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Urdu was more popular than Punjabi in Punjab

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    Urdu was more popular than Punjabi in Punjab

    Urdu was more popular than Punjabi in Punjab before partition
    23rd May 2000 14:53 IST

    A small but dedicated group of residents of Punjab have taken upon themselves the task of reviving Urdu, a language which was even more popular than Punjabi before partition of India, but lost its importance in Punjab over the years, apparently due to misconception that it was a language of Muslims.

    This group, under the banner of ‘Classique Melodies’ hopes to revive Urdu enriched by poets like Meer, Zauk and Ghalib, through music and fine arts.

    The founder and chairperson of this group is Dr. Tajinder Gulati, a lecturer in the music department of the Guru Nanak Dev University (GNDU) here and herself an Urdu poetess.

    Another prominent member of ‘Classique Melodies’ is a local lawyer Mr. A Kapur, who lamented that a ‘sweet spoken’ language like Urdu was now virtually non-existent in Punjab, which gave to the world noted Urdu writers like Hafiz Jalandhari, Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Sahir Ludhianvi and a number of others.

    “Till the mid-sixties, police reports in Punjab were written in Urdu, the records of Revenue Officers and other official work was also in Urdu. But now everything is done in Punjabi,” Mr. Kapur added.

    ‘Classique Melodies’ wants the Punjab government to introduce Urdu as a compulsory third language in the government schools.

    “The younger generation which is swaying to the senseless music of our Punjabi pop singers should be made aware of the richness of Urdu which their grand parents spoke,” Dr. Gulati added.

    “We hope to revive the interests of Punjabis in Urdu through music, that is by holding Urdu and classical ghazal concerts,” Dr. Gulati said.

    In the last one year or so, ‘Classique Melodies’ has staged three such concerts, the latest one being May 22 in which the audience were entertained by noted ghazal singer Sakhawat Hussain Khan Nishat.

    The GNDU too, has come to the help of Dr. Gulati and her friends by imparting free Urdu learning classes at the Urdu department of the University.


    What kind of stupid thought is this? Punjabi existed long before Arabic Hindustani and Persian (the ingredients of Urdu). Urdu is only a couple hundred years old, and was mainly an administrative language. Don’t even think about telling a Punjabi that it is by any means less significant language than any other, including Urdu.


      I don't know what version of history is accurate....but one thing that I do find curious is that most of the punjabi families I know have made a point of teaching their children to speak fluent urdu.

      Is this primarily for them to "fit in" with the rest of Pakistan or what? I tried to convince myself that this was true but then I found expat punjabi families doing the very same thing....whether or not their children could speak punjabi, they made sure they could speak urdu....what's the deal?


        I think it's a great step forward to consolidate Urdu in India...I think more needs to be done in Pakistan too..otherwise a great culture will die...Urdu was the language of the elite and of royalty...


          I agree with NYA,Punjabi is the older than Urdu or Hindi and it is true language of people of Punjab. In India Punjabi parents find it fashionable to talk to their childrem in Hindi at home....if this continues one day Punjabi language will disappear or will be only spoken in handful villages of Punjab. Very bad trend to favor other languages over your mother tonuge, this will spell demise of Punjabi culture because culture and language go hand in hand.

          [This message has been edited by Rani (edited May 27, 2000).]