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Urdu - The Origin and History of the Language
The term Urdu derives from a Turkish word ordu which means camp or army. The Urdu language developed between the Muslim soldiers of the Mughals armies who belonged to numerous ethnicities like Turks, Arabs, Persians, Pathans, Balochis, Rajputs, Jats and Afghans. These soldiers lived in shut contact with each other and communicated in several dialects, which slowly and gradually developed into current day Urdu. It is for this reason that Urdu is also referred to as Lashkari Zaban or language of the army.
During its development Urdu language additionally assumed various names like the term Urdu-e-Maullah which means the exalted military which was given by Emperor Shah Jahan and the term Rekhta which means 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 affect the development of its language. Urdu isn't any exception as it also underwent varied stages of development.
Urdu belongs to the Indo-Aryan household of languages. Urdu by origin is considered to be a descendent of Saur Senic Prakrit. The term Prakrriti means root or basis. It's a later version of Sanskrit. As Prakrit language began to develop, it was influenced by Western Hindi dialects of Khari Boli, Brij Bhasa and Haryanvi.
With the coming of Insha's Darya-e-Latafat*, a need was felt to differentiate Urdu with other languages especially Hindi. It became a Hindi-Urdu controversy and because of this Khari Boli and Devanagari turned the identity of Indians while Urdu and Persian of Muslims. In this context, Persian and Arabic words changed 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. As a result of the amalgamation of local dialects and the language of the invaders - which was either Persian, Arabic and Turkish, a new language developed which later became Urdu. Through the Mughals reign, Urdu was spoken in palaces and court and till the top of the Mughal rule; Urdu was the official language of most of Mughal states. This was the time when Urdu had become Persianized and enriched with Persian words, phrases and even script and grammar. With the coming of the British, new English words also turned part of the Urdu language. Many English words had been accepted of their real form while others have been accepted after some modifications.
Currently, Urdu vocabulary comprises approximately 70% of Persian words and the remaining are a mixture of Arabic and Turkish words. Nonetheless, there are additionally traces of the French, Portuguese and Dutch language in Urdu. But these influences are little.
Urdu was taken to different parts of the country by soldiers, saints and sufis and by the common people. Because of the political, social and cultural contacts amongst the people of different speech and dialects, a mixed form of language formed called 'Rekhta' (Urdu and Persian in mixed form). Soon people started to use the new language of their speech and in literature which resulted in the enrichment of Urdu language and literature.
The origin of Urdu literature dates back to the 13th century in India in the course of the Mughal rule. One of the eminent earliest poets who made usage of Urdu in his poetry is Amir Khusro who can be called the father of Urdu language. In literature, Urdu was often used alongside side Persian. Mughal kings have been the great 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 have 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 through their literary works.
It is indeed true that Hindi and Urdu are descendents of the same 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 style of writing and emerged as a separate language. But beside common ancestry, the two languages are as totally different as can be. There are marked grammatical, phonological and lexical differences in both languages.
Urdu was additionally used as a software 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, providers of Maulana Hali, Sir Syed Ahmed Khan and Allama Iqbal should notable, who by their poetry and prose provoked the mandatory spark in the lives of the Muslims. Urdu was chosen to turn into the national language of Pakistan on the time of Independence from British. Urdu is now the nationwide language of Pakistan, spoken and understood totally by mainity of the population.
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