Urdu: ham instead of maiN

  • marrish

    Senior Member
    اُردو Urdu
    Is the use of the pronoun ham instead of maiN peculiar to any particular place or group?
    teaboy jii, I'm not really sure how to interpret your question and even if I was I wouldn't be sure how to answer it! Could you share with us what was the incentive to start this thread?

    In the meanwhile a couple of threads for your reference. I hope they can answer your query to some extent.

    http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=1418601
    http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=2228897
    http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=2554781
     

    teaboy

    Senior Member
    USA
    English
    Those links answer the question! Thanks!

    What I meant was, I remember the use of ham instead of maiN as being peculiar to Lucknawi families, but I wasn't sure. Also I vaguely remembered it being a common thing among women especially. That's what I was trying to ask.
     

    marrish

    Senior Member
    اُردو Urdu
    You are most welcome and I'm glad the endeavours of others have proven useful! If I can add anything is to say that it is not only limited to lakhnavii families but almost all women, Delhi, Lahore, Karachi and so on use it. There is by the way no diversification per social status, the most humble ones employ it and the ones of nobility do it as well. Of course there are numerous males who speak like this as well.
     

    greatbear

    Banned
    India - Hindi & English
    I still wouldn't use such blanket statements: do you even know how they speak (or used to speak) in the Deccan? Urdu is not just one kind.
     

    UrduMedium

    Senior Member
    Urdu (Karachi)
    ^ I have not noticed this phenomenon (almost all women saying ham vs maiN) at least in my family (on either side).
     
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    marrish

    Senior Member
    اُردو Urdu
    I still wouldn't use such blanket statements: do you even know how they speak (or used to speak) in the Deccan? Urdu is not just one kind.
    OK, take the correction : in my experience. Yes, I don't know about dakanii, but I hadn't mentioned Hyderabad.
     

    Gop

    Senior Member
    Tamil
    Some years ago I was reading ‘Hind Yatra’, a fascinating travelogue by Mumtaz Mufti the Pakistani writer, published in 1982. He revisits his native land several decades after he left it for Pakistan. In Delhi he makes the acquaintance of an old, poor, forlorn Muslim man in a wayside cafe, Iqbal Hotel. Mufti does not refer to him by his name, in fact he does not know, or want to know, his name, but always refers to him as ہم صاحب ham ہم SaaHib. Looks like Mufti is amused by the old man’s use of ham ہم in place of maiN.
    Mufti SaaHib devotes a section to what he calls this ہم تہذیب:
    یہ ہم تہذیب پتہ نہیں کب قائم ہوئی تھی۔ غالباً ان دنوں جب دربار داری کا دور دورہ تھا۔ شہنشاہوں کے سامنے احقر۔خاکسار اور عوام کے روبرو ہم۔ جب خود کو میں کہنا اپنے مرتبے کو کم کرنے کے مترادف تھا۔ جب ہم جمع متکلم کا صیغہ نہ تھا بلکہ واحد متکلم کی شان تھی۔ جماعت کا احساس نہ تھا۔ فرد کی عظمت تھی۔ یہ ہم کی تہذیب اسلامی سپرٹ کے سراسر منافی تھی۔ چونکہ اسلام جماعتی ہم کا قائل ہے ، واحد متکلم ہم کا نہیں۔
    ہم کی یہ تہذیب ایک وبا کی طرح پھیلی ۔ جس طرح آج مغرب کا کھچڑی کلچر سٹیٹس کی ہوس کے زور پر ہمارے شہروں میں پھیلتا جا رہا ہے۔ یہ وبا امرأ سے شروع ہوئی اور پھر غرباء کو بھی لپیٹ میں لے لیا۔ ہم کا یہ زہر درباری علاقے میں پھیلتا گیا۔ پھیلتا گیا۔ حتیٰ کہ ہر زید ، بکر اس کی زد میں آ گیا۔

    Are there people thundering against this ‘ham ہم culture’ today as Mufti SaaHib was doing four decades ago?
     

    Qureshpor

    Senior Member
    Panjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    Gope SaaHib, aadaab. I don't know too much about the "ham culture" but I have often pondered about it.

    1. Maulavi Abdul Haq in his "qavaa'id-i-Urdu" published in 1926 I believe says..

    ہم ضمیر متکلّم جمع میں استعمال ہوتا ہے لیکن بڑے لوگ بجائے واحد متکلّم کے بھی استعمال کرتے ہیں جیسے ہم نے جو حکم دیا تھا اُس کی تعمیل کیوں نہیں کی گئی۔ نظم میں یہ تخصیص نہیں، ۔ وہاں اکثر متکلّم کے لئے بھی آتا ہے۔ جیسے

    ہم بھی تسلیم کی خُو ڈالیں گے
    بے نیازی تیری عادت ہی سہی

    2. In Teach Yourself Urdu, the author Grahame T Bailey writes...

    The use of ham for I is common among old Delhi families in talking to servants and subordinates but it should not be copied by foreigners.

    3. C. M. Naim in his Introductory Urdu informs us (as marrish SaaHib has done) that...

    ham is grammatically plural, but it is often used, particularly women, with a singular referrent. (It does not necessarily have the same connotation as the "imperial we" in English.) In this usage, the related verb will normally be in the masculine plural form.

    4. Faiz Ahmed Faiz (a mother tongue Punjabi speaker) always used "ham" while speaking Urdu.

    5. Patras Bukhari (Sayyid Ahmed Shah) of Kashmiri ancestory and Hindko as mother tongue in "marHuum kii yaad meN" uses "ham" for the character narrating the story.

    I am not aware of any resistance to this "ham culture". In fact it is part and parcel of Urdu usage.
     

    Gop

    Senior Member
    Tamil
    Gope SaaHib, aadaab. I don't know too much about the "ham culture" but I have often pondered about it.

    1. Maulavi Abdul Haq in his "qavaa'id-i-Urdu" published in 1926 I believe says..

    ہم ضمیر متکلّم جمع میں استعمال ہوتا ہے لیکن بڑے لوگ بجائے واحد متکلّم کے بھی استعمال کرتے ہیں جیسے ہم نے جو حکم دیا تھا اُس کی تعمیل کیوں نہیں کی گئی۔ نظم میں یہ تخصیص نہیں، ۔ وہاں اکثر متکلّم کے لئے بھی آتا ہے۔ جیسے

    ہم بھی تسلیم کی خُو ڈالیں گے
    بے نیازی تیری عادت ہی سہی

    2. In Teach Yourself Urdu, the author Grahame T Bailey writes...

    The use of ham for I is common among old Delhi families in talking to servants and subordinates but it should not be copied by foreigners.

    3. C. M. Naim in his Introductory Urdu informs us (as marrish SaaHib has done) that...

    ham is grammatically plural, but it is often used, particularly women, with a singular referrent. (It does not necessarily have the same connotation as the "imperial we" in English.) In this usage, the related verb will normally be in the masculine plural form.

    4. Faiz Ahmed Faiz (a mother tongue Punjabi speaker) always used "ham" while speaking Urdu.

    5. Patras Bukhari (Sayyid Ahmed Shah) of Kashmiri ancestory and Hindko as mother tongue in "marHuum kii yaad meN" uses "ham" for the character narrating the story.

    I am not aware of any resistance to this "ham culture". In fact it is part and parcel of Urdu usage.
     

    Gop

    Senior Member
    Tamil
    Thank you Qureshpor SaaHib for these well researched comments. Now I am educated also about the Hindko language.
    Evidently Mufti SaaHib was in a minority of one on this topic!
     

    Qureshpor

    Senior Member
    Panjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    Thank you Qureshpor SaaHib for these well researched comments. Now I am educated also about the Hindko language.
    Evidently Mufti SaaHib was in a minority of one on this topic!
    I would n't be so harsh on Mufti SaaHib. He probably had some first hand knowledge to back his comments.
     

    Gop

    Senior Member
    Tamil
    I would n't be so harsh on Mufti SaaHib. He probably had some first hand knowledge to back his comments.
    No, Qureshpor SaaHib, I was not being harsh on Mufti SaaHib. His travelogue is a sensitive piece of writing which I admire. I only wondered why he was mocking at a forlorn poor old man by repeatedly referring to him as ہم صاحب .
     

    Qureshpor

    Senior Member
    Panjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    ^ Gope SaaHib, I think the following quote from Ruth Laila Smith, author of "Urdu: An Essential Grammar", sums up the "ham" situation.

    "The first personal plural ham is sometimes colloquially (1) used in place of the singular, maiN. By referring to himself as a member of a group, the speaker makes himself slightly more anonymous (2). The use of ham may also reflect a person's assumption of social superiority or superior status. (3) ham is also used in place of maiN in poetry.

    ہم کو اُن سے وفا کی ہے امید
    جو نہیں جانتے وفا کیا ہے

    غالب

    1) This implies common speech of males and females (although marrish SaaHib and C.M. Naim have indicated this is particulary a trait amongst Urdu speaking ladies)

    2) Again the understanding is that usage is by both males and females.

    3) This has been mentioned already

    4) Not all the time, of course.
     
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    Gop

    Senior Member
    Tamil
    ^ Gope SaaHib, I think the follwing quote from Ruth Laila Smith, author of "Urdu: An Essential Grammar", sums up the "ham" situation.

    "The first personal plural ham is sometimes colloquially (1) used in place of the singular, maiN. By referring to himself as a member of a group, the speaker makes himself slightly more anonymous (2). The use of ham may also reflect a person's assumption of social superiority or superior status. (3) ham is also used in place of maiN in poetry.

    ہم کو اُن سے وفا کی ہے امید
    جو نہیں جانتے وفا کیا ہے

    غالب

    1) This implies common speech of males and females (although marrish SaaHib and C.M. Naim have indicated this is particulary a trait amongst Urdu speaking ladies)

    2) Again the understanding is that usage is by both males and females.

    3) This has been mentioned already

    4) Not all the time, of course.
    Apparently the old man referred to by Mufti SaaHib as ہم صاحب was only using ہم in place of maiN to make himself slightly more anonymous, as noted by Ruth Laila Smith, and not because he was showing his superiority or was reciting poetry. Read the section with the title ہوپنگ اگینسٹ ہوپ in Mufti’s Hind yatra to know how forlorn this man ہم صاحب was:

    Hind Yatra : Mumtaz Mufti : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive

    All the same I am immensely grateful, Qureshpor SaaHib, for taking so much trouble to answer my query. I appreciate every bit of information you have offered on this topic.🙂🙂🙂
     
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