MasterwwebNews 15/2/16 - Hindustaniyat: Pining For Its Spirit

[ Masterweb Reports: Dr Kusum Gopal reports ] - The study of languages is critical in understanding not just our past or the present, but what it holds for our futures. Tariq Rahman’s monograph explores the genesis of the Hindi/Urdu divide which continues to afflict linguistic tensions in the Subcontinent, an estrangement exacerbated by the last bloody Partition of the Subcontinent. Philology the precursor to modern linguistics reminds us that languages are not just beings of phonology, morphology, syntax, lexicon or script but created by human societies, its socialities, its cultures. It is unfortunate that several recognised historians of the Subcontinent do not grasp its languages, rarely going beyond syntax or literal appreciations to interpret allegories, morphemic usages, metaphors or fables in narratives; nor indeed, do they undertake the requisite fieldwork immersing themselves in cultures; it is the word of the colonial archives. Regardless, they publish prolifically making lofty pronouncements. In contrast, it is to Rahman’s scholarly credit that he has painstakingly studied for five years Persian from the Khane-e-Farang, then taught himself the Devanagari script to read Hindi to study exhaustively sources in Urdu, Hindi and obscure vocabularies of Chagtai Turkish.  Undeniably this research is a labour of love, pitted against as he laments deep apathy, narrow-minded provincial scholarship bodies that discourage funding of such studies in Pakistan. His social history re-affirms the continuities of shared cultures concluding, “It is, after all, only the truth to say that even now—after about two hundred years of separation and drifting apart—spoken Urdu and Hindi are the same language….”
Rahman  agrees that the origins of Urdu origins lie in the establishment of the Sultanate in Delhi whenceforth it has continued to the present. Until the advent of colonial rule, it is clear that Hindustani, Urdu, and Hindi were indistinguishable in defining Urdu or Hindi: HindustaniHindavi , Rekhta,???????,
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