Posted by: Sharique | February 9, 2006

Another one….

Status of Urdu in Indian Bazaars


Urdu (اردو) is an Indo-European language which originated in India, most likely in the vicinity of Delhi from where it spread to the rest of the subcontinent. It developed from the interaction between local Indian Sanskrit-derived Prakrits and the Persian languages. This process took place mostly in military camps, and word Urdu means "army" or "horde" in Turkish. It soon became the language of the Mughals, distinguished linguistically from local languages by its large and extensive Persian-Arabic vocabulary superimposed on a native Hindi base of grammar, usages and vocabulary. The result was what has been considered by some to be one of the world's most beautiful languages, the "Kohinoor" ("Mountain of Light," a famed native, large and brilliant diamond) of India. It is widely spoken today in both India and Pakistan and all countries having a sizeable South Asian Diaspora.

Keeping in mind the linguistic character of the areas around Delhi, it is said that Urdu originated in or around Delhi over a period of a few centuries. The works of Amir Khusrau are intelligible to the speakers of Urdu and Hindi, even though they were written in the 14th century. It is hypothesized that Urdu developed when a regular and slow stream of Persian and Arabic words were infused into the language Hindvi. Although the language originated near Delhi, it was in the Deccan that it first gained acceptance. The rulers of the Deccan were supportive of local languages, opposing the Persian influence in northern India. In the Deccan, the court became the centre for the development of Urdu, and the initial poetry and literature in Urdu comes from there. The idea of using Urdu rather than Persian as the media of poetry and literature eventually spread to the northern parts of the Indian subcontinent.

Urdu and Hindi have been called different languages on the one hand and dialects of the same language on the other. Hindustani is generally thought of as the language that encompasses both Urdu and Hindi and forms the mother language of these two languages. the casual spoken languages are similar and in some cases not even distinguishable. For example, it is said that Indian movies (primarily of Bollywood) are made in Hindi, but the language used in many of these movies is similar to Urdu spoken in Pakistan. On the other hand, Pakistani TV dramas are made in Urdu, and yet the language used in these dramas is similar to the language used by Hindi speakers in India.

In India, Urdu is spoken as a mother tongue by many in the central and northern states like Uttar Pradesh and Delhi. In Haryana it is spoken in the Mewat area as well as many of the urban areas. While in India, Muslims might be seen as tending to identify with Urdu; Hindus and Sikhs naturally speak Urdu regardless of religion, especially when they have grown up in such traditional Urdu-strongholds such as Lucknow and Hyderabad. Some would contend that the brand of Hindi spoken in Bollywood film is in fact closer to Urdu than Hindi, especially in filmi songs.



v Difficult syntax of hindi(PURE), complex words,

v Persian traders

v History of the mughal rulers, occupying the whole of India and Hindustani being most widely spoken

v Conglomeration of PERSIAN and other languages of that time to evolve into Hindustani(urdu), which is per se equivalent to hindi for most Indian people

We will illustrate with few examples how much urdu has permeated into the indian society, best represented by a bazaar scene.

Common people or ' aam aadmi' greet each other with a 'salaam' . in the bazaars, a man is known by the weight that he carries in his pocket, i.e if he is a 'garib aadmi ' or 'ameer aadmi'. the 'ameer' is 'izzatwaala'( respected), he is the 'saheb', and the commom man is always 'shukriyamand'(thankful) to him for his 'meharbani'( gratitude). Otherwise we can also spot peniless 'fakirs' seeking charity from pot-bellied 'sethjis' and who not.

The 'bazaar' has its own share of the bad guys, popularly known as the ' bhais'.Only because of there sincere efforts have virtues like 'kaalabazaar' and ' hafta' stayed in our markets for so long that they have become a regular feature.

However, we aren't walking aimlessly, let us visit a shop or a 'dookan', if we are lucky enough to have sufficient money for visiting a big shop we can as well be greeted at the door by a 'darbaan', well he is there to keep the 'badmash' guys out and 'shareef' people like us inside. Well our deal is with the 'maalik' i.e the 'dookandar' and not the 'naukar', so we negotiate the price or ' daam' of the article we wish to purchase.

Be it any corner of India, i will be asking for 'pyjaamas' by asking to give pyjaamas and not a loose informal pair of home pants. and not only pajaamas, u can also buy 'purdahs', 'shakkar', 'sabzi', 'tandoor' items and other 'khaana peena' items to your likings and requirements. and by the way if you are tired, dont worry, you can relax under a 'pankah' and relish a cool glass of 'sharbat'. some of us might as well prefer sharaab to sharbat. and it is not just kiraanewaala or sabziwaala, halwai kasai, there are adequate arrangemets for massages by ' maalishwaalas' and hair cut by a 'nai'. When you are done, you can always board a 'rickshaw' home. For those of us who are net savvy, well you can always log on to '' and '' and get your work done.




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