Language Essay: Urdu

Urdu, a language thousands around the subcontinent speak, a language that is my mother language, a language which encompasses a culture, a cosmos of its own. Hidden beneath its charisma is a rich history, defined by poets, revolutionaries, novelists, scholars and spiritualists. It is defined by its decorum and propriety, a language of the elites of South Asia. Urdu is history, is my past, my present and my future. It runs in my veins and clogs my brain. It defines who I am, my identity and I can never be more proud of it.

Writers, Scholars and political leaders such as Abdul Kalam Azad, Sir Syed Ahmed Khan and Iqbal worked for the propagation of Urdu as a language on an international scale and for the freedom of Muslims. Urdu was at one time the only ray of hope; Muslims around the subcontinent looked forward to, freed from the clutches of the tyrannical British rule.

I grew up surrounded by the likes of Sadat Hassan Manto, Quratulain Hyder, and Ismat Chughtai. Urdu literature has been influenced and touched greatly by the oppressions that caused the Partition and subsequent formation of Pakistan. Social issues, ranging from murders, kidnappings, rape, prostitutes, political change and family ties have all been dealt in Ghazals and Nazms. Topics ranging from the atrocities that occurred during the aftermaths of the Partition, and political issues the new born Pakistan had to deal with.

To see playwrights, scholars, novelists, spiritualists having their published works translated and distributed thorough out the world brings me immense delight. Short, direct and to the point works effecting millions with their close to heart topics. The universality of Urdu writers and poets is indisputable.

The opportunity BTL provides to people all across the world to come together and share their cultures their experiences and help walls of prejudices to break down is exactly what Pakistanis need at this moment. The fact that BTL is providing a platform where Pakistan can represent itself separated from the political unrest occurring round the region. For me it would be a huge feat to effect the people there gathered by my writing and those of my predecessors, to convince them that irrespective of the image that media portrays of Pakistan as a terrorist environment we are one of the most peaceful yet passionate people to exist, hospitable and a rich culture, with our various traditions for each and every event of our life. We are people full of love for food, dance and music and peace.

Literature spurned from the hands of Urdu speakers around the globe is alluring, and so I feel that translated versions of published works such as Manto’s ‘Toba Tek Singh’ and Ismat Chughtai’s ‘Aag ka Darya’ are a must for completely understanding the essence of life.