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Urdu - The Origin And History Of The Language

Urdu - The Origin And History Of The Language

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

Throughout its development Urdu language additionally assumed various names like the time period Urdu-e-Maullah meaning the exalted army which was given by Emperor Shah Jahan and the term Rekhta which 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 relies on the evolution and development of a society where that language is spoken. Numerous invasions and conquests on a spot affect the development of its language. Urdu is not any exception as it additionally underwent numerous stages 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's 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 turned a Hindi-Urdu controversy and as a result Khari Boli and Devanagari became the identity of Indians while Urdu and Persian of Muslims. In this context, Persian and Arabic words changed with Sanskrit served the purpose of differentiating Hindi from Urdu.

Urdu emerged as a distinct 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. As a result of the amalgamation of native dialects and the language of the invaders - which was either Persian, Arabic and Turkish, a new language developed which later turned Urdu. During the Mughals reign, Urdu was spoken in palaces and court and till the tip of the Mughal rule; Urdu was the official language of most of Mughal states. This was the time when Urdu had turn into Persianized and enriched with Persian words, phrases and even script and grammar. With the approaching of the British, new English words also became part of the Urdu language. Many English words were accepted in 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 different parts of the country by soldiers, saints and sufis and by the common people. On account of the political, social and cultural contacts amongst the folks of various speech and dialects, a blended form of language formed called 'Rekhta' (Urdu and Persian in mixed form). Quickly people started to make use of the new language in their speech and in literature which resulted in the enrichment of Urdu language and literature.

Urdu Literature

The origin of Urdu literature dates back to the thirteenth century in India through the Mughal rule. One of the crucial eminent earliest poets who made utilization of Urdu in his poetry is Amir Khusro who will be called the father of Urdu language. In literature, Urdu was usually used along side Persian. Mughal kings were 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 have been the famous 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 via their literary works.

It's indeed true that Hindi and Urdu are descendents of the same language i.e. Prakrit, however the place the Hindi took affect 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 model of writing and emerged as a separate language. However beside common ancestry, the two languages are as totally different as can be. There are marked grammatical, phonological and lexical differences in each languages.

Urdu was also used as a software by the Muslims for freedom battle and for creating awareness among Muslim communities in South Asia to unite under the banner of Independence from British Raj. For this, services of Maulana Hali, Sir Syed Ahmed Khan and Allama Iqbal usually are notable, who by their poetry and prose provoked the necessary spark within the lives of the Muslims. Urdu was chosen to turn into the national 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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