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?Is the use of the pronoun ham instead of maiN peculiar to any particular place or group?
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.
I would n't be so harsh on Mufti SaaHib. He probably had some first hand knowledge to back his comments.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!
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 .I would n't be so harsh on Mufti SaaHib. He probably had some first hand knowledge to back his comments.
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:^ 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
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.