Hindi vs Urdu  

Like Hindi, Urdu is also an Indo-Aryan language that evolved from the Indo-European group of languages. Like Hindi, it too is spoken mostly on the Asian sub-continent. But in comparison to Hindi it is spoken by about 104 million people, including those, for whom it is a second language. Urdu language, since 1200 AD has evolved under Persian, Turkish, Pashto and Arabic on one side and Hindi and Sanskrit on the other. Urdu script is known as “Nastaliq” and unlike most languages is written from right to left.

Together with English, Urdu is one of the 23 official languages of India, besides being the official language of majority of provinces in Pakistan. It is also recognized as the official state language in some states of India, like UP, Andhra, J&K, Punjab and Haryana and is widely spoken in areas with Muslim population. Many in big cities like Delhi, Lucknow, Bhopal, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Mysore also speak the same language. Urdu is taught as a compulsory language in all English and Urdu medium schools in Pakistan and special Urdu schools and Madrasas in India. Outside India and Pakistan, Urdu is spoken in several other countries also, like Australia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Botswana, Fiji, Germany, Guyana, Malawi, Mauritius, Nepal, Norway, Oman, Qatar, South Africa, Spain Sweden, Thailand, UAE, UK, USA, Zambia, Afghanistan, Persian Gulf and Saudi Arabia. Urdu by itself is the 15th most spoken language, but together with Hindi (Hindustani) ranks as the fifth most spoken language of the planet. Both languages have very close semblance to each other, each influencing development and growth of the other. While Urdu vocabulary has been enriched with Persian and Arabic words, Hindi, on the other hand has taken more from Sanskrit. No doubt, the two languages find reflection in evolution of yet another language, supposedly the court language of the Mogul rulers in India – the Hindustani, which made the two groups – Urdu and non-Urdu speaking courtiers to understand each other. With many words common in both languages, people speaking the two languages (if special vocabulary not used) can easily understand each other well. Urdu in India and Pakistan is spoken in four different dialects, each differing from the other by the local specifics and the influence of locally spoken languages. Like, modern Urdu (spoken in Delhi, Lucknow, Karachi and Lahore) is free from complex Persian and Arabian words. The Dakhini (spoken in Andhra, Maharashtra, Hyderabad) has even fewer Persian and Arabian words. Urdu grammar is similar to Hindi, but differs from that of English – the verb falls after the subject/ object, rather than before it (as in English). Similarly, verbs agree with the object and not the subject (as in English). Also, the definite article “the” is absent in Urdu. Even gender, interrogatives, use of cases and tenses also differ from English. Like in Hindi, there are only two forms of gender – male and female and the English neuter gender is absent. Urdu’s punctuation rules too are different than in English. Urdu, for those who can read, understand and appreciate is a rich language. It is remarkable how Urdu has imbibed and developed from best of both Muslim and Indian cultures and their rich traditions, amidst which it has blossomed. This richness is reflected in the form of a large resource of words available for use in prose and poetry. The films on Mogul era reflect the splendour, beauty, prosperity and wisdom of those times, which one does not get tired of.

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