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 informal conversation. 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, Usman Qazi 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 purposes.