Hindi-Urdu: Origin of the Division

Discussion in 'Indo-Iranian Languages' started by tonyspeed, May 5, 2011.

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  1. tonyspeed Senior Member

    English & Creole - Jamaica
    I am curious to hear everyone's ideas on the the history of the Urdu/Hindi split? Do you think the Modern Standard Hindi represents the language as it should be? What do you have you read to have caused the split?
  2. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    Tony, this is a very sensitive subject and almost any discussion on the subject ends up in acrimony. Here is a link to a talk given by a well known and internationally respected scholar Shamsur Rahman Faruqi. The talk is entitled,

    Urdu Literary Culture: The Syncretic Tradition
    Keynote Address, Shibli Academy, Azamgarh
    December 17, 2008


    I think this should answer some of your queries if not all.
  3. tonyspeed Senior Member

    English & Creole - Jamaica
    I always find it funny how a historical subject that happened not so long ago (historical sources of information still extant) can be a source of contention. Thank you for your link.
  4. Faylasoof Senior Member

    Plato's Republic
    English (UK) & Urdu (Luckhnow), Hindi
    Unfortunately, the issue was politicised and remains so but we needn't go into it here. Below is quite a thorough treatment of the subject by Tara Chand. Though old (1944), it is still relevant.

    Last edited: Sep 5, 2011
  5. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    The links below to scholarly items would be a good start for those who have a desire to find the facts behind the Urdu-Hindi debate, from a historic linguistic perspective.

    * One Language, Two Scripts: The Hindi Movement in Nineteenth Century North India (Christopher.R.King, OUP 1994)


    A short review of this book by Professor Sushil Srivastava of Allahabad University, is also available. (This is only 12 pages long).


    Another short interesting piece is "Some notes on Hindi and Urdu" by the Late Ralph Russell of SOAS (6 pages)

    Last edited: Sep 2, 2011
  6. tonyspeed Senior Member

    English & Creole - Jamaica
    I must say of all things that are most frustrating for a learner it is this "division" which is really not a real division but a mental division. You have X type of people that say words of Arabic and Persian content should never be uttered because that is not "correct" or "pure" Hindi. So I have had people in the past say: "don't say shukriya say dhyanyavad ". Then you have some that say "don't say intazaar say pratiksha". The sad part of the entire matter is that some of them don't even know "why" they are advocating such a strict division, they have just been taught that way! I suppose someone along the line in the teaching process SHOULD have known better but have chosen to follow the path of xenophobia. On top of that you have people telling you that one of the greatest tools by which to learn Hindi, music and films, are NOT correct, and do not represent REAL Hindi. On top of that, we have no real semi-scientific data as to what types of words are ACTUALLY spoken in X location and Y location. Therefore, it is very easy to skew data and fictionalise it according to one's own viewpoint and ideological perspective or maybe base one's viewpoints only on one's immediate family or close circle of friends which usually share a similar history and ideological perspectives.

    To me this is the greatest hindrance to Hindi ever becoming a respected international language. If I as an average student knew beforehand that Hindi was mired in such political-ideological-religious debates then the alternative of learning Chinese or Arabic suddenly seems more appealing.

    Even the origin itself is muddled in controversy and one cannot but assume that because of the issues involved, some have purposely tried to obscure the history behind this debate so that the truth cannot be accurately obtained.

    It almost seems that we need a indeed neutral researcher to analyse historical documents and determine what logically happened. This is why I tend to trust those who SHOULD be on the opposite side of the fence but argue the opposing side. For instance, I somewhat trust Alok Rai's "Hindi Nationalism" viewpoint because by virtue of his name (non Muslim )he should support division, BUT he does not. The problem I find with his short book is the level of English used is even too convoluted at times for me, someone who has read English my whole life.
  7. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    Tony, you make some very pertinent points. In a topic such as the Urdu-Hindi divide, an "outsider" to the "dispute" needs to have factual, accurate, and non-biased information. There are of course respected and time-honoured scholars on both sides of the divide. You have mentioned Alok Rai whilst Faylasoof SaaHib has provided a link to Dr.Tara Chand's book. I have mentioned Shamsur Rahman Faruqi. But if one still has doubts about the integrity of these individuals because of their linguistic and religious connections, then King, Russell and the like would be good scholarly sources to make a start. I have no idea about King's religious or language background but I do know for certain that Russell was an atheist.

    Another point worth noting is that it serves no real purpose by referring someone to read Dr.Tara Chand or King's books. People need short and sharp answers. Unfortunately, if memebers of this group were providing this answer, there would bound to be accusations about impartiality or lack of there in. Also, it is much better to take on board the views of those who are in this field. This is the reason why I think that Professor Srivastava's review of King's book (12 pages) or Ralph Russell's notes (6 pages) might be a better starting point. Of course, I would recommend Faruqi's speech notes (11 pages) too.

    I hope that whenever someone asks a question about Hindi/Urdu differences, we can signpost that person to this thread. In an ideal world, one could have had a situation where one has a language which draws on the genius of Sanskrit, Persian, Arabic (and a few European languages to a much smaller extent) and spoken by practically the whole of the sub-continent.[By the way Tony, I can not assist you with Chinese but if you do decide to take up Arabic (or Persian, or Punjabi or Urdu or...), please do not hesitate to ask!]
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2011
  8. greatbear Banned

    India - Hindi & English
    What we need, tonyspeed, is a good corpus, available online, primarily a good corpus of spoken language across the regions of this vast nation; that would indeed be a wonderful tool not merely for Hindi learners, but also for people like me, since whenever I travel in India (which I do a lot), it is the local language that interests me the most. Each community and region's local flavours, their varying drawls, idioms and choices of words, reveal such a lot to you: a bounty for the traveller.
  9. greatbear Banned

    India - Hindi & English
    I think anyone who is prescribing something to you is wrong; the point rather, I would have thought, is to know which language register works where. There are communities and regions in India where shukriya is more common, and other regions where dhanyawaad is more common. As long as "intezaar" is understood (and spoken by most), why should you use "pratikshaa"? Besides that you will look like a phoney using that word, except some very limited contexts/settings and a few regions. If someone is prescribing something to you based on where does the word come from, then I would say don't follow that advice. Our objective should be communication intelligible in all its nuances, whether the word comes from Arabic, Persian, Sanskrit, Portuguese or English.
  10. rahulbemba

    rahulbemba Senior Member

    Here is a learned article on the subject which sums up the origin and evolution of Urdu very well.

    Ameera Kamal is a research writer based in Islamabad. She holds a Masters degree in Anthropology from Quaid-e-Azam University, Pakistan.

    Urdu - The Origin and History of the Language

    By Ameera Kamal


    I am writing a summary of the article, in my own words, but definitely taking facts from her article:

    The article stars with defining the term “Urdu” – it derives from a Turkish word “ordu” meaning camp or army. Urdu developed amongst Muslim soldiers of the Mughals (Mughal Empire was established by Muhammad Babur who invaded India (Hindustan) because of its riches and wealth). Mughal armies belonged to various ethnicities, e.g. Turks, Arabs, Persians, Pathans, Balochis, Rajputs, Afghans, etc. Present day Urdu evolved with the different dialects these soldiers used to communicate with each other. Because of this reason Urdu is also called “Lashkari Zaban” or “language of the army”.

    The author says that during its development Urdu language also assumed various names like “Urdu-e-Maullah” (the exalted army) and the term “Rekhta” (scattered (with Persian words)).

    The article says that the history of a language is definitely linked to the history of the people speaking it. Urdu emerged as a “distinct language” after the year 1193 – the time of Muslims conquest. When the Muslims conquered these lands, they made Persian the official and “cultural language” of India. Ameera Kamal writes:

    “as a result of the amalgamation of local dialects and the language of the invaders - which was either Persian, Arabic and Turkish, a new language evolved which later became Urdu.”

    In the later part, the article says that “with the coming 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. Currently, the Urdu vocabulary contains approximately 70% of Persian words and the rest are a mixture of Arabic and Turkish words.”

    Do read her full article. Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/2181915
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2011
  11. rahulbemba

    rahulbemba Senior Member

    I agree with you very much on this...
  12. tonyspeed Senior Member

    English & Creole - Jamaica

    The idea that Urdu refers to an army camp is highly disputed according to modern linguists/historians. Urdu according to some accounts refered to the city of Delhi itself. Notice Ghalib's words after the 1857 rebellion:

    “ "My dear man, when Urdu Bazar is no more, where is Urdu? By God, Delhi is no more a city, but a camp, a cantonment. No Fort, no city, no bazaars, ..."

    Another thing to remember that the first Turks (from which the word ordo originates) that came to India were not invaders. See Professor Mehr Afshan Farooqi's article "Urdu language of who's camp?".
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2011
  13. rahulbemba

    rahulbemba Senior Member

    Here, "Urdu Baazaar" may have been poetically used to denote Dilli/Delhi. But it doesn't comment anything about Urdu per se because Urdu language didn't originate in 1857 when this verse was written, but it was much earlier. So it appears that this argument is not valid.

    Definitely we are not discussing entire history of India or the Islamic invasions. Let me know if you dispute this statement from the article: "as a result of the amalgamation of local dialects and the language of the invaders - which was either Persian, Arabic and Turkish, a new language evolved which later became Urdu."
  14. tonyspeed Senior Member

    English & Creole - Jamaica

    Once again, I suggest you read Language of Who's Camp?. I do dispute that statement. And I will do so again and again. The Idea that here we were peaceful Hindus and here come Mulsims who attacked us and changed our language is a very simplistic view of history, and a misguided one.
  15. rahulbemba

    rahulbemba Senior Member

    Now I can understand you :) Since we can't discuss history on these forums, we should leave the readers to do their own research, and find neutral sources to read about India's history.

    I am also not surprised now why you took it as "Mulsims who attacked us and changed our language" for your own credit. It was written or meant NOWHERE by either me or the article. Suggest you doing a reflection on the word used, which was "evolved". I hope one day all of us will learn to live with the facts.
  16. rahulbemba

    rahulbemba Senior Member

    Some more expert opinion on this issue for everyone's reference:

    "The birth of Urdu language was the direct result of the synthesis between the invading armies of Mahmud of Ghazni with the civilian population of the Indian cities. The word Urdu itself means Lashkar, derived from the Turkish language meaning armies."

    The Essentials of Indian Culture by K.K.Khullar, Employment News, New Delhi, 21-27 Jan. 1995, p.1

    "Urdu was thus self-evidently the language of the soldiers of the armies of Mahmud-e-Ghazni, the only militarist sovereign of the era who maintained a large enough army for a considerable period to provide sufficient time for a new language to develop. It is for this same reason that the earliest surviving Urdu literature is that of Sufi saints who accompanied the Ghaznavids during their expeditions."

    Language of the armies, Urdu, by Dr. Samar Abbas, June 11, 2002 http://www.iranchamber.com/literature/articles/language_of_armies.php

    "The old Urdu was a mixture of Turkish, Persian and Arabic and was the language of the most powerful warrior tribes of Central Asia. These tribes would invade, conquer and occupy areas within easy reach for their wealth, gold, silver and precious stones. Wherever these tribes went, they took their language which had an amazing mingling and absorbing local words and proverbs."

    A Brief History of Urdu; http://www.bbc.co.uk/languages/other/guide/urdu/history.shtml

    "the impact of Islām created a new language, Urdu (from Persian: Camp), based on Hindi; Urdu was the lingua franca of the army. Urdu was used later for literature and at present is the mother tongue of most Indian Muslims and their brethren"

    Encyclopedia Britannica: http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/556016/South-Asian-arts/65160/Literature#ref532147
  17. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو

    Tony SaaHib. Gratitude is due to you for the above link. This has led me to "Early Urdu Literary Culture and History" by the renowned Indian scholar of Urdu, Shamsur Rahman Faruqi. This book was published in 2001 by OUP, Delhi. It takes into account the researches of other respectable scholars on this subject and is considered to be one of the most accurate, up to date pieces of research on this vexed topic.

  18. tonyspeed Senior Member

    English & Creole - Jamaica
    There is an excellent speech on the place of Urdu in Indian History by Javed Akhtar made at the 2011 Jaipur Literature Festival. I suggest watching it before it is lost to time.
  19. Faylasoof Senior Member

    Plato's Republic
    English (UK) & Urdu (Luckhnow), Hindi
    Thank you tonyspeed SaaHib for this! I agree with 98% of what Javed Akhtar said! The 2% I disagree with includes certain incorrect etymologies (like the word hawaa [air] he says is Persian, in fact it is Arabic etc. etc.)and the assertion that Akbar may have learn't Persian! Not only was his mother a full-blooded Persian, his family were Persianised Turks (Babur and Humayun both composed poetry in Persian) and during his time Persian became the official language and Raja Todar Mal played a key role in this when he is said to have issued an edict that all officials should learn this language. It is from this time that Persian influence on vernacular languages started to increase, esp. on local dialects around Delhi, like KhaRii Bolii. Also, I'm not sure if Akbar dressed in a dhotii, as Akhtar SaaHib seems to suggest, but he is right in saying that Akbar (or for that matter most of his courtiers) never spoke Urdu and that this impression is only from the Bollywood movie Mughal-e-Azam! The early Mughals spoke Persian in public and the Chughtai Turkic dialect amongst themselves.

    However, many of the points Javed Akhtar makes about Urdu are precisely what I made to fellow moderators soon after you opened this thread and a huge debate started here. But I needn't repeat them here. Beside, we've discussed quite a few things over the last few months already. So it is best to listen to what he has to say.
  20. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    My percentage of agreement with Javed Akhtar is a lot lower than yours but this is not the place to discuss it. I will just say one thing. When Hollywood makes a film about Moses (The Ten Commandments), should we automatically assume that Moses spoke in English with an American accent? So, the fault is not with the film makers but with the people forming such impressions.
  21. Faylasoof Senior Member

    Plato's Republic
    English (UK) & Urdu (Luckhnow), Hindi
    I can see your point but I wish to be a bit more generous to him and his effort to try revive the language in the land of its birth. The main point was that Urdu is a native language and not a foreign import – a point many people seem to forget! For this reason alone his clarification that the Mughals never spoke Urdu, until much later, i.e. around the 19th century (by then KhaRii Bolii had completely replaced Braj as the literary language) is important. Of course we all know that the last Mughal ruler, Bahadur Shah Zafar, is a noted and respected Urdu poet.

    All of us shall see this in a different light and let me hasten to add that there were many other points he made that I thought he could have done without. Like giving an example of Urdu from Radio Pakistan. That is not what you hear form there normally. He made it up! Also his ‘attack’ on Rais Amrohi – a bit of professional jealousy perhaps – was unwarranted! There were other points too on which I differ with him. Still, I would like to be generous because I think he is trying to do the impossible!
  22. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    Here is an article entitled "The Demise of Urdu in India" by Aviram Vijh. I don't know anything about his literary credentials and neither do I necessarily agree with everything he is saying (and no doubt others may also have their differences with him too) but it still makes interesting and informative reading. He is an Urdu speaker from Hindu-Punjabi background.

  23. tonyspeed Senior Member

    English & Creole - Jamaica
    I made this statement in another thread : "There is no borrowing here. Hindustani is the mother of both Modern Hindi and Modern Urdu. Hindustani never went anywhere. It still exists in India. So it is not possible for Hindi to borrow from Urdu. They inherited the word from the same mother. "

    To which QP responded: "I disagree about "Hindustani" being the mother of both Urdu and modern day Hindi"

    QP-saahib, Please explain your reasoning if you don't mind.
  24. marrish

    marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    Thank you for shifting this discussion to the place where it belongs.
  25. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    Tony SaaHib, we have covered this ground before so I shall be as brief as possible with the hope that the discussion stops here.

    As you and other members of the forum know, the language that finally became to be known as Urdu was referred to by various names by its speakers over a period of centuries. These range from (not necessarily in chronological order) Hindii*/Hindvii/ Rextah, Urdu-i-Mu3allaa and others. It is not unknown for speakers of this language to have used the word "Hindustani" but it was primarily the British who promoted this word as "Hindustaan" was the name they became accustomed to for the country. Just type in Hindustani Grammar (or other spelling variants) and you will come across at least a dozen if not more of such books written by British authors. Most of these are available on the net. Anyone flicking through the pages will very soon come to realise that the language being described is nothing but Urdu.

    Again, it is a well known fact to which all the scholars of repute are in agreement that both Urdu and Modern Hindi (having its beginnings at Fort William College) owe their basis to the dialect known as KhaRii-Bolii. If any language is the "mother" of both Urdu and Hindi, then surely KhaRii-Bollii must be given this distinction.

    It is true that at one stage "Hindustani" was seen by some well meaning people as a "middle ground" for Urdu and Hindi and was promoted to be the national language of India but the motion was defeated by one vote in the Indian parliament.

    I hope I have made my position clear.

    * Hindi for Urdu has been used as late as 1915 by Allamah Muhammad Iqbal in his Persian work "Asraar-i-Khudii" (Secrets of the Self). Please see the thread below.

  26. greatbear Banned

    India - Hindi & English
    If Hindustani is/was "nothing but Urdu", could you please clarify, QP, how was it seen as middle ground between Hindi and Urdu, rather than Urdu? Or was that Hindustani different from the Hindustani of the British authors?
  27. marrish

    marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    My personal impression is that ''Hindustani'' was indeed nothing but Urdu, but only its low and middle register. In this form it was considered as a middle way between Hindi and High Urdu.
  28. greatbear Banned

    India - Hindi & English
    This is also my personal impression, but I await QP's clarification. I have a pointed question to ask, meanwhile, inspired from another ongoing thread: would the word "anubhav" (experience) be a Hindustani word or not? I think once we agree on what is this animal called Hindustani, it would help some of us a lot over where we're going.
  29. tonyspeed Senior Member

    English & Creole - Jamaica
    To me, this makes more sense. We cannot possibly claim that Urdu did NOT change at all in response to the divisive political struggles of the 1800s and 1900s and after Partition, can we? Maybe you, QP-ji can provide more evidence of this than I can, but it would seem to me that in older "Urdu" works there was more freeness in vocabulary choice and there were less omissions of words of Sanskrit and Prakrit origins. Not to say that words of such origin words do not exist in Urdu still, but, in the past, there seemed to have been more. (One such example we discussed recently is people, not you, claiming that baRhiyaa is not used in good Urdu - Where do these ideas come from? Where does a preference for Umda come from? I cannot see such an attitude existing before the Persian-script/Devanagari struggles of pre-Partition Hindustan) Such an Urdu was a product of times when both Muslims and Hindus celebrated each other's festivals in India - lack of division and linguistic cross-polination.

    Maybe, while the name is the same, we need to make a distinction here between "Ordu", the language of the market - the common link language that existed before all of the political debates and Mordern Urdu, which is different - a modern language with polical backing. This is not to say that there were not those flooding thier poetry with Persian during the times of Ordu, but that was poetic license and was not the language of the lay-Ordu speaker.

    So when we say Urdu and Standard Hindi, we are speaking of an upper-register with political backing that has undergone great changes in modern times (even though these changes don't seem to be limited to the upper-register at all).
  30. Faylasoof Senior Member

    Plato's Republic
    English (UK) & Urdu (Luckhnow), Hindi
    Firstly, allow me to clarify this point since it was I who said something about the absence of use of baRhhiyaa in our speech! This is a fact! In our Urdu speech we don’t use this word which doesn’t mean that we don’t consider it part of the Urdu vocabulary. In fact it is quite the opposite! Perhaps you may care to re-read my posts in that thread then you’ll know what I actually said. Incidentally, this has nothing to do with the topic at hand since the word baRhiyaa is used by some Urduphones but not by others!

    As for Hindustani being middle register Urdu, this is a point that has been made endless number of times in this forum! One can search the forum with this term and see what one gets. BTW, how one defines middle register can at times be tricky since our spoken language at least includes shifting registers and a whole spectrum of words and idioms depending where we are from, what we happen to be discussing and which time period we are talking about.

    The British used the term Hindustani to mean that form of Urdu which had become the lingua franca of much of northern and north-western regions (as well as Hyderabad Deccan) of the then united India. As has been mentioned often enough, they also wrote grammars of “Hindustani or Urdu language”. This is how they titled several of their works. We are talking about what was once the daily, everyday speech of our forebears and a significant part of which is still our everyday speech though changes have occurred over the last sixty odd years for obvious reasons.

    I beg to differ that Modern Urdu is a term referring to a language that has political backing since 20
    th century Urdu of pre-partition India also comes under this term. There are also several examples of late 19th century Urdu works written in the “modern style”, i.e. free of archaic expressions and idioms, so are in Modern Urdu.

    The Oxford India Anthology of Modern Urdu Literature (in 2 volumes)
    by Mehr Afshan Farooqi, Professor of South Asian Literature at the University of Virginia, includes works by Hadi Rusva (d.1931), Premchand, Krishan Chander, Rajinder Singh Bedi, Intizar Husain, Qurratulain Hyder, Naiyer Masud, Syed Muhammad Ashraf etc. etc. All these and many others, like Manto (manTuu) and Diwan Singh Maftoon, wrote in Modern Urdu. Just do a Google search for Diwan Singh Maftoon and you'll come across his unforgettable work in journalism using Modern Urdu, aptly called naa qaabil-e-faraamosh! None of them were following any political agenda. They just wrote in Urdu, and to be precise Modern Urdu.

    [Regrettably, the title of Maftoon's work in its transliterated form as it appears on the net is misspelt (as “
    Naqabl -e- Faramosh”) but hat has nothing to do with the author.]

  31. Faylasoof Senior Member

    Plato's Republic
    English (UK) & Urdu (Luckhnow), Hindi
    I guess it may depend on one’s criteria. So if we were to look up this word (انبهو अनुभव anu-bhav ) in dictionaries that go under the name of “Hindustani Dictionary” (for example Shakespear’s and Fallon’s) and find it one but not the other. What should we conclude? Platts mentions it but then one can say that defines itself as a dictionary of Urdu and Classical Hindi.

    (Incidentally, Fallon has it misspelt in Urdu as انیهوinstead of Platts’ correct انبهو for anu-bhav!)
  32. greatbear Banned

    India - Hindi & English
    However, whether "anubhav" can be accepted in Hindustani or not is integral to the argument here. If it is Hindustani, then Hindustani is certainly different from Urdu, or at least modern Urdu: since one Urdu speaker here has recently even thought "anubhav" as Sanskritized Hindi! If it is not Hindustani, then the point that Hindustani was the lingua franca of any Indian region is itself in question, since "anubhav" is not some Government of India-introduced word, but a word that has been used over centuries by both literate and illiterate people all over India, especially northern India.

    Meanwhile, I will beg to differ from what you wrote in post 30: Deccan Urdu is very different from the Urdu used in north and north-west India, especially in terms of pronunciation but also in matters of word choices and lexicon. Both forms of Urdu cannot be one "lingua franca".
  33. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو

    The implication, I presume, is that perhaps it is n't/was n't.

    Here is a link to John Borthwick gilchrist's book entitled "A Grammar of the Hindoostanee Language" published in 1796. Just browse through it at your leisure and draw your own conclusion concerning the language being described. The front cover of the book alone with two couplets from the Urdu poet Mirza Muhammad Rafi (Rafii3) Saudaa (1713-1781) would give a very strong hint about the language under discussion.


    John Borthwick Gilchrist (1759-1848) is the earliest personality responsible for promoting the use of the word "Hindoostanee" for Urdu. Please take a look at a short piece (a page long) on his biographical and literary background.

    http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=...epage&q=the orient Linguist gilchrist&f=false

    If you know anyone who is a Hindi speaker and is also familiar with the Urdu script, ask him/her to look at this and/or other "Hindoostane" grammar books by William Carmichael Smyth, Dowson, shakespeare, Yates, Ballantyne, Forbes, Platts, Lyall, Small, Ranking, Palmer, Phillott and others. Dowson's grammar is entitled, "A Grammar of the Urdu or Hindustani Language". This was first published in 1872 and its third edition came out in 1908. Platts' grammar (1874) is entitled "A grammar of the Hindustani or Urdu Language. Small gives the title to his grammar (1895) as "A Grammar of the Urdu or Hindustani Language".

    In all these books, you will find quotes from Urdu master poets as well as prose classics such as "Khirad-Afroz" (Hafeez-ud-Deen Ahmad-1867), "Aaraa'ish-i-maHfil"-(Syed Haidar BaKhsh Haidari-1802), "BaaGh-o-Bahaar" (Miir Aman 1804?) and others. Returning to Gilchrist's grammar, chapter IX is devoted to prosody. This is what he has to say (see it for your self on page 261 in the link provided)..

    The poetical measures of the Hindoostanee , have one common source with the Persian, namely the Arabic; and as no Author that I recollect has professedly written on the application of its metrical rules to the Language we are now treating of, I shall endeavour to handle this subject as far as it relates to the Rekhtu* with all possible conciseness and perspicuity; producing at the same time with suitable observations on their nature and formation, a few specimens from the various sorts of verse used by the best Poets who have composed their several works in that mixed Dialect, also called OOrdoo or the polished language of the Court, and which even at this day pervades with more or less purity the vast provinces of a once powerful empire.

    Dowson, in the preface to his grammar writes..

    Urdu or Hindustani Grammar has been developed and reduced to a system by Englishmen, or under their supervision. From Gilchrist to Shakespeare, and from Shakespeare to Yates, Arnot, and Forbes, each new Grammar has thrown new light upon the language and has lightened the labour of learning it.

    I hope I have provided sufficient proof that the term Hindustani stands for Urdu.

    There were level headed people who did not wish Urdu and Modern Hindi (from the early 19th Century) to go their separate ways, always at loggerheads with each other. Supporters from both camps had become polarised and entrenched in their respective positions. People who proposed Hindustani as the middle ground for a future national language of India did not have at hand works of prose and verse in Hindustani to illustrate its middle ground but they had a vision (perhaps a naive one) that such a language could be forged for the sake of national unity. Mahatama Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru were strong supporters of this idea. The vexed question of the script still remained and frankly I don't know how it would have been solved even if the motion had been carried in parliament.

    If a neutral person were to look at all the samples of Hindustani (Urdu) that are given in all these books, he/she would conclude that the language of that time is no simpler than the Urdu of today. In fact, most Urdu lovers would wish they could emulate that language.

    * This is a typo for "Rekhta/Rexta" (another name for Urdu)
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2012
  34. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    I hope my post covering "Hindustani" clarifies the point that the "register" aspect was a much later development. I should also add that "Hindustani", apart from the language has of course other implications too.

    juutaa Jaapaanii/dil Hindustani/Raja Hindustani (Indian)

    Hindustani Music (North Indian Classical Music as opposed to South Indian Classical Music)
  35. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    In addition to what I have said in reply to gb's queries, a couple of points need to be made.

    If you look at Urdu literature from the earliest times to the age of Mir, Sauda, Dard, to writers of Hyderabad and Mysore States, to Lucknow School of Urdu Poetry, to Nazeer Akbarabadi and to more modern times up to and even post partition there has not been any deliberate exclusion of "Hindi" words. I am placing Hindi in quotation marks because the vast majority of these words are a shared asset of both languages. Some poets like Nazeer Akbarabadi, Meeraji, Akhtar Sherani and others included possibly a higher percentage of such words in their works than others. I wish you could read Urdu. If you could I would have sent you a treasure trove of Urdu poetry and then the questions you are asking would not have crossed your mind. Mind you, these Urdu writers (of verse and prose) were from a diverse geographical and religious backgrounds. Iqbal died in 1938. Read his "nayaa shivaalah" and you will see what I mean.

    What Urdu prose and poetry does not have or perhaps very little is the direct Sanskrit borrowings. For example, Urdu would have "raat" but not "raatri", "des" and not "desh" etc. One further point. The older generation had lived in a diverse environment and their works would reflect the ethno-religious mix. But the new generation have not grown up in that environment, so the chances of a Pakistani Urdu writer's choice of words may be somewhat different (perhaps) than his counterparts in India. Even so, one only needs to read "Ibn-i-Insha"'s poetry (died in 1978) and my words would appear contradictory. Listen to "Insha Jii uTho" on Youtube.

    I have heard people say that Radio Pakistan's Urdu or Pakistan TV's Urdu is unintelligible. I find this difficult to believe! It is no where "difficult" as some of Ghalib's poetry or even Iqbal's for that matter. Poets and prose writers write according to the situation. If a poet is talking to God (as Iqbal is doing in "shikvah") he is not likely to use "low" register, is he? This is how he begins the poem..

    kyuuN ziyaaN-kaar banuuN suud-faraamosh rahuuN
    fikr-i-fardaa nah karuuN maHv-i-Gham-i-dosh rahuuN
    naale bulbul ke sunuuN aur hamah-tan gosh rahuuN
    ham-navaa maiN bhii ko'ii gul huuN kih xaamosh rahuuN
    jur'at-aamoz mirii taab-i-suxan hai mujh ko
    shikvah Allah se "xaakam ba-dahan" hai mujh ko

    Similarly, a love poem by Miraji (see the link below- kalark kaa naGhmah) does not need to "philosophise" to any great depth.


    Finally, here is a line from Iqbal.

    shaktii bhii shaantii bhii bhagtoN ke giit meN hai
    dhartii ke baasiyoN kii muktii priit meN hai
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2012
  36. marrish

    marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    I didn't think like this. The fact is that I asked the question "What is the equivalent in Sanskritized Hindi?'' (thread: experience) upon which you proposed anubhav, hastening to add that it is not Sanskritized Hindi, which I in turn accepted. This only for clarification.
  37. greatbear Banned

    India - Hindi & English
    My point was based on post no. 12, written by you here, wherein you persist in calling your stance of Sanskritized Hindi as applied to "anubhav" as a pleonasm. I did offer a rebuttal in post no. 14 of the same thread, and maybe you have other thoughts now.

    By the way, none of the Urdu speakers has answered a very pertinent question so far that has a very direct bearing on the discussion: will you consider "anubhav" Hindustani or not?

    @QP: You have once again succeeded in writing several lines without saying one thing or the other. Is Hindustani = Urdu? If yes, which you seem to be implying, then how are you claiming it, once again, that to be a neutral ground between Hindi and Urdu? In other words, you are claiming Urdu to be the neutral ground between Urdu and Hindi? Wow!
  38. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    It appears you have not understood my post which I believe is very clear for anyone to follow. In order to avoid any direct dialogue, I shall take the precaution of not responding to any of your posts in the future.
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2012
  39. marrish

    marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    Possibly my grandfather could have answered this question; I've never heard any Hindustani myself (even on site of the Linguistic Survey of India).

    I don't think there is any space for further exchange for all the points have been repeated in nauseating number of cases; to put it simply: the term ''Hindustani'' for the language has evolved over the time, especially before the Partition, as proposed by its supporters. I wouldn't consider anubhav Hindustani.
  40. greatbear Banned

    India - Hindi & English
    Yes, the ambiguity in your post is quite clear for anyone to follow. I am expecting simple answers instead of rhetoric - why don't you provide them?

    I do not understand your last comment. You do not wish your opinions to be called forth in question? What kind of argument is that? As you said, it appears that I did not understand your post. Ok, possible. Why do you not give direct answers to my questions?

    @marrish - If 'anubhav' isn't Hindustani, then Hindustani doesn't seem to me lingua franca, too, of India or even of northern India.
  41. tonyspeed Senior Member

    English & Creole - Jamaica
    This depends on what you call Urdu prose. Popular Braj Bhasha devotioanal poetry spanning a time period from the 14th to the 18th centuries contains
    many Sanskrit borrowings. Even the Hindi dictionary compiled by Mirza Khan contains Sanskrit loan words

    "The concentration of Sanskrit and Sanskritic loanwords found in Mirza Khan's dictionary suggest how much of the text is a product of bipartite culture" - Literary Cultures in History: Reconstruction from South Asia

    So it is possible that the Urdu you are reading was written by those primarily familiar with the Persian Language.

    Hindi was a conglomeration of languages and styles in a state of flux up until fairly recent times.
    How do we express big words? The choice has always been between Persian and Sanskrit, with Persian having a
    political edge over Sanskrit.
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2012
  42. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    Only a scholar can give you definitive answers to your questions. No doubt there will be words in Urdu that are Sanskrit. But, my understanding is that the bread and butter of Urdu vocabulary is the Prakrit KhaRii-Bolii in which raatri became raat. So, whatever final shape the words took is how they are in Urdu. I don't think people sat down and made a conscious effort in making a decision that we will have "intizaar" in our vocabulary and will leave out "pratiiksha". It just happened.

    I have n't read any Braj Bhasha (unless you count the odd piece from Amir Khusrau) and the type of Urdu authors that I have read are, as far as I know, no different from the next person's reading list. I have n't really given any thought to whether they knew Sanskrit, Arabic or Persian although having said that a number of Urdu top guns were familiar with Sanskrit.
  43. Faylasoof Senior Member

    Plato's Republic
    English (UK) & Urdu (Luckhnow), Hindi
    I agree that decisions about a language cannot be based on a single word! I was merely answering the point you raised, i.e. where does the word anubhav stand in relation to Hindustani vs. Urdu. It is still unclear and just to answer this point it might be better to look at Urdu literature to see who might have used this word.

    Also, I agree that Deccani Urdu is different from that of the northern areas (UP, Bihar), but we need to be clear about what we are talking about. Both speech and literature evolve over time and while Deccani Urdu speech is still distinct from our Urdu the two are not and haven’t been mutually incomprehensible! There has been a level of convergence over a period of time certainly as far as literature goes.

    Deccani literature, like that from elsewhere, is typified by older and later literary varieties of both poetry and prose. If one reads some of the earlier Deccani poets, like those of the 17th century, such as Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah (composed in Deccani Urdu, Persian and Telgu, died 1611) and Ali Adil Shah II (died 1672), one can see how their language differs from ours but by the mid-late 18th century the literature produced from the Deccan was already starting to look more like ours, esp. when one reads Deccani Urdu poets, like Mah Laqa Ba’i Chanda (maah laqaa baa’ii chandaa) who became one of the renowned poets of the court of the then Nizams (late 18th / early 19th century). I once cited her poetry in one of the threads. Searching the net you be able to find it. Urdu literature from the South became more like ours at least in part due to influence from the North and partly due to northerners moving over and settling down in Hyderabad. Urdu reached further eastward to parts of Bengal as well.

  44. greatbear Banned

    India - Hindi & English
    Literature is a very standardized output: it's a huge source of wonder to me how some of the members keep relying on literature to buttress their points, completely forgetting that those poets you quote are one of the tiniest segments of a population speaking a language. How can you just simply brush away people just because they are not poets and writers?

    Deccan Urdu may or may not be different in terms of literature, but it is indeed a lot different in terms of language as actually used and spoken by people - even to the point of incomprehensible!
  45. Faylasoof Senior Member

    Plato's Republic
    English (UK) & Urdu (Luckhnow), Hindi
    Again, as had been said countless times before, Sanskrit words do get used in Urdu though as is obvious most have come via Prakrit. Some are direct. These too have been discussed. I guess you do remmber asiis /asiisnaa. I first heard these from my elders.
    Urdu is still a conglomerate language! The Persian vs. Sanskrit choice, if you like, is an historical accident. Two foreign languages that came to influence local languages at different times!
  46. Faylasoof Senior Member

    Plato's Republic
    English (UK) & Urdu (Luckhnow), Hindi
    Many thanks for your contribution! Literature is not the only basis but certainly one of the basis on which we can base our discussions. If poets and writers from a region produce literature which means gibberish to the locals speaking that language then what is the point of having a literary tradition specific to a place concerned and for others to identify with it. Apart from this usual concept of literature there is also the ‘literature’ produced by government edicts, business contracts, social and political discourses etc. We need to keep that in mind too.

    The two Urdu spoken dialects under discussion are mutually incomprehensible? They certainly have their differences. In fact, I should know since some of my relations are Hyderabadi by marriage to various members of both my paternal and maternal families and I do talk to them in our Urdu and they reply in theirs and despite the differences in speech we do understand each other!

    Of course it depends whether we are talking of North Deccani or South Deccani Urdu where the former has a much bigger overlap with Urdu from the northern areas while the latter draws more influences from Kannada, Marathi, Tamil etc. making these two dialects, or if you like sub-dialects, of the Deccani speech themselves different from one another!
  47. tonyspeed Senior Member

    English & Creole - Jamaica
    Yes, unfortunately, the world seems to revolve around the highly-educated people - i.e the poets and the writers. No one took note of the language the native population was speaking, but in reality, with regard to Hindi/Urdu we are talking about the language of the educated, usually city-dwellers. Common people in older times had little use for and exposure to high-level language unless they were in the mosque or the temple or doing puja. Everyday life is food, family, household, occupation, and nature. Anything beyond that becomes the realm of the literary figures and those educated in another language, thereby moving Hindi/Urdu from a spoken zubaan to a literary langauge.

    My favourite is jwaalaamukhii, not sure how widespread this word is though.

    And most interestingly, both Sanskrit and Farsi have ties to Persia.
  48. greatbear Banned

    India - Hindi & English
    But spoken zubaan is equally Hindi and Urdu. It is only the academic world that revolves around highly educated people; the rest of the world is comfortably living without them and communicating their hopes, desires and loves in these languages. They are not living some incomplete life. Also, I don't know how do you have the idea that common people had little use for and exposure to high-level language: but anyway, that's outside the scope of this debate.

    And if we go earlier in time - according to a recently promulgated and hotly debated theory, Turkey. Not just Sanskrit and Farsi, but all Indo-European languages.
  49. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    Tony SaaHib, if you have read a wide range of Urdu literature and did not find in any specimen such language that is spoken by the common folk, then your comments would have validity. But if you have n't, then they are no more than mere conjecture.
  50. marrish

    marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    Yes, I do agree, it is interesting, but Russia has been the most accepted hypothetical area.
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