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Assalaamu ‘alaikum السّلام عليكم…Peace be with you
Hi there Readers:-),
Pakistan is one of India’s neighbouring countries, and before 1947, it was once a part of India (Hindustan). Urdu is the national and primary official language of Pakistan, while India’s principal official language is, Standard Hindi. These two languages share major similarities, but have you ever wondered what are the differences between Urdu and Hindi? Well, today we’re going to find out the differences and similarities of these two languages, InshaaAllah إن شاء الله (God willing)!
Discover Urdu and Hindi
Before establishing the similarities and differences between Urdu and Hindi, let’s discover both of these beautiful languages. Come learn about their definitions, origins, and histories! :-)
Urdu, language belonging to the Indic group of the Indo-Iranian subfamily of the Indo-European family of languages. The official tongue of Pakistan, Urdu is also one of the 15 languages recognized in the 1950 Indian constitution. Urdu has been described as the written or literary variant of Hindustani that is used by Muslims. It is written in a modified form of the Arabic alphabet, and its basically Indic vocabulary has been enriched by borrowings from Arabic and Persian. Grammatically and phonetically, however, Urdu is an Indic language. About 100 million persons in Pakistan and India understand Urdu.
Hindi, the most widely spoken of modern Indic vernaculars; spoken mostly in the north of India; along with English it is the official language of India; usually written in Devanagari script.
Where Did the Words: “Urdu” and “Hindi” Originate from?
According to Wikipedia, the word Urdu is derived from the same Turkish word that has given English horde. On the other hand, the word Hindi derived from Hindi hindī, from Hind India, and from Old Persian Hindu the river Indus.
The Word “Urdu” written in Perso-Arabic script.
The Origins of Urdu, and a Short History on Urdu
There are different views on the origins of Urdu, differing in both time and geographic location. Urdu may have originated anywhere in India: the Deccan, in Punjab, in Sindh or in the neighbourhood (neighborhood) of Delhi. These hypotheses are backed by Urdu literature having been found in these areas as far back as the period of the Delhi Sultanate. 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.
Urdu is pronounced as, ”Or doo” which means: “Army” or “Hordes”; this language was created in the Indo-Pak sub-continent around 1000 years ago, when soldiers speaking different languages like: Turkish, Arabic, Persian, Sanskrit, Hindi and other local languages fought together in armies of the rulers of India during those times. This is the time when the Aryan invaders from central Asia came and conquered large territories of India. These were the Moghul rulers who came with Turkish cavalry passing through Afghanistan and into India; recruiting soldiers from the areas they passed through. Since then, there were so many languages spoken within this army that a new language evolved. With its roots in the army barracks, it came to be known as Urdu. The first Mughal ruler was Zaheeruddin Baber and when he attacked India he had ten thousand Turkish Cavalry sent to him from the Ottomans. Baber’s army was predominantly Persian speaking, with a large group of Pashto speakers who mixed with Turkish speaking cavalry before they attacked India. Over the years Urdu evolved in the barracks of these soldiers and eventually found its self being spoken in most parts of the Moghul Empire, especially by the Muslims and eventually in the Moghul courts, where Persian was spoken.
The Origins of Hindi, and Its Profound Relationship with Sanskrit
Sanskrit, one of the most ancient spoken and written languages in the world and one of the earliest members of the Indo-European language family, is the primary source of Hindi. Hindi, like Sanskrit, is written in the Dev Naagari script, which is common to several other Indian languages as well. Much of the vocabulary of Hindi comes from Sanskrit, though Hindi also has a special relationship with Urdu, their grammar and much of their vocabulary being identical.
Get the Facts! :-)
It’s time to get the facts about Urdu and Hindi straight! Here you can find out about the similarities, and differences between these two South Asian languages.
Facts about Urdu and Hindi:
From the above facts, we can deduce that the obvious differences between Urdu and Hindi are:
But, just to keep everyone on their toes, Hindi also uses words from Persian and Arabic, and Urdu also uses words from Sanskrit.
A Short Article about Urdu and Hindi
Written by: Sonal Panse • Edited by: Rebecca Scudder
Urdu gained prominence during the Delhi Sultanate and Mughal era. The administrative language was Persian, and Khariboli began to incorporate many Persian and Arabic words into its fold. The word “Urdu” originated from the Turkish word for tent, army or horde, “ordu”. Urdu was the language of the army and the common people before it became, as the poet Mir called it “Urdu-e-Mu’alla اردوِ معلہ” or a courtly language of the Mughals of Delhi and the Nawabs of Lucknow.
Hindi, for most part, retained its closeness to Sanskrit, although it didn’t shy back from adapting some Persian either. In their everyday lives, people switched effortlessly from Hindi to Urdu or vice versa. It wasn’t considered a very big deal. Certainly there weren’t many people taking umbrage over or making an issue about language differences at this point.
A Map Illustrating the Partition of India and Pakistan
"Western Pakistan" is the Pakistan of today, and "Eastern Pakistan" is today’s Bangladesh.
When the British gained ascendancy in India, it suited them, as part of their Divide-and-Rule policy, to encourage a rift between Hindi and Urdu. Language is capable of taking on a nationalistic or communalistic turn, inflaming emotions all around, and that’s what happened here. Along with script and vocabulary differences, social, cultural and religious differences began to be emphasized.
Hindu intellectuals like Acharya Ramchandra Shukla and Muslim intellectuals like Sir Syed Ahmed Khan Bahadur did their bit in widening the conscious differences. Urdu began to be known as “the language of the Muslims” and Hindi began to be known as “the language of the Hindus”. Gandhi tried to bridge the differences by merging the two into a common national language, Hindustani, and kept the script option open. It didn’t work.
The rift widened, along with the widening rift between the people, and the country split into two. After the partition of India in 1947, Pakistan embraced Urdu as their national language and India adopted Hindi as one of her 23 national languages. Ever since, the politicians have joined the linguists in demarcating the language differences.
A Modern Map of the Indian subcontinent
Most people in Pakistan speak Urdu either as a first or second language. In India, Urdu retains its stronghold in the cities of Lucknow, Aligarh and Hyderabad, and in the states of Jammu and Kashmir and Andhra Pradesh. However, few Hindi speakers in other states in modern India can write and read in Urdu. Urdu - one of the most beautiful languages in the world - also maintains its presence in both the Indian and Pakistani Film Industries.
Sources and Further Reading:
Related Blog Post:
Okay readers, I’ll close this blog post here :-). I hope you guys enjoyed what I put together on the differences between Urdu and Hindi, InshaaAllah إن شاء الله (God willing)!!! :-) ;-) Please be aware that the majority of the information in this blog post was not written by me, and it was taken from the various sources above. Jum’ah Mabroukah…جمعة مبروكة! Keep well, Wassalaam ‘alaikum و السّلام عليكم…and Peace be with you
InshaaAllah إن شاء الله, I will post the final part of the blog post series based on Arabic adverbs soon. Bye bye :-h :-)