Mohit Khanna, Tribune News Service
Ludhiana, June 9. Urdu is losing sheen in Pakistan, but the language is shining in India. Professor Afroz Taj and John Caldwell of the Department of Asian Studies, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, USA, who are in the state to mark the Saadat Hasan Manto’s centenary year, said Urdu has been reduced to a language of mushairas. Taj and Caldwell, who recently visited Pakistan for the promotion of Urdu language, were pained at the declining standard of Urdu.
They said the impact of westernisation has taken out Urdu from the routine life of Pakistanis.
“People in Pakistan argue about the common sense of learning Urdu language and stress on reading English. For them, Urdu means people chewing pan, wearing sherwani (kurta paizama) and visiting mushairas. Thanks to Bollywood, Urdu is flourishing in India. The film industry has made a significant contribution in restoring Urdu and widened its scope. It is merely not a language of mushairas,” said Professor Taj.
The duo was troubled at the fact that the language that evolved in a purely secular environment was hijacked and mistakenly associated with only Muslims or Islam.
“Sadly, the two countries (India and Pakistan) not only created borders, but they also divided a secular spoken language in two parts, which are now being written in different scripts, Hindi and Urdu. Fortunately, Urdu-Hindi is not divided in the US.
Our department does not differentiate between Hindi- Urdu, it is one language to us,” said John Caldwell, an MBA from Yale University, a bachelor of Russian Studies from Harvard University and Masters in Western Classical Music.
The duo met DIG MF Farooqui here today and congratulated the officer over his recently released Urdu poetry compilation “Thoda Sa Main”. They appreciated the contribution of senior IPS officer towards Urdu literature.
Prof Taj has received a grant of one million US$ (highest ever) from the Department of Education, US, for free online language courses.