Urdu is the language widely spoken in the countries of India and Pakistan. Hindi and Urdu are like twin languages that can be understood with mutual co-relations. It is part of the Indo Aryan group of languages. Considering the speaking population in both India and Pakistan, it can be estimated that Urdu has a speaking base of more than 170 million people.
It is also popularly spoken in the UAE, UK and parts of US as well. Urdu began to spread in north western parts of India mainly after the attack of Muslims began in that region. This can be dated back to almost 12th century CE. Urdu began to be commonly used in the written form as Hindvi language. The most famous poet in Urdu till date is Amir Khusrau. Hindvi continued its prominence till the 19th century.
Urdu Literature Syllabus for UPSC
Urdu Literature Optional Paper – I
Answers must be written in Urdu.
Development of Urdu Language
a) Development of Indo-Aryan
- Old Indo-Aryan
- Middle Indo Aryan
- New Indo Aryan
b) Western Hindi and its dialects Brij Bhasha Khadi Boli, Haryanavi Kannauji, Bundeli-Theories about the origin of Urdu Language
c) Dakhani Urdu-Origin and development, its significant linguistic features.
d) Social and Cultural roots of Urdu language-and its distinctive features.
Script, Phonology, Morphology, Vocabulary.
a) Genres and their development
- Poetry: Ghazal, Masnavi, Qasida, Marsia, Rubai, Jadid Nazm,
- Prose: Novel, Short Story, Dastan, Drama, Inshaiya, Khutoot, Biography.
b) Significant features of: (i) Deccani, Delhi and Lucknow schools (ii) Sir Syed movement, Romantic Movement, Progressive movement, Modernism.
c) Literary Criticism and its development with reference to Hali, Shibli, Kaleemuddin Ahmad, Ehtisham Hussain, Ale-Ahmad Suroor.
d) Essay writing (covering literary and imaginative topics)
Urdu Literature Optional Paper – II
Answers must be written in Urdu.
This paper will require first hand reading of the texts prescribed and will be designed to test the candidate’s critical ability.
- Mir Amman Bagho-Babar
- Ghalib Intikhab-e-Khutoot-e Ghalib
- Mohd. Husain Nairang-e-Khayal Azad
- Prem Chand Godan
- Rajendra Singh Apne Dukh Mujhe Bedi Dedo
- Abul Kalam Azad Ghubar-e-Khatir
- Mir Intikhab-e-Kalam-e-Mir (Ed. Abdul Haq.)
- Mir Hasan Sahrul Bayan
- Ghalib Diwan-e-Ghalib
- Iqbal Bal-e-Jibrail
- Firaq Gul-e-Naghma
- Faiz Dast-e-Saba
- Akhtruliman Bint-e-Lamhat
More about the language
It was during Amir Khusrau’s period that Urdu took new forms of literary conquests. There was variety on offer as he served people with Dohas, folklores, riddles, speech, etc. Phonetically and grammatically Urdu is very similar to Hindi language. What is different in the two languages is the lexical part. This is mainly because Urdu owes lexical similarities with Arabic and Persian and Hindi with Sanskrit.
There is also another major distinction that sets Hindi different from Urdu. Urdu uses the Nastaliq script whereas Hindi uses the Devanagari script. Urdu is also commonly spoken in countries like Nepal, Bangladesh, South Africa, Mauritius etc.
In India, the language has majority speakers in Jammu & Kashmir regions, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Andhra Pradesh. Experts believe the languages of Hindi and Urdu were both derived from the Khari Boli script, which is a form of dialect and is also popularly known as Hindustani.
Urdu is popularly known as a poetic language because of its beauty. This has also been considered the trademark language of poets and they have rendered the beauty of the language in the form of Shaayaris. Indian Muslims speak this language as their native language.
The beauty of the language is expressed in both prose and poetry forms by poets from a long timeline in history. It is the ability of the language to create a deep and long lasting inner meaning by expelling beauty and grace that personifies ordinary work into extra ordinary creations.
Urdu has been of interest in study circles at the college and university levels. Urdu in a very interesting manner has lent many words from its dictionary to English vocabulary. Some of the well known examples include words like Khaki, Pashmina, pyjamas etc. Likewise, many English words are also used as part of Urdu language vocabulary. These include file, copy, photo, library, railway, airport etc. Urdu in many ways shares a close connection with Punjabi language apart from Hindi.
There are many Indian schools that actually teach Urdu as the first language, but have also set their own syllabus and exam patterns, much different from mainstream educational centres. The language in its innate form is read from the right to the left.
This is a major challenge that many new learners face, because generally any language is read from the left to the right. Reading from right to left is a challenge in itself. Urdu is also home to some of the most difficult words to spell and pronounce. Urdu is a collection of tongue twisters that are very difficult to present and repeat.
Pashto, Kashmiri and Punjabi also use the same language as Urdu.
The beauty of the language lies in its ability to express one thought, one feeling or one word in so many other beautiful words or phrases. Also it has the most flexible grammar that one could ever ask for. The structural and syntactical rules were described by Sanskrit and Prakrit whereas a systematic and organised vocabulary was flown into the language by the influence of Arabic script. The existing phonetic mass was enriched by Turkish and Persian influences, adding more sounds and beauty to the whole language.
Many of the verbs and nouns have a direct descent from Hindi roots. Many claim its scripture to be easier than Sanskrit. Claims also make direct statements that Urdu has a partial influence of French on it. The Khari boli script from which Urdu originated still finds speakers in Delhi even today. Also, the main point in Urdu is its orientation towards Islam religion and its higher bandwidth allotted to poetry in the main form.
Hindi has a long and rich history that is connected with Urdu but disconnected in many ways from it too. It gains momentum and space that is inclined not towards the Islamic religion but towards the Hindu religion. Generally students who are well versed with either language can manage both of them.
Hindi ahs second world ranking in terms of number of speakers, outscoring Urdu in this regard. Hebrew and Arabic are other two languages that are written from right to left like Hindi. About 12th century, the language began to spread its roots in the Delhi region, so we can find it spoken even today.
It was during 14th and 15th century that the written form of the language grew in prominence. This is the time when poetry and literature took more importance and came into full-fledged being. At the time, it was not just the language of the Muslim community, but many Hindu and Sikh writers admired and took to the language. In the year 1947, when India and Pakistan faced partition, Pakistan chose Urdu as the national language of its country. But interestingly there are more number of Urdu speakers in India than in Pakistan.
The Urdu alphabet comprises a total of 36 letters. To change the sounds of alphabets. Symbols are used or written above or below the alphabets. Calligraphy in the Urdu language is not just another pastime; it is a form of pure art practised by many.
Be it a poetic representation, part of a verse, saying, to beautify somebody’s name, calligraphic images using abstract forms including shapes, objects, humans and animals are readily used for representation. Large parts of Britain have many Urdu speaking groups.
These people generally belong to South Asian regions. Manchester, Leeds and Bradford are places where there are majority concentrations of Urdu speaking communities. This lineage also has a straight inclination towards people from Pakistan.