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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 close contact with each other and communicated in numerous dialects, which slowly and gradually evolved into current 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 term 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 is dependent on the evolution and development of a society the place that language is spoken. Varied invasions and conquests on a spot affect the development of its language. Urdu isn't 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 time period Prakrriti means root or basis. It is a later version of Sanskrit. As Prakrit language began to develop, it was influenced by Western Hindi dialects of Khari Boli, Brij Bhasa and Haryanvi.

With the coming of Insha's Darya-e-Latafat*, a necessity was felt to distinguish Urdu with other languages especially Hindi. It grew to become a Hindi-Urdu controversy and in consequence 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 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. Because 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 grew to become Urdu. During the Mughals reign, Urdu was spoken in palaces and court and till the end 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 grew to become part of the Urdu language. Many English words have been accepted of their real form while others were accepted after some modifications.

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

Urdu was taken to other parts of the country by soldiers, saints and sufis and by the widespread people. Because of the political, social and cultural contacts amongst the folks of various speech and dialects, a combined form of language formed called 'Rekhta' (Urdu and Persian in mixed form). Soon individuals started to make use of 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 during the Mughal rule. One of the crucial eminent earliest poets who made utilization of Urdu in his poetry is Amir Khusro who might be called the father of Urdu language. In literature, Urdu was often used along side Persian. Mughal kings were the good patrons of art and literature and it was under their rule that Urdu language reached its zenith. There was a tradition of 'Sheri Mehfils' (poetic gatherings) within the kings' courts. Abul Fazal Faizi and Abdul Rahim Khankhana had 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 by their literary works.

It's certainly true that Hindi and Urdu are descendents of the same language i.e. Prakrit, however 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 model of writing and emerged as a separate language. However beside widespread ancestry, the two languages are as different as can be. There are marked grammatical, phonological and lexical variations in both languages.

Urdu was additionally used as a tool by the Muslims for freedom struggle and for making awareness among 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 usually are notable, who by means of their poetry and prose provoked the required spark in 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 mainity of the population.

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