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.
A language recognised by the Constitution of the country isn’t “foreign”. Urdu is used for official purposes in at least 5 states
A language cannot be foreign in its own home
Homework for PU: name the country with the largest population of Urdu speakers https://t.co/XlX2kg0IgR
— Asaduddin Owaisi (@asadowaisi) September 28, 2019
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”.
Respected @capt_amarinder sb ji I lived in Punjab since last 13 years and can see the respect for Peer n dargahs Urdu is not a foreign language many old one's comes me to translate old documents of their belongings so Punjab too comes from Urdu words.. https://t.co/dcQGHSSFXS
— Mannfiroz reza من فیروج رضا (@reza_mann) September 29, 2019
Dear @capt_amarinder , this matter needs your urgent intervention. Urdu is certainly NOT a foreign language. It's as Indian as Punjabi, Tamil, Bangla and all other Indian languages are. Hindi and Urdu are like twin sisters. @Ishq_Urdu @rekhta @gulrayys @iamrana @OfficialPU https://t.co/6ylQBJRIUu
— Yashwant Deshmukh 🇮🇳 (@YRDeshmukh) September 29, 2019
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.
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.
If nationality is decided by the birthplace, Urdu is as Indian as anything can be. We should be proud to have given birth to a language in those times, instead of classifying it as a foreign language. This was truly a Make in India product, let's not put it in import basket. https://t.co/Kqsd8NEbtH
— Amit Arora (@ProfAmitArora) September 30, 2019
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.