Thursday, 25 April 2013

Urdu

Upto 1947 Urdu was the common language of all educated people, Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, etc in large parts of urban India. My father, grandfather, etc were all very proficient in Urdu. After 1947 a vicious propaganda was spread by some biased people that Hindi is the language of Hindus and Urdu is the language of Muslims. This way great damage and great injustice was done to Urdu, which was branded as a communal language, when the truth is that it is thoroughly secular.

I have read the poetry of many Indian poets, e.g. Tulsi, Sur, Rahim, Mira, Bhushan, Raskhan, Kabir, Tagore, Subramania Bharti, Ramdas, Habba Khatun,etc. and also the poetry of many foreign languages, e.g. English poets like Wordsworth, Shelley, Keats, Byron, Tennyson, T.S.Eliot, etc, American poets like Walt Whitman, Longfellow,Frost,etc, German poets like Heinrich Heine, Rilke, etc Russian poets like Pushkin, Mayakovsky, etc Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, etc.


In my opinion no poetry in the world expresses the voice of the human heart in such a powerful, yet dignified, manner as Urdu poetry does. In that sense I regard Urdu poetry as the greatest poetry in the world. What a tragedy that this great language, which gave birth to such great poetry was sought to be rejected in the land of its own birth by some biased people.

In my own humble way I am trying to revive the glory of Urdu.
Please read my articles 'What is Urdu?' and 'Great Injustice To Urdu In India'.


49 comments:

  1. jo maza, jo sheerini, jo meethas fasih urdu me he, wo kisi bhi indian language me nahi hogi,urdu ka maza aap film actor rajkumar ki aawaz me "pakeeza" film me mehsoos kar sakte hein.

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    Replies
    1. You mean Hindi and Urdu are not same. Thanks it contradicts Katjus claim.

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    2. where is the word "hindi" in my comment....?

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  2. a language has more to do with a region rather than any religion. A muslim tamil can never appreciate urdu better than a hindu awadh region dweller. i'm not sure which propaganda are you talking about. Urdu is dying its natural death and so is Hindi, reason is lack of quality in new works and more importantly limited access as compared to english literature. this language is in need of better marketing which can bring it back to popular culture and helps it survival.

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  3. There are serious allegations against the media in the Sraddha scam,it is also reported that Sudipta sen had made representations to the PCI,when we hv such serious issues,who can one enjoy poetry.

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  4. 8
    aaj bharat mein bahut kam vidwan hain jo aap jaisi samaveshi soch rakhte hain main ek law student hun IP university ka aur aapko apna aadarsh manta hun law field mein aur aapke editorials jo ki the hindu mein nikalte hain aur aapka blog ko bhi niyamit roop se padhta hun.
    sir main first year mein hun 5 year law course ke mera rukh kaisa hona chahiye is field mein kya aap mujhe guide kar sakte hain

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  5. sir urdu to phir bhi kisi desh ki rashtriya bhasha hai aur hindustan mein bhi iske bahut se jankar hain sanskrit ke liye aap kya kehna chahenge aur uske prasaar ke liye aap kya initiatives le rahe hain.
    kyonki aap hi kehte hain ki wo scientific bhasha hai and 95% of sanskrit has nothing to do with the religion.

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    Replies
    1. You said right. Panini's Astadhayi is the first Grammar ever written in the History of Language. And all languages are having some relation with Sanskrit. But Mr. Katju has no fear for the Sanskrit Language. I think Mr. Katju doing the same thing as our politician.

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  6. http://blog.tehelka.com/my-name-is-urdu-and-i-am-not-a-muslim/

    Good article of Rana Safvi on Urdu...I think awareness about Urdu has increased these days. Recently my father, Urdu Journalist, met with the Education Minister of Bihar to ask him for releasing press releases in Urdu also. Fortunately the releases are now coming in Urdu from the state department.

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  7. The comments above are a good indication of what ails Urdu -1) the general misconception that it is the language of the Muslims alone. Love expresses this viewpoint best; and 2) that Urdu is a foreign language. Read Rasheed Ahmed's comment above for whom Urdu seems to be not an Indian language.

    Both these are fallacies. Language has nothing to do with religion, it is the expression of people. Like all languages Urdu too is spoken and used by people - Hindus, Sikhs, Dalits and Christians. It is a beautiful language which has excellent poetry.

    Moreover, it is little different from Hindi and for anyone wishing to master Hindi properly,a fair bit of Urdu knowledge is absolutely necessary.

    What separates Urdu most from Hindi is the script. Fortunately a lot of Urdu literature is now being published in devnagari and also in both devnagari and the urdu script simultaneously. This trend should increase.

    Ultimately, it is Urdu that will bring the two halves of this nation together, so there is strategic importance to promoting Urdu too which must not be lost upon those who wish well for the nation.

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    Replies
    1. @balsubramanyam g, aap jis zaviye(angle) se merey comment ko pad rahey hei, wo tum ko waisa nazar aa raha hei.

      Delete
    2. merey kehne se, ya kisi aur k kehne se urdu foreign language nahi hogi, ye hindustani thi, he, aur taa damm rahe gi

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  8. What about some effort to learn a South Indian language?.

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  9. Disgusting herd mentality!
    Anyone familiar with Urdu cannot deny that it is sweet language.
    Katju's attempt to drape Urdu in 'victim hood' is sheer is political opportunism.
    And of course the sheep that follow him.

    "After 1947 vicious propaganda...." is a big bogey of pseudo secularists looking for political gains.
    Talk to old people in south India, particular those in Hyderabad.
    One can easily distinguish that the vocabulary and structure are not interchangeable.

    बालसुब्रमण्यम sir,

    sorry it is not two halves. Major portion of one half left India.

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  10. Someone said that Urdu is the beautiful daughter of a very poor man...everyone wants to romance with her but nobody wants to marry her...
    Its time to change that perception

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  11. Some more misconceptions about Urdu have come up in the above comments which highlight the need among our youth to seriously study Urdu, at least for the sake of brushing up their general knowledge (as a starting point, you can read the article mentioned by Justice Katju in this post):

    - to Bhushan, maximum words in Urdu are of Persian origin. The truth however is, 70% of the vocabulary of Urdu is of Sanskrit origin. This is why Urdu and Hindi are considered one and the same language by grammarians.

    - to Sankar, Urdu is a north Indian language. The truth is, it is very much a product of south India, so much so that Urdu earlier was known by the name of Dakhani which means "of the south". So it is not far off the mark to say that Urdu is as much a South Indian language as are Tamil, Telgu, Kannad and Malayalam.

    Some practical uses of Urdu for nation-building:

    - Urdu can be the common link between all communities as it is equally revered and loved by everyone for its beautiful poetry.

    - Some southern states particularly Tamilnadu have resisted learning Hindi for political reasons. They could instead learn Urdu, a southern language. It would serve the same purpose because Urdu and Hindi are one and the same at non-literary levels. A person knowing Urdu can converse with a person knowing Hindi. This is why Hindi cinema is so popular in Pakistan and Pakistani TV serials are avidly watched in India. They are mutually comprehensible.

    - As Justice Katju has said elsewhere, the partition of India into India, Pakistan and later Bangladesh was a mistake and was the result of British policy of divide and rule. Eventually these nations will have to come together, even if this may not happen in our lifetime. And Urdu will be playing a key role in this. It straddles both sides of the border and has a huge potential for bringing both together. For this reason alone, every patriotic Indian (and Pakistani) should promote Urdu and make it a point to learn Urdu.


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    Replies
    1. Dear sir, I have no problems with Urdu or any language. However I feel that if Sanskrit is the mother of all Indian languages (which includes Urdu as well) then why not have the same love for sanskrit.. After all the most ancient literature available on earth is written in sanskrit / pali etc.

      This will help Indians understand their rich cultural heritage, extraordinary intelligence and engineering skills.

      Learning Urdu would help them express their heart, but learning sanskrit will help them create self-respect for our ancestors and increase knowledge... Now what is more important ??? Reviving a language which is spoken / written / read by a particular community or learning Sanskrit which anyone understanding devnagri can read/write ???

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    2. If a language with maximum persian words can be called as Indian, then after some decades English can also be claimed to be an Indian language, cause the way youth is using english + Hindi, after some decades lot of hindi words + verbs will merge with English (as it happens now also) and then Katju and the likes will start calling it an Indian language...

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    3. @Bhushan

      Regarding Sanskrit:

      It is linguistically wrong to think that Sanskrit and the north Indian languages like Hindi have a mother-daughter type of relationship, that is, Hindi is derived from Sankrit.

      The truth, however, is, that Hindi and Sanskrit are more like sisters. Many languages existed in India which were called Prakrit. They were mainly spoken languages which were not standardized. Later, Panini mainly but also other grammarians like Patanjali, codified the grammar of one strand of this Prakrit and called it Sanskrit (the word means purified or processed). After that the erudite and the elite started using the standardized, grammatically correct form called Sanskrit. However, the non-standardized version of the language (Prakrit) continued to exist as a spoken language, and as it was not standardized it underwent great changes and evolved into the various modern Indian languages. Most of these are also standardized now, like Sanskrit was earlier, which is what gives them greater power and stability.

      Regarding learning of Sanskrit, it has practical use for professional users of languages like writers, translators, lexicographers, jurists, etc., but Sanskrit has been out of circulation for centuries now. Reviving it now on a mass scale is not possible. We should study Sanskrit, of course - it is a beautiful language and has an immense corpus of literature - but for day to day purposes of the average man, it is less relevant.

      This is where the situation with Urdu is different. Urdu is a living language used by millions of people on a day to day basis. Moreover, at the non-literary level it is identical with Hindi, which increases its relevance a hundred fold.

      Urdu is of great strategic importance because of its use across the border and because through Urdu we can link up with Iran which also uses the same script of Urdu and also with the Arabic world, with which modern Urdu has a great affinity.

      @English being an Indian language
      It is already considered so. To millions of Indians it is the first language, and to many millions more it is a well-learned second language which they can use with elegance and felicity.

      A large country like India needs several languages at several levels and we can't afford to be narrow-minded.

      Hindi is needed for national integration, English for connecting with the world, the regional languages (which also includes Hindi (in another dimension, for Hindi is also a regional language with 400 million speakers) and Urdu) for regional use.

      As we grow big we need to think big and give up our narrow-mindedness, which is actually a sign of our inferiority complex, which was instilled into our psyche by our colonial experience. After 60 years of independent existence,we should be able to shake off this influence.

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    4. Sir, thanks for the reply, much appreciated. I want to know your thoughts about the Vedas, Upanishads, Puran, Geeta and many such beautiful and knowledge based texts which are written in Sanskrit.

      As Indians we should be proud of these texts and try to learn them, probably much better to remove the "narrow-mindedness" and "inferiority complex".

      Don't you think, dependence on English is a bigger symbol of inferiority complex ? If you travel to Japan, Malaysia, Indonesia, France, Spain... people there are not ashamed of speaking their own language... However in India a person speaking his native language is called as "Desi" and a person speaking English is called as "intellectual"...

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    5. भूषणसाहब क्या खूब लिखा है आपने . और में आपके इस मंतव्य से बिल्कुल ताल्लुक रखता हु. हिन्दुस्तान में पैदा होकर हावर्ड से डिग्री लेकर भारत की संस्कृति पर english में विस्तार से जो लोग पृथकरण करते हे उन्हें शायद ये बात हलक से नहीं उतारेगी .
      Because, they make a statement and trying to prove themselves wright by hook or by crook.and make simple things complicated.

      Delete
    6. News channel - English, Education - English, Movies - English, Novels - English, Govt Work - English.. Is India still an English Colony ?

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  12. Great link Safwan Ghani, thank you for bringing it to my attention. The comments to the article are also very enlightening and go to prove to what extent Urdu can stir the hearts of large number of people.

    In my view, the best way to promote Urdu will be to include the teaching of Urdu script in all Hindi classes. Once the barrier of the script is removed, there very little that is different from Urdu and Hindi and people who are interested can pick up more Urdu by self-study in their later life.

    People like Justice Katju should try to get this institutionalized.

    When children are learning अ आ इ ई, if they are also taught the Urdu script, millions would learn Urdu in their school life itself. This in one stroke will revive Urdu in less than a generation. Also it will give employment to millions of Urdu teachers in our school system.

    Till such a thing is institutionalized, people who know Urdu should take it upon themselves to teach Urdu script to vacation batches of school children. The script can be learned in a few weeks of sustained study and after that people can continue to pursue Urdu by self-study.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Subramanyam Sir..!
      Its heartening to know that unbiased people still exist who supports the survival of Urdu. I too strongly favors this theory that Urdu should be taught in its own script rather than converting it into Devanagari.


      And it gives me a sense of proudness, to be a Urdu knower, what Daagh Dehlvi has said:
      اردو ہے جس کا نام ہم ہیں جانتے ہیں داغ
      سارے جہاں میں دھوم ہماری زباں کی ہے

      (Urdu hai jiska naam hamiN jaante hain Daagh
      Saare jahaN me dhuum hamaari zabaaN ki hai)

      Delete
  13. People interested in Hindi-Urdu will also find this site interesting:

    http://www.hamariboli.com/

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  14. Here is another excellent article on Urdu from the other side of the border:

    http://archives.dawn.com/weekly/dmag/archive/060115/dmag17.htm

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  15. बालसुब्रमण्यम Sir,

    hope you will take these in right spirit.

    "This is why Urdu and Hindi are considered one and the same language by grammarians."

    As per the little knowledge I have about language grammar and vocabulary are different. Typically grammarians study structures like parts of speech, sentence construction, inflections etc.
    SO it does not matter if grammarians consider two language same.

    "In my view, the best way to promote Urdu will be to include the teaching of Urdu script in all Hindi classes"

    Why not other way? If both languages are similar carry additional vocabulary from Urdu into Hindi. This is how English goes on expanding.

    "This is why Urdu and Hindi are considered one and the same language by grammarians".
    "So it is not far off the mark to say that Urdu is as much a South Indian language as are Tamil, Telgu, Kannad and Malayalam"

    If we apply transitive relation on above two statements it makes
    "Hindi is as much as South Indian language as Tamil, Telgum Kannad and Malayalam" Right?
    Then all Indian languages are same. :-)
    SO let us promote awareness among youth about Tamil, Kannada, Oriya, .....

    "to Bhushan, maximum words in Urdu are of Persian origin. "
    Hm.. Bhushan's comments disappeared even before others could see it. DO have any idea why so?

    At the end a silly guess. You were associated with Katju during his Chennai service. Right?

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    Replies
    1. --
      "In my view, the best way to promote Urdu will be to include the teaching of Urdu script in all Hindi classes"

      Why not other way? If both languages are similar carry additional vocabulary from Urdu into Hindi. This is how English goes on expanding.

      --

      A very valid point. However, this is already happening. Many Urdu writers and publishers, seeing a larger market in Hindi have begun to publish their writings in Devnagari script. This enables those Hindi speakers not knowing the Urdu script to enjoy good Urdu writing.

      Regarding taking in Urdu words into Hindi, actually there is no need to do so, for Urdu words already and automatically are a part of Hindi and are widely and vigorously used in Hindi. You only have to look at Bollywood movies to realize this.

      At the time of Independence, when Pakistan was being discussed and Urdu was being linked to Muslims and Pakistan ( as per the policy of the British of divide and rule)parallel movements erupted in Urdu and Hindi to fill them with obtuse persian-arabic and Sanskrit words respectively. This was carried to absurd levels in both languages which greatly mutilated both these languages.

      Today, this tendency is on the wane and both Urdu and Hindi go for simpler day-to-day vocabulary used by the common man. If you look up a Hindi newspaper and an Urdu newspaper and compare their language, you will not find anything of great difference if you ignore the scripts in which they are written.

      Hindi and Urdu are naturally coming together as they are one and the same language. It is people who are bringing them together because languages are after all the properties of people, not of scholars and politicians.

      It would be ideal to have a single script for Hindi and Urdu, but for the time being it is best to retain the separate scripts for various practical reasons, which are -

      - Devnagari script is much less prevalent in Pakistan where also Urdu is used. We should make every effort possible to improve the spread of devnagari script in Pakistan.

      - The Urdu script has strategic importance because it is also used in Iran, an important country in the Muslim world and our natural ally in many geopolitical situations. The Urdu script is also similar to the Arabic script and hence is an important link for us to the Arab world, which again is of strategic importance to us because of the oil wealth there on which we are critically dependent. Hence it is in our national interest to preserve the Urdu script. The other reason of course is that by itself the Urdu script is a beautiful script, once you have learned its quirky nuances.

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  16. i did not learn hindi, but still i manage to read hindi, writing is difficult. So comments reveal that till today also many people of india irrespectively have soft corner towards urdu. They having good opinion for promoting language.

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    1. If urdu is not a language spoken by muslims only, then why are you sooo much concerned about its fate ?? I can see so many of your posts taking pride in Urdu..

      What Bharat has suffered, no other country has... it was attacked left, right and centre eroding its culture/language/ethos/knowledge.. Indians don't want a language spoken by Arabic soldiers (read invaders) instead a language which is the mother of all Indian language and that is Sanskrit...

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    2. @bhushan, u alone is not whole indian, and u alone not representing whole india. Many urdu lover still in this soil.

      Invader, who is not invader? aryan, dravidian, arab, persian, tarkish, more than 95% all r invaded. You read Justice katju blog for what is india for detail.

      when aryan invaded that time also india suffered form left, right centre etc.

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    3. Aryan invasion is wrong theory promoted by Europeans to demean Hinduism. Of course our over eager pseudo-secularists and left ideologists used it very conveniently without putting any efforts for independent research.
      Katju's blog seems great source of info for you. Katju claims Hindu-Muslim religious conflicts were creation of British post 1857.
      If you have time and enough brain to understand read Deccan History since fall of Kakatiya Kingdom and you will understand Hindu-Musilm harmony.

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    4. @what_is_not_said,if u saying aryan invasion theory is wrong, then all invasion theory is wrong, all extremist created this theory.
      yes, katju blog is verymuch informative for me, and he is writing every blog after through study.

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    5. 1. Since you showed so much emotion for language, one thing which u can't deny is it is indeed a language spoken by and close to a particular community (which proves katju wrong)
      2. Aryan invasion theory is a piece of s**t. The culture/tradition/language/knowledge of "Bharat" is more than 12000 years old, much before the aryan invasion theory is proposed.
      3. Amongst the names of invaders arabs, turks, britishers, portugal and other countries are "outsiders", rest all were the kings of Bharatvansh and fought within Bharat. (that's how the name Bharat)
      4. Ideally to restore the pride of India, all these references of invaders of the country and the symbols that we still carry on our chest, should be done away with. These invaders attacked the temples, destroyed, looted them and polluted the culture/chastity of Bharat.

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    6. @paranoid, reply for no.1. U may think whatever,u r free. Many famous writer and peots of urdu r hindu like krish chandr,prem chndr,jagannath azad,pandit shankr daya nasim, brij narayn chakbast etc.
      No.2 r free to your opinion but the fact is 95%indian r invader in different period. Only adivasi or tribes r here real india. U saying bharat varsha abt 12k back. Frm muslim belief when allh out adam a s from heaven, he sent to earth and that earth is india.
      Adam a s is the first man rest all the world r children of adam .
      3. Arab ,mughal enter india,they manage,they progress india,they loved indian people. Mugrl were the most secular kings.Now no more question of invaders. bcoz more than 95% people r invader ftom different part of the world.
      So best policy us respect eachother. Jio aur jeene do.

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    7. It is a myth that 95% are invaders. Ramayan is dated in Treta yuga which is 1,296,000 years ago (even katju agrees to that). Now people may think that as myth, but there is a written record for that. Now Hindus consider Lord Ram as hindu who ruled Ayodhya. So no question of 95% people being invaders. Katju has no proof when he says this "fact".. On the other hand, thousands of scripts written in sanskrit, pali and brahmi scripts suggest that this is true... Islam was born in the 6th century .. so it is quite recent.. Hinduism is the oldest religion so going by this logic everyone would have an Hindu ancestor. But I won't go that far...

      In the end you are quite right, Jio aur Jeene do should be the end goal. However I have a huge complaint and grudge against psuedo-seculars like Katju, who spread lies and unverified "facts" to achieve this goal of secularism. Why can't he accept that "yes" Bharat was Hindu nation for all the years before 900 AD ?? This would give Hinduism the much deserved respect and pave the way for mutual respect between other religions also. But if seculars keep saying that India was 95% invaded that is clearly distorting the facts...

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    8. @bhushan, u r free to think and opine.
      We dont hve any objection to accept if our ancestor were hindu and they embrace in islam afterwards.
      Whatever hindu doing today(idol worshing), arab were doing before islam.
      Katju is writing about 95% indian,after thorough study. He is far ahead from u and me in knowledge.

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    9. @bhushan, u r free to think and opine.
      We dont hve any objection to accept if our ancestor were hindu and they embrace in islam afterwards.
      Whatever hindu doing today(idol worshing), arab were doing before islam.
      Katju is writing about 95% indian,after thorough study. He is far ahead from u and me in knowledge.

      Delete
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  21. An existentialist question: “If Ghalib or Mir or Firaq had written their poetry in Devnagari, would it be referred as shayari or would it be termed kavita?”

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  22. ... the bastard mongrel speech of the army on the move, Urdu, camp language, in which half a dozen half-understood tongues jabbered and whistled and produced to everyone's surprise, a beautiful sound: a poet's language born out of soldier's mouths. - Salman Rushdie in “The Enchantress of Florence”

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  23. @Sushil Prasad

    Reminds me of another illustrous poet who said something like "a rose by another name will smell as beautiful".

    Whether it is called shayari, kavita, poem, kavya or something else, what would matter is its capacity to connect with human hearts. This quality of Ghalib's writings would not be affected by calling it any name of your choice.

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    1. You miss my point that I am trying to make. As per Wikipedia - and I would agree to the logic given there - "most linguists consider them (Urdu & Hindi) to be two standardized forms of the same language, and consider the differences to be sociolinguistic, though a few classify them separately. The syntax (grammar), morphology, and the core vocabulary of both the languages are essentially identical."

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  24. I would be rather happy if you guys give this much interest on a obsolete language which is called Sanskrit.

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  25. अगर जानकार बंधु ये भी बताएं कि‍ दुनि‍या की कौन सी भाषा (जबान) कड़वी है तो ज्ञान में कुछ वृद्धि‍ हो । वरना कोई भी अल्‍लू जल्‍लू यही कहता है कि‍ उर्दू बड़ी मीठी जबान है । मेरी दृष्‍टि‍ में उर्दू कुछ नहीं बल्‍कि‍ वि‍देशों वि‍शेषकर अरबी फारसी और मध्‍यपूर्व के देशों की भाषाओं से उधार लि‍ये गये शब्‍दों के साथ हि‍न्‍दी है जो मूलत: मुसलमानों के द्वारा बोली जाती है । यह अवश्‍य है कि‍ आज सामान्‍य लोगों की भाषा में इन शब्‍दों का समावेश हो गया है पर यह उर्दू नहीं है । आज स्‍थि‍ति‍ यह है कि‍ यह भाषा जीवि‍त रहने के लि‍ये सरकारी सहायता की बाट जोहती रहती है ।

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  26. Beautiful Quotes of Dr. Iqbal Sahab, An extensive collection of Urdu English Poetry, Shayari and Quotes by Famous Poet and Philosopher Dr. Iqbal Sahab. beautiful quotes by dr. iqbal sahab

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