This is what I know about Urdu and Hindi from my school text books
in Lahore as well as from my other readings.
Urdu (from Turkish Ordu, related to the Eng. 'Horde') means Army. Urdu
started as a mixed language that helped Iranians and Mughals communicate with
Indians. Urdu has some Punjabi influences, however it springs from Birj Bhasha/
KhaRee Boli. At the time of Shahjahan it was called raikhti.
Urdu speakers can't pronounce many of Sanskrit's double consonants,
just as Punjabi speakers. I really don't know if Hindi speakers can do so in
Urdu poetry started in Hyderabad Deccan(Wali Daccani), and a little
later in Delhi and Lucknow.
When the English arrived in India, the official language was Persian.
(I find it amusing that there was even a Marhatta leader called Nana Farnavees
--scribe). To learn to communicate with the masses, the East India Company
started an Urdu Department at Fort
William college, where the first Urdu prose book called Tota Kahaani was
written in the late 18th century. The scene of this action was Calcutta!
(BTW, Mirza Ghalib was the first to write letters in Urdu.)
A that time, a language called Hindavi (as opposed to Hindoostanee,ie
Urdu) was also in use. It used Devanagari characters and borrowed its learned
vocabulary from Sanskrit. However, it was not considered as important by the
honorable kampani sahab bahadur.[anyone interested can see Gilchrist's grammar].
Now we get into interesting stuff. In the late 19th century, the
British decided to do away with Persian. In Northern India (which I've hitherto
called India) there was a controversy as to which 'vernacular' language should
be adopted by the state. WE think that nascent Hindu nationalism (and no
practical considerations) generated the Urdu/Hindi controversy. WE (;-)) also
think that this was a prime example of the 'divide and rule' policy.
A lot of Hindus continued to write in Urdu, especially under the
banner of the Progressive Writers' Association. After the creation of
Pakistan and India, the former country called itself an Islamic democracy and
adopted Urdu as its national language. India chose to call itself secular,
made many important gains in integrating its ethnic groups, but
religious strife continued there.
I think that at this point Urdu has definite religious connotations
in India. A lot of Indian film songs from the 50s,60s and 70s are,
in my opinion, in Urdu. However, I have been told by Indians that this was as
Muslim had a 'disproportionately strong' influence on Bombay's film industry.
Hindu nationalism may cause India to become an officially Hindu
nation. This may not be a bad idea as it will release a lot of pressures in
India, and just by the way, also validate the Two Nation Theory. Maybe India
will truly accept Pakistan at that point. The status of Urdu in India will
be determined by how the world's largest Hindu state decides to treat its
miorities. Pakistan has not done well in this regard, but things could improve.
Ummeed hai ke kisi ne yeh parh kar bohot buraa na maana hoga.
Agar aap behes ke liye tayyar haiN to ham bhi tayyar haiN. Galee galoch aur
ghatia pan se parhez karaiN.
Aap ka mukhlis,
Along the same lines as Usman Bhai's posting,
my great-grandparents, who were Hindu
zamindars in Bihar, used Urdu for all official
records and correspondence, although they
spoke the now near-extinct Bihari dialect called
"Magahi" (Magadhi) dialect at home. This
was in the 19th century when Bihar was
part of the Bengal Presidency under the
the EI company and, later, the British Crown.
It was only at the turn of the century that my family
substituted Hindi for Urdu for record-keeping