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Urdu - The Origin And History Of The Language

Urdu - The Origin And History Of The Language

The term Urdu derives from a Turkish word ordu that means camp or army. The Urdu language developed between the Muslim soldiers of the Mughals armies who belonged to numerous ethnicities like Turks, Arabs, Persians, Pathans, Balochis, Rajputs, Jats and Afghans. These soldiers lived in shut contact with each other and communicated in numerous dialects, which slowly and gradually advanced into present day Urdu. It's for this reason that Urdu can be referred to as Lashkari Zaban or language of the army.

During its development Urdu language also assumed varied names like the time period Urdu-e-Maullah meaning the exalted army which was given by Emperor Shah Jahan and the term Rekhta that means scattered (with Persian words) which was coined by the scholars for Urdu poetry.

History and Evolution of Urdu Language

Evolution and development of any language depends on the evolution and development of a society the place that language is spoken. Numerous invasions and conquests on a spot affect the development of its language. Urdu is not any exception as it also underwent various levels of development.

Urdu belongs to the Indo-Aryan household of languages. Urdu by origin is considered to be a descendent of Saur Senic Prakrit. The term Prakrriti means root or basis. It is a later model of Sanskrit. As Prakrit language started to develop, it was influenced by Western Hindi dialects of Khari Boli, Brij Bhasa and Haryanvi.

With the approaching of Insha's Darya-e-Latafat*, a need was felt to distinguish Urdu with different languages especially Hindi. It became a Hindi-Urdu controversy and because of this Khari Boli and Devanagari turned the identity of Indians while Urdu and Persian of Muslims. In this context, Persian and Arabic words replaced with Sanskrit served the aim of differentiating Hindi from Urdu.

Urdu emerged as a definite language after 1193 AD - the time of the Muslims conquest. When the Muslims conquered this part of the continent, they made Persian the official and cultural language of India. On account of the amalgamation of local dialects and the language of the invaders - which was either Persian, Arabic and Turkish, a new language developed which later turned Urdu. Throughout the Mughals reign, Urdu was spoken in palaces and court and till the top of the Mughal rule; Urdu was the official language of most of Mughal states. This was the time when Urdu had change into Persianized and enriched with Persian words, phrases and even script and grammar. With the coming of the British, new English words also became part of the Urdu language. Many English words have been accepted of their real form while others were accepted after some modifications.

At present, Urdu vocabulary comprises approximately 70% of Persian words and the remainder are a combination of Arabic and Turkish words. However, there are additionally traces of the French, Portuguese and Dutch language in Urdu. But these influences are little.

Urdu was taken to other parts of the country by soldiers, saints and sufis and by the widespread people. On account of the political, social and cultural contacts amongst the people of various speech and dialects, a blended form of language formed called 'Rekhta' (Urdu and Persian in combined form). Soon people started to use the new language of their speech and in literature which resulted within the enrichment of Urdu language and literature.

Urdu Literature

The origin of Urdu literature dates back to the thirteenth century in India in the course of the Mughal rule. One of the eminent earliest poets who made utilization of Urdu in his poetry is Amir Khusro who will be called the daddy of Urdu language. In literature, Urdu was often used alongside side Persian. Mughal kings had been the nice patrons of artwork and literature and it was under their rule that Urdu language reached its zenith. There was a tradition of 'Sheri Mehfils' (poetic gatherings) in the kings' courts. Abul Fazal Faizi and Abdul Rahim Khankhana were the well-known Urdu poets of Mughal court. Likewise, Mirza Ghalib, Allama Iqbal, Hakim Momin, Ibrahim Zauq, Mir Taqi Mir, Sauda, Ibn-e-Insha and Faiz Ahmed Faiz have contributed to the evolution of Urdu language by means of their literary works.

It is indeed true that Hindi and Urdu are descendents of the identical language i.e. Prakrit, but where the Hindi took influence from Sanskrit and adopted Devanagri script of writing, Urdu absorbed words from Persian, Turkish and Arabic languages and adopted Persian-Arabic script and Nastaliq calligraphic type of writing and emerged as a separate language. However beside frequent ancestry, the two languages are as totally different as can be. There are marked grammatical, phonological and lexical differences in both languages.

Urdu was also used as a software by the Muslims for freedom struggle and for making awareness amongst Muslim communities in South Asia to unite under the banner of Independence from British Raj. For this, providers of Maulana Hali, Sir Syed Ahmed Khan and Allama Iqbal should notable, who via their poetry and prose provoked the required spark within the lives of the Muslims. Urdu was chosen to change into the nationwide language of Pakistan on the time of Independence from British. Urdu is now the national language of Pakistan, spoken and understood completely by majority of the population.

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