >.
3. Theoretical framework
There are two bodies of research on Hindi and Urdu that are relevant for this
study – studies by historians and political scientists, and those by sociolinguists.
The first body of research examines the role of Hindi and Urdu in the
construction of Hindu and Muslim nationalisms in the late 19th and early
20th centuries (e.g., Dasgupta 1970; Brass 1974; Robinson 1974; Van der
Veer 1994; Dalmia 1997; Zavos 2000). In these studies, language is treated
as a symbol of political allegiance.As these studies focus on themacrosocial
structures such as nationalism, language in these studies is considered to be
an auxiliary factor in the rise of religion-based nationalisms.
The second body of research consists of studies carried out by sociolinguists
(e.g., King 1994; Hasnain and Rajyashree 2004; Agnihotri 2007).
Sociolinguistic studies on Urdu andHindi are theoretically positioned within
the sociology of language approach.Although these studies help understand
the symbolic role of language in the expression ofmacrosocial identities such
as nationalism, they say little about how people employ language and discourse
as a resource to construct and display social identities. The formation
and expression of ethnic or religious identity are not confined to macrosocial
categories such as nationalism; ethnicity is a social resource that people
use at other more concrete levels of social organization. Fenton (1999: 13)
argues that “[w]e can observe ethnicity in macro-social formations, in the
intermediate meso-structures of social institutions, and in the face-to-face
exchanges of micro-social life.” In fact, sociolinguists argue that there is a
dialectical relationship between the micro and the macro; the macrosocial
structures are constituted through practices at microsocial levels. And social
and linguistic practices at the microlevel are informed and influenced by
macrosocial forces.
Recent approaches to language and identity view discourse as acts
through which people make sense of the world around them; speakers are
seen as active agents who participate in the construction of social realities.
This approach, known in the literature as social constructionism, has assumed
a central position in recent work in sociolinguistics. Discourse in this
perspective is treated as a form of social practice, which constitutes social
realities including social relations (e.g., Fairclough 1992; van Dijk 1997;
Bucholtz and Hall 2005).
This study is theoretically anchored in a language ideology framework.
Language debates are rich sites for the study of the role of language in the
construction of social identities, because they often constitute an explicit
articulation of language, its structure, its use, and more importantly, its so
cial and cultural values. They are also rooted in the broader sociopolitical
conditions and are often constructed by people in response to certain sociolinguistic
situations.Moreover, the formulation and articulation of language
ideologies can also be seen as a formof practice that shapes and is shaped by
broader developments in society. Blommaert (1999: 7) argues that “[p]ower
(including the (re)production of ideology) must be identified as a form of
practice, historically contingent and socially embedded.” A language ideology
framework therefore is able to demonstrate how larger sociopolitical
structures are enacted through (meta)linguistic discourse.
3.1. Language ideology
Language ideology refers to common-sense ideas that speakers have about
the structure and use of their language. Silverstein defines it as “sets of
beliefs about language articulated by users as a rationalization or justification
of perceived language structure and use” (1979: 193). Language ideology
is seen as a nexus between linguistic forms and social structure. Woolard
and Schieffelin (1994: 55–56) emphasize this relationship by noting that
“ideologies of language are significant for social aswell as linguistic analyses
because they are not only about language. Rather, such ideologies envision
and enact links of language to group and personal identity, to aesthetics, to
morality, and to epistemology.”
Several studies (e.g., Silverstein 1985; Kulick 1998; Kroskrity 2000;
Irvine and Gal 2000) show that language ideology is a useful framework
for understanding language change, language differentiation, and language
maintenance and shift. I draw upon Irvine and Gal (2000) as a theoretical
model for this study. Their model focuses on the process of linguistic differentiation
and shows how people’s ideologies affect the perception and
interpretation of linguistic differences, which are used to construct, enact,
and imagine social identities.
According to Irvine and Gal’s model, language ideology works through
three semiotic processes of iconization, fractal recursivity, and erasure.
These processes provide participants and observers with a framework for
understanding and interpreting linguistic differences. Irvine and Gal define
iconization as “a transformation of the sign relationship between linguistic
features (or varieties) and the social images with which they are linked”
(2000: 37).They define fractal recursivity as “the projection of an opposition,
salient at some level of relationship, onto some other level. For example,
intra-group oppositions might be projected outward onto intergroup rela
tions, or vice versa” (2000: 38). Erasure is defined as “the process by which
ideology, in simplifying the sociolinguistic field, renders some persons or activities
(or sociolinguistic phenomena) invisible” (2000: 38). I return to these
semiotic processes in greater detail in section 5 and provide some examples
of them.
3.2. Data
This study is based on an analysis of two memoranda submitted to the
British – one by Babu Shiva Prasad (1823–1895) (also known as Raja Shiva
Prasad), an inspector in the Education Department, in1868, under the title
“Court Characters in the Upper Provinces of India” (henceforth CCUP). The
second memorandum was submitted in 1897 by a group of prominent Hindus
under the title “Court Characters and Primary Education in the N-W
Provinces & Oudh” (henceforth CCPE). As is clear from their titles, both
documents focus on the issue of script. The CCUP was written by one individual.
It is fairly brief, seven pages in all. The CCPE, however, is the
result of a collaborative project. It is a fairly large document consisting of
165 pages, which includes a 100-page appendix and rich footnotes. The appendix
reproduces some of the old arguments that were presented in support
of Hindi. For example, it refers to and quotes fromShiva Prasad’s 1868memorandum.
It also reproduces relevant parts of testimonials of people such as
Harishchandra before the Education Commission of 1882. Both memoranda
were published in English. Copies of these documents were obtained from
the British Library and the US Library of Congress.
In addition to these primary documents, I also examine some articles
and reports published in the local language newspapers of the North West
Provinces. Although the original newspapers have not survived, reports on
them prepared by civil servants for private circulation among administrative
officials are available in the NationalArchives of India. They were published
under the title “Selections from the Vernacular News Papers” (henceforth
SVNP). These reports were prepared for all the provinces of India; for this
research, I study those of the NWP, Oudh, and the Central Provinces, where
the battle for Devanagari was being fought. The SVNP contains reports on
social and political issues that appeared in local newspapers, which the civil
servants thoughtwere crucial for the government.9 The document is verywell
organized; it gives a list of the newspapers that the officer studied in preparing
the report. The list often contains the name of the publisher, the language
of the newspaper, the place of publication, etc. It also mentions the dates of
their publication and the dates when the newspapers were received. These
reports are quite extensive in their coverage of social, political, economic,
and cultural issues. Often they are classified in terms of subject matters such
as education, law and order, politics, and foreign policy.
TheCCPE does not attribute authorship, but historians believe that it was
compiled and published under the supervision of Madan Mohan Malviya
(1861–1946), a prominent Hindu nationalist and a lawyer by profession
(Dalmia 1997: 176). The main argument of the document is that the replacement
of Persian with Urdu in 1837, as the language of courts of law,
by the British was a grave mistake, because the language of the people of
India had been Hindi since the Muslim invasion.10 In addition to claiming
the historical superiority of Hindi, the authors of CCPE also argued that
Urdu written in the Persian script is not comprehensible to people, because
of the excessive use of Persian loanwords and due to inherent defects in the
Persian script. They believed that if Urdu was replaced with Hindi in the
Devanagari script, people would be able to understand court documents better.
They further argued that the most important reason for the introduction
of Devanagari is that it would lead to improvement in literacy and primary
education and overall progress of the people in North India.
4. Sociopolitical contexts of Hindi language ideology
The second half of the 19th century was a volatile period in modern Indian
history. It marks the beginning of a struggle for social and political
assertions of the Indian people against the colonial state, and also of various
castes and religious groups against one another. An understanding of
these developments is crucial to the grasp of the production of the Hindi
language ideology. The main sociopolitical development which embeds the
Hindi language ideology and in which it is also simultaneously embedded is
the beginning of the assertion of a unified Hindu community.
Hinduism in the pre-modern period was not amonolithic religion, but an
aggregate of several religious beliefs and sects.A monolithic Hindu identity
began to develop in the later part of the 19th century (see, e.g., Jones 1976;
Pandey 1990; Chatterjee 1993; Van der Veer 1994; Dalmia 1997; Zavos
2000; Bhatt 2001; Orsini 2002). This section briefly outlines the processes
that contributed to the consolidation of Hindu identity, which was articulated
through particular conceptions of Hindi andUrdu in the language ideological
debate under discussion here. The following section draws heavily on Zavos
(2000).
Although several factors contributed to the unification of Hinduism, Zavos
argues that the presence of a colonial state and its use of the discourse
of “organization” as a cultural force was the most important factor. Through
the discourse of organization, Zavos argues, the colonial state presented itself
as an embodiment of modernity, and Indian society one of chaos and
disorganization (2000: 14). The colonial state used this as a rationale for the
necessity of continuing their rule. In response to this challenge, he reasons,
the Indian people began to create social structures and institutions that exhibited
organization. The beginning of the unification of Hinduism, according
to Zavos, was part of the broader phenomenon and can be seen as an attempt
to counter the colonial state’s hegemonic discourse of organization.
According to Zavos, attempts to unify Hinduism in the 19th century can
be grouped under two main ideological themes – reformism and orthodoxy.
Reformists were primarily working in response to the internal problems of
Hindu society, for example, the caste system, which posed a challenge to the
unification of Hinduism. Reformists argued that the caste system could be
reformed by reinterpreting Hindu religious texts. In line with this, Dayanand
Saraswati, the founder of the Arya Samaj, advocated a merit-based castesystem,
in place of the traditional caste system that was based on birth. Zavos
calls this approach a vertical restructuring of Hinduism.11 An example of
this approach was also seen in efforts to “win back” low caste Hindus who
were “lost” to Christianity because of the efforts of missionaries.
The orthodox position, by contrast, was informed by the belief that all
castes have an important role to play in the Hindu society and therefore deserve
respect.12 Proponents of the orthodox position did not see any need
for internal reform in Hinduism. They instead focused on the external, horizontal
unification of Hinduism. Both approaches went on independently of
each other for some time until the reformists realized that it was impossible
to reform the caste system to unify Hinduism. The focus then shifted to the
horizontal unification of Hinduism. The cow protection movement, which
raged through North India in the late 19th century, manifests attempts at the
horizontal unification of Hindus.
Hindus began to see cow slaughter by Muslims as an act of aggression
on the identity of Hinduism.They launched a series of attacks onMuslims in
North India to prevent them from slaughtering cows on the occasion of the
religious festival of qurbani in which cows, sheep, goats, etc. are sacrificed
as a religious obligation.13 The cow thus emerged as an important symbol
of the unification of Hinduism. Zavos argues that the movement provided
a strong means for the horizontal unification of Hinduism (2000: 82). A
more significant shift fromthe vertical to horizontal unification of Hinduism
was seen in the following years. There was an attempt to create a political
constituency of Hinduism to represent Hindu interests. Political unification
was seen to override social divisions of castes among Hindus.These attempts
at constructing a unified Hindu identity provide the backdrop against which
the Hindi language ideology can be properly understood. In other words,
the metalinguistic debates on Hindi and Urdu were discursive acts toward
constituting a distinct Hindu identity.
5. Analysis
In this section, I show the actual workings of the semiotic processes of
iconization, fractal recursivity, and erasure through an analysis of the Hindi
language ideology. The section is divided into subsections on the basis of
various themes that form parts of the larger Hindi language ideology. In the
debate, these themeswere not always clearly isolated fromone another. They
often overlap; for example the discourse of fthe oreignness of Urdu often
intersects with that of morality. The division therefore does not imply any
analytical separateness between them.
5.1. Foreign vs. indigenous
In the debate over script, the Urdu script, and by implication the Urdu language,
is presented as foreign, having links in Semitic languages and cultures.
The fact that Urdu is Indo-Aryan in its origin and that it occupies indigenous
sociolinguistic space is completely denied. This is important because
although there were some uncertainties among linguists about the origin of
Brahui, a language spoken in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and its relationship
with other languages, the origin of Urdu and Hindi and its mutual relationship
were not in dispute. In the debate, Hindi, in contrast to Urdu, is valorized
as the speech par excellence of the nativeAryans and thus the only legitimate
symbol of Hindu nationality. Shiva Prasad reacting to the British policy of
making Urdu the official language, remarks:
I cannot see the wisdom of the policy which thrusts a Semitic element into
the bosoms of Hindus and alienates them from their Aryan speech; not only
speech, but all that is Aryan, because through speech ideas are formed, and
through ideas the manners and customs. To read Persian is to become Persianized,
all ideas become corrupt and our nationality is lost. Cursed be the
day which saw the Muhammadans [Muslims] cross the Indus; all the evils
which we find amongst us, we are indebted for to our “beloved brethren” the
Muhammadans. (1868: 5, emphasis mine)
Shiva Prasad’s comments on the colonial language policy are loaded with
specific understandings of the relationship between language and social identities.
For him, the use of the Urdu language/script not only has social and
moral consequences, but it can also impact people’s thought processes. On
the social level, he argues, the use of Urdu encroaches upon the Aryan identity
of Hindus; according to him, one cannot remain a true Aryan and at the
same time use the Urdu language and script. This is an echo of the eighteenth
century European ideology in which language and race were argued to be
coterminous.14 But how does he apply the notion of foreignness to Urdu,
given the undisputed linguistic fact that Urdu, like Hindi, is an Indo-Aryan
language? In other words, how does the use of Urdu “thrust a Semitic element
into the bosoms of the Hindus”? Shiva Prasad provides an interesting,
though convoluted, explanation. He argues that Urdu written in the Persian
script is “semi-Persian,” because of Persian loanwords, and that “the Persian
of our day is half-Arabic,” because of Arabic loanwords, so Urdu is Semitic
in its essence (CCPE 1897, Appendix: 73).
Notice how Shiva Prasad selectively chooses to define Urdu in terms of
its borrowed vocabulary, which is quite small compared to the native Indic
vocabulary, rather than the linguistic structure that Urdu shares with Hindi,
which linguists believe to be the defining feature of a language. In terms of
Irvine and Gal’s model this is an example of erasure; the shared linguistic
history of Urdu and Hindi is being negated in order to construct Urdu as
foreign. The use of Urdu, Shiva Prasad further argues, will lead to some
moral degeneration in that people’s manners and customs will fall apart.
For him, Hindi iconically stands for civility and moral uprightness, whereas
the Urdu language and script will destroy Hindus’ manners, customs, and
tradition. The moral dimension of the ideological debate is discussed further
in section 5.2 below.
The process of “foreignization” of Urdu was a pervasive theme of the
19th century Hindi language ideology. Lexicographers, who are particularly
interested in tracing the genealogy of words, could not be expected to sit
on the fence. In fact, I argue that they shaped (and were also shaped by)
ideologies of ordinary users of language, who became conscious of which
wordswere “native” andwhichwere not through theirwork.Mathura Prasada
Misra, a 19th century lexicographer, in preface to his dictionary published
in 1865 says:
Like a child in the hour of need, it (the Hindi) must naturally resort to its
parent – the Sanskrit – for help. By Sanskrit it must be fed and nourished. It
needs no foreign aid.Yetwe sometimes see foreign aid forced upon it.Arabic,
Persian, and Urdu words and phrases are arrayed by its side in battalions to
support . . . But its officious and unwelcome supporters forget that a nation
which relies on mercenaries only walks on a quicksand, or leans on a broken
staff. (CCPE 1897, Appendix: 39, emphasis original)
In his statement, Misra regards Sanskrit as the parent of Hindi, but not of
Urdu.Very much like Shiva Prasad he treats Urdu words, along with Persian
and Arabic words as “mercenaries,” “foreigners,” and “invaders.” This is a
process of “othering” of the Urdu language and its speakers. In the last line
above, Misra also makes it clear that Urdu cannot be a legitimate symbol of
the Indian nation because “foreigners” cannot be accorded this privileged
status. Implicit in the whole argument about the foreignness of Urdu is also
the issue of authenticity; Hindi, by being indigenous to the people of India,
has the authenticity required to be a valid symbol of the Indian nation. Urdu,
by contrast, because of its “foreignness,” lacks the legitimacy to be so.
The narrative of “foreignness” also finds its expression in literature produced
in the late 19th century.King (1989, 1992) examines the representation
of Hindi and Urdu in an allegorical play written by Pandit Gauri Datta in
the latter half of the 19th century in which Persian, the language of Iran, is
presented as the mother of Urdu.
The construction of the Urdu script and language as “foreign” is interesting,
because the Persian script from which it is adapted had been in India for
about seven centuries. The Persian language and script arrived in India at the
beginning of the 11th centurywhenMahmud of Ghazna (971–1030) founded
the first Muslim empire in the Northwest of India. The decline of his rule
was followed by the establishment of another Muslim dynasty known as the
Delhi Sultanate (1192–1526), which ruled India until the arrival of yet another
Muslim empire, the Mughals (1526–1857). They governed India until
the arrival of the British, whose rule endedwith the independence of India in
1947. Persian remained the official language during the entire Muslim rule.
Rahman (2002: 124) notes, “[i]ndeed according to the details furnished by
Abdul Ghani, Persian literature was well-established under the Ghaznavids,
the Khiljis, and the Tughlaqs before Babur entered India in 1526.” Besides
being the language of administration, Persian was also the language of literature,
sciences, and arts. William Jones, who wrote in the 18th century,
thought that the Persian language was “rich, melodious and elegant” and
thus needed to be studied (Cohn 1985: 285).
The presence of Persian in India implies the use of the Persian script,
which later became the foundation for the creation of the Urdu script. So
the Persian script, in some form, had been in use in India for several centuries
before it began to be attacked for its defects during the 19th century
language ideological debates. I therefore argue that the attack on the linguistic
effectiveness of the Urdu script during the 19th century did not emanate
from purely orthographic concerns; it actually manifests and at the same
time constitutes a broader social struggle for the assertion of Hindu identity.
In terms of Irvine and Gal’s theoretical model, the process of foreignization
of Urdu is an example of iconization and erasure, whereby linguistic
forms such as script and words are linked with social categories of foreignness.
It is through the process of the iconization ofUrduwith foreignness that
Urdu is deligitimated and Hindi is legitimized as a language that deserves to
be an official language of India.
5.2. Fraudulent vs. honest
The process of iconization was not confined to treating the Urdu script and
words as foreign; it also involved personifying the Urdu script as deceitful and
treacherous. In the debate, the discourse of “forgery” was supported by two
main types of argument; one of them was purely orthographic in nature. The
focus of this line of argumentwas to showthat theUrdu script lacked a perfect
relationship between graphemes and phonemes. Hindus further argued that
vowels in Urdu are not always marked, which lend Urdu words to multiple
readings, which ultimately leads to immense confusion. The second line of
argument was centered on the horrible social consequences that arose out
of the alleged shortcomings in the script, in particular how the drawbacks
impeded legal processes and often resulted inmiscarriage of justice. I discuss
the second argument separately in section 5.3 below.
It was argued that the fraudulent character of the script and language
stemmed fromtheir orthographic shortcomings.Attempts were made to calculatemathematically
the number of possible readings that a word or syllable
written in the Urdu script could have. This “promiscuous” nature of the script
was then held responsible for causing fraud and forgery. RajaHarishchandra,
an important leader of the Hindi movement, observed:
. . . make amark like and suppose it to be the name of some village. If we
take the first letter to be (b) it can be pronounced in eleven different ways;
babar, bapar, batar, (with ) and battar (with ) basar, banar, bahr, bayar, ber,
bair, bir; again, if we take the first letter to be (p), (s), (t), (t), (n),
(h), or (y) it can be pronounced in 77 more different ways. Ifwe change the
vowel points of the first eight words given above, we will have 64 more words
. . . Again if we will take the first letter to be (z) or (r) we get 304 more
words . . . . If we change the last letter of the same word into (b) we can
have a thousand new different pronunciations. May God save us from such
letters!!! What wonders cannot be performed through their medium? Black
can be changed into white and white into black. (CCPE 1897, Appendix: 98,
emphasis mine)
Here, Harishchandra tries to discredit and delegitimate the Urdu script on
the grounds that the one-syllable word <s´r>has the possibility of being
read in a thousand different ways. Of course, this is false; in fact, it cannot
be true of any script in the world. Even in other writing systems where
not all vowels are marked, for example Arabic, there are principles that
determine what constitutes a possible or an impossible word. Moreover,
there are other linguistic and extra-linguistic contextual clues that help in
the correct identification of a written word.We know that no text is produced
or consumed in a social or linguistic void. Readers do not understand a text
by apprehending meanings of individual words, but rather by establishing a
relationship between words in a text on the one hand and their relationship
to our world knowledge on the other. Smith, who is a scholar of reading,
remarks:
All learning and comprehension is interpretation, understanding an event from
its context (or putting the event into a context). All reading of print is interpretation,
making sense of print.You don’t worry about specific letters or even
words when you read, any more than you care particularly about headlights
and tires, when you identify a car.The best strategy for determining the identity
of meaning of an unfamiliar word is to work out what it is from context.
(2004: 3; emphasis mine)
Harishchandra then projects this alleged defect of the Urdu language and
script onto Muslims. According to him, the script was like a weapon that
Muslims used to plunder India. He argues that “[b]y the introduction of the
Nagari character they would lose entirely the opportunity of plundering the
world by reading one word for another and misconstruing the real sense of
the contents” (in Sengupta 1994: 86). His argument shows that script and
literacy practices are not merely a technological issue of representing spoken
languages on paper; they are a socially situated phenomenon, loaded with
issues of power and social identities.15
Using ametaphorical expression of “changing black intowhite andwhite
into black,” Harishchandra further argues that the Urdu script is totally unreliable
and untrustworthy. His appeal to God to save people from the Urdu
script implies that the script poses some kind of a social or moral danger
from which society needs to be rescued. In contrast to Harishchandra’s figurative
characterization of the inherently mendacious nature of the Urdu
script, many others were more straightforward and blunt in their disparagement
of the Urdu script. The CCPE, in a discussion of the pros and cons of
the Urdu and Hindi scripts, comments as follows: “What is written in Urdu
is not read. There are many chances of fraud and forgery being committed
in Urdu writing on account of various defects found in it; while it is not the
case with Hindi Bhasha [language]” (1897: 95, emphasis mine).
This line of argument denigrating the Urdu script was not new; it had already
been presented about three decades earlier by Shiva Prasad. In his 1868
memorandum, Shiva Prasad characterizes the Urdu script in these terms:
“Conceive the same letter or the little stroke ( ) to be read as ba bi bu pa pi
pu ta ti tu Ta Ti Tu sa si su na ni nu ya yi and yu” (1868: 4). Shiva Prasad argues
here that the symbol ( ), a common orthographic formused to represent
some phonemes of Urdu, with additional diacritics, is capable of generating a
multiplicity of readings.This unconstrained capacity of the script, he argues,
renders it vulnerable to instances of fraud and forgery.Here, Shiva Prasad appears
to be a forerunner in the construction of the fraud narrative, which was
later quoted and re-quoted as a means of authenticating the discourse of the
“defectiveness” of Urdu. Harishchandra and others who followed him seem
to be building on this discourse and at the same time improvising upon it.
Itwas not only the officialmemoranda thatwere engaged in the campaign
belittling the Urdu script; the issue was a matter of intense debate among the
ordinary people of North India, too. Therefore, the projection of the Urdu
script as evil and liable to fraud and forgery is also commonly found in
newspaper reports of the time. In a report published in the newspaper Jagat
Samachar ofApril 19, 1869, the writer responding favorably to a government
plan to replace theUrdu scriptwith Devanagari points out the “evils” inherent
in the Urdu script. He argues as follows:
All know the defects of the Oordoo[Urdu], and the advantages of the Nagree
[Devanagari] character: how great is the evil, when it is considered that only
the servants of the Court understand the papers of the Court, and even they
are sometimes confused, owing to words being written one way, and read in
another . . . But apart from this, each one writes in his own way, and how
varied is the style of writing; while there is such mystery in the formation of
the letters, that after they are written, the meaning of the words they form can
be changed. (SVNP 1869: 199, emphasis mine)
This example, like the previous ones, starts with the technical defects of
Urdu and concludes by describing the fraud and forgery that may result
from them. However, there is another point worth noting about the ideology
expressed here. The writer argues that the script is confusing not only to
ordinary people, but even the trained specialists at the court are not sure
about words written in it. Reading this, one gets an impression that the Urdu
script is humanly impossible to learn, let alone perfect. I will return to this
point in more detail in section 5.4 below. Secondly, the writer also claims that
there is hardly anything in common between the writings of two individuals
because “each one writes in his own way.” Moreover, the script is somehow
so “mysterious,” the claim goes, that no one could figure out how the letters
are formed.An inevitable consequence of this, the writer claims, is that the
meaning of words is susceptible to manipulations, resulting ultimately in
fraud and forgery.
5.3. Biased vs. impartial
Another element of ideology found in the data related to the fraud and forgery
discourse discussed above is that the Urdu script is a source and cause of
injustice. One of the few arguments advanced in support of the Urdu script
was that it could be written faster than Devanagari. TheCCPE, accepting this
as a positive feature of the Urdu script, however, asserts that the time saved in
writing in theUrdu script is often offset by the time squandered in deciphering
the correct reading. Moreover, in dealing with public matters, the larger
issue of justice and impartiality should supersede any other considerations
including the speed of writing:
Any little saving of time thatmay possibly be effected in recording proceedings
in shikasta16 [Urdu script], is more than counterbalanced by the time and
labour lost later on in reading it, and the doubts and disputes that arise every
now and again regarding the correctness of a reading.On the other hand, any
little loss of time thatmay occur inwriting the proceedings in Nagri, would be
amply compensated by the ease and absolute freedom from doubt with which
the Nagri record can be read ever afterwards. (1897: 21, emphasis mine)
The CCPE argues that the Nagari script, on the other hand, is absolutely
easy to read and free from any possible misreading. The CCPE goes on to
describe the ultimate benefit that the introduction of Devanagari will achieve:
“Besides, the saving of public time is after all an end subordinate to the
claims of justice and public convenience” (1897: 21, emphasis mine). By
this argument, Urdu is declared to be an unsuitable script for a fair and just
transaction of official business; the implication is that the only script that
fulfills the goals of fairness and impartiality is Devanagari.
Earlier examples of the evil consequences of the Urdu script came from
the intellectual debate on its technical inefficiency. An article written in the
newspaper Bharat Bandhu, published on June 15, 1883 provides a concrete
example of how the Urdu script can cause injustice and bring misery to
people. The writer shows that the Urdu script is responsible for inflicting
financial loss on people. He refers to the execution of a court order in which
justice was denied to the plaintiff because of the ambiguity caused by the
Urdu script. The case involved the impounding of a farmer’s crop. But by
mistake his neighbor’s crops were also impounded by the local administration.
The aggrieved neighbor went to the court asking for the restoration of
his crop, but the Urdu script came in the way of justice. The paper reports
what happened:
One of the neighbours submitted a petition to the court praying for the restoration
of his pachisman pukhta gandum, i.e. 25maunds ofwheat by the standard
weight.His claimwas supported by evidence of his witnesses.When the judge
sat to write his judgment, he read pachis man pukhta gandum as pachis man
bejhar gandum i.e. 25 maunds of mixed corn and wheat and asked the petitioner’s
pleader what it was. The pleader also misread it like the judge. The
court rejected the petition on the ground that the petitioner referred to mixed
corn and wheat in the petition, while his witnessesmade no mention ofmixed
corn. The poor man had thus to suffer great loss. . . If the Hindi character
were substituted in place of the Urdu character, no such misunderstanding
would ever arise and the people would be protected from loss. (SVNP 1883:
521, emphasis mine)
In the above example, the aggrieved person suffered financial loss because of
the technical inferiority of theUrdu script,which could notmake a distinction
between whether the claim was about pure wheat or mixed corn and wheat.
Notice that like Harishchandra’s argument above the Urdu script is portrayed
as a source of danger and a social evil from which people need to be saved.
The introduction of the Hindi character, the Devanagari script, in place of
Urdu, it is argued, will automatically ensure fairness and justice to people.
Here it is also important to note the process of metonymy through which the
deceptive quality is transferred from the unscrupulous writers and readers
to the script itself.
The same newspaper, commenting on the report that the Government
had issued a circular to district officers making a proposal regarding the
Nagari script, noted: “The substitution of Hindi in place of Urdu as the court
language would be a real boon to the country and protect the people from
these inconveniences and frauds towhich they are at present exposed” (SVNP
1883: 536, emphasis mine). The introduction of Devanagari, the newspaper
claims, is a blessing for the people, because theywill be saved frominjustices
caused by the Urdu script.
The belief that the Urdu script was an impediment to the process of dispensing
justice was a recurring theme in the metalinguistic discourse of the
time. The CCPE presents numerous cases of legal disputes arising mainly
out of the allegedly mistaken readings of names, places, etc. I mention only
a few below to illustrate the point. The CCPE cites a memorial submitted by
Dev Nagree Pracharni Sabha, The Society for the Promotion of Devanagari
(Meerut) to the Education Commission17 in which the petitioners provided
a number of arguments in favor of introducing Devanagari, including court
cases where Urdu was either the reason for the miscarriage of justice or an
impediment, at least, to a fair judicial transaction. The memorialists mention
a report published inVidya Parkashak, amonthly journal published fromLahore
in which a judge could not decide whether the petitioner had purchased
salt or bond, because the Urdu script could not distinguish between the two:
When a man submitted a petition to the Sub-Judge’s Court at Amritsar, in
which itwas written that according to the account books ( )
a bond ( ) was purchased.The Serishtadar read this phrase that according
to the books salt was purchased ( ). The
petitioner exclaimed that bond and not saltwas purchased by him.The Serishtadar
appears to injure his case.The Subordinate Judge asked the Serishtadar
about thiswho replied that bond ( ) and salt ( ) were and arewritten and
read in Urdu in the same way. (CCPE 1897, Appendix: 95, emphasis mine)
The above examples not only show the process of iconization whereby the
Urdu script is iconized as a symbol of dishonesty; they also illustrate how
this ideology reduces the complexity of the whole judicial process to the
single issue of script. It completely erases from discussion other social and
political factors that contribute to or impede the dispensation of justice.
Even the linguistic and discourse contexts in which words occur are totally
ignored. Homographs and homophones do not lend themselves to multiple
meanings, if presented in an appropriate sociolinguistic context. It is hard to
believe that the words for ‘salt’ and ‘bond’ could not be distinguished in the
legal document, even if one assumes that they were written in the same way,
which they usually are not. In terms of Irvine and Gal’s theoretical model,
this is an example par excellence of erasure.
The iconization of Urdu as fraudulent and Hindi as virtuous also reverberated
in some Hindi plays written in the 19th century. King (1989, 1992)
discusses Pandit Gauri Datta’s play Devanagari aur Urdu ka svang arthat
Devanagari aur Urdu ka ek natak (‘A play of Hindi and Urdu’) published in
the 1880s, and Munshi Sohan Prasad’s play Hindi aur Urdu ki Larai (‘The
fight of Hindi and Urdu’) in terms of their representation of Urdu as vice
and Hindi as virtue. These plays are allegorical in nature and have Urdu and
Hindi represented by Begum Urdu and Queen Devanagari. Queen Devanagari’s
pleader argues:
. . . [Queen Devanagari] teaches righteousness and removes falsehood, and
that under her rule people could become merry, become wealthy, carry on
their business, and learn wisdom. Bribery . . . would weep at the very sound
of her name, and fabrication and fraudwould disappear should she rule again.
(King 1989: 180, emphasis mine)
Urdu, on the other hand, was represented as the following:
This is my work—passion I’ll teach,
Tasks of your household we’ll leave in the breach.
We’ll be lovers and rakes, living for pleasure,
Consorting with prostitutes, squandering our treasure . . .
Lie to your betters and flatter each other
Write down one thing and read out another.
(King 1989: 181, emphasis mine)
The narrative of Urdu as the language that encourages fraud resonates perfectly
with Harishchandra’s statement on the fraudulent character of Urduwe
have seen earlier. Here, there are additional layers of iconization, however.
The Urdu language and script are held responsible for inculcating passion, as
opposed to sublime love that Hindi/Devanagari represents. Urdu is also seen
as responsible for destroying domestic life and as belonging to a dissolute
section of society – prostitutes.

khanabadoshi
03-20-2018, 06:05 AM
Discussions on the historical and linguistic origins of Hindi and Urdu are acceptable within this subforum, but this thread will be monitored for any infringement of the rules of this forum.

Please ensure that the discussion does not veer into a subject with clearly political or religious overtones, and that the conversation remains civil.

I've been missing out on the good stuff.
Let me know if you decide to go Thor on the masses, so I can grab some popcorn.

----------------------------------

This discussion is very interesting and I have a fairly developed view on this. However, I've discussed this topic to death a million times in various settings and I don't have the energy for another round LOL.

[I started typing... I erased it... it was about to be an essay.... LOL]


PS. The title of the thread is bothering me.
PPS. I have like 30 unread PMs. If you are one of the senders, do not fear. I will read it eventually this week. I've been busy with things.

poi
03-20-2018, 06:24 AM
I've been missing out on the good stuff.
Let me know if you decide to go Thor on the masses, so I can grab some popcorn.

----------------------------------

This discussion is very interesting and I have a fairly developed view on this. However, I've discussed this topic to death a million times in various settings and I don't have the energy for another round LOL.

[I started typing... I erased it... it was about to be an essay.... LOL]


PS. The title of the thread is bothering me.
PPS. I have like 30 unread PMs. If you are one of the senders, do not fear. I will read it eventually this week. I've been busy with things.

The title is definitely a flame bait and, from the surface, drags down the quality of the sub-forum in general, especially to visitors/lurkers that see posts like this. The replies have been surprisingly good with some quality posts.

Raza94
03-20-2018, 06:27 AM
I've been missing out on the good stuff.
Let me know if you decide to go Thor on the masses, so I can grab some popcorn.

----------------------------------

This discussion is very interesting and I have a fairly developed view on this. However, I've discussed this topic to death a million times in various settings and I don't have the energy for another round LOL.

[I started typing... I erased it... it was about to be an essay.... LOL]


PS. The title of the thread is bothering me.
PPS. I have like 30 unread PMs. If you are one of the senders, do not fear. I will read it eventually this week. I've been busy with things.

Damn bro we wanna hear what you have to say

redifflal
03-20-2018, 12:35 PM
My views on Urdu as a whole are fairly dismissive and actually reading the quotes from the 19th century Hindu nationalists I'm recognizing how widespread such views are among regular people. The process that culminated in Urdu isn't different from similar elite imposed creoles like Hinglish or Benglish etc. One can make a case that it is more a rural urban divide than a Hindu Christian/Anglo-Indian divide since Hindus also speak the polluted creoles and English medium educated folks across Indian subcontinent have lost the ability to converse fully without resorting to English vocabulary.

Despite in India there being the option of instruction in K-12 for native language as medium, the corporate economy within India and the global economy is set up such that English language is the way out. So nobody is getting schooled in native language any more. Even a construction laborer will take loans on his livelihood to make sure his son gets English medium education. You extrapolate this process to the past and you can see how the military defeats for the Hindus at Panipat or Haldighati led to the environment in which many Hindus had to learn Farsi or themselves became extricate from their Hindu origins and became co founders of Urdu.

Anjuman-i Taraqqi-i Urdu
03-20-2018, 01:19 PM
"Urdu" as it is called was "Hindi" back in the day, and was mostly restricted to towns and other urban settlements, compared to modern "Hindi" dialects, which were regional dialects restricted to the large local masses (Hindus and local-descent Muslims). If you look at a lot of what is considered "Hindi literature", before the British period, it is mostly regional dialects such as Awadhi or Braj written in devanagari script, compared to the refined standardised "Hindi" AKA "Urdu" written in Nastaaliq, of the urban elite.

Most people used mixed language nowadays anyway. Highly Persianate Hindustani is rare, except in literature, but can also be found in lot of modern media, like Bollywood songs for e.g. On the other hand, the vast large rural masses of the Hindi belt (both Hindu and Muslim), still speak in regional dialects, which are way less Persianate in form (although obviously still containing a lot of Persian vocabulary).

For e.g., Yogi Adityanath, born in a village in the Garwhal (Uttarakhand), speaks in a very rural Hindi dialect, and his speech can be seen as being notable with his pronunciation of s/j instead of sh/z and mass use of Sanskrit words not found in urban varieties.


As for Hindi/Urdu imposition on the masses, its a pretty serious issue, although the mainly rural population will stay unaffected.

You failed to read my original post. Whether it was called Hindi or Urdu, it was written in Nastaliq script. Please provide me all Hindi literature written in present day Devanagari script which was written prior to 1860.

Anjuman-i Taraqqi-i Urdu
03-20-2018, 01:35 PM
First off, don't address me as "Dear"

Ok


And yes I agree that Punjabis themselves do play a role in all this, they are not blameless. But like I said, Urdu should not have been the official language of Pakistan. It did little to unite the country as you can see with the whole Bangladesh situation, although there were other factors as I previously stated.

Actually Urdu did what it was supposed to do. It was Bengali nationalists who caused the problem, since they wanted Bengali to become an co-official language. Bengali was a regional language of Pakistan just like Sindhi, Pashto, Punjabi etc and that's why they opted not to make it a national language. In 1956, when the constitution was unveiled and due to pressure from East Bengal, both Urdu and Bengali were made national languages. This triggered a huge outcry from other groups, in particular Sindhi nationalists who argued Sindhi should also be a national language. Pashtun nationalists also began questioning who Pashto wasn't given equal status. This wasn't the fault of Urdu, it was the fault of ultra-nationalists, although the situation in East Bengal had other factors which played a bigger role, but the inclusion of Bengali did trigger nationalist sentiment in West Pakistan provinces.


India does not have an official language and they seem to be doing fine, or at least better than Pakistan.

Keeping English as the official language of India has done more harm than good. All of India's brightest (who are educated in English in all post-secondary institutes) end up leaving India to work in the UK or the USA. Brain drain is nothing to be proud about, and English aids in that regard. In Pakistan too, it is English which is doing more harm than Urdu.


In Punjab local language does still dominate. Whenever I go back I do hear Punjabi a lot but the main issue is that it is the older generations speaking it to their kids, and the kids respond back in Urdu (different story if you go to the pind though). There have been local Punjabi festivals held, usually arranged by local people and not governments though. You will even see Lohri festivals in some places now and they even had a Punjabi culture festival in Lyallapur. Unfortunately this is all a waste unless the government starts to back it up and we see it being taught in schools and even bring back some Punjabi movies. Your earlier point though about non-native Punjabis ruling Punjab is a good point. That might have something to do with it.

Punjabi culture is still prevalent in Punjab, that I agree with. I'm not questioning the culture. I'm questioning language...particularly of middle class urban Punjabis who feel Punjabi is inferior. Education is under control of the provinces, not the federal government. Government of Punjab unfortunately have an inferiority complex which they need to come out of. Punjabi should be taught from primary level all the way up with Urdu being optional. In the case of Punjabi, learning Urdu would be pretty straight forward as the two languages are quite similar.


I mean they are making a Maula Jatt 2 and its mostly in Urdu from what I know.
Yes it's an Urdu production, because the film is being produced in Karachi. Pakistani cinema is divided linguistically...there's Pashto cinema, Sindhi cinema, Punjabi cinema and Urdu cinema. Initially, Lahore served as both the Urdu and Punjabi cinema center, but after Zia ul Haq came and imposed ridiculous new laws, the cinema industry took a dive and all but crashed in the 90s. Punjabi cinema reverted to stuff Badmash Gujjar and what not, while Urdu cinema all but went dead. Then in the mid 2000s, there was a shift of Urdu cinema from Lahore to Karachi and a new influx of young directors and the Urdu cinema industry tookoff again. At present, Karachi produces more films per year and all in Urdu, while Lahore only makes Punjabi films. Maula Jatt 2 is being produced from Karachi, hence it would be in Urdu.


As for your Shahmukhi/Gurmukhi argument, that I do not know much about. Although I do not know any West Punjabi who can write Shahmukhi, but majority of East Punjabis all know how to at least read Gurmukhi, but that probably has to do with majority of them being Sikh and their holy book is written in Gurmukhi.

Yes, as I mentioned above, it's the failure of Government of Punjab to grow out of its colonial mentality. This is a problem all over Pakistan to be honest, but more so in Punjab than anywhere else.

Anjuman-i Taraqqi-i Urdu
03-20-2018, 01:39 PM
If folks are interested in a better reading of this Hindi/Urdu divide, I am posting an article by a Dr Rizwan Ahmad called Hindi is perfect, Urdu is messy:The discourse of delegitimation of Urdu in India
I can't find the link to it, but had it downloaded as pdf on my computer, so I'll just paste it here.

Who is "Dr. Rizwan Ahmed"?

Secondly, here's a simple question for you and please answer this. If Hindi is indeed thousands of years old, why is there no rich history of Hindi literature or poetry as compared to Urdu? Find me one piece of Hindi literature written in Devanagari prior to 1860. That's all I ask.

Anjuman-i Taraqqi-i Urdu
03-20-2018, 01:47 PM
I think the crux of my argument is being missed here. I am not claiming the language being spoken is fake. I am claiming the language which is written and called "Hindi" is fake. Why was the original Nastaliq script removed? Of course, it was out of religious hatred and nothing else.

The same thing happened with Punjabi. Originally it was written in Shahmukhi (Nastaliq) as early as the 12th century, but then Sikhs created their own Gurmukhi in the 17th century. But at least Sikhs still call it Punjabi.
The same thing happened with Urdu (also called Hindi, Dekhani, Rektha, Hindustani etc.). Originally it was written in Nastaliq from the 14th century to present day. This "hindi" of today was literally invented in 1860.

My question is why?

poi
03-20-2018, 01:50 PM
If Hindi is indeed thousands of years old, why is there no rich history of Hindi literature or poetry as compared to Urdu? Find me one piece of Hindi literature written in Devanagari prior to 1860. That's all I ask.

You're forgetting that educated (which generally meant upper caste in the past) Hindus, Sanskrit was the way to write literature and poetry, not any of the Prakrits/Pali descendents that were seen as degraded.

poi
03-20-2018, 01:59 PM
I don't think this thread adds any more value. Point was made. Counter points made. The rest will be political/religious discussion.

Reza
03-20-2018, 02:09 PM
This thread will be closed from here on for moderation.

No further posts as the conversation has clearly degenerated and turned into a political / religious discussuon.

A shame, as despite the inflammatory title, anthrogenica posters took the effort to reply in a befitting manner to the forum.

Reza
03-20-2018, 11:09 PM
Posts are in the process of being edited and deleted as appropriate.

The inflammatory thread title has also been edited.

May I ask next time, that users report specific posts to moderators straight away, via the icon at the bottom of each post, if they consider them inappropriate and infringing the terms of service.