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This Culture Spotlight was created on Jun 15, 2015 @ 07:24:37 am

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Asia Urdu

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Muslims who landed in India as soldiers, merchants, mystics, and camp followers enriched the native dialects. Especially the one that was spoken around Delhi called Khari Boli. A language known as Hindi, Hindvi or Dehlavi came into being. It spread towards the south and by the 18th century it was called Rekhta and Hindustani, among other names. The elites of Delhi Persianised it and renamed it as Zuban-e-Urdu-e-Mualla (the language of an exalted city).
Far from being a separate identity marker, Urdu represented the complex Hindu-Muslim exchange during the 13th-18th centuries. Urdu is a common heritage of Hindus and Muslims for at least 500 years if not more.
Modern Urdu is a deliberate Muslim cultural product, which came into being through the linguistic reform movement during late 18th century. This was the same time when Hindu reformers started to clean up and remove Persian and Arabic words in favor of Sanskrit.
The above excerpts were edited from http://tribune.com.pk/story/331873/myths-about-the-urdu-language/
Urdu is the official language of Muslim Pakistan but it is used across India by Hindus as well as Muslims as a lingua franca, a common language, to communicate with others in a land that despite the government promotion of Hindi as the official language of India has no language mutually understood by a majority of Indians. Urdu and Hindi can be called dialects of one another or dialects of a common language, Hindustani. Muslims in India and Pakistan may identify with it and Hindus by contrast may not be specifically insistent on it or likely to learn its Persian-Arabic originated script, but the notion that there is a strict Muslim-Hindu divide with Urdu being used by Muslims and Hindi by Hindus, is an oversimplification that is political and divisive in nature. If Urdu and Hindi can be seen to be a common heritage of both Hindus and Muslims in the Indian subcontinent, there would be more harmony between these two communities that historically have been in conflict and were therefore separated into India and Pakistan in the 1947 Partition of India.

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