Urdu: the language that was
This poor language has suffered from all. From others and from those who claim to be its own. The beauty of Urdu is no more seen
COMMENT BY HASSAN ZAINAGIREE
At a time when Urdu language is disappearing from the signboards, bill-boards, name-plates, letter-heads; wilted down from compulsory status to optional door-mate indifference; banished from positions of power and influence; elbowed out from communication lines; and is grimacing at the callous insensitivity of its own people and biased approach of the others, Governor of J and K N.N Vohra taking interest in promotion of this beautiful great language is most welcome.
After inaugurating the week-long book exhibition organized by the National Book Trust India in collaboration with Urdu Academy Jammu and Kashmir at the SP college Srinagar on July 17,2011, the governor, who is the chancellor of Kashmir and Jammu universities said that he would be soon meeting with the ministers of Higher Education and School Education, VCs of Kashmir and Jammu universities, besides representatives of Urdu academy to ‘discuss ways and means for promotion of Urdu language in the state’. As if it was not polemics of a political leader, but in inner voice, the Governor threw a surprise: ‘perhaps no more than a symbolic gesture, the Raj Bhavan has had all the sign boards in its Secretariat also written in Urdu’.
Visit Civil Secretariat, the power house of state administration, in both summer and winter capitals, you will find the name-plates hung on the offices right from CMO to the ministers and bureaucrats’ offices written either in English or in Hindi. Nothing different would you see in other government and semi-government departments, police, revenue and judiciary included. Not lagging behind in the race will be educational institutions right from university to the bottom primary school. Then from Khumriyal to Lakhanpur, whether it is PWD or Beacons, Urdu is conspicuous by its absence on caution plates or mile-stones. This is what we have heaped on this glorious language.
Earlier in the much despised Dogra autocratic raj the Urdu did not suffer the way it is suffering in the democratic awami dour as of today. Urdu has had the honor of being the court language. All the proceedings in the court and Praja Sabha were being done in this language. Records in revenue and police were maintained in Urdu. Urdu held the status of record maintaining in judiciary as well.
Now see the pathetic plight of the language, which “enjoys” the constitutional status of being the ‘official’ language of the state. We have robed it off its due status and respect. It has become orphan in the land it served with such richness in literature and linguistic prowess that even an illiterate person from Jammu and Kashmir state finds it far easier in its communication than any other language. It is a language that links you with Ladakhi, Balti, Gojri, Pahari, Dogri, Punjabi and Kashmiri speaking people in state. Even outside state it is Urdu that is understood in a much easier way than Hindi and English and serves a communication tool when other languages choke you in expression.
Governor's concern for promoting Urdu are heartening. Being the constitutional head, it is his moral obligation to use his position and clout to restore Urdu its sanctity and status due to the language venerated to ‘official’ status. He has had the sign boards written in Urdu in his secretariat.
That is a good beginning. Worth to be emulated by a government which is morally, legally and constitutionally bound to take necessary measures in line with the demands of an official language.
One need to felicitate Congress MLC Jahangir Mir for his principled stand and moral courage he displayed on 28 April this year, when he refused to take oath in English. His remarks aptly demonstrate the duplicity of those in power: ‘Urdu is our optional language, why should we take oath in any other language… A conspiracy is being made against Urdu to eliminate it from our memory and deprive us from our civilization.’
No body is against promoting of native languages or dialects, ‘national’ or ‘international’ languages, but if under that garb Urdu is weeded out of its prominence and shudarised – left to opt of the two ignominies, assimilation or elimination – that reflects the sinister design and wicked mentality.
Urdu like any other language, should not be bracketed with a particular community. But at the same time its ability to compete and excellence, its bewitching poetry and impressive splendid text and rich heritage and embarrassing temperament should not make you jealous and biased against it.
The question is why should Urdu be denied of its right place? Why should not the business of the two houses of state legislatures be conducted in Urdu. Why should oath taken by MLAs and MLCs be taken in language other than Urdu? Why should revenue and police records not be made in Urdu? Why should judiciary shove Urdu out of its court rooms? Why should Jammu and Kashmir Bank exude in arrogance in shooting Urdu from the account books, pass books and other transaction records? And why should Urdu not be made a compulsory subject in school syllabus.
The tragedy is that in a state with Muslim majority character the people too have contributed to the worsening plight of the language they wail for its ‘decline’ and accuse others for ‘cultural onslaught’. A glimpse on the sign boards of the shops and name plates of our villas and houses in Sopore, Srinagar and other towns would convince you that in our own ways we also assist in giving a descent burial to the language of Ghalib, Iqbal, Faiz, Dag, Mir, Akbar Illah AbaDI, Chak Bast, Prem Chand, Deena Nath, Abu Ala Maudoodee, Ashraf Ali Thanvi and other eminent personalities Urdu gave to us. From Nikkah Naams to dawat cards, Urdu we have folded up. Wait a decade or two – if we don’t rise from slumber – we will have a monument of Urdu language left tragically reminding us of a language which once once was.
Urdu is slowly getting declined into disuse and, thus, dying a slow death. But it is not only Urdu language that is dying, it is the Arabic script, in which it is written that is dying too. From Bollywood films to parliamentary debates, to mushairas, cultural shows and to romance, our attitude shows that we take Urdu as ‘a Kothai Kei Tawaif, Maza Sab Koyee Laita Hai, Mohabbat Koi Nahein Karta (a whore in a whorehouse everyone has a fun with her, but no one loves her).
Lastupdate on : Thu, 21 Jul 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 21 Jul 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 22 Jul 2011 00:00:00 IST
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