Urdu - The Origin And History Of The Language

The term 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 one another and communicated in different dialects, which slowly and gradually evolved into present day Urdu. It is for this reason that Urdu can be referred to as Lashkari Zaban or language of the army.

Throughout its development Urdu language also assumed numerous names like the term Urdu-e-Maullah which means the exalted military which was given by Emperor Shah Jahan and the time period 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 depends on the evolution and development of a society where that language is spoken. Various invasions and conquests on a place have an effect on the development of its language. Urdu isn't any exception as it additionally underwent varied stages of development.

Urdu belongs to the Indo-Aryan family of languages. Urdu by origin is considered to be a descendent of Saur Senic Prakrit. The time period Prakrriti means root or basis. It's a later model of Sanskrit. As Prakrit language began 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 necessity was felt to differentiate Urdu with other languages especially Hindi. It grew to become a Hindi-Urdu controversy and in consequence 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 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 native dialects and the language of the invaders - which was either Persian, Arabic and Turkish, a new language advanced which later became Urdu. Through 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 grow to be Persianized and enriched with Persian words, phrases and even script and grammar. With the approaching of the British, new English words additionally grew to become part of the Urdu language. Many English words were accepted in their real form while others had been accepted after some modifications.

Currently, Urdu vocabulary accommodates approximately 70% of Persian words and the remainder are a mixture of Arabic and Turkish words. However, there are also 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 common people. On account of the political, social and cultural contacts amongst the people of various speech and dialects, a combined 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 13th century in India in the course of the Mughal rule. One of the most eminent earliest poets who made usage of Urdu in his poetry is Amir Khusro who will be called the daddy of Urdu language. In literature, Urdu was often used along side Persian. Mughal kings were the great patrons of art and literature and it was under their rule that Urdu language reached its zenith. There used to be a tradition of 'Sheri Mehfils' (poetic gatherings) within the kings' courts. Abul Fazal Faizi and Abdul Rahim Khankhana have been 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 way of their literary works.

It is certainly true that Hindi and Urdu are descendents of the same language i.e. Prakrit, but the place 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 widespread 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 device by the Muslims for freedom wrestle and for creating 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 aren'table, who by means of their poetry and prose provoked the mandatory spark within the lives of the Muslims. Urdu was chosen to turn out to be the national language of Pakistan at the time of Independence from British. Urdu is now the nationwide language of Pakistan, spoken and understood completely by mainity of the population.

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