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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Urdu is not a foreign language, protests Panjab University’s Urdu department

The decision of declaring Urdu a foreign langue met with strong dissension from the Urdu department. While University calls it a purely administrative move, speculations call it a political move, in angst to Pakistan.

The Panjab University of Chandigarh confronted a strong protest from the University’s Urdu Department to categorize it a foreign language. The administration of Panjab University announced a decision to combine Urdu language with other languages into one single department named Foreign Language Department. They attributed the decision to enhance the efficient use of human resources and shared infrastructure.

Thus a school of a foreign language will be created by merging the independent department of Urdu, Chinese, Tibetan, French, German and Russian languages.

Abbas Ali, the coordinator of Urdu Language department, disillusioned with the decision wrote a letter to Dean Panjab University, expressing his angst over dissolving the separate identity of the Urdu language.

He reminded the dean about the history, and origin language, labeling it an equally indigenous language like Punjabi and Hindi.

A professor from the English department commented that Urdu as an Official Language of Pakistan does not make it a foreign language.

“Urdu was born, nurtured and cultured in India during the first two decades of the 13th century by Amir Khusrau. From that moment onward, Urdu and Hindi languages have not looked back. Not only this, even Punjabi language was put on the path of development by Baba Farid Ganj Shakar,” said Mr. Abbas in a letter to the PU’s Dean University Instructions (DUI).

A “wrong impression” is being created by certain elements that Urdu is a foreign language”, said Mr. Abbas, asserting that “it is far from the truth”.

He, however, opined bringing Urdu, Hindi, and Panjabi under one umbrella, the Department of Indian Languages. “Or to let Urdu function independently as per the present day arrangement,” asserted Abbas in his letter.

A 15-member committee under Dr. Jha will convene a meeting on September 30 to solve the matter. Expressing his views on the matter, he asserted “it is evident that this (Urdu) is not a foreign language.” The instructions have been issued from PU’S Vice Chancellor’s office, informed Dr. Jha.

Read more: Should the national anthem of Pakistan be re-written in Urdu Language?

A similar attempt was made two years ago to repeal Urdu’s status of a national language. It was widely protested then. A professor from the English department commented that Urdu as an Official Language of Pakistan does not make it a foreign language.

“Let me say that Urdu came up as an official language in India much before Hindi and Punjabi and this historical fact can’t be denied,” the professor added.

The Eighth Schedule of the Indian constitution has it that Urdu originated from amongst the ‘Indo-Aryan family’ and is officially one of the languages of the states of Jammu and Kashmir, Delhi, Telangana, Jharkhand, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal.

Indian Twitter has made calls to Panjab University to rescind the decision. They argued that instead of treating Urdu as a foreign language, the authorities should take pride in originating and harnessing the Urdu language for centuries.