Urdu vs English: Are we ashamed of our language?

Published: June 21, 2011

Most Pakistanis have been brought up speaking our national language Urdu and English. Instead of conversing in Urdu, many of us lapse into English during everyday conversation. Even people who do not speak English very well try their best to sneak in a sentence or two, considering it pertinent for their acceptance in the ‘cooler’ crowd.

I wonder where the trend started, but unknowingly, unconsciously, somehow or the other we all get sucked into the trap. It was not until a few years ago while on a college trip to Turkey that I realized the misgivings of our innocent jabber.

A group of students of the LUMS Cultural Society trip went to Istanbul, Turkey to mark the 100th Anniversary of the famous Sufi poet Rumi. One day we were exploring the city when we stopped at a café for lunch. The waiter took our orders, and continued to hover around our table during the meal. We barely noticed him until he came with the bill, and asked us:

“Where are you from?”


The waiter looked surprised, and then asked whether we had been brought up in England. We answered in the negative, telling him how Pakistan was where we all had grown up and spent out lives. The waiter genuinely looked perplexed now. Finally he blurted out:

‘Then why don’t you speak in the Pakistani language?’

The waiter went on to explain how Turkey, particularly Istanbul was a hot tourist location, luring millions of people of different nationalities from across the globe. However, when the Dutch would come visit, they would speak Dutch. When the French would come, they would speak French. When the Chinese would come visit, they would speak Chinese. Similarly everyone in Turkey spoke Turkish. He claimed he was very proud of his language and culture and failed to understand how someone would not speak the language of their country and choose instead a foreign tongue.

There were around ten of us there, and we were all at a loss of an answer. We had never thought of it that way. It was just something that you took up because of society. Even when people speak in Urdu, they tend to include a lot of English words in their sentences. Why is that? Is it because we are not proud of our national language? I am sure all of us are aware of how beautiful Urdu is, the poetry, grace and rhythm of our language is exceptional.

One excuse that springs to mind is the concept of ‘ westernisation’ due to the increased pace of globalization in todays world. Globalization is a factor, and yet the Japanese still speak Japanese, the Thai still speak Thai, the Greeks still speak Greek. China, a powerhouse on the global economic front, despite its many factories and western products production still speaks Chinese. In fact when the Chinese Olympics were held in 2008, the Chinese government actually had to ask its Chinese public to learn a few basic English words to help welcome the world.

I respect how these countries value their sense of identity, culture and language. I was deeply ashamed of what image I was unknowingly portraying of my country. I am very proud of Pakistan and Urdu, as I am sure we all are. No matter the problems, it is still our identity. I understand the irony of this article, since it is written in English. However, it is one way to reach those people who may unconsciously be making the same mistake as I was.

When living in the UK or travelling abroad, I make sure I use Urdu to converse with fellow Pakistanis. At home, I am also trying, though it is admittedly difficult since apparently there is a weird and honestly ‘sad’ association of how ‘cool’, well brought-up and educated a person is with the amount of English he or she speaks. I write this article because it is high time we break such ignorant patterns in our society. Urdu is a beautiful and graceful language and we owe our country the respect it deserves by speaking and portraying our true roots.

Kiya khayal hai?

Amna Khalid

Amna Khalid

An economics major from LUMS, with a MSc in financial economics from Cardiff University. Khalid currently works in London. She blogs at surreallist.blogspot.com/

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

  • Faraz Talat

    Well said, Amna..
    I was reminded of the same problem on my last trip to France. In a cafe on Champ Elysee, my dad struggled to give the waiter our order, as the waiter wasn’t responding well to English. After quite an ordeal, the waiter spoke out in clear English, “You’re in France. You should learn to speak French.”
    Naturally, we “forgot” to tip him. But we did learn an important lesson that day. Our language is our identity, and we must strive to preserve it.Recommend

  • AZ

    well written : )

    Much appreciation for highlighting an important yet conveniently-ignored issue.Recommend

  • Ali

    I do not agree with most of this analysis and conclusion the author has made of it.

    Globalization may play a role but I would attribute our ease and compatibility with the English language, to colonialism. Take a look at India. Indians are full of nationalism. Would you say their English speaking population is ashamed of speaking Hindi? I don’t think so.

    The Dutch, the Turkish, the French, the Chinese were never colonised by the British. (Yes the British were present in China for sometime but it is not qualify as colonization).

    And, also I would like to know how many people in Pakistan speak fluent English? Most Pakistanis are bilingual. But, one of the two languages is not necessarily English.

    If a Sindhi person, who knows Urdu, does not have to be ashamed of speaking Sindhi (because it is his mother tongue) OR of speaking Urdu (because it is his national language) similarly a person whose mother tongue or national language is Urdu should not have to feel ashamed of speaking in English (the official language of his country).

    If I am not fortunate enough to know Sindhi, Punjabi, Balochi, Pashtu because I was born in an Urdu speaking family, I don’t think I should be ashamed of my will to be bilingual as my fellow countrymen. And, if my second language is English, so be it.Recommend

  • http://na deep

    We Indians have another problem – too many languages. So on a trip abroad, four of us representing India were supposed to sing ‘Happy birthday’ to another delegate in our mother tongue – the poles, the italians, the french etc had no problems – when it came to us, we sang happy birthday feebly in English. (the mother tongues happened to be punjabi, Rajasthani, Malayalam and Tamil). For future reference, there is a Bollywood number ‘tum jiyo hazaron saal’ that can be sung on such occasions:) And speaking to a Pakistani in Urdu could be misconstrued as being rude in a multicultural environment.Recommend

  • Shahid Saeed

    Urdu might be the language of urbanization, the lingua-franca of Pakistan, the one imposed by the fact that the state was ruled by UP Muslim Leaguer elite in it’s early days, but it is funny how it is glamorized as being ‘rooted’ in Pakistan when it never was. Present day Pakistan has a very small Urdu history. The vernaculars are Punjabi, Sindhi, Balochi, Pashto, Brauhi, Hindko, Balti, etc not Urdu by any means. When raised in an upper middle class urban house and not taught these languages, it shouldn’t be your prerogative to deny the very existence that the local languages are the true ‘Pakistani’ languages. Everyone should be free to speak their mother tongue, but the tyranny of language must not be repeated without mentioning that hardly one fifth of Pakistanis have Urdu as their mother tongue and less than half speak it as their primary language of conversation. Recommend

  • shoeb

    Thumps up Recommend

  • safir

    miss ammna we r not ashamed of speaking urdu but our ruling junta do as wise our rich
    comunity those some time when i travel to pakistan i see they look are not kava either huns.Recommend

  • Ali

    I think its sheer lazyiness… also we have a lot of Indian TV and there is lots of English in there too so we are influenced by India too, and as htey have so many languages English is the only non political one!Recommend

  • faraz

    Born in Lahore, my mother tongue is Punjabi, not Urdu. Urdu was declared national language although it was spoken by just 4 percent population. Urdu is not a part of my identity. Recommend

  • indigenous

    urdu was the language of 3 % at partion n now 5-6 % ,why urdu is so sacred when every language in this region is thousands year old and you did nt refereed to that in passing.there are around hundred languages spoken in this region called pakistan and 27 languages are endangered as per unesco.
    i do not know any other example in history where the language of 3 % minority was imposed on 97 %….what you will call it…language/cultural apartheid….Recommend

  • ksahmad

    @Faraz Talat:
    No offence buh I like Faraz Talat’s comment more than Blog. Especially the reply by French Waiter. Well there are many english terms in our daily life like Mobile Phone, SIM card, Tube Light such words have no alternative in Urdu. So from Top Management level there is no terminology addition in URDU. So we have to switch to English. Secondly, no one can forget Urdu do not worry about it. But without learning English we cannot live in world. The reason of success of Pakistanis include a big hand of English. No one knows the name of Japnese Prime Minister or Chinese President (except their leader Mao) just because when you do not use English – u become isolated from world. Recommend

  • http://Uk Shamy

    err…i think we’ve forgotten Sir Syed Ahmed Khan and his ideology here….Recommend

  • Schazad

    Urdu isn’t our language and shouldn’t have been our national language at all. It should have been English and all the regional languages. This would have disassociate ourselves from the indian cultural evasion that we face today and also it would have opened up world for us in terms of literature and science research. I feel proud speaking my own mother tongue which is Pukhto and I do converse in English when I feel like I can express myself better in it. I do intend to teach my kids Pukhto first and then English, not a word of Urdu. I just don’t associate myself with the language and the culture that comes with it.Recommend

  • Andrea

    What a joke. Urdu is not even native to Pakistan but comes from India. The real languages of Pakistan are the vernacular languages like Pashtu, Kashmiri, Baluchi, Punjabi and Sindi. If Pakistanis want to be proud of their languages, they should speak one of these and not Hindi / Urdu which is good only to watch B class Indian movies. We should be speaking our own languages which are better.Recommend

  • M Zeeshan Siddique

    I went to a conference and met a Pakistani guy from lahore both of us have studied and were now working in UK – to my amazement the guy hardly spoke a single word of urdu – I tried to initiate a conversation with him in urdu and yet he was persistent for replying back only in english – Same is in Pakistan moment people hear you’ve come from west they literally throw out urdu from window – Unfortunately this is the state of mind and a cultural issue some how we have developed this psyche that if you can converse in well english this means your IQ is better then every one else who cant converse in english & this confirm that you belong to a top notch Elite/Burger ;) clan as you have rightly pointed out in your Article – If we continue like this the I am afraid “Dastaan na Rahay gi Hamari Dastanoon main”Recommend

  • S.Siddiqui

    @Shahid Saeed, The reason why Pakistan came into existence also has a lot to do with Urdu. Was it not in this language that Allama Iqbal articulated the shikwa and jawab e shikwa, and what about the do qaumi nazariya? Urdu was not chosen as the language of Pakistan because of the tyrrany of UP Muslims, but rather becuase it was the language that anchored Pakistan to the Muslims sultanats of the past. It was the literary, cutlural and the court language of Muslims. Even their religious discourse was in this language. In short without Urdu as distnict from Hindi, where would be the twe nation theory? Then where would be the need for Pakistan?

    Though I must state that this Urdu Hindi divide came in the late 19th century and at a time when Urdu was the preeminent language of the subcontinent’s bazaars, darbars and adalats, from Punjab to Deccan so the move to replace it was indeed construed by the Muslim minority as the first step in the shuddhi movement.

    Understand that Urdu ties you to your cultural and literary past, even though it may be the first language of some and the second language of others. Recommend

  • http://natashasuleman.wordpress.com Natasha Suleman

    Well. Not all those who speak English are trynna be ‘cool’.

    All these countries youve mentioned above don’t have English as their official language. Nothing wrong with adopting a language that was forced unto you. How do you expect south Asians to act as Japanese with a ‘gora’ history?

    Talking about Turkey. Haven’t they lost their originality. Desperate to get under the EU umbrella, crushing the rights of their own citizens – are they not proud to be who they are?Recommend

  • Leila Rage

    I’m afraid this doesn’t apply to everyone. If I recall, the most crude, rude and uncivilised girls from my school were the ones conversing in what they thought was “cool” English; but they were just mostly swearing and looking stupid. Personally, I appreciate both languages equally, sometimes I even find that there are certain things that can only be expressed in Urdu, and if I speak in English its not because I’m “ashamed” of urdu but because I might find expressing something easier in it than in Urdu at that point; for instance discussing Bronte in English is just more convenient than translating it into Urdu.Recommend

  • !Dalek

    Urdu is to my Punjabi, as English is to your Urdu… It is Urdu and not English that is the elite class’s language so I am kind of happy that Urdu is being replaced.Recommend

  • shany

    guys think – “under my umbrella ella ella ella eh eh eh eh!” the writer wants not u to listen such songs .. :DDD recommend me :DDRecommend


    In a culturally and linguistically diverse nation like Pakistan,to insist that you speak a language which doesnt represent all of you, is a cultural zingoism of sorts.we in India figured this out many decades earlier,and today we all accept this fact(which has been reinforced by the prevailing conditions)that capability to speak english is our strength,not a weakness.Hindi was the spoken language of majority of North indians in 1947,but strong resistance from southern states compelled Indian government to declare English along with Hindi as our official language.That proved beneficial in a long run(our mammoth BPO sector and IT sector is just an example)presently we are having as many as 22 languages as our national languages,but Hindi has become less offensive and more acceptable by non hindi speakers as they always have english to fall back upon. try telling those guys(french.chinese,and all)that knowing and being fluent in more than one language is a strength.they remain mono-lingual by force,while we become multi- lingual as a choice.we feel offended because we some how percieve speaking one language as being extremely united and patriotic and since we lack homogenity and dont fulfill this requirement we feel we are not patriotic enough.most of the backwards nations with extreme cases of violence speak one language.language is just a medium of expressing your ideas, dont associate it with subtler issues.
    on a lighter note,this is the knowledge of this foreign language(might be flawed) which enables we Indians to poke our collective noses into pakistani affairs.cheers….Recommend

  • AP

    As a number of commentators have suggested, the issue is pretty complicated. We South Asians (I am writing from India) have a chip on our shoulder when it comes to languages.

    We see language as representing our national identity. Bad call. As many people here have suggested, our identities our very fractured. Nehru learnt this pretty quickly when he tried to propose Hindi as the primary language. The ensuing linguistic politics wiped out Congress dominance in Tamil Nadu and other southern state.

    One reason we mess up is the flawed comparison to other nation states. You are not the first to compare your country to either Japan, China or France. But they have had very different histories. China has more than one language, but the Chinese script has remained the same for all these language. All these countries are far more homogenous than either India or Pakistan.
    Bangladesh is perhaps more comparable to these states as there is a strong nationalism associated with Bengali and a very homogenous population as well.

    That said, why not see the diversity as a matter of strength. I have read translations of Baloch, Pashtu literature and I find it equal to urdu writing from Pakistan.

    Finally, this obsession with language as a matter of national / regional identity is shared only among the elites our nations. I am pretty sure that your government schools are Urdu centered just as ours are Hindi medium. What do we produce – people whose education has not prepared them for access to higher education or employment. The working class in our country which desperately wants to best for their children bears the burden of our linguistic nationalism. That is unfair and that is not good for our countries in the long run. Recommend

  • sumeet

    the thing is that we use english unnecessarily so much time.i have seen parents in india talking to their 3 year toddler in english.what the heck is this?as dr.radhakrishan told’you must be the master of any language,not a slave of it.’kya khayal hai?Recommend

  • Andrea

    @S.Siddiqui: Pakistan’s existence has nothing to do with Urdu which is just a link language to facilitate communication. Otherwise Pakistan doesn’t need Urdu and would be better off just sticking to English. As one writer says, the Turks are the last to worry about culture and language the way they desperately want to join the EU but keep being rejected for the last 50 years! They did away with the Arabic type script and use a Roman script so they can be more European. They even banned their traditional clothes and were ordered to wear western clothes. Don’t be fooled into speaking Urdu which is of no real benefit just to impress Turks or Arabs or Iranians who have their own inferiority problems! Better off speaking Pashtu, Baluchi, Sindi or Punjabi or any Pakistani native language if you ask me.Recommend

  • Lobster

    We must learn English, but when two Pakistanis are talking to each other and they choose to speak English, it shows they are suffering from inferiority complex!

    @Lalit,@Andrea: Urdu, though not the mother tongue of most of Pakistani, is default communication language among people from different areas and unlike Indian South North divide, there is no such hatred against Urdu.Recommend

  • Ali

    Some people here are quiet agressive towards Urdu. I am Punjabi and that is the language we speak in the house, to my siblings i speak English becasue we are born in the UK and educated there. However, my mother ensured we learnt Urdu to read and write as well as speak it. Although i rarely speak the language, doing the A level gave me a good grasp of vocabulary needed to understand Pakistan. Often when i go to Pakistan i do speak in Urdu to someone who cannot speak to me in Punjabi or English, and Urdu definately comes in handy in Karachi.

    Urdu is a uniting language, all of us regardless of our mother tongue can converse to each other using this language. Thats all, its a lingua franca and nothing else for the most of us. We should give it its due respect and no more or less.

    English is also infiltrating not just Urdu but all the local languages as well, in the absence of a concerted govt. policy to ensure our languages are updated and the updates implemented English has filled the void. Its an easy next step to then go and speak a lot of English and this has now become so ingrained, that its not even seen as high falutin but just normal.

    However, as an observer what i have noticed is that with all my Punjabi friends and family we do speak in Punjabi always, albeit with some English words such as Internet and DVD etc. The phenomenon of having whole conversations in English is something i have noticed only with Urdu speaking people. I maybe wrong it could be that some people from other parts of the country also speak in English.

    On the other side some of my cousins from Punjab who went to Urdu medium schools speak to their siblings in Urdu and to their parents in Punjabi, just as my siblings and i do in regards English, and it could be that English medium graduates would naturally then speak English to each other as opposed to Urdu!Recommend

  • saad

    i think we should be more open-minded about the article. the writer is just trying to point out the fact that a section of our upper class and elite (the writer is from LUMS which is an elite school here) look down on urdu and pretend not knowing how to speak urdu well, is something to be proud of. i mean conversing in english with someone who knows it well is ok, since both the people get each other, but trying to show others who aren’t that well-versed in the language down by trying to speak to them in it is just in bad taste. for eg. meera’s not knowing the language is such a big deal here, and its so big that the poor girl tries really hard to show that she does whereas in india rakhi sawant (meera’s equivalent) is not at all let down or made fun of for not knowing english! Recommend

  • Salman Orangiwala

    @ Andrea

    Urdu might not be the lingua Franca of this land or pure .hmmmm deserves a ponderous
    thought .
    Then what would be the alternative ? Punjabi or Sindhi may be Kashmiri .

    Try to reason that out with the Sindhi speaking lot , with your notion or vice versa ?

    And yes , like it nor not , try to live with this universal reality ,;Urdu is the “only ” binding force for this country .

    PS : How many of you would switch over the popular Indian Hindi soap channel toninght to one of your Regional lingo . Do that first then maybe ………

    See ? who is having the last laugh ? …….Recommend

  • Asad Baig

    Very Well Written. We Should Not Disown our National Language at the Cost of Globalisation.Recommend

  • Henna

    Dutch, french, chinese don’t know english. We do, so we speak it. Those of us who don’t, don’t.Recommend

  • savera akhter

    wat a joke..amna if you are so proud of urdu start working for daily express :) …….Recommend

  • abc

    I am from LUMS too and proud of it, but I dont understand why the LUMS walay bring LUMS up in every blog.Recommend

  • S.Siddiqui

    @Andrea, It seems you are either not acquainted with the history of Pakistan: Tehreek e Pakistan or possibly going tangent deliberately for reasons only may best know. If as I had asked Urdu was not there then would there be a Pakistan? I think that question seemed to miss you, or you chose to deliberately ignore, considering the association of language and religion that the two nation theory strongly asserts. And it was Urdu that was used a vehicle to launch tehreek e Pakistan. Iqbal was a product of punjab education, so if it was an alien language then what was he doing in it. What about Faiz? As I stated above, the corpus of literature of Indo-Muslim(South Asian Muslim) civilization is crystallized in this language. So to suggest otherwise is denying history. Fact is among literary languages, like Farsi, Arabic the one that South Asians Muslims can take pride in is Urdu that has come through Muslim Lashkars, and the Mughal Courts. If you remove the link between the Muslim Sultanats of the past with Pakistan, then how do you define Pakistan?

    The purpose of language is not only to produce BPOs and call center weight pullers. But is linekd to that nation’s past and its cultural heritage. That was actually the reason why English was actually introduced by Lord Macaulay in 1830s, to create a race of clerks. Now I don’t deny that English is necessary in this age, but as a Pakistani where would you find your cultural heritage, in which language. How would you understand the work of the national poet of Pakistan, and in fact would you still consider him the national poet since his work is in a supposedly alien language?

    The words you use for urdu here such as link language, etc are used more by Indians for Hindi, and your suggestion that anything apart from Urdu is alright(Now I myself am for preserving the native languages), suggests that you are more interested in Urdu bashing, and vitiating atmosphere against it and have little idea of Pakistan’s history. I have often encountered such arguments from people who are actually Indians and envy Urdu in thier hearts, since in their misplaced zeal they really got what they wanted, and it was’nt Urdu!

    But we can always agree to disagree.Recommend

  • Fooz

    This article is written in English lol..Recommend

  • saad siddiqui

    For all the commentators above

    Being a Pakistani, Urdu ‘is’ the part of my IDENTITY.Recommend

  • Nasser

    Interesting write-up Amna. Acha khayal hai.

    I have my disagreements with the points that you make but I’m completely shocked reading the comments. What has happened to us? How can we be so lost in our own little world and not think as a nation? I don’t mean to pick any arguments with anyone and I’m at utter loss of words but I shall still try:

    @faraz: Before we’re Lahoris, Punjabis, or anything else, we are Pakistanis. If Urdu has been chosen to be our national language, we as a loyal citizen of our beloved nation should respect that and try to be ‘part’ of Pakistan rather than citizens of our little communities.I am not saying that we should forget our roots and individual values and culture, but we should first become part of the larger body, which is Pakistan. So being your Punjabi brother, I urge you to become a Pakistani first.

    @Schazad: “Urdu isn’t our language and shouldn’t have been our national language at all. It should have been English and all the regional languages.” That is your opinion only and completely unrelated to the topic in discussion here. Urdu IS our national language. Whether it should or should not be is a whole different story. If you don’t like it, either start the official process to get it changed, or be in a position where your opinion matters. Until then, stick to what is, not what should have been. Be a Pakistani.

    @Andrea: “What a joke. Urdu is not even native to Pakistan but comes from India.” Exactly. What a joke! Pakistan WAS part of India prior to 1947. And so were all the regional languages that you mentioned. By your logic, all of your suggested languages come from India and are unfit to become national languages.

    @S.Siddique: Thank you!

    Overall, as mentioned by some of the readers, the issue is a lot more complex than it appears to be. If we remember our lessons from our elementary Urdu textbooks, Urdu is a mixture of languages and, as many other languages, is open to new words. So the introduction of new words like ‘computer’, ‘mobile phone’, and internet is not ‘wrong’ Urdu. Throwing in a few sentences and finding it easy to communicate in English is due to the lack of Urdu education in our heavily influenced western educational system. Which is due to the fact that the western English speaking nations are the current world leaders. This has been true throughout history that the language of the world leaders becomes sort of the accepted ‘global’ language.

    Yes, we should learn our regional languages so that we remember our roots. Yes, we should learn English so that we can effectively communicate with the rest of the world. And yes we should speak Urdu because we are Pakistanis and Urdu is our national language.

    I know I’m getting flamed for posting my comments. Daikhtay hain kya hota hai :)Recommend

  • Imaan

    I don’t think people are “ashamed” to speak Urdu anymore or they’re trying to be part of a much cooler crowd, so to say, by conversing in English. Most people who have studied in English medium schools are strictly told to talk in English and it is good to have the language polished. In the process, one gets unawaringly addicted to using English words even when talking in Urdu. Although, one should simultaneously pay much attention to his own language and respect its literature and history, I still think it is best to communicate in the language one finds easier to express himself in.

    People who cannot speak English too well shouldn’t try too hard and end up looking stupid, and opt for Urdu.
    They should spend more time brushing up on English, simply, because it IS an international language. You cannot escape that. Same goes for people that talk in English, brush up your Urdu because you belong to Pakistan. Anyone who opines that people speaking Urdu aren’t “cool” or literate, well, their opinion should not matter at all.

    It is perfectly ‘jahil’ to presume that a person should speak in a certain language just because of ignorant biases. What is important is what language the person has a good grasp on. Speak to deliver what you want to deliver instead of making a fool out of yourself because you want to be part of a crowd – Urdu or English, per se.Recommend

  • Patriot

    Wow, so many urdu haters!!!Recommend

  • Paki in Caribbean

    For some comentators unfortunatley the word “PAKISTAN” is in urdu not in Panjabi. Pashtu, Sindhi or Balochi bad luck guys. Now disassociate :) you are no more Pakistani, maybe what you really are.
    Sad to see nothing can bring this country together as a nation. what a Shame! Recommend

  • Faiza Rahman

    Exactly my point of view. Thank you for raising this issue!Recommend

  • Haroon

    I am sorry to say Amna, but I got the impression that your article highlighted your Turkish and English conquests, in addition to your English speaking talent, more than your debate to convince people to speak Urdu.Recommend

  • Ahmed

    I second with every word of the author.Recommend

  • Waqas Rasool

    100% agreed with writer and LobsterRecommend

  • MI Khan

    What a ccomplete non-sense of an article! I get two things out of it: The neivety and the hypocricy of the writer. Neivety because she foolishly thinks Urdu is the language of Pakistaniss! Only five percent of Pakistanis have Urdu as their mother tongue. And hypocricy because she is eulogizing Urdu in English! And her own blog is in English and her poetry in English. Language is for communication and not shallow nationalistic xenophobia. English is a language of the world and a language of power in Pakistan and while it is good for you to learn and write articles in, it should be equally good for other Pakistanis to learn it.Recommend

  • http://www.6la8.com Confused

    It shouldn’t be embarrassing to you. You and your friends have been brought up in English, and it would be much easier for you to think and speak in English. Indeed, speak in Urdu but if you are accustomed to another language, its inconvenient especially if there’s is a casual conversation going on.Recommend

  • Maria

    You have a point. I have been living abroad for some time now. So here is just my experience. I used to talk in English quite a bit while I was in Pakistan. But since I have moved abroad, I have just started communicating more in Urdu. Its just something unconscious and its there with all the Indians and Pakistanis here. Thing is that since you are living in Pakistan, its no big deal. But once you mov eabroad you snap up every chance to talk in your own language. This is also the reason why NRPs are more in touch with Urdu literature than are most Pakistanis of our generation. Recommend

  • Raj

    Most Pakistanis have been brought up speaking our national language Urdu and English.

    The very first sentence of this blog is grammatically incorrect. Author has a pseudo English knowledge. Recommend

  • Raj

    The spirit of this article is fake. Majority of the Pakistanis speak Punjabi and Punjabi has no status as a language in Pakistan.Recommend

  • TM


    khushka! :DRecommend

  • Afza

    Practically speaking English language is compulsory to survive in this world because of its international recognition. It is also fact and should be not forget our mother tongue Urdu that is also our recognition. Locally we should speak Urdue Language and speak English when it is required.Recommend

  • MYM

    I am surprised to read you comments regarding no one knowing the names of Chinese or Japanese prime ministers just because they don’t use English. Frankly speaking except USA and UK i am sure 98% people have no idea about the heads of states of other english speaking countries. How many of us know the names of Prime Ministers of Canada, Australia or New Zealand (all 3 english speaking countries). There is hardly an example of a country which developed by using an alien language everyone from Germans, French, Japanese, Chinese, Spanish, Italians, Turks etc have used their own language rather than switch over to English. Recommend

  • http://www.abcontractorsny.com a bhutta


    infact i was just talking with some body about this problem today. But what i think is that we were once ruled by british may be thats why most of the people are complexed and they tend to speak in english. which is bad. I totally agree with u. But we need to enlighten people. Keep up the good work!Recommend

  • KolachiMom

    I was raised in an English speaking (Catholic) household, and that never stopped us from peppering our sentences with some Urdu words (because we are Karachites). Just like some people pepper their Urdu sentences with English words. My sister’s favorite line is “Could you please stop being such an ulloo ka patha?” LOL

    Sadly, I was not able to learn Sindhi, but did learn some Punjabi from friends and neighbors, growing up. I can swear in Pasthu, but then I think most Pakistanis can do that. ;)

    All our national languages are wonderful, and I think for the people who speak both English and Urdu, the Minglish is delightful! It doesn’t mean that they dislike speaking Urdu.Recommend

  • http://www.raup-kj.blogspot.com Man @ the Temple

    Point to note constituitionally our national language is Urdu, Our Official Language is English. And in all honesty it really does not matter what language you speak as long as you can speak elegantly and well.Recommend

  • Monad

    All those who ‘dankay ki chot per’ proclaim that Urdu is as alien to them as Korean would have brought much contentment to Iqbal, Faiz, Manto, Ahmad Nadeem Qasmi, Ahmad Faraz, and others who were idiotic enough to fall for this foreign imposition. Incidentally, occupying armies are often fond of fostering regional languages and identity as the French did with Berbers in North Africa, Indian administration is enthusiastically doing to promote Kashmiri, Israel hearts the Druze, US is the great patron of Kurds and their language in Iraq, etc. As a poet and humanist put it:

    Pity the nation divided into into fragments,
    each fragment deeming itself a nation


  • Ahmed Abdul Majeed

    bilkul sahi farma rahi hain ap amna …hamen urdu bolne ki aur achi urdu bolne ki kafi zarurat hai…Recommend

  • Atif

    While i agree with the underlying sentiments and the reasons which compelled the author to write this, i can but marvel at the naivety expressed in this article. Faulty comparisons with countries such as Japan and Germany which have largely homogenous populations which overwhelming speak a single language cannot be compared to Pakistan which has a diverse array of ethnicities and languages. Urdu is as alien as a large segment of the Pakistani population as English is and it is nonsensical to suggest replacing English with Urdu is going to be a good idea in the long run. It’ll raise the same problems at some point. Urdu is native to just 9% of the Pakistani population while Punjabi is native to 40%, Sindhi 15%, and Pushto 10%. At least English is a neutral language and does not favour any ETHNIC group in Pakistan.

    And lest we all forget, the fiasco of 1971 should make us all rethink what the long term consequences are of forcing any language ( be it English or Urdu) on a population that it is not native to. Recommend

  • Manoj

    Turkish are proud of their language and culture, becuase it is their own.

    What about Urdu? Is it a Pakistani language, answer is NO. It’s an Indian language and created by synthesing persian and Avdhi (Hindi). Regarding culture, again Pakistan has no culture of it’s own. some time it’s look toward Arabs and some time to central Asian republics and claim to be the inheritor of those culture.

    They shy to accept that they belong to great Indus valley civilisation, just to show themselves different from india.

    Dear, Pakistan is suffering from a crisis of national identity. Hence, it is not proud of it’s language and culture.Recommend

  • http://islamabadobserver.blogspot.com javed

    Really Mind blowing !!!
    At last a good article on Express Tribune.
    I think this is our so called elite which has made English their home language because they do get dollars and pounds for promoting their culture in Pakistan by keeping the majority illiterate and those educated to bow towards foreign culture.Recommend

  • Adil Raja

    Worth reading it!..Recommend

  • Ahmed

    English being an internationally accepted language has to be learned. Anyone who goes for an interview or giving a presentation, press briefing etc etc is supposed to be fluent in it. thats the harsh reality which our mother tongue has to face. English has become a status symbol for our society and we cannot turn ourselves away from it. Recommend

  • http://moralitypolarity.wordpress.com Zaki

    It’s only the problem with the hip crowd. Have you ever noticed that when two pathans meet, no matter how well versed they are in english, how well educated they are… they’d always speak in pushto. Most punjabis do so too (if they both know punjabi at the same level). Same with sindhis and balouchis. The problem is that only a few people have urdu as their “mother tongue”. If you mother has stopped speaking punjabi doesn’t mean its not your mother tongue anymore. Its not about globalization, its about localization. We need to promote regional languages first. I never speak english with my family – or friends. I’m not ashamed of speaking urdu. I went on a trip to europe last week, with every pakistani i met i was speaking urdu.

    Its a complex problem (pun intended). We all want to put an impression on the second person. A lot of people go as far as using the vocabulary pompously to put that impression. Some make the accent. The problem is an innate need to prove ourselves out of our deserved respect. English is one way because if you went to an english medium school, you are already better than 90%+ people. We have to resist that urge to be accepted, exalted and all that. We need core capabilities we could be proud of. I know what i’m best at – and when the time comes it shows. I don’t need to speak english for that. Though if i need to, I will (and if I know speaking english will get me in, I will, sure!)Recommend

  • Ammar

    See, here’s the thing: Urdu isn’t really my language. It certainly wasn’t my father’s or mother’s language. And that fact is probably true for the vast majority of the population. For those from less fortunate backgrounds, their identity is tied to their indigenous languages. For those of us with the opportunity to acquire education, english is the adopted medium. Urdu, though a rich language in its own right, was never really ‘ours’. Some folks in the Muslim League just decided to make it ‘ours’ as an element of communal identity and then foisted it upon the rest of the country.

    So yeah, I really don’t think we need any further ‘revitalization of pride’ in our ‘national’ language. I think there’s been enough of that. Let’s give the regional languages some more room instead.Recommend

  • ali

    well, it was awesome piece of writing and hopefully we realized it too. your next blog should be in URDU to save the sanctity of your language. Recommend

  • Faisal

    Excellent article and I agree to every word of it. To my friends who insist that Urdu is not THEIR language, bring up your kids speaking their mother tongue. How many educated parents in Lahore speak urdu with their kids instead of Punjabi??? nearly all. I have lived and worked in all parts of Pakistan, Urdu is the only language understood and spoken by every ethnic group. This is the only binding force among Pakistanis. In Pakistan, English is not only a language, but it is a sort of a culture which separates different classes of people. The fist step towards turning Pakistan from a country to a nation is doing away with English. Recommend

  • http://lonepkliberal.wordpress.com LoneLiberal PK

    I’ve always been in favor of an Urdu-medium system of education. Not speaking fluent English doesn’t make you any less educated. If it did, then countries like France and Japan, who have their curriculum set in their local languages instead of English, would be the dumbest states on the planet.Recommend

  • S.Siddiqui

    @Manoj, Pakistan is the successor to the Mughal State and all those Muslim states that preceded it. Thus the inhertitor of its culttural and literary heritage. This continuity is provided by Urdu.

    The paritition of India resulted in two states that derived thier cultural inspiration from the history of India from different era: India – from Hindu India, and Pakistan from Muslim India, so where is the crisis of identity.

    There is no reason to be opposed to either the native languages or Urdu. They serve different purposes.Recommend

  • Badu jah

    Isn’t urdu like english “foreign” to majority of pakistanis? so how one “foreign” language becomes a national language and the other not? Of the ten how many of you were punjabiz, sindhiz, baluchi or pushtoon or had some other lanuage as his/her mother tongue? if you go by percentages it should have been 8 or 9. Instead of being speechless you should have educated him on the complexity/diversity of this country. French, dutch, german, turks etc have just one (major) language so it is easy for them to speak. Recommend

  • waqar

    Very important issue you raise and gave a thought while studied in such a university where everybody speaks english.
    There is something i want to say.first of all ,i know the importance of english.No matter how much technical and great skills u have if u dunt have good communication skills in english u r nothing.So professionally u got to need this.this is one example i gave.Secondly i can see parents from elite class don’t speak urdu with their childs rather they prefer to talk in english and same is the case when they are in schools.From here i can say its a big blow for all of us.If u settled in some foreign country try to give ur kids our culture and islamic enviroment.So that they should be familiar with our norms and values.
    Actually in pakistan its now a symbol of status.I know the importance of english and we should improve but we must strive to preserve it.Recommend

  • Asma Ali

    I don’t like Urdu,although I have studied in Urdu till intermediate . Firstly, I think this language was imposed upon us politically which has no market utility and rendered us useless economically and kept us backward socially. moreover, our identity should not be related to Urdu, because we have our own National languages which are relegated into regional levels again on political ground.
    Secondly ,there are other languages which are more enrich with “poetry and rhythms” and they are “beautiful and grace” ,why not adapt them?. Speaking less Urdu is a realization of uselessness of this language and an assertion towards rectifying a huge wrong rather than taken as ” ignorant pattern of our society”
    .lastly,it may reflect true roots of an ethnic group and politically interest groups and their siblings who want to perpetuate this status qua, so that they could get their education on non-Urdu institution then go abroad for study and exposure visit because they are competent than many among us due to English Language . but such biases should not be imposed on other people. Let us grow as well.Recommend

  • Rock

    @S.Siddiqui: Manoj is right, Mughal used to speak in persian(farsi) and their army consist of persians, afghans, hindus(north Indians). In Urdu means the language of army created to coordinate between the soldiers. If you check most of the earlier urdu scholars were actually persian speakers. In those days there were used to be huge disconnect between ruler and people. Mughal tried lot to protect farsi they even taught farsi to hindu scholars today also you will find these family around lucknow can understand farsi literature. Now regarding script. When arabs conquered persia they tried to enforced arabic on persians. For few years persians adopted arabic language but later on they created new persian language with arabic script with very few arabic words. Mind you preislamic persia used to have different language as well different script. Persian language itself went though 3 forms. Ancient, middle and new persian language. Mr. jinnah was not even aware of urdu. Remember jinnah was gujrathi speaking muslim married to a parsi girl. They say his urdu was one of the worst in those days. But he adopted urdu because it was combination of hindi and farsi. So that in long term it will help pakistan to coordinate with India as well as Iran(persia). Give him credit for his visionary decision. Today he safegaurded pakistan by making urdu as national language. Recommend

  • Malay

    One of the sweetest of language.Recommend

  • Farhan Zaheer

    Very nice article and and very nice debate…..Many of the points mentioned in response are valid in most cases.

    Bottomline: Learn as much languages as you can because no language is inferior to other.Recommend

  • http://jgrozny.wordpress.com Imran Khan

    We’re just afraid of being ourselves & everything that comes with it.Recommend

  • Earthenware

    i personally believe that for Pakistan to prosper we have to learn English along with Urdu too
    Urdu should be our first priority always but English should be established as a parallel language. whenever we are texting or writing Urdu in the English script then is that good? i don’t think so. this was about the writing part but as far as speaking English is concerned well that maybe because we are plagued by an inferiority syndrome. Recommend

  • shany

    my inbox is full of replies on this blog, it has become a more critical problem and reminded me than bangal and urdu conflict…. can amna khalid can u limit he comments. :p haialahRecommend

  • S.Siddiqui

    @Rock, Mughal state made Urdu the court language during the time of Rangila Shah. The reason Urdu provides connectivity is that it is the language that has our literary, cultural and religious heritage. Muslims from which part of undivided India articulated themselves in it. Be they religious scholars or poets or thinkers. It is the repository of Muslim Indian civilization. Though I must add that until the late 19th century it was the lingua franca and the official language of the British India, and Hnidus and Sikhs studied it and contributed in it. The movement to replace Urdu with Hnidi was actually one of the danger signals that led to the searing.

    Note the last Mughal Emperor was himself a noted urdu poet so to say that Mughals tried to protect Farsi and suppress Urdu is wrong. The construction of your post suggests that it is from a non-Pakistani reference, and yes..Manoj is wrong, and the construction of your post suggests that it is from a non-Pakistani reference point. Quaid e Azam(Jinnah for non Pakistanis) was not very well versed in Urdu but the man who gave the vision of Pakistan was a noted Urdu poet and thinker, and he articulated the vision in Urdu and the Quaid put this forth in his two nation theory. He acknowledged that.

    The point I’m making to Pakistanis here on this forum is that though people from anywhere can express views, such musings can also be used by people not related to the land in question(Pakistan), to exploit differences and even legitimate greivances towards sowing greater dissensions, over issues of language, region etc. We must see where the comments are coming from: their motivations are as important as their words.

    I’ll agree that there are people in Pakistan who do not feel passionate about Urdu and would like more resources provided for other languages. That’s fair, but there is also a section here that is not even Pakistani and taking potshots at Urdu for reasons unrelated to that, but due to historical antipathy, and envy. India wished Urdu away from its public sphere and it is now gone, but with it has also gone adab and tehzeeb. The cities that were once renowned for culture and refined tastes are known for their boorish behaviour. And despite pouring in resources for 6 decades, where has the Urdu’s replacement contributed. No renowned works of literature. No world class poets. Even Bollywood still uses lyrics and dialogue writers from urdu’s stables. So be careful what you wish for as you might just get it. India wished it away but should Pakistan also wish away a language that gave us the dream of Pakistan?Recommend

  • Shrimp

    and yet another article in wait for it……..english!Recommend

  • Shrimp

    and anther comment on the article in wait for it…… ENGLISH, whoa. what is going on? seems like i am stuck in some loop trying to prove my point my posting comment after comment… aaaaaaahhhhhhhh, help meeeeeeRecommend

  • http://bleedinghumanity.wordpress.com/ Ahmed Aziz

    @ Author
    Nicely written and good points raised. But as a social scientist I would like to raise some points and disagree with you and would like to inform all the people who have made the comments. Firstly, Urdu itself was developed as a foreign language in South Asia. The original language of the Mughals was Chagatai, which has Turkish roots and through time they adopted Persian but still there was a need to communicate with the locals which led to the composition of languages derived from Sanskrit but still retaining the Turkish Arabic Script and through time it came to be known as Urdu. So, Urdu itself is a combination of foreign derived local language. If you want to go even deeper, our original language is Sanskrit, that is the reason why URDU and HINDI sound so very similar. You would also notice that Indians and Pakistanis have the same problem, a lot of our language contains English words, its not a Pakistan specific problem. Reason being, we were ruled by the British for 400 years, our laws are written in English, all process are in English. Higher education is in English. Even in primary schools in rural areas, English is taught in some way or the other may be not to the extent to the cities.

    My point is language is a form of social communication. A nationalistic stamp, does not mean that if we speak Urdu with an English influence we have an inferiority complex. Pakistan is just a little more than 63 years old we are still developing our literal identity , the countries you are making the comparison with have developed their societal dynamics over thousands of years. And this phenomenon is not with Pakistan (Urdu and English). Morrocans, Tunisians speak Arabic and French, and the Arabic they speak is very much influenced by french some of them converse in French. Brazilians speak Portuguese completely now, and so many of the South American countries speak Spanish although its not the indigenous language. So many of the African countries speak french.

    It is a social phenomenon, and with time people’s languages change, due to several factors, and it is not because their lack of pride for the language. Pinning it down on lack of pride is unfair. If I like to communicate in Greek, I should, whatever makes communication easier for me I should do it. It is a natural social dynamic, so you should not be guilty about speaking in whatever tongue you are talking in. Pride has nothing to do with it. Speaking of human developments in nationalistic contexts is not fair and it does not work in that way. Recommend

  • Rameez Akhter Ilyas

    Very well Written Great work

    But i dont Fully Agree because on a personal Level i speak English the most and it is not because i think it makes me cool or i am ashamed of Urdu
    its just the fact since an early age i was thought in English at school at home and naturally i used to speak english mostly with whomever i spoke with,Saying that I find my ease With english more then i do with urdu
    I do Wish i could learn how to speak in Urdu properly,because i am well aware of the beauty and the manners in the language
    Lets just hope people who are really ashamed of their identity do understand this and respond better in such situationsRecommend

  • Faisal

    Whether English or Urdu, this debate will go on and on. The existence of these two languages side by side is detrimental to our social and economic growth. we need to choose one of them. If we choose English, we will have to teach PROPER English to 95 per cent Literate population of this country, but if we choose Urdu, hardly anybody needs to re-learn it. I personally believe that English needs to go as it has become the language of the elitist society and cause of a class difference in the society. Recommend

  • Bilal

    One may disagree with some of your points but it’s the fact that there is great sense of pride associated with speaking English specially in youth unfortunately,how ‘cool’ ideology is there & to change all this we Pakistani’s need stronger inspiration than this article I guess, your article is well appreciated though!Recommend

  • Alisa

    Achha khayaal hai.

    I don’t even remember when we got so comfortable conversing in English..Recommend

  • Khan

    For this very reason I taught my German, Russian and American friends the Urdu alphabet, taught them how to write their names in Urdu and a few basic phrases. They found it fascinating because they were not familiar with the Arabic script, and joining different letters to form one word was something they found very hard.

    On a side note, I was thoroughly surprised and pleased when another American Jewish friend walked in the office one morning and said “Assalaam o Alaykum”. He was careful enough to pronounce it just right. Recommend

  • rk singh

    Nothing wrong in speaking in English. Its a very beautiful language and needs to be propagated. It is the language which binds India. Without English, India cannot be India. I am sure similar case in Pakistan. If each and every kid is taught English language and in English medium schools (as opposed to madrassa education they get), 90% of Pakistan’s terrorism issues will be eliminated.Recommend

  • shany

    itnay issues to Bangali and Urdu language mae nahi howa tha jitna Englisha nd Urdu mae ho gaya…

    under my umberala ela ela ela ela eh eh eh eh eh ehh :DRecommend

  • Rameez Ahmad

    I really appreciate the article and I 100% agree with it, in my personal opinion there are 2 reasons for this 1) we still havent been able to escape from the colonial mindset, and still regard our race as inferior to the western world, 2) and more importantly we the educated glass has stopped using urdu and that is the class that brings the beauty in the language as they converse decently.

    An analogy would be that Ferrari, Mercedez, Ford are all based on names of people, then why Akhtar or Butt does not bring us the image of prestige. The answer is simple, consistency, we provide good quality all the time dont go for short cuts quality and prestige will be associated with it. Similarly more and more people start conversing in english and use it decently we will see how beautiful our culture and language is. quite ironic i am as well writing in English. Mere khayaal se bahot acha khayal hai, Ever wonder when our elders (dada dadi speak urdu) or you listen to Faiz they sound so sophisticated though there is no word of english sneaked in. Recommend

  • Frank

    Urdu is not my language, and neither is it the language of 98% of Pakistanis. My language is Punjabi, a language native to Pakistan, unlike Urdu, and the language of Shah Hussain, Khawaja Ghulam Farid, Bulleh Shah and many other poets and thinkers that are beyond compare. But the supporters of Urdu have reduced my language to the status of one fit only for jokes. Urdu is a threat to my language. If Urdu wins my language will be wiped pit and no one will left to read, listen to and marvel at the kafis of Ghulam Farid and Bulleh Shah. I really can’t say I’m unhappy about the fact that Urdu itself is under threat. We need to dump this imported Indian language and we need to give all the native languages of Pakistan the status of National Languages. Recommend

  • http://Leginca siddiqui

    @Faraz Talat:
    WTH… That is one reason why I have no intention of visiting France. I have heard similar other stories about French. I have been around Europe and have never seen such kind of a behavior. Germans have a reputation abroad for being too reserved, but I have found them to be one of the nicest people. They would converse with you in English even if its a struggle. And some would even go out of the way to help you. For example, I asked guy for directions to the train station. He realized that I don’t speak any German, he accompanied me to the train station and even bought me a train ticket to my destination. My experiences are similar for Spain and Portugal as well.

    In short, what you are showing an understanding for and proclaiming to be pride of ones language, is in reality a sickness. Language’s basic function is communication. It doesn’t add inches. Some languages sound sweet to the ears, some have better expressions for certain situation, but they don’t add inches.

    And by the way Urdu was never meant to preserved. It was a language that was supposed to bridge the gap between people speaking different languages. In its earlier days it was heavily influenced by Turkish, Persian, Sanskirit and other regional languages. Nowadays it is English that influences it the most. Being a pure language has never been its trait and never will be. It has always been as free as a bird. Any attempt on locking it away in time. would kill its soul.Recommend

  • http://Leginca siddiqui

    @Ahmed Aziz:
    I agree whole-heartedly…Recommend

  • http://[email protected] Rameez Ahmad

    Good work.Recommend

  • faraz


    Lahore existed much before the creation of Pakistan. If you talk of identities, then my parents transferred my Punjabi language. Thats part of my culture. The author is talking about affects on globalization on culture, not nationalism.Recommend

  • Maria

    @Frank: I can see the pain you feel that the Urdu language is trying to stamp out native Pakistani languages like Pashtu, Sindi, Punjabi, Baluchi or Balti. We need to promote our own languages first and then worry about an artificial Urdu / Hindi or English.Recommend

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11375793199898765321 Pakistani

    There are 3 main mentalities that threaten the cultural and linguistic demography of Pakistan. One is that pro-Westernization mentality as described in this article. Then there’s another Pan-Islamist front that wants to Arabize/Iranize Pakistan in the name of Islam and want to adopt middle eastern languages and cultures in the name of islam. Then there’s the threat of Indianization which is mainly pushed by people in the muhajir community through bollywood. But this article is right. This pro-English obsession has to stop.Recommend

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11375793199898765321 Pakistani

    Once thing I didn’t get. What does the author mean most Pakistanis have been brought up speaking Urdu and English? Less than 10% of the population speaks fluent english!Recommend

  • Muhammad Adnan

    Brilliant !Recommend

  • http://wasioabbasi.wordpress.com Wasio Ali Khan Abbasi

    Our national language is Urdu (7%) and Official Language is English (5-7%)
    Our National anthem is in Persian (4%)
    Our religion is in Arabic (3-5%)
    Our local languages have no national honor (90+%)
    That’s what we are reduced to. For over 60 years we adopted Urdu as national language so that Urdu speaking community does not feel “left out”. If even after 6 decades they would feel “left out” if Urdu is no longer national language, it is important to think if they really became part of the country or not.
    An Urdu-speaking person only needs to learn one more language and that is English, after that he is done. He doesn’t feel and often don’t even care to learn any local language beyond a handful of sentences like
    Laka, 2 chai warka (when at dhaba for tea)
    Hiyo bholro ahe (when making fun of a friend)
    On the other hand, any other local is not just suppose to learn Urdu (apart from mother tongue) in order to get accepted in society and find decent employment in a city like Karachi but also has to learn English if he wishes for higher education. Local languages with rich histories are reduced to being conversation languages with friends and family with little or on development at local level, reducing the lower-middle class and lower class population (nearly 85% of Pakistan’s population) perpetual poverty where Education is concerned.
    If I love my native language, Sindhi, and decide not to learn Urdu or English at all, I would find that all opportunity doors for me will be closed down throughout the country. Billions have been spent to enforce Urdu on majority of Pakistanis and at horrendous cost which, somehow, people are not taking into account.
    As for Urdu, it was a bridge in earlier days when a bridge was actually needed. In Pakistan, when it was formed, Urdu was NOT a bridge. Iqbal did coined the concept of Pakistan but Jinnah was not the one with Two Nation Theory … it was Sir Syed Ahmed Khan and neither Jinnah nor Sir Syed were known for their Urdu. Moreover, in the creation of Pakistan the Bengalis were equally involved, if not more and they had NOTHING to do with Urdu. They had their own Bengali poets that ignited the fire of freedom in them. Majority of them barely remember Iqbal’s name and works other than what ever they read in the history books.
    As for Sindh, Punjab, Balochistan and NWFP, neither Iqbal nor Sir Syed Ahmed Khan and not even Jinnah had anything to do with support for Pakistan. It is time to correct our history.
    Sindh supported Pakistan because of G.M.Syed who made it a mass movement in the province but later left Muslim League after several heated exchanges before and after partition on the way language, culture and authority were imposed on the locals. Why would a man who worked more than a decade of his life in bringing a concept to reality in the province that was the FIRST to support the idea of Pakistan, would change his opinions after the partition and form Jiye Sindh nationalist party?
    The leaders of Punjab, Balochistan and NWFP were all in support of Congress. The Tiwanas of Punjab (if I remember correctly) joined Muslim League because Congress had planned to break the power of feudals. Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan (also known as Double-Barrell Khan), leading figure of NWFP, joined Pakistan on several conditions while key figures of Balochistan also joined after many discussions and guarantees (though they were later hunted down and killed in operations, marking the beginning of Baloch subjugation). None of these provinces had anything to do with Urdu except those individuals who went to Central India or those officers that were deployed in these parts through Indian Civil Service.
    Moreover, even the British governors for Sindh were required to learn written and spoken Sindhi before appointment. The local languages had more protection before partition and their subjugation began after the creation of Pakistan.Recommend

  • munda1

    sadly, it is not only limited to the language, most of (sadly again) educated class does not like our dress, language and partly culture. Such articles and practice of using national language / products etc… by individuals go long way to bring a slow but progressive change.Recommend

  • Manoj


    Dear, your logic is strange and shocking to me when you say India inherited Hindu India and Pakistan the muslim India. does not it mean that effectively you are denying that you have hindu blood lineage.
    Indus vally civilization to which you are real inheritor is much older then Islam itself and I do not know how a man in his true sense can negate his culture, civilisation and blood lineage for the sake of method of worship which he adopted or forced upon him by invading power. This is mental bankrupcy which has been created by wrong history taught in your country. Here lies the reason of identity crisis which i was talking. A mass of 180 million pakistani has been lost on this planet unable to decide which way to go, they are like blinds who touches an elephants and concluds about the size and figure of elephant depending upon which body part of elephant they catch hold of.Recommend