Kashif Hafeez Siddiqui

Why I Have Fallen In Love With Urdu For The First Time

In Karachi Karachi, Pakistan's Ideology on April 19, 2011 at 5:16 pm

A special piece for Kashifiat By Dr. Arifa Jamal

I remember when I was doing my Matric and Intermediate I most certainly did not want to understand what the poet Mir dard, Iqbal or Hali were saying…….because i was English medium.

This kind of attitude continued up until a few years ago when my children also showed signs of disinterest towards Urdu. i kept telling them that you have to be good at it because it is your mother tongue. In  the last summer vacation when a few of us,  the moms, decided to have a summer camp I too showed disinterest in including Urdu books to our reading club.

When i started taking tajweed lessons i was glad i knew Urdu as it was easier to understand the pronunciation with our Urdu background.

But it was not until last week when i was helping my nephew prepare for his O levels history exam did i realize how important this language is for us.

After the War of Independence in 1857, the Urdu Hindi controversy arose. At that time Urdu as the official language and English was being used as well. The Hindus wanted Urdu to be replaced by Hindi altogether.Read on

” The Hindus complaint that Urdu was written in Persian script  which was similar to Arabic script, and that Arabic was the language of the Quran. moreover the script was identified with the Muslims who had ruled India for several centuries. muslims saw the attack on urdu as a threat to their culture and rights. The attack on their language seemed to prove that hndus wanted to control and perhaps destroy Muslim traditions  and their way of life.” Oxford history olevel by Nigel Smith.

Please see how the script of various languages spoken in pakistan changed with the advent of islam.

Gurmukh Punjabi ਗੁਰਮੁਖੀ, Gurmukhī)  is primarily used in the Eastern Punjab region of India, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Punjabi_script
while the Shahmukhi script  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shahmukhi_script) is officially used in the Punjab region of Pakistan. It is a combnation of arabic and persian with its influence of Islam.

Sindhi (Sindhi: سنڌي , Urdu: سندھی , Devanagari script: सिन्धी, Sindhī) is the language of the Sindh region of Pakistan. It is spoken by an estimated 34,410,910 people in Pakistan. Biruni in his book ‘Tahqiq ma lil-Hind’, had declared that even before the advent of Islam in Sindh (711 A.D.), the language was prevalent in the region. It was not only widely spoken but written in three different scripts — Ardhanagari, Saindhu and Malwari. Over the course of centuries, Sindhi culture absorbed Arabic, Persian and Islamic words which further enriched its heritage.

According to Islamic Sindhi tradition, the first translation of the Quran into Sindhi completed in the year 883/270 in Mansura, Sindh. The first extensive Sindhi translation was done by Akhund Azaz Allah Muttalawi

In Pakistan, Sindhi is written in a variant of the Persian alphabet, which was adopted under the patronage of the British when Sindh fell to them in the 19th century.


In Pashto, most of the native elements of the lexicon are related to other Eastern Iranian languages;. Post-7th century borrowings came primarily from the Arabic, Persian and Hindustani languages,

Pashto employs the Pashto alphabet, a modified form of the Persian alphabet which on its part is derived from the Arabic alphabet.

Before the 19th century, Balochi was an unwritten language. The official written language was Persian, although Balochi was still spoken at the Baloch courts. British linguists and political historians wrote form with the Roman script, but following the creation of Pakistan, Baloch scholars adopted Urdu Arabic script.

My recent interest in Urdu does not stem out of love for my mother tongue nor a spirit of nationalism. It is only because it is the language closest to Arabic…the language of our Rab, our Prophet Mohammed (SAW), our book Quran, the language of jannah, and the language of Malaikah.

Now that i am trying to learn Arabic i am so grateful that I know URDU because it is said that upto 70 % of words in urdu are from Arabic. The point is that languages evolve, but the only language which is here to stay is Arabic. Hence any language which takes its roots from Arabic should be treated with respect.

Dr. Arifa Jamal

  1. […] Why I Have Fallen In Love With Urdu For The First Time […]

  2. Jazakallah Khair for posting this.

  3. Nicely said, Urdu should be respected because much of Muslim history is preserved within it, from the Muslim perspective.

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