Chapter 71: The Silver Lining, Development Of The Urdu Language, Grammar, And Literature


Rekiiah, Hindi, Hindwi, Zuban-i Dilhi, Gujri, Zuban-i Urdi-i Mu'alla­ all these names1 were given to Urdu at the various stages of its progress by the Muslim rulers of and other settlers in India. It was also called "the language of the Moors."2 The name Hindustanis3 popularized by the Euro­peans was also used by some writers in the early period.

Here, it would be interesting to trace the origin of the word "Urdu" and briefly give its history. Urdu is a word of Turkish origin, found in the earlier literature in various forms, such as Ourda, Ourdah, Ourdou, and Urdu, and means "camp," "alighting place," "army post," "an army," or a "part thereof." It also means tent, camp bazaar, fort, or a royal place (cf. Nur al­Absar, MS. in the library of Dr. Mubammad Shafi', Lahore). After under­going several changes the word filtered into Persian books after the Mongol invasion of Iran. After the invasion of Eastern Europe by Batu Khan it also entered into the languages of Europe.

It was, perhaps, Babur who introduced the word "Urdu" into India, and during the reign of Akbar it was used as a term for the royal camp or the royal mint. During the subsequent periods, we find the usage of Urdi-i Mu'alla for the residential quarters belonging to Government officers (civil area) and Urdu Bazar (the market attached to this area).

It is generally admitted that the word "Urdu" as the name of a particular language is associated with one of these two later expressions. That is to say, Urdu meant the language of the royal camp. But it would be wrong to assume on the basis of this fact that the Urdu language took its origin during the period of Shah Jahan. The term "Urdu" in this special sense appears to have been in vogue since the time of Aurangzeb. Actually it came into being soon after the invasion of India by Muslims from the North. Shah Murad of Lahore was perhaps the first writer who used the word "Urdu" for the language itself in one of his letters written in 1196/1782. The other early writers who used this word for the language were Mushafi (1211/1796) and Gilchrist (1194/1780).

In a way, Urdu is not exclusively the creation of the Muslims. Its birth is the direct result of their contact with the Hindus, who jointly with the former have developed it down to recent times. The contribution of the Muslims to its development is, however, more substantial, rather monumental, as compared with that of the Hindus or the Europeans4 who also played a creditable role in its advancement. Considered from the point of view of quantity as well as quality, spirit as well as atmosphere, Urdu is predominantly a language of the Muslims, although the services of the other co-workers in the field can in no case be under-rated.

Urdu was popularized by Muslim mystics and saints and patronized by Muslim kings and rulers. Some of the Muslim emperors, kings and princess5 themselves composed Urdu verses and compiled diwans of Urdu poems. Its literature was enriched from Islamic sources. The Muslims, therefore, were mainly, though not exclusively, the architects of this language.

Let us now assess and determine the nature and extent of Muslim contribu­tion to the creation and development of Urdu. Urdu took its shape first in the Punjab and Delhi during the Ghaznawid and the early Sultanate period6 when the first powerful commingling of Hindu-Muslim cultures occurred, causing a productive intermixture of Muslim (i.e., Persian, Turkish, and Arabic) languages with Padkrits (the Apabhransa of the Punjab and the Khari Boli of Delhi, Meerut7 and the adjoining areas) of Northern India.

This situation had its effect in two directions. First, it created a hybrid form of speech used by Hindus and Muslims in the bazaars with a sprinkling of Arabic, Persian, and Turkish words; subsequently, it developed into a crude vehicle of lyrical utterances (cf. Amir Khusrau's Rekhtahs). Secondly, it caused an infiltration of Hindi words into Arabic and Persian books on the one side and of Persian and Turkish words into Hindi books on the other. The Kitab al-Saidanah of al-Biruni and the early lexicographical works in Persian written in India contain a large number of Hindi words and idioms, and Chand's Prithvi Raj Rasa8 and, later, Ad Granth of Nanak embody large materials drawn from Muslim sources.9

But, apart from this linguistic fusion, a distinct language came into being with the passage of time as an admixture of Persian and Arabic words and expressions in use more in Muslim circles, with a clear bias towards Muslim cultural modes and attitudes. Persian enjoyed the status of the Court language, but side by side with it this new language too kept on progressing from one stage to another.

From Delhi, this new language reached Gujarat and the Deccan where its growth and initial popularity awakened the first serious literary activities under the `Adilshahi and Qutbshahi rulers,100 some of whom were themselves good poets of Urdu. Earlier, the Sufis111 employed this polyglot for their missionary work and wrote religious and mystic treatises in it.

Gradually, it attained a literary status in the South before it was employed by writers in the North, where in due course it became popular during the post-Aurangzeb period, during which Hatim, Mir, Sauda, Dard, and others wrote excellent poetry in it. Then the centre shifted to Lucknow and other places, till in 1215/1800, the Fort William College was established by the British at Calcutta where deliberate efforts were made to simplify Urdu style under the name of Hindustani, which encouraged a revival of interest in secular, non-communal, and local aspects of its literature.

These efforts, however, did not succeed fully because Urdu had already assumed a specific shape and complexion more akin to Persian and other Muslim literatures, and it was not then possible to divest it of its predominantly Muslim stamp. They, in a way, encouraged parting of the ways, and led to the creation of the modern Hindi with a distinct Hindu spirit drifting largely away from Urdu and the "lingua franca" Hindustani.

So, by 1303/1885, Urdu, which was hitherto a common language of the Hindu-Muslim intelligent­sia, came to be claimed as a language, more or less, of the Muslims. About the same time, Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan advocated this claim simultaneously with the declaration of the Muslims to exist as a separate politico-cultural group in India and the issue was thus decided once for all. Later, the pro­tection and preservation of Urdu became one of the basic grounds for demand­ing a separate homeland for the Muslims.


This brief history would prove the fact of active association of the Muslims with Urdu since its origin, though not to the exclusion of other communities (Hindus and Europeans) whose contribution to its progress is certainly creditable. For a considerable time the Hindus took keen interest in the advancement of Urdu as if it were their own language.

It attracted their enthusiasm due to the spirit of catholicity existing in its mystic poetry, taste for which had already been cultivated by them through Persian which had become a part of their education ever since the reign of Akbar.'122 With the intensification of the communal consciousness, however, certain sections of the Hindus created a gulf between Hindi and Urdu which went on increasing till the country was partitioned and the shape of things changed altogether.

The Europeans played their role a bit differently. They used Urdu for official purposes, simplified it for common use, compiled dictionaries and grammars133-and patronized it so long as it served their ends.

Principally, therefore, Urdu has been a concern and' creation of the Muslims; but from another point of view it is positively a joint production of the Hindus and the Muslims (although its distinct bias towards Islamic culture can never be denied).


Lets discuss about Urdu composition and grammar now. It is agreed that whatever form Urdu took ultimately, it is essentially an Indian language which developed on the grammatical pattern of Sureseni Prakrits. Therefore, it follows the same rules of grammar as any other branch of this group, and its basic alphabet is also the same. But the complete Urdu alphabet is richer and is a combination of Hindi and Arabic-Persian sounds. In certain cases the Hindi sounds have been softened and in certain others amplified according to the phonetic rules of Persian and Urdu.144

Urdu is, therefore, a more advanced language than the Prakrits so far as sounds and vocabulary are concerned. It has borrowed a large number of nouns and adjectives from other Muslim languages, in addition to the recent borrowings from European languages. Most of the verbs, pronouns, and prepositions belong to Hindi but the structure of the sentence has been very much determined by Persian.

The main Muslim contributions to Urdu grammar are: adoption of Arabic terminology, application of the rules of word formation (in plurals and adjectival compounds), and introduction of the Persian kasrah-i idafat (vowel mark "i" to denote possession) instead of its Hindi form ka, ki, ke.

During certain periods of strong Persian influences, even the sentence scheme was made to follow the Persian sentence arrangement. Conversely, however, certain Arabic and Persian plurals (like many other words) also underwent change according to the Hindi usage,155 particularly in the early Urdu literature.

These modifications in the grammatical structure of Urdu have been of benefit to it in several ways. The kasrah-i idafat has the advantage of economy over Hindi ka, ki, ke. The Persian compounds (murakkabat) also have the same value, with additional rich rhythmic properties, so useful in paragraphs and stanzas. Conciseness in lyrical utterances too has always been a favorite mode of expression with the Muslims-accomplished mostly by the use of kasrah-i idafat and "concise compounds," although these features have some­times been misused in the form of "dead" adjectival compounds or unnecessary "Arabicized" plurals. And it is a relief to find that the Persianized sentence structure of Urdu composition has particularly vanished with the advent of the Western literary influences.

In the course of centuries, Urdu borrowed166 thousands of words and phrases (nouns, adjectives, adverbs, and conjunctive prepositions) from Arabic, Per­sian, Turkish, and Pashtu,177 as it did also from European languages188 on a limited scale. The Farhang-i Asliyyah contains 7,584 Arabic, 6,041 Persian, 17,505 Urdu, and 21,644 Hindi (plus European) words. These figures have further changed due to the recent coinage of terms199 (technical and literary) and infiltration of more Arabic (religious) words under the influence of the revivalist movement of Pakistan.

It may be noted that this Persian-Arabic vocabulary in Urdu is not merely a "dead" equivalence; it represents an extension and enrichment of ex­perience. It reflects a new attitude to life and a peculiar tone and color, not present in other Indian languages.

The Urdu language combines the virility and vigor of Turkish, the grandeur and dignity of Arabic, the polish and grace of Persian, in addition to the original homeliness of Hindi expressions. This has made Urdu richer in tone­, color and literary effects, so very important for a perfectly expressive style.

The incorporated Arabic-Turkish-Persian vocabulary in Urdu belongs to the various departments of life: administration, social activity, agriculture, art, religion.200 Literature, etc., and represents a gradual expansion of culture in India caused by the fresh wave of life awakened by the vigorous Muslim spirit, following in the wake of immigrations from Iran and Turan.

Urdu also borrowed in literary artistry. It adopted the Arabic-Persian prosody for metrical scansion, but rarely did it employ the Hindi Pingal, except during the recent periods when 'Azmat Allah Khan and other song­writers have attempted to revive Hindi meters.

We may now refer to the development of literary style, first in accordance with the Persian patterns, and afterwards based on the European (mostly English) models. All the reform movements in Urdu literature (before 1857) were invariably directed to achieve, first, the closest approximation of Urdu to the Persian literary forms of expression, and, secondly, the effective adjustment of the language to the riiz marrah and muhawarah (i.e., the natural speech of men).

Thus, although the reformers insisted on every­day spoken language and discarded phonetically and rhetorically incongruous words, yet in order to achieve true literary beauty they always advocated the adoption of pictorially, musically, and emotionally proper Persian and Arabic words. From Wali and Hatim down to Nasikh and Dhauq, the same process of assimilation continued. The literary ideals of Persians became the main goals to be reached by Urdu writers, and they remained so till the literary taste changed in modern times.

The distinctive characteristics of the Persianized form of literary expression were: a tendency towards elaboration, affectation and floridity; sumptuousness of detail in the narrative; love of grandeur and grotesqueness; imaginativeness even when realistic delineation was required; preponderance of wit; and fondness for metaphor, allegory, and symbolism in poetry. Conciseness in lyrical poetry is another distinctive feature borrowed from the Persian ghazal. Simplicity and directness in style were later introduced by writers at the Fort William College and also by the poet Ghalib and the reformer Sir Sayyid Abmad Khan.

Sometimes, there is a touch of insincerity in the literary style of the Persian models, but these models when reformed have helped Urdu literary expression, to gain in force, vigor, and dignity of tone, rarely found in the sister languages of India.


In classical poetry, the chief forms- ghazal, qasidah, ruba'i, mathnawi, etc.­were borrowed from Persian. Ghazal, a short poem of a few verses (commonly between seven and twelve), mainly devoted to love themes, interspersed with other subjects of philosophical and mystical nature, is essentially a lyrical form, insisting on conciseness, economy, and beauty of diction.

In this form, each couplet is complete in itself but is interwoven into the whole, by means of a common rhyme and a common metre, and sometimes by an undercurrent of a common mood apparent in the tone though not necessarily in the subject. In Urdu as in Persian, g/azal attracted to its fold several great poets such as Wali, Mir, Dard, Sauda, Mushafi, Atish, Momin, Ghalib, and later Hali, Iqbal, Hasrat, and some of the prominent modern poets like Hafiz, Firaq, and Faid (Faiz) who have adapted it to the changed mental atmosphere of the modern age.

Qasidah (panegyric or praise-poem), a form more lengthy in size and more complex in structure and content, requires an unusual command over language and also great constructive ability. It may be noted that qasidah is not confined to praise and that it has also been employed successfully for subjects of descriptive, narrative, dramatic, and subjective nature. The chief qasidah-writers in Urdu are Nuzrati, Sauda, Insha', and Dhauq, whose art in this particular branch can compete with that of the best qasidah-writers in Persian, at least, in their care for the externalities of technique, if not for internal beauties. To this list, one may add Ghalib, who introduced some changes in the structure of qasidah.

Another form is mathnawi which is originally meant for narration of a longer chains of events of historical or fictional nature, and is distinguished from other forms in that each couplet in it has a separate rhyme in consonance with a uniformity in the metre scheme. The most outstanding maLknawis in Urdu are those written by Mir Taqi Mir (Darya-i 'Ishq), Mir Hasan (Sehr al-Bayan), Daya Shankar Nasim (Gulzar-i Nasim), and Shauq Lakhnawi (Zehr-i 'Ishq).

Out of the remaining poetical forms, special reference seems necessary to shehr ashob-a form used by Persian and Turkish writers, more or less for humorous themes but employed by the Urdu poets such as Mir and Sauda for serious subjects of social and political import. Another very important branch of Urdu poetry is marthiyah, which derived its name from Arabic ritha' (elegy) and took a peculiar narrative shape in Urdu. It has some resemblance to epic forms and deals with the tragic events of Karbala (a place in Iraq where Imam Husain, the grandson of the Holy Prophet, and a small party of his kinsmen and followers, courageously fought against a much larger army deputed by Yazid, an Umayyad ruler, and lost their lives). The prominent marthiyah-writers were Anis and Dabir whose marthiyahs are the best representatives of this art. Mirza Rafi' Sauda and Dabir had also contributed to its progress earlier.

Rekti (poems, as though, written by women, with peculiar female attitudes towards love and with characteristically female ways of speech) means, literally, "the feminine form of rekhtah" (one of the names for Urdu, and later for Urdu poetry as a whole, or for Urdu ghazal alone). It is more or less in the nature of a "feminine" burlesque or parody of love-poems written by men. In most of such poems, the tone is non-serious, rather comic, sometimes bordering on license and obscenity. The chief representative poets of this literary form are Rangin and Jan Sahib, although its earliest specimens are also found in the Deccani period of Urdu poetry.

We may mention in passing the ruba'i (quatrain), the musaddas (Hali's Musaddas being the most prominent), wasukht (ironical love-poems), qit'al (the fragmentary and episodic poems written more or less on the model of shorter qasidahs or quatrains), and a few other forms such as mukhammas (quintet), mustazad, etc. These forms were adopted from Persian and were employed by almost all the famous poets. Recently, the Hindi git and doha forms have been revived in Urdu by poets such as Hafiz, Maqbul Ahmadpuri, Mukhtar Siddiqi, Jamil 'Ali, and others, while some of the European forms have been given currency by 'Azmat Allah Khan, Faid, Rashid among many others whose poems deserve a high place in Urdu poetry for perfection of technique and construction.

In its emotional moods Urdu poetry differs from Hindi poetry despite the fact that some of its attitudes (e.g., towards the sex of the lover) and imagery in it were borrowed by Urdu poets in the Deccani period, and also to some extent in recent times, but the general atmosphere of Urdu poetry has been throughout Persian, except in the part produced under Western influences.

The most important poets of Urdu (Wali, Mir, Sauda, Dard, Mushafi,Atish, Mir Hasan, Nazir, Ghalib, Isma'i1, Hali, Iqbal, and others) are Muslims, but the contribution by Daya Shankar Nasim, Shafiq Aurangabadi, Chakbast, Surur, Mahrum, Firaq, Anand Narain Mulla, and others who are Hindus is equally creditable and cannot be ignored in any history of Urdu poetry.

The spirit of Urdu poetry like that of Persian poetry, when serious, is passionately lyrical; when mystical, deeply reflective; when humorous, intensely witty and at times ironical. Muslim narrative poetry in the classical period has rarely been realistic and its descriptions are more imaginative than real and objective.

The poetry of the Hindu poets of Urdu could be some­what different but they too followed in most cases the general spirit of Urdu poetry. In recent times, Firaq has tried to infuse a Hindu devotional spirit in it but his is a solitary instance. The modern Urdu poets have copied some Western models as well, but most of the original Persian forms still persist. Iqbal, a unique literary figure in the Muslim world, has given a new meaning to the old forms and symbols, but the aura of his poetry is also patently Per­sian. Iqbal is also responsible for giving Urdu poetry a deeply Islamic and philosophical color.

Some Europeans too have written good Urdu poetry but none of them can be considered a first-rate poet, and none of them has introduced the European spirit into it. Nevertheless, Urdu poetry has recently received much inspiration from European (particularly English) models, and has accepted changes in content and tone, and, to a limited extent, in form. For instance, some attempts have been made, especially in most recent times, to employ free verse and blank verse for long and short-long poems, and to write sonnets and cantoes.

It is, however, in content that European influences are markedly noticeable. One might refer here to the national as well as the "nature" themes in modern. Urdu poetry which clearly bear the European stamp both in attitude and in diction. The chief representatives of the national or political poetry are Hali, Mibli, Akbar, Z, afar 'Ali Khan, Chakbast, Iqbal, Josh, Faid, and certain other modern poets, while Isma'il Merathi, Mebs_har, Be-Nazir, and some others who wrote for children, may be called the nature poets of Urdu. The classical Urdu poetry has in its own way dealt with nature also. Nazir Akbar­abadi may be cited as the most prominent poet of this line.

The case of Urdu prose is the same as that of Urdu poetry so far as forms employed in the classical period are concerned. But the share of non-Muslims in prose is more noteworthy especially in literary history, tadhkirah-writing (biographical dictionaries of poets), and fiction. Saksena's History of Urdu Literature has so far been the best, and Siri Ram's Khumkanah-a dictionary of poets-is a monumental work of considerable worth. In fiction, Sarshar. Prem Chand, and Krishn Chandr (among the moderns) and Nihal Chand (among the old) occupy a conspicuous place. The vast "fiction literature" (dastan and hikayat) has borrowed largely from Sanskrit sources, as also from European channels so far as the novel and the short story are concerned.


Comparatively speaking, Urdu prose is of recent growth and most of the prose literature of old Persian atmosphere is rather undeveloped and is in a crude literary shape. From Sab-Ras (All-Juice), a mystical allegory translated from Persian by Wajhi (c. 1045/1635), up to Bagh-o Bahar (The Flower Garden and the Flower Season), a tale of the four dervishes by Mir Amman (c. 1217/1802), there is a big gap, except for Nau Tarz-i Murassa' which is an outstanding work of the Persian model and Dastan-i Rani Kaitki by Insha' representing a new model. Then came Ghalib and Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan, Hali, Shibli, and the modern prose-writers who enriched Urdu prose drawing much from European sources and wrote biographies, histories, essays, novels, stories, theological and philosophical works, and books of literary criticism and science. In Osmania University, quite a large number of European books have been translated into Urdu.

Here, it would be proper to bring out prominently the role of Ghalib and Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan in the development of Urdu prose style. It may be noted that the credit of simplifying the literary Urdu language for the first time, after it had become laborious, affected, and merely decorative under the influence of high-flown Persian style current in India during the earlier periods, goes to the prose-writers of the Fort William College, Calcutta (founded by the British East India Company in 1215/1800), such as Mir Amman, Sher Ali Afsos, Haidar Bakhsh Haidari, and others.

Yet the personal emotive prose of Ghalib with touches of wit and delightful irony (as reflected in his Urdu letters) and the natural style of Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan, reflected in all of his works particularly in his "Essays," broadened the possibilities of Urdu prose enabling it to become an effective vehicle, not only for literary expression but also for the expression of emotional, philosophical, or scientific content.

Sir Sayyid Ahmad insisted, not only on simplicity, naturalness, and ease, but also on the purpose, truth, sincerity, and earnestness of the author. Again, while Ghalib is inimitable, Sir Sayyid tremendously influenced his age, especial­ly the group of his associates in the Aligarh movement, such as Hali, Shibli, Nadhir Ahmad Dhaka' Allah and others who enriched Urdu literature abundant­ly by producing works of unusual merit on various subjects.

Side by side with these prose-writers, we find Muhammad Husain Azad, once Professor at the Government College and the Oriental College, Lahore. He was with Hali a co-founder of the Natural School of Urdu poetry and was perhaps the most popular stylist of Urdu, even though he did not belong to the immediate circle of Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan. He chose to write in a manner which, though not simple and direct, was yet expressive, rich, and graceful. The three main qualities of his prose are its beauty, artistry, and grandeur, and so far none has surpassed him in excellence. Some of his notable works are Ab-i Hayat (a history of Urdu poetry), Sakhundan-i Faris (a history of Persian literature), Nairang-i Khayal (a collection of essays), and Darbar-i Akbari (a history of the Emperor Akbar).

Drama is the weakest spot in Urdu literature and whatever exists in this branch has been borrowed from and inspired by the European models. Ahsan Lakhnawi, Agha Hashr, and Sayyid Imtiaz 'Ali Taj are the most outstanding figures in this field.

Most of the writers of Urdu prose are Muslims. Hence, the general stylistic atmosphere is also the same as is associated with the Muslim genius.

The works on biography and Islamic history produced at Dar al-Musannifin, Azamgarh (now in India), reflect an intensely Islamic spirit. Similarly, most of the works on socio-political subjects embody Muslim inclinations.

In the field of fiction, i.e., romances (dastan-I adab), novels and short stories, we witness a variety of tastes, because in these branches Muslims and non-Muslims have taken almost equal part, introducing new elements drawn from different sources, beautifully fused together.

The romances (or dastan-I adab)211 should naturally come first. This kind of literature is based on or adopted and borrowed from Arabic and Persian as well as from Hindi sources, and manifests a mixture of various racial and cultural elements. For instance, there is emphasis on nature and phantasy in stories of Sanskrit origin, on action and sensuality in stories of Arabic origin, on adventure and extravagance in stories associated with Turan and Khurasan, on occultism and on fabulous and imaginative pleasure in those associated with Iran. The Hindu element in the dastans is also conspicuous, although the number of Hindu writers of dastan is not so very large.

The atmosphere in earlier novels of Urdu, as represented by Nadhir Ahmad, Sharar, Tabib, and Rashid al-Khairi is predominantly Islamic, while local life has been depicted in the more modern novels (for instance, in the novels of Prem Chand) and in Urdu short stories, as represented by Manto, Krishn Chandr, Rajindar Bedi, 'Ismat Chaghta'i and others, who under the influence of the Progressive Writers' movement have manifested the spirit of realism as fostered in European, particularly Russian, literature, and adapted it to the circumstances of indigenous life.


The recent trends in Urdu literary criticism are also directly inspired by the European critical theory and practice. The modern Urdu criticism manifests a clear departure from the old practical criticism, largely based on old rhetorics and stylistics, specimens of which are to be found mostly in tadhkirahs (bio­graphical dictionaries of poets) and other stray writings.

Shibli, Hali, Azad, and Imdad Imam Athar were the first to reorient Urdu criticism along new lines. They tried to apply the principles of European criticism to classical Urdu and Persian literature, in a somewhat imperfect manner, for they could not get rid of their old inclinations and in practice had to rely on old standards.

The Muqaddimah (Introduction) to poetry by Hali, the Shi'r al-'Ajam, a history of Persian poetry by Shibli, Ab-i Hayat (a history of Urdu poetry) by Muhammad Husain Azad, and Kashif al-Haqa'iq (The Revealer of Critical Principles) by Imdad Imam Athar are some of the note­worthy books on criticism belonging to the earlier period of modern influences. Later on, however, Urdu criticism made tremendous progress and fell in line with the more modern criteria of literary judgment. The notable figures in this field are Qadri, Zor, Athar, Niaz, Majnun, Firaq, Al-I Ahmad Surur, Ihtisham Husain, Kalim al-Din Ahmad, and a few others.


To summarize, Urdu is a joint achievement of several communities, but Muslim contribution to its creation and development is outstanding. The language is basically Indian but it developed largely in accordance with the Muslim (particularly Persian) genius and taste. The attitudes in the classical Urdu literature are mostly in tune with those existing in all Muslim literatures.

Urdu is decidedly a wonderful manifestation of the synthetic capacity of the Muslims which succeeded in evolving out of heterogeneous elements a language which can now be regarded as one of the most powerful languages of the Indo­ Pakistan sub-continent and one of the two official languages of Pakistan.


Graham Baily, History of Urdu Literature, 1932; Ram Babu Saksena, History of Urdu Literature, 1927; S. Ijaz Husain, Short History of Urdu Literature, 1953; Mohan Singh D1wanah, Urdu Literature; Hamid Hasan Qadri, Dastan-i Tarik-i Urdu, 1941; Shams Allah Qadri, Urdu-i Qadim, 1343/1924; Nasir Husain Khayal, Mughul our Urdu, 1933; Tara Chand, Influence of Islam on Indian Culture, 1936; Muhammad Yahya Tanha, Siyar al-Musannifin, 1924; Sayyid Muhammad, Arbab-i Natr-i Urdu, 1937; 'Abd al-Haqq, Marhum Dihli College, 1933; Garcin de Tassy, Magdlat, 2 Vols., 1943; Muhyi al-Din Zor, Urdu Shahpare, 1929; Urdu ke Asalib-i Bayan, 1949; Sir Abdul Qadir, Famous Urdu Poets and Writers, 1937; Ahsan Farugi, Urdu Nawil ki Tanqidi Tarikh, 1951; 'Ali 'Abbas Husaini, Nawil ki Tarikh-o Tangid; S. Wiqar 'Azim, Hamdri Dastanen; Yusuf Husain Khan, Urdu Ghazal,1948; 'Abd al-Qadir Sarwari, Urdu Mathnawi ka Irtiqa', 1940; Jadid Urdu Sha'iri, 1939; A. L. Siddiqi, Lakhnow ka Dabistan-i Sha'iri, 1944; Nur al-Hasan Hashmi, Dilli ka Dabistan-i Sha'iri, 1949; 'Abd al-Hayy, Gul-i Ra'na; 'Abd al­ Salam Nadawi, Shi'r al-Hind.

  • 1. Mahmnd Khan Shairani, Pan jab men Urdu, 1st edition, pp. 1-23
  • 2. Hobson Jobson, 1903, p. 417.
  • 3. Wajhi in his prose book Sab-Ras (c. 1040/1630) calls it Zuban-i Hindustani. Cf. Sab-Ras, Anjuman Taraqqi-i Urdu, 1932, pp. 11, 16.
  • 4. Ram Babu Saksena, History of Urdu Literature, 1927, p. 4.
  • 5. For instance Muhammad Quli Qutub Shah, heh `Alam Aftab, Babadur Sh5h Zafar, Wajid 'Ali Shah Akhtar, etc.
  • 6. Mahmad Khan Shairani, op. cit. (Mu'in al-Adab edition), p. 3; Mas`ud Husain Khan, Tarikh-i Zubkn-i Urdu, p. 139.
  • 7. Sabzwari, Urdu Zuban ka Irtiqa', 1956, p. 87, says: "Urdu and Pali come from common source." He asserts that Urdu does not come from Suraseni Apabhransa, or Braj, or Haryani, or Bundeli,nor from Punjabi (ibid., p. 86). Pundit Kaifi, Kaifiyyal, p. 31, thinks that Amir Khusrau's Rekhtahs were in Apabhransa of Suraseni Prakrit: also see Saksena, op. cit., pp. 2 sqq. Al-Biruni visited the Punjab during the early Ghaznawid period. The "local" words used by him in his Kitab al-Saidanah are called by him al-Hindiyyah-apparently synonymous with the "Punjab" Apahhransa; cf. S. M. Abdullah, "Arabi Tasanif men Hindustani Alfazz," Oriental College Magazine, May 1943.
  • 8. Shairani doubts its period, op. cit., p. 121. Also see Mas`fid Husain Khan, op. cit., pp. 115 sqq., who thinks that some parts of it must have been written during the early Ghulaman period.
  • 9. S. M. Abdullah, Farsi men Hindu'on ka Hissah, Anjuman Taraqqi-i Urdu, pp. 277-89.
  • 10. 0 Nasir al-Din Has_hmi, Deccan mein Urdu, 1926, pp. 16, 40 seq.
  • 11. 1 Abd al-Hagq, Urdu ki Taraqqi men Sufiya' ka Hissah, 1939, pp. 4 seq
  • 12. 2 S. M. Abdullah, Farsi men Hindu'on ka Hissah, pp. 4 seq.
  • 13. 3 The first grammar of Urdu was written perhaps by J. J. Koetler ('Abd al-Haqq, Qaw'id-i Urdu, 1951, Preface, pp. 11 seq.) and Insha' was the first "local" writer who dealt with problems of Urdu grammar in Darya-i Latafat. It may, however, be noted that some preliminary discussions are also found in the Muthmir (MS. University of the Panjab) of Khan Arzu (a writer of Muhammad Shah period). Among several European writers and poets, Dr. Gilchrist, John Shakespeare, Fallen, Fransu, and Hederly Azad were the notable scholars who produced books in Urdu; Garcin de Tassy may also be considered to be among those who wrote about Urdu.
  • 14. 4 Sabzwari, op. cit., pp. 105 sqq. and 'Abd al-Hagq, Qawa'id-i Urdu, pp. 4-9
  • 15. 5 Shairani's article: "Sab-Ras," Oriental College Magazine, November 1934, and "Introduction to Diwanzadah Hatim" (MS. University of the Panjab).
  • 16. 6 Muhammad Husain Azad, Ab-i Hayat, 14th edition, pp. 27 sqq., and Ahmad Din's Sargudhas_ht-i Aijaz, 1932, pp. 137 8qq., and 236 8qq.; also see 'Abd al-Majid Salik's Muslim Thaga/at Hindustan Men, 1st edition, pp. 515 sqq
  • 17. 7 Imtiaz 'Ali 'Arshi, Oriental College Magazine, May 1948, pp. 28.
  • 18. 8 'Abd al-Hagq, "Dakhil Alfaz," Urdu, July 1949, pp. 15 sqq
  • 19. 9 Wahid al-Din Salim, Wadi' Istilahat-i 'llmiyyah, 1931, pp. 7 sqq.
  • 20. 0 For the influence of Islam on Urdu poetry, see I'jaz Husain, Madhhab-o Sha'iri, 1955, pp. 66 sqq. Also see Azad, op. cit., pp. 16 sqq.
  • 21. 1 Cf. Giyan Chand, Urdu ki Natbri Dastanen. 1954, p. 37.