Hindi and Urdu are like sisters supporting each other, writes Anil Singh

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Those who saw a clothing company’s slogan, “Jashn-e-Riwaaz” as an attempt to “Abrahamize” Hindu festivals recently were left speechless when famous writer Javed Akhtar pointed out that three of the four words from the BJP slogan for the UP assembly the polls – ‘Soch imaandar kaam dumdaar’ – came from Urdu; imaandar, kaam and dumdaar.

So the Hindutva troll army instead attacked the language. Example of some printable answers, typical of ‘bhakt’. The first is the denial: “Urdu is not a language in the first place. The verbs used throughout Urdu are taken 100% from Hindi which in turn comes from Sanskrit. Without verbs, there can be no language. Urdu is not a language. I repeat that Urdu is not a language. “The second is a conspiracy theory:” I always wondered what was the need to invent Urdu when India already had so many rich languages !! Isn’t that part of an agenda? Why did West Pakistan try to impose Urdu on East Pakistan and end up losing it and also slaughtering millions of Bengali speakers? “

The misconception is that Urdu is a Pakistani language, that it is the language of the Islamic invaders. With their distorted sense of history, these fanatics see Urdu as a vestige of centuries of subjugation. Hence his demonization. Those ignorant people should hear from Urdu scholar Gopichand Narang: “Urdu is not the language of Muslims. If there is a language of Muslims, it should be Arabic. Urdu belongs to the composite culture of India. Hindi and Urdu are complementary and complementary. They are like mutually reinforcing sisters.

These WhatsApp University graduates don’t learn that Upendranath Sharma ‘Ashk’ and Dhanpat Rai Srivastava, better known as Munshi Premchand, were famous Urdu authors even before they started writing in Hindi, which Urdu literature was heavily frequented by non-Muslims. writers and poets: Krishan Chander, Rajinder Singh Bedi, Raghupati Sahay (Firaq Gorakhpuri), Gulzar (Sampooran Singh Kalra), Khushwant Singh …. Rekhta.org, possibly the most comprehensive site on Urdu, is run by a Marwari Hindu.

The defamation of Urdu is part of a sectarian campaign that stems from the misplaced ideology of the late Guru Golwalkar of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), who believed that the “non-Hindu people of Hindustan must either embrace the culture and the Hindu language, must learn, respect and revere the Hindu religion, must have no other idea than those of the glorification of the Hindu race and culture … “

The Prime Minister chooses to speak Sanskritized Hindi on important occasions. For example, on this day he used terms like “paavan parv”, “naman”, “nyochhavar”, “kaalkhand”, “samarpit”, “itihas” … However, a Sanskrit word that he avoided was “baker”. Followers of the Hindi-Hindu ideology of Hindustan will be surprised to learn that the surname of ancient Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis is derived from two Persian words, “farad” and “navis”; it translates into English as “maker of the lists”.

It does not matter to the “hatriots” that Urdu – an Indian language closely related to Hindi but written in Persian script and having many borrowings from Persian and Arabic – is one of our officially recognized languages. It is the seventh most spoken language in India. If we were to replace Urdu words with Hindi ones, some of Bollywood’s most memorable lines would fall flat: “Mogambo prasann hua”; “Kitne vyakti thay?” “; “Don ko pakadna kathin he nahin, asambhav hai”; ‘Ye sansaar, ye sammelan simple kaam kay nahin’ …

What a courtroom scene would be complete without ‘chashmadeed gawah’, ‘tazeerat-e Hind ke tahat’ and ‘ba-izzat bari’. The word ‘adalat’ itself comes from Urdu. Hindi films and their songs are interspersed with ‘sukoon’ (peace), ‘roohaniyat’ (spirituality), ‘mukammal’ (full), ‘justajoo’ (longing), ‘shiddat’ (intensity), ‘inayat’ ( blessing), ‘aafreen’ (seductive) … Not to mention ‘Woh yaar ho jo khushboo ki tarah / Jiski zubaan Urdu ki tarah’ from ‘Chaiyaa, chaiyya…’ by Gulzar set to music by AR Rahman in Mani’s film Ratnam, ‘Dil Se’. Indeed, Urdu sounds so poetic and dignified that the uninitiated can feel flattered even when insulted.

It’s another matter that Bollywood loses touch with Urdu. Today’s screenwriters don’t have the same mastery of the language as their ancestors, and actors don’t have the impeccable performance of the stars of yesteryear. You could say that the ‘dumdaar’ dialogues of someone like Dilip Kumar are missing. However, there is also something positive. A yet to be released Hindi film ‘Sehar’ by debutant Munzir Naqvi deals with the artificial demonization of Urdu. The film’s protagonist, an Urdu teacher played by Pankaj Kapur, struggles to save his course in the face of declining enrollment, insufficient funding, and the widespread belief that a degree in Urdu is not suitable for the job.

Until independence, Urdu was widely spoken in North India and within the bureaucracy. But after the partition, the language became increasingly associated with Islam and Pakistan. The communal association of Hindi and Urdu was so comprehensive at that time that Urdu was incorporated into the constitution as part of a largely shallow list of official languages, only because the prime minister Nehru insisted on it.

In 1955, an Official Languages ​​Commission was appointed by the Union government to forge modern Hindi words, as it was to be used for the first time as an administrative language. The late Hindi poet Harivansh Rai Bachchan describes in his autobiography the astonishment caused by incomprehensible Sanskrit neologisms; a radio was “vidyut prasaran” and a train, “lauhpath gamini”.

The politics of the Hindi-Urdu divide is not new, it dates back to the 19th century. Fortunately, the policy of Hindi-Urdu unity also has roots that go back this far. Poet and satirist Akbar Allahabadi captured the false fight in these lines, still relevant a century later:

Hum Urdu ko Arabi kyon na karein

Hindi ko voh Bhasha (Sanskrit) kyon na karein

Jhagre ke liye akhbaron mein mazmun tarasha kyon na karein

Aapas mein adavat kuch bhi nahin lekin ek akhara qaim hai Jab est se falak ka dil behle hum log tamasha kyon na karein ‘

(Why shouldn’t we turn Urdu into Arabic and Hindi into Bhasha? Why shouldn’t we write divisive newspaper articles to fuel the fight? There is no mutual animosity but an arena is being prepared: why shouldn’t we make a scene, when it gladdens the hearts of the heavens?)

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Posted on: Saturday December 11th, 2021 9:03 AM IST


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