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Urdu - The Origin and History of the Language
The time period Urdu derives from a Turkish word ordu that means camp or army. The Urdu language developed between the Muslim soldiers of the Mughals armies who belonged to varied ethnicities like Turks, Arabs, Persians, Pathans, Balochis, Rajputs, Jats and Afghans. These soldiers lived in close contact with one another and communicated in numerous dialects, which slowly and gradually evolved into present day Urdu. It is for this reason that Urdu can be referred to as Lashkari Zaban or language of the army.
Throughout its development Urdu language also assumed varied names like the term Urdu-e-Maullah which means the exalted military which was given by Emperor Shah Jahan and the term Rekhta meaning scattered (with Persian words) which was coined by the scholars for Urdu poetry.
History and Evolution of Urdu Language
Evolution and development of any language depends on the evolution and development of a society the place that language is spoken. Various invasions and conquests on a place have an effect on the development of its language. Urdu is not any exception as it additionally underwent numerous levels of development.
Urdu belongs to the Indo-Aryan family of languages. Urdu by origin is considered to be a descendent of Saur Senic Prakrit. The time period Prakrriti means root or basis. It is a later version of Sanskrit. As Prakrit language started to develop, it was influenced by Western Hindi dialects of Khari Boli, Brij Bhasa and Haryanvi.
With the approaching of Insha's Darya-e-Latafat*, a need was felt to distinguish Urdu with other languages especially Hindi. It became a Hindi-Urdu controversy and as a result Khari Boli and Devanagari became the identity of Indians while Urdu and Persian of Muslims. In this context, Persian and Arabic words replaced with Sanskrit served the purpose of differentiating Hindi from Urdu.
Urdu emerged as a distinct language after 1193 AD - the time of the Muslims conquest. When the Muslims conquered this part of the continent, they made Persian the official and cultural language of India. On account of the amalgamation of native dialects and the language of the invaders - which was either Persian, Arabic and Turkish, a new language evolved which later turned Urdu. During the Mughals reign, Urdu was spoken in palaces and court and till the tip of the Mughal rule; Urdu was the official language of most of Mughal states. This was the time when Urdu had grow to be Persianized and enriched with Persian words, phrases and even script and grammar. With the coming of the British, new English words additionally grew to become part of the Urdu language. Many English words have been accepted of their real form while others have been accepted after some modifications.
Currently, Urdu vocabulary accommodates approximately 70% of Persian words and the rest are a mix of Arabic and Turkish words. However, there are also traces of the French, Portuguese and Dutch language in Urdu. But these influences are little.
Urdu was taken to other parts of the country by soldiers, saints and sufis and by the widespread people. On account of the political, social and cultural contacts amongst the individuals of different speech and dialects, a blended form of language formed called 'Rekhta' (Urdu and Persian in mixed form). Soon folks started to make use of the new language in their speech and in literature which resulted in the enrichment of Urdu language and literature.
The origin of Urdu literature dates back to the thirteenth century in India during the Mughal rule. One of the most eminent earliest poets who made usage of Urdu in his poetry is Amir Khusro who can be called the daddy of Urdu language. In literature, Urdu was normally used along side Persian. Mughal kings were the good patrons of art and literature and it was under their rule that Urdu language reached its zenith. There was once a tradition of 'Sheri Mehfils' (poetic gatherings) within the kings' courts. Abul Fazal Faizi and Abdul Rahim Khankhana had been the famous Urdu poets of Mughal court. Likewise, Mirza Ghalib, Allama Iqbal, Hakim Momin, Ibrahim Zauq, Mir Taqi Mir, Sauda, Ibn-e-Insha and Faiz Ahmed Faiz have contributed to the evolution of Urdu language by their literary works.
It is indeed true that Hindi and Urdu are descendents of the identical language i.e. Prakrit, however the place the Hindi took affect from Sanskrit and adopted Devanagri script of writing, Urdu absorbed words from Persian, Turkish and Arabic languages and adopted Persian-Arabic script and Nastaliq calligraphic model of writing and emerged as a separate language. However beside widespread ancestry, the two languages are as different as can be. There are marked grammatical, phonological and lexical differences in each languages.
Urdu was additionally used as a instrument by the Muslims for freedom battle and for creating awareness among Muslim communities in South Asia to unite under the banner of Independence from British Raj. For this, companies of Maulana Hali, Sir Syed Ahmed Khan and Allama Iqbal aren'table, who via their poetry and prose provoked the mandatory spark in the lives of the Muslims. Urdu was chosen to change into the nationwide language of Pakistan at the time of Independence from British. Urdu is now the national language of Pakistan, spoken and understood thoroughly by majority of the population.
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