Saturday, 26 April 2014

About Urdu

اردوہے جس کا نام، ہمیں جانتے ہیں داؔغ
سارے جہاں میں دُھوم ہماری زباں کی ہے

Urdu is the national language of Pakistan and it is also a prominent language (either spoken or understood) within South Asian region. Many people in countries like India, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, and Sri Lanka at least understand it and may speak some broken Urdu as well. This pretty much makes it a prominent language in a region where more than one seventh population of the world lives.

Of course there are a lot of languages spoken within the region, but I personally think that most people can speak and understand Urdu or broken Urdu one way or another. It is my personal opinion and experience which I have found during my travelling within Pakistan. However, I feel to experience this a little more in India, Iran, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. My brother who has visited Sri Lanka and Bangladesh and he told me that Sri Lankan and Bangladeshi people can understand Urdu, however they termed it as “Hindi” which is not true as the term “Hindi” refers to a language spoken in India with its origin in “Sanskrit” and has a totally different lexigraph.

The word “Urdu” is derived from Turkish language which literally means “Lashkari” (a soldier who lives in a camp). According to a myth, after capturing Delhi in 1526, Mughal emperors gradually built an army consisting of Arab, Persian, Afghan, Turk and Hindustani soldiers. All these soldiers used to live in a camp outside Delhi. In that “camp” they used to communicate with each other. They shared words from each other’s languages to get the message across, this turned out to be the origin of a new language which comprises the words from every language spoken in the camp. It was supposed to be the first form of “Urdu” language. So, Urdu was a language used by soldiers from different nations to communicate with each other. However, modern day researchers do not agree with this approach. It is a very difficult task to know the exact origin of Urdu language, as there are a lot of theories about this subject. I will try to cover some of those theories in another post.

Urdu has 32 alphabets and most of these alphabets are also present in Persian and Arabic.  Below is an image which shows all of the Urdu alphabets.

Urdu Alphabets (Image Source: Arabic Calligraphy)

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