What happened when a Pashtun child tried to read Urdu

Published: July 20, 2013
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Are the learning issues this child faces a consequence of his poor aptitude for studies? PHOTO: SCREENSHOT

Note: To fully understand this post, it is mandatory that you watch the video pasted above.

If one knows Urdu as well as Pashto then watching this video invokes instant laughter. I had great fun carrying out this experiment on a lot of my friends, having them watch the video and crack up.

However, the post-laughter response to this video has usually been a lament about the state of education in Pakistan. There were many who were genuinely saddened by the unfulfilled potential of this boy to learn. Many deficiencies in the education system of Pakistan can be attributed to the meager amount we set aside for our education budget every year.

The question is: are the learning issues this child faces a consequence of his poor aptitude for studies? Or is it our education system that has failed him, and millions of others like him?

Personally, I think he is a brilliant kid. Not only has he learned to read an alien language, but while he reads, he is creative enough to weave a story around the few words that he cannot comprehend in Urdu, but which sound similar to words in his own native language, Pashto.

For instance, when he hears the word ‘kaash’, which in Urdu means ‘to wish’, he recognises it as kaash, the Pashto word for ‘pistol holster’ and makes up a story about the book’s character, Shehla and her father’s pistol to explain the sentence. Similarly, when he reads the Urdu word ‘chupkay’, meaning ‘silently’, he substitutes it for the Pashto word ‘chuka’, meaning ‘stick’ and coins a fable to make sense of what he reads.

There is barely a hiccup in the fluency of his narrative – as he reads, he replaces any Urdu vocabulary that is unfamiliar with Pashto words that he knows well.

Once we get past the initial amusement and consider the struggle this child is up against, we are struck by the educational deprivation he suffers. Consider the fact that this weakness in comprehension is not only something he confronts in his Urdu lessons – he has to learn science and mathematics in Urdu as well, a language he regularly falls short of understanding.

True, our education system is underfunded. But in this instance, it is not just the lack of education spending holding us back. It is our teaching policies as well. Due to a policy decision, we are not making use of the biggest educational advantage that our children have: their comfort level with their native languages. The child in this video is able to achieve a higher level of comprehension when he thinks in Pashto. However, this lingual capability remains untapped. Our education system demands that teaching should not occur in the native language of students but instead in a more widely spoken language, in this case, Urdu.

See this infographic.

However, have we done enough to ensure that the new, ‘better’ language we impose upon these kids is taught properly, with all pertinent resources widely and easily accessible? The answer is clear in this video.

We can draw a parallel between the shortcomings evident in the video, and the policies of schools in city centers that insist teaching should be in English.  It is a common concept that exposure to English is mandatory for the young so that they can be at ease with textbooks at a higher level. We have all heard smug urbanites trash any notion of teaching in local languages because-

‘Duniya kahan ja rahi hai aur hum kahan!’

(The world is progressing, and us? We lag behind!)

It is not impossible to teach a child from any background a more widely understood language, be it Pashto speaking children learning Urdu, or Urdu speaking children learning English. However, while private schools like Beaconhouse School System or Karachi Grammar School may have the resources for thorough linguistic education, our government schools, especially in rural areas, remain underpaid. They employ under-qualified teachers and offer poor infrastructure to struggling students.

In a report titled Language and Education: The Missing Link, the authors prove that dropout rates are much higher in linguistically diverse societies that impose a single national or international language for schooling. According to the report 72% of the world’s out-of-school children were from the linguistically fractionalised countries. Pakistan, with 75 languages, has an estimated 92% of its population devoid of education in their mother language. Comparatively, India with 401 languages has only 25% of its population without education in their mother language.

There of course is merit with the concern that mastery of commercially spoken languages like Urdu and English is necessary. However, it might be a better idea to introduce these later in the child’s schooling years, and conduct his initial learning in his own language.

According to ASER research, several Pakistani parents wish their children to be taught in their native language instead of a mainstream language. However, there is divergence within provinces at district level where these opinions are concerned. While Sindh is overwhelmingly in favour of local languages, Punjab is the exact opposite. The situation in Balochistan is more complicated with the highest variance among districts.

In Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P), the northern Pashtun districts have a stronger preference for Pashto when compared with the southern Pashtun districts. While progress towards giving local district languages a better status in the education system remains slow, K-P has seen some growth in the past few years. An appreciable move by the previous government of K-P was to make a switch to local languages as mediums of instruction. But there is still a long way to go, in K-P as well as the larger country.

I hope that the newly elected government can learn from the evidence supporting the merit of education in our local district languages. Be it giving Urdu a higher preference in schools that gives greater standing to English, or having local languages play a more integral role where Urdu is emphasised over students’ native languages, this transition will not be a smooth one.  However, in the long run this can be a move towards significantly improving the educational scenario in Pakistan.

INFOGRAPHICS : IMRAN KHAN

This post originally appeared here

Follow Imran on Twitter @iopyne

Imran Khan

Imran Khan

An Economist by profession, who is currently based in Islamabad. He blogs at iopyne.wordpress.com and his twitter handle is @iopyne.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Asif Jawwad

    It’s not only Pashto,Punjabi is also not taught in Punjab’s schools.Urdu is the medium of teaching in punjab’s schools.Whereas in Sindh,Sindhi is not only taught but all students are required to give Sindhi language paper in Matric exams.Why aren’t such exams compulsory for students in Punjab for Punjabi? Feeling ashamed of your mother tongue is nothing to be proud of.Recommend

  • Lubna khan

    Punjabi has been completely ignored and marginalised in Punjab.The Punjab assembly conducts its affairs in Urdu.The future generations of Punjab won’t even know a word of Punjabi,it’s not being taught in Punjab’s schools.Recommend

  • ahsan

    Well my point of view is that launguage is one thing that makes us apaart. When this country;s national laungauge is urdu so whats the harm of teaching everyone in urdu? Every one should learn urdu first then their regional launguages. Because of these launguages we are sindhis, balochi, punjabis and pathans. Recommend

  • Bina Chaudhry

    @Lubna khan That’s because there’s a lot of self hate amongst Punjabis.We’re not proud of our mother tongue,our culture,so we do everything we can to not speak Punjabi.Yes,Punjabi language will be slowly finished as our young generation is not being taught their mother tongue.Punjabi’s not being taught in schools either which is a big part of the problem.Recommend

  • Prabhjyot Singh Madan

    @Lubna khan:
    Punjabi in west Punjab is dying. I asked my pakistani Punjabi friend to learn Punjabi in shahmukhi but he refused it and called it paindu. I am the only Punjabi he talks to in Punjabi because we are good friends for the last 13 years and he knows I get angry if he refuses to talk to me in Punjabi irrespective of the fact that I am an indian punjabi. He likes his Urdu but I stick to Punjabi. He had no clue, Punjabi is taught in gurmukhi script here but I asked him to learn to read and write in shahmukhi. Urdu is supreme in west Punjab but Punjabi literature and bulley shah, heer ranjha, Baba shakarganj, dataganj pir and guru Nanak are thriving here. Even my 6 years old son knows how to speak and write in Punjabi because I want him to feel at home in punjab and be at ease with his culture. Religion has nothing to do with language in whatever script. It is written, shahmukhi or gurmukhi, Punjabi and punjabiat is the same with a open mind. Sat Sri akal, rab rakhaRecommend

  • Parvez

    Although I don’t understand Pashtu the video drove home the point very well. Full marks to the author and ET for coming up with this.
    Getting it right on education is so important, so vital in nation building that our leaders have over the last 66 odd years deliberately ignored it or maliciously misused it.
    Recommend

  • gujranwala789

    I think we should adopt English as the only official language of pakistan. Urdu should be completely removed as official language of pakistan. The primary education should be in the mother language of the children, secondary and higher education in all subjects should be exclusively in english. Education in urdu medium schools is a good tool for the elites of this country to produce slaves, they just do not want us the common people to be well versed in english and to have access to quality world class knowledge through it. They are forcibly urduizing us which makes our future career dark. The children of the elites are being given top class education in english right from their childhood. We ordinary people are unable to compete them due to the deliberate urduization of poor masses by the political and military elites. Recommend

  • Ali S

    I think Urdu should be done away with in schools altogether apart from urban Sindh (where the majority of population is Urdu speaking) and replaced with the area’s native language (Punjabi, Seraiki, Sindhi, Balochi, Pashto etc.) – this is far more practically useful to the population of that area. I’m an Urdu speaker, but what’s happening in Punjab is a shame – their next generations will be raised without any knowledge of such a culturally rich language, and instead adopt as their mother tongue a language (Urdu) that is neither a part of their cultural identity nor particularly useful academically.

    Also, the language of instruction in schools should be English – it’s not about ‘imperialism’ or ‘Westernization’, it’s just that we have to keep up with the rest of the world if we want to produce students that are able to deliver on a global standard. Besides, Urdu is nearly as foreign to the majority of the illiterate Pakistani population as English, and far less useful academically.Recommend

  • gujranwala789

    @Asif Jawwad:

    I think this is a good suggestion , the students in punjab should be required to give a compulsary exam of punjabi in the matriculation exam, this will at least give them some understanding of their mother language and will also preserve it. This suggestion should be taken up seriously by punjab government. Why have we left our mother language at the mercy of the mirasis and bhands on lahore punjabi stage dramas. Recommend

  • Khurram Awan

    @ahsan The people with the same thinking like yours have made Bangladesh and still they are adamant that Local languages must not be given any status and only Urdu must be given National Language status. Do you know other than some cities of Punjab no one in villages can read Urdu for the first time and the above video of the child apply to them as well.. Also if my Mother Tongue Punjabi will die then with it more than 2000 years of Literature, culture and everything will die and Sufism of Bullay Shah , Baba Farid, Khwaja Ghulam will also die and it will be a sheer shame and nothing else.Recommend

  • gujranwala789

    @Prabhjyot Singh Madan:

    Mr. sikh how many times I have told you on this website that muslim punjabis do not look at the punjabi language the way you sikhs want us to look at it. We are not interested in your suggestions , we know what we should do. Recommend

  • http://Pakistan Daud Cheema

    I used to like Urdu until i visited Karachi for the first and meet many people who claimed to have Urdu as the Mother tongue. They were of the view that Pushto, Punjabi, Balochi and Sindhi are the most uncivilized languages and that is why they must be removed from courses and from daily life and i was shocked to hear that. Even they were of the view that there should be penalties for those who dont speak Urdu and I was totally shocked. My one friend from Karachi once told me that Punjabi must be totally removed from Pakistan because Punjabi makes you ignorant and he made fun of me and since from that day I dumped Urdu as the language of communication and I only speak In Punjabi to make a point that Urdu is not a language of Civilized people and this Propaganda against other languages must be ended at all costs.Recommend

  • Abdul Haseeb

    I agree with the idea of education in mother tongue but we shouldn’t ignore the importance of learning English language as well. The problem in Pakistan is that no matter how good you are at your job, communication skills (read English speaking ability) often proves to be a major criteria in your careers. I see many people with great ideas who aren’t taken seriously, even laughed at because he made a grammatical error while speaking English.
    Either we should change the mindset of the whole nation or equip the whole nation with adequate knowledge of English language so that they’re provided with a level playing field in their professional careers.
    English can act as a common language for the whole country as well, so there isn’t actually any need of burdening the children with learning Urdu unnecessarily.
    Learning English will also enable our students to fully utilize the information available on the internet as I can hardly find any quality material written in Urdu.
    It is time we declare all the regional languages as national language (only for ceremonial purposes) and use English as a common language. Recommend

  • http://Pakistan Rahim Janjua

    @gujranwala789 I am a Muslim Punjabi and i love my mother tongue and people like you who try to undermine its importance. It is only because of Sikhs that my mother tongue is still alive as People in our country are dumping Punjabi. Also Punjabi is a language of Muslims as well . I am a Muslim Punjabi and i am telling you Recommend

  • http://Islamabad Naila

    If Pakistanis are planning to break up, then they should concentrate on regional languages. However, if they want to integrate into a nation, then primary education should be in mother tongue and secondary in Urdu. Urdu is the only binding force among Pakistanis. Banish English altogether. Recommend

  • Aqdus Aslam

    I am quite appalled to read this article, simply because I feel that it is a manipulation of facts to present a particular political agenda. It also make learning and education a restrictive zone for the child, making it difficult for him or her to grow up and deal with the world.

    Let us be honest. What access with a child with a single language have once he is out of school? Consider Pushto, then. A child who only speaks Pushto will learn the language at home, maybe even learn fast in school for a few years, and then, that is it. His use of language will be restricted to only people and media of his language. Beyond that he would not know, not learn.

    Teach a child to learn multiple languages and you expand his horizon. You should him culture and value beyond his own. You put book and literature in other languages within his reach. In Pakistan, if you teach a child Urdu, he or she learns to make do in most parts of the country (for Urdu is widely spoken and understood). You teach him English, you pave pathways for quality secondary and tertiary education. And the earlier you teach these languages the better. The child will not understand Urdu for a year, not understand English for two, but once he does, his learning will expand and continue to expand.

    Yes, languages have their own unique heritage and values. Yes languages represent culture and norms. We should not teach just Urdu or just English. But we should definitely not teach just Pushto either. We need to understand what the time demands. And frankly, we need people who are able to communicate and express themselves across multi-cultural boundaries and borders. We also need to understand and design a child’s learning program in the long term.

    Teach these children languages now, when they are young, so that they can be fluent and comfortable in them when they actually have to use them. They will learn better when they are 3 and 4, then when they are 10. This is simple learning and language development psychology. Children’s brains adapt to multiple languages more comfortably, more easily when they are younger. If you revert to other languages at a secondary stage, not only will they not be able to learn, they will not be able to perform. They will not be able to appreciate their own learning.

    Teach these kids more, not less. That is what I argue. Teach these kids to face challenges in learning; help them overcome them. But for God’s sake do not restrict their options further! Recommend

  • Ali Tanoli

    Urdu speakers preferred to learn in English mediam then why should pakhtun or Punjabi learn Urdu first why not English.Recommend

  • Aqdus Aslam

    And yes. One more thing. It is wonderful to post this video, laugh about it, and talk about what this child did NOT learn. How about you talk about what he did learn? The basic Urdu he acquired, and ability to translate from one language to another. All kids stumble while learning. I remember, despite having studied in an English medium school through out, I did not know how to pronounce “LAUGH” for a very long while. How was I to know that the word sounded more like “laaff” than like “laaaoogh”. But I learnt. So many other children did. This child will too. Ask him a few years down the lane, and he will be better off than kids who have a singular language background. Recommend

  • Ahmad Khan Looni

    Well, Urdu is the reformed form or sofiscated version of Punjabi. But, when it comes to Pashto it comes from an all together different language family, with almost no links with Urdu or Punjabi or Sindhi. The two closest languages to Pashto are Persian and Kurdi. It’s a lot easier for Pashto-speakers to learn Persian and roughly the whole Pashtun population of Kabul is bilingual–Pashto and Persian speaking. It’s because of the same family language that it is a lot easier for them to learn Persian. Similarly most Persian–speaking Tajiks of Kabul speak fluent Pashto. The disconnection between Pashto and Urdu has been taking its toll on the young Pashtun students who have to learn an altogether different language and get educated in the same language which they don’t understand during the first few years in schools. This a big loss.Recommend

  • gujranwala789

    @Ali Tanoli:

    Exactly that is also my point, why should our children waste their time learning Urdu when it is not going to have any importance for their future career. Why not just their own mother language at primary school and English for secondary and higher education. This repeated notion that urdu binds people of different ethnicities in pakistan is totally absurd, we used to hear in our childhood that it was being muslim and geographical neighbors, seems like they have changed it to urdu now. English can very well serve as lingua franca and could easily replace urdu within one generation. Future belongs to english, not to urdu. Recommend

  • Muhammad Shafique

    Punjabi should also be a source of teaching in PunjabRecommend

  • Ali Tanoli

    Sir Mister Ezzat Maab Ahmed Khan Pathan Of Aligarh realized the importence of English after he saw that this language became a official and other communities in india adopting it’
    getting the jobs in English govt and our leaders of independence were all English returned
    Mr Jinnah, Mr Iqbal, Ch rehmat ali, Khan, waderay and one thing always struck me then why they choose Urdu as a national and englsih official languages its funny and questionable ???? why did not they made one language for all of us. are they were same thinkers of lord mecalay to carried on two clases in Pakistan which we see even today still exist….Recommend

  • Jamshed Ali

    Punjabi has been completely ignored and marginalised in Punjab.The Punjab assembly conducts its affairs in Urdu.The future generations of Punjab won’t even know a word of Punjabi,it’s not being taught in Punjab’s schools.Recommend

  • Muhammad Asif

    Who can imagine the French dumping their language and adopted German or Italians adopting Russian. This is cultural imperialism of the highest order. Language is integral part of our culture. How have we reached a point that we are ashamed and feel inferior of our very roots ? Any self respecting person should feel burning with rage from his heart. Could our ancestors a 100 years ago imagined this. This is the pathetic state of Pakistan. Our country is based on lies. Recommend

  • Nadir

    Excellent! Very well said! But people are too invested in their own political parties to stop and listen. Buss, single curriculum for everyone will bring an “educational revolution”.Recommend

  • Peshawari

    Now this is something worth reading…
    Because most of the youth here on ET is sharing just non-sense…Recommend

  • Alann

    I feel Urdu should not be imposed on students in school. I personally feel it should not be the medium of teaching but rather only a subject in the school curriculum. Here in India, Hindi(which is basically same as Urdu) is widely spoken and understood in whole country of India, and compared to Pakistan, India is certainly a very big country. BUT, Hindi is not the teaching medium of schools around the country (except for schools in states where majority have Hindi as their native language).
    Every state in India have schools that provide education either in their local/native language or in English. And, in every school out there, Hindi is a subject, NOT the medium of teaching. For example, in Maharashtra, there are schools teaching students in Marathi (or English). They have subjects like Marathi, Hindi, Science, Maths, History/Geography, etc.
    Similarly, it can be done the same way in Pakistan. Punjab province having schools teach students in Punjabi and have subjects like Punjabi, Urdu, Science, and the rest.

    The thing is, Urdu is the national language of Pakistan, but it should not be forced on students. They need to learn/get education in their native language AND be able to learn Urdu slowly alongside.

    Every region together makes a country. Forcing people to “adopt” to whatever YOU want THEM to learn does not help the cause. It needs to be a natural learning process while not losing our own roots. Imposition of certain thoughts, forcing certain values on people, not caring for what the people want, distortion of facts lead to the formation of Bangladesh, and might well lead to formation of a separate Balochistan.

    The people of various regions of the country need to connect with the people with the rest of the country while still maintaining their own “identity”. It does not work like that if you impose your views, your language on others. The people of Balochistan feel disconnected from “Pakistan” and one of the reasons for that is the non-development of the province, in which education too plays a bigger part.Recommend

  • Adam Khan

    @Aqdus Aslam:

    Please read the following paragraph, it actually is from the article.

    There of course is merit with the concern that mastery of commercially spoken languages like Urdu and English is necessary. However, it might be a better idea to introduce these later in the child’s schooling years, and conduct his initial learning in his own language.

    The paper mentioned in the article is also a good read, take some time out and go through it.

    http://www.mlenetwork.org/content/language-and-education-missing-linkRecommend

  • http://. Abid P. Khan

    @Aqdus Aslam:
    “….All kids stumble while learning. …”

    .
    Hold your horses, man. You want to turn this chat into something, non-ultra-ultra-lite.Recommend

  • punjabi

    love english, love urdu, love punjabi,pashto,sindhi,balochi,gojri,balti,kashmiri. . ! Punjabi is great (just like all other languages of pakistan). . Long live my sweet homeland pakistan and sada punjab!Recommend

  • punjabi

    @gujranwala789; urdu is our national language and your hate against it disgusts me. . There is a close relation between punjabi and urdu!Recommend

  • Alami Musafir

    Urdu was promoted by the British (search on Fort William College, Calcutta for more details). Persian was the lingua franca of Indian muslims for over half a millennium before British rule. Persian is IMHO, a greatly superior language in terms of grammar (no silly masculine/feminine nouns etc, much more logical structure etc) and vastly greater vocabulary than Urdu. I’m convinced that the British gave us Urdu to stunt our intellectual development, and what a success it has been in that regard!

    No wonder people mix English and Urdu in conversation, as the latter is totally inadequate to express the vast range of thought that English is able to. What Pakistan needs is an Ataturk to bash heads together to either ditch Urdu in favour of Farsi (preferred solution), or to eliminate the muzzaqqar/maulnass nonsense and seriously expand Urdu vocabulary (like 10x times).Recommend

  • humayun

    medium of education shou,d optional to the convienience of student as well as local ssnsitivities. teachefs shkuld be well trained. and well paid and schoolsvshould be properly maintajned and adeqjately equipoedRecommend

  • http://Manhattan,Kansas.US naeem khan Manhattan,Ks

    I fully agree with you, here in Kansas we have some Latino children who has difficulty understanding English so the school districts has hired Latino teachers to make sure that the children’s base for understanding and learning process is solid in their early learning so they could excel in future. I am a product of an Urdu school from Mardan and believe me it was difficult to comprehend math taught in Urdu and then later on in English. The leadership in Pakistan has failed the public education system deliberately so people won’t stand up to them in the future or they could not care less because their children went to an elite schools. Public education in KP is in abysmal condition, I have seen high school kids sitting on mats under a dimly lit bulb in my high school, it was just heart breaking for me.Negligence of educating kid borders on criminality .Recommend

  • Samo

    @Ali S

    You point out that instruction should be carried out in an area’s native language, yet assert that in “Urban Sindh” the language of instruction should be Urdu. Any person with a knowledge of history that goes beyond 65 years will realize that Urdu is not in any way native to any region of Sindh. It is a language foreign to Sindh as a whole, in that it is not the mother tongue of any native.

    And I feel it proper to point out that even in “Urban Sindh”, the Urdu-speaking community (none of which is native) is not in a majority. In all cities of Sindh such as Hyderabad, Nawabshah, Larkano, Sukkur, with the exception of Karachi, the majority ethnic group is Sindhi. In Karachi the Pakhtuns & the Punjabis comprise a majority. In fact, the undocumented number of Pakhtun residents in Karachi is estimated to be 8-10 million, out of a population of over 20 million. And even in Karachi, the Sindhi population is reportedly above 4 million as of 2013.

    Perhaps you meant that the language of instruction in an area should be the one spoken by the majority of residents. In that case, throughout the cities of Sindh, the language of instruction should be Sindhi, followed by Punjabi, Pashto, & then Urdu (the latter 3 taking eminence in Karachi).

    But if you meant that the language of instruction should be a native language, then only Sindhi, Balochi, etc. would be in use. Urdu wouldn’t even enter the conversation.Recommend

  • Unkown

    Pakistani kid only get master in speaking in number of languages but fail to perform in technical subjects, this is the reason, people in wapda speaks fluent english but unable to provide electricity. Recommend

  • John

    @Aqdas Aslam.

    A lame logic. You cannot be reliant on an alien language like Urdu-Hindi for all the time to educate your generations. Until you make your own mother tongue language of education and art, there isn’t going to be any creative output in your language and any enrichment of it. Moreover, second language learning is an entirely different issue and if one is to learn a second language why not it should be English or any other global language ? Also, education and intellectual development is an entirely different not dependent on the choice of second language rather is dependent on the standard of education. Recommend

  • Major Chitral

    Ahmad Khan Looni hit the nail on the head when he said what sets Pashto apart is that it is very distinct. The languages closest to it in form and structure are mostly extinct and those that are similar are too few and scattered along the Pamir and Central Asia ending with the Ossetians in Russia. Dari (Afghan Persian) and Farsi are different in that Dari has been influenced by Pashto and it evolved directly from middle Persian, which means it retains many characters and articles that have been dropped in contemporary Persian. Anyhow, people who speak Pashto – regardless of being bilingual – will always be at a disadvantage in the current educational setup. Ignoring linguistic integrity and language rights (which are important), the fact is that punjabu, siraiki, sindhi and hindko share a great degree of mutual intelligibility with urudu (considering they’re from the same language family); and people speaking either of those languages will find it much easier to adapt. The concept of having a lingua franca was not to malign others which is exactly what is happening in pakistan. Add English to that equation and one cannot help but feel that urudus role as a national language rendered moot. Swiss schools teach students in their native language of instruction, be it French, German, or Italian. The option of a second language is also provided, while English is widely spoken as well. The best thing in my humble opinion would be to promote the usage of each regional language as the medium of instruction in their respective territories and forming a consensus on the need for a new lingua franca other than urudu, namely English considering its importance in the world. It could help promote the various languages in the region thrive and simultaneously make it easier to communicate with a large chunk of the “developed world”.Recommend

  • Shehla

    Lol. Watch the video. It’s hilarious! :DRecommend

  • Realist

    @ahsan: What use is Urdu in Higher Education except the MA Urdu? What use is Urdu in job market/ Why not make then English as our National language? Why transform Knowledge form English to urdu and then regional languages? Why not learn first hand things.Recommend

  • Leela

    Instead of urdu, arabic should have adopted as it is the language of the forefathers of Pakistan and will also lead to a better Quran understanding country. There are so many countries that have arabic as the national language. Since Pakistan is an Islamic Republic, it will unite the country.Recommend

  • http://peddarowdy.wordpress.com Anoop

    Why Pakistanis are bent on teaching an Indian language to their children beats me.

    Why did the guy who said Hindus and Muslims are different in every single way will go on to make an Indian language(really a form of dialect of Hindi, spoken by 30-40% of India) his new country’s language is also mind-boggling; especially consider when his “land of the pure” had around 60% Bengali speakers.

    Now why this guy is mocking other Pakistanis that they speak bad Indian language is also pretty weird.

    At least Pashtuns have their culture, bad or good. I bet this writer’s offsprings or their offsprings will never speak the language of their grandparents.

    The thing is: It works to India’s advantage. India can pepper Pakistan with its Hindi culture and being a cultural juggernaut, India’s influence cannot be contained that easily(In fact, even during the days of censorship and pre-digital age, Indian movies were easily available in Pakistani bazaars. Now, with the Internet, thats irreversible).

    So, in one quick stroke of a pen, Jinnah, the follower of 2 Nation Theory, has doomed generations of Pakistanis to watch Indian movies, to listen to their songs, watch their TV.. The man who wanted to get away from India and its Hindu influences has made sure Pakistanis speak and understand a widely spoken Indian, Hindu language..

    How ironic is THAT!!Recommend

  • http://peddarowdy.wordpress.com Anoop

    @Prabhjyot Singh Madan:

    My friend, the whole of Indian loves Punjabi and adore the beautiful sounds of the language and its expressions. This is coming from a Kannadiga.

    Do not fret that some Punjabis are not speaking their own language, you have the whole of India to make up for it. No Hindi movie is complete without a Punjabi song and a character. Recommend

  • Ali Tanoli

    @Anoop,
    Nothing else bothers me except why don’t we make a one language education system and all the native languages should stay behind four walls of home sweet home that’s it.
    and second thing I know how much colonial mind still exist in offices of every dept of govt
    and in non govt peoples like us who went to third class govt yellow label schools can not compete with guys who studied in English mediam institutions and behave like some other species of planet and companies management children who studies in west are like Gora upon us, shamefully. I don’t know what was the motive behind adopting and putting two lang upon us????Recommend

  • Ali Tanoli

    @Anoop
    They never watched Hindi movies they liked the English dramas and movies because they knew the that lang only …Recommend

  • hs

    By killing the language, punjabis are committing matricide.Recommend

  • Prabhjyot Singh Madan

    @gujranwala789:
    Punjabi will survive its worst moments even in west Punjab because not everyone has access to television and study in a beacon house school. Those who forget their language and culture are tend to regret it. Btw I am not against English being taught as a neutral language of choice. I love my Shakespeare and Wordsworth. Cheerio, rab rakha. Recommend

  • Prabhjyot Singh Madan

    @Jamshed Ali:
    Sad paaji, I feel for you honestly being a Punjabi myself. Please call for a peaceful protest to save the language. It is not paindu pra, Punjabi language has its own beauty. It is like a “virasat” adore it and take it like sindhis do in your country. If you hate gurmukhi, take shahmukhi because shahmukhi was the language of kings, shah- king mukhi-script. Just keep Punjabi alive in west Punjab. I like Urdu and English and French but not at the expense of culture irrespective of religions followed there or here. Be a good pakistani or an Indian but do it at the core as I was taught in my almamater.

    Ps I am just 32, god bless both our countries, we need it. Rab rakhaRecommend

  • stevenson

    @Leela: If Pakistan had chosen Arabic as its national language, it would only have continued to be as backward as most Arab countries with kings and dictators ruling despotically. At least Urdu- Hindi gave the nation a chance to follow the similar Hindi speaking Indians and appreciate democracy. That’s why the British banned Arabic and Persian for Muslims in South Asia when they took over. PS I think it’s only Pakistanis and Indians who have fooled themselves into thinking that speaking Hindi with a smattering of Persian/Arabic and calling it Urdu is somehow sophisticated. The rest of the world does not find Urdu fancy or sophisticated. The Arabs look down on Urdu as just Hindi; I quickly learned that when I was in Dubai. It’s funny how people in Pakistan have trapped themselves into their own ideas.Recommend

  • http://www.pashtun.com zaman khan tareen

    ur great buddy, we pashtun have a nation without state. panjabis have a state without nation this is the problem , all over the world have recognized that education must be in mother tongue BBut panjabis wants a nation by urdo. Recommend

  • http://karachi sohail khan

    @ Daud Cheema,
    I am an urdu speaking Karachiite and many relatives live in Hyderabad and mirpurkhas – urdu dominated cities, but I totally disagree with you that urdu speakers hate other provincial and local languages. Punjabi is very near to urdu and every urdu speaker can understand punjabi, that is why in wedding and other ceremonies punjabi songs are widely listened. I think through this article some anti-pakistan elements are manipulating to incite hatered against urdu language and urdu speakers which is condemnable.

    There should be no compulsion on any linguistic community to adopt any particular language. Every community has a right to teach and speak in their own language. In KPK only pashto language is not spoken, similarly in punjab, sindh, baluchistan there are many languages spoken within the province. People who are suggesting to remove Urdu, are actually those who want to break pakistan into 4-5 countries like bangladesh. Think if in karachi, lahore, faisalabad, peshawar cities some punjabi, sindhi, baluchis, sariki, pashtun, hazara peoples are gathered then in which language they will communicate. People who hate urdu are the hater of pakistan. Who has stopped them for not learning and speaking urdu. I tell them to stop learning and speaking urdu for ever. In that case they will be confined to only their rural areas and village.Recommend

  • Tahmina

    @Naila:
    In India, each state has its own language, people study hindi when they want to serve in a public office at the centre. Engliahs is widely used but learning in the moth tongue has not disintegrated India. If Sindhi is being taught in Sindh and Sindhis are proud Pakistanis, why learning Punjabi, Pushto or Baluchi will lead to disintegration. Urdu has always been an imposition on the majority, be it Bengalis, or Punjabis, Puktuns, and Baluchis.Recommend

  • Fawad

    @Leela:
    Who told you that the fore fathers of Pakistan were Arab? Recommend

  • Prabhjyot Singh Madan

    @Tahmina:
    Sahi gul kittey, agree with you 100% maam. Bless you, rab rakhaRecommend

  • http://karachi sohail khan

    Punjabi is very near to urdu. Every punjabi and urdu speaking can easily understand both languages. It is not true that Karachiites do not like or hate punjabi, rather in urdu families during weddings and other celeberations punjabi songs are listened side by side urdu songs. There are many marriages between urdu and punjabi families. We are urdu and in our relatives there are many inter linguistic marraige between urdu and punjabi families.

    Same tactics used by bangalis for separation from pakistan. They first criticised urdu. Now the pakistan enemies are playing the same game in the existing pakistan, they want urdu to go and local languages instead. Can I ask what would be the common language amonsts punjabis, sindhis, pashtuns, balouchis, saraikis, hazaras etc. In future they may demand to go back to 1947, unit pakistan and india, send back muhajirins to India and call back sikhs and hindus who had migrated to India from pakistan. These are people who are flourishing very welll after creation of pakistan and are not thankful to Allah.Recommend

  • Rabbani

    @Naila: I respectfully disagree with your comment. The modern world today is a global village and to ensure that our future generations can compete and excel in it, English should have a primary status. English has become the main medium of communication amongst people of different cultures. Secondly, it is exactly this sort of thinking that resulted in the alienation of Bengalis where we enforced a language which they resented. There is absolutely no doubt in anybody’s mind about the utility of English in the modern world today. I look at it just like the way certain dresses have become common place across all cutures – jeans, t-shirts, polos.

    Local languages should be encouraged and the subject of whether to have English or Urdu as the official language should be delegated to the provinces. It should be for them to decide which of the two they would prefer to have officially. This does not mean capitulation to western thought; in fact it’s the exact opposite. The message this sends is that the people of Pakistan have grand plans of progress and they have tremendous amount of tolerance and respect for each other. Urdu is not the only thing that is and has to be common amongst Pakistanis. Our bond is much deeper.Recommend

  • Ali Tanoli

    @sohail khan,
    we are not saying Urdu is bad language its in our blood dude and we love this lang of communication for whole Pakistan what we saying keep it Urdu book with all other subject should be taught in English because its a official lang of country and lang of quaid too.Recommend

  • http://karachi sohail khan

    @ Ali Tanoli : Quaid-e-Azam though was not able to speak urdu fluently but in many speaches he always emphasised that urdu will be the national language of pakistan. Bangladeshi people opposed it. I again say there should be no compulsion on the people to teach in any language, but their should be options if they want to teach their children in urdu, english, arabic or their mother tongue. One side some people are trying to jump to engalish as international language but on the other they do not want urdu as a common and national langjuage. If you want Pakistan to be united you must embrace Islam and urdu, failing which we are not going to be merged into one nation.Recommend

  • Ali Tanoli

    @Sohail Khan,
    We speak Urdu in our house but didmot forgot our ancestors lang either Hindko, what I am saying I agreed with this emotion of partition but look it what our rullers done to us they like to keep it English as a official lang for country then why we go to Urdu madrassah what we gonna be after finishing education from there just one thing clerks or beggers what u think….. the best thing in the intrest of nation is keep it Urdu subject as it is with chacha ghalib, mamoo mir taqi mir, khala nasreen, taya minshi prem chand but please all subject be taught in English so we can compete with Na Khuda of present.Recommend

  • http://karachi sohail khan

    @ Ali Tanoli.
    I agree with you.Recommend

  • vaqas

    Funny scenario. 50 years of regional language schooling later, punjabi man meets sindhi man. ” %#+8$8 fhr$+28 djek$29$+” ” fksoekx%+4(3( fkxj&+$93(“. They look at each other and walk off. Punjabi man goes home mom asks ” how was your day?”. ” interesting” comes the reply. ” oh! How so?” Asks the intrigued mother. ” well i met this man, i think we talked, i think we are from the same country. But i didnt understand a word he said.” The mother frowns, thinks for a moment, then says” puttar,…. i think you get the gist of 75 regional languages being used to educate everyone. Right now its oh primary school primary school. Then wait i dont understand a word in secondary school. Then its secondary school secondary school. Then its graduation school graduation school. We end up with 75 regional people with nothing intelligent to say to each other.Recommend

  • Ali Tanoli

    @Vaqas
    Funny but not true man if Indians had learn foreign languages of invaders like Persian, Urdu
    Hindi, English and understood it then I guess we can deal with it…Recommend

  • http://. Abid P. Khan

    @vaqas:
    “……
    We end up with 75 regional people with nothing intelligent to say to each other.”

    .
    The reason for that is????Recommend

  • http://Karachi Farhan Zaheer

    @gujranwala789:
    I am offended with how you responded to a good Chap from India. You said Mr. Sikh we do not need your advice in Pakistani Punjab. Thats disgusting. Its an open forum, respect the point of views of others. Recommend

  • mazhur

    How will i study in my morher tongue if i happen to live n study in a place where medium of teaching is another language??Recommend

  • Rameez

    There is no need to remove any language completely. Urdu, English and the regional languages can be taught at the same time in schools.Recommend

  • Sam

    As an overseas Pakistani, I am always somewhat amused by the huge debate incited when learning in Urdu vs. regional language vs. English is discussed. As Muslims, our duty is to gain knowledge – all knowledge, as opposed to knowledge of a certain sort or in a certain language.
    Working in a multicultural multinational environment, the importance of having a variety of languages at one’s command cannot be overstated. The Europeans that I meet, frequently can converse in at least 3-5 languages. You can’t apprecaite what a complete advantage having fluency in multiple languages gives to an individual.
    And as a mother, I am happy to say that my child has command over both Urdu and English and is learning Mandarin. I’d be very happy if she could add Spanish and Arabic and yes, Pashto to that repertoire. It would give her a super advantage over her peers. Why quibble when languages open new vistas for you?
    Secondly, as for the child in the videa – he’s so bright – he rationalises and explains things, his reasoning ability is so great. But thats the thing with children – open avenues for them instead of postponing them until later – you have no idea how much they learn when they are young. The only thing that limits their mental capacities are the prejudices of their parents.Recommend

  • akb

    After passing class V from an Urdu medium primary school a boy tries to seek admission in class VI in an English medium school. He was very good in Urdu, maths and other subjects but when he appeared for admission test in the English medium school he failed. Failed because he didn’t know English equivalents of Math terms in particularly. Had he known English he would have solved the test paper 100 per cent. Refused admission to this school he was admitted to a less famous English medium school very far from his house. Ofcourse, after failing his first pre-admission test he got to know some English words. But in this process he lost one year z he was admitted to class V and not class VI.. After about 11 months he improved his English skills to an average level. Now he sought admission to a bigger English medium school, passed the test but was selected for admission to class V again just because his English was not upto the level. Studying at this school his English considerably improved and he sat for test at the elite English medium school and passed the ttest, mainly because he was adept at maths but fair in other subjects. However, again he was made to sit in class V!! During this ‘learning; process the boy lost 3 precious years of his life.

    From above observations made It may be noted that teaching in mother languages will nt impart any benefit to a student. He will suffer a great set back in the present day rat race which rests mainly on English alone. Then how would it be possible to set up school for the numerous local languages in all provinces and districts where different languages are spoken and understood?? Who will subscribe to curriculum and publishing of books in so many languages?? What if a student studying in Pushto, for example, somehow has to live and studty in Karachi will live with hsi mother tongue in a school where either English or Urdu are the medium of teaching??

    Only Sindhi language is being unilaterally taught in schools in Sindh,,,it may serve to get government jobs but otherwise it is useless learning especially in many Urban areas where Urdu is understood by one and all.

    Some commentor here has remarked that ”Pushto is a nation without a state…etc”” which is deplorable line of thinking. yes, I agree Pushtoons have their own culture and values but it must not be taken as above the writ of the state itself. Similarly, other provinces too have their own culture, customs and values but taking them above the state law would be undesirable and lead to chaos. Teaching in mother languages will thus more harm than good to the national education sector by creating unnecessary chaos and confusion to the utter loss of the learning folks. Recommend

  • mazhar butt

    After passing class V from an Urdu medium primary school a boy tries to seek admission in class VI in an English medium school. He was very good in Urdu, maths and other subjects but when he appeared for admission test in the English medium school he failed. Failed because he didn’t know English equivalents of Math terms in particularly. Had he known English he would have solved the test paper 100 per cent. Refused admission to this school he was admitted to a less famous English medium school very far from his house. Ofcourse, after failing his first pre-admission test he got to know some English words. But in this process he lost one year z he was admitted to class V and not class VI.. After about 11 months he improved his English skills to an average level. Now he sought admission to a bigger English medium school, passed the test but was selected for admission to class V again just because his English was not upto the level. Studying at this school his English considerably improved and he sat for test at the elite English medium school and passed the ttest, mainly because he was adept at maths but fair in other subjects. However, again he was made to sit in class V!! During this ‘learning; process the boy lost 3 precious years of his life.

    From above observations made It may be noted that teaching in mother languages will nt impart any benefit to a student. He will suffer a great set back in the present day rat race which rests mainly on English alone. Then how would it be possible to set up school for the numerous local languages in all provinces and districts where different languages are spoken and understood?? Who will subscribe to curriculum and publishing of books in so many languages?? What if a student studying in Pushto, for example, somehow has to live and studty in Karachi will live with his mother tongue in a school where either English or Urdu are the medium of teaching??

    Only Sindhi language is being unilaterally taught in schools in Sindh,,,it may serve to get government jobs but otherwise it is useless learning, especially in many Urban areas where Urdu is understood by one and all.

    Some commentator have been seen to be of the view that ”Pushto is a nation without a state whereas Pakistanis are a not a nation but have a state,…etc”” which is a formidable line of thinking. Yes, I agree Pushtoons have their own culture, customs and values but these must not be taken as above the laws or writ of the state as such.. Similarly, other provinces too have their own culture, customs and values but taking them above the state laws would be undesirable and lead to chaos and anarchy.. Teaching in mother languages will thus do more harm than good to the national education sector by creating unnecessary chaos and confusion to the utter loss of the learning folks and the nation as a whole.. Recommend

  • mazhar butt

    @akb:

    your cut-paste comment deleted…..refrain from this piracy..Recommend

  • Awais Khalid

    LANGUAGE is just a mean of communication, whether it’s Urdu or English or some other language it doesn’t matter..and as far as education is concerned i think it should be in English because English is an official language all over the world..All the information available on net is in English…and MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL if u guys believe that education must be in mother tongue and mother tongue should be used as a tool of commuication then why are you commenting here in ENGLISH????…
    .
    Recommend

  • http://. Abid P. Khan

    @Awais Khalid:
    “…English is an official language all over the world…..

    .
    When and by whom English was decided to be the official language of the world? Are Japan, China or Brazil still a part of the world?Recommend