The time period Urdu derives from a Turkish word ordu meaning 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 close contact with one another and communicated in several dialects, which slowly and gradually developed into present day Urdu. It is for this reason that Urdu can also be referred to as Lashkari Zaban or language of the army.
During its development Urdu language also assumed various names like the time period Urdu-e-Maullah that means the exalted army which was given by Emperor Shah Jahan and the time period 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 is dependent on the evolution and development of a society the place that language is spoken. Various invasions and conquests on a spot affect the development of its language. Urdu isn’t any exception as it also underwent varied phases 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 term Prakrriti means root or basis. It’s a later model 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 different languages especially Hindi. It turned a Hindi-Urdu controversy and consequently Khari Boli and Devanagari became the identity of Indians while Urdu and Persian of Muslims. In this context, Persian and Arabic words changed with Sanskrit served the aim 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 native dialects and the language of the invaders – which was either Persian, Arabic and Turkish, a new language evolved which later became Urdu. Throughout 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 turn out to be Persianized and enriched with Persian words, phrases and even script and grammar. With the approaching of the British, new English words also turned part of the Urdu language. Many English words had been accepted in their real form while others had been accepted after some modifications.
At present, Urdu vocabulary comprises approximately 70% of Persian words and the remaining are a mixture of Arabic and Turkish words. However, there are additionally traces of the French, Portuguese and Dutch language in Urdu. However 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 blended form of language formed called ‘Rekhta’ (Urdu and Persian in blended form). Quickly folks started to make use of the new language of their speech and in literature which resulted within the enrichment of Urdu language and literature.
The origin of Urdu literature dates back to the 13th century in India through the Mughal rule. Probably the most eminent earliest poets who made usage of Urdu in his poetry is Amir Khusro who may be called the father of Urdu language. In literature, Urdu was usually used alongside side Persian. Mughal kings were the nice patrons of art and literature and it was under their rule that Urdu language reached its zenith. There was a tradition of ‘Sheri Mehfils’ (poetic gatherings) in the kings’ courts. Abul Fazal Faizi and Abdul Rahim Khankhana had been the well-known 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 means of their literary works.
It is indeed true that Hindi and Urdu are descendents of the same language i.e. Prakrit, but where the Hindi took influence 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. However beside frequent ancestry, the 2 languages are as completely different as can be. There are marked grammatical, phonological and lexical variations in both languages.
Urdu was additionally used as a instrument by the Muslims for freedom wrestle and for making awareness amongst 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 usually are notable, who via their poetry and prose provoked the required spark within the lives of the Muslims. Urdu was chosen to develop into the nationwide language of Pakistan on the time of Independence from British. Urdu is now the nationwide language of Pakistan, spoken and understood totally by majority of the population.
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