Role of Language and Script in Raising the Religious Revivalism

Role of Language and Script in Raising the Religious Revivalism in Colonial Punjab aYESHA TABBASUM The language played the significant role in the creation of identities among the major communities in pr-parathion India. The Urdu language had developed as a common language among all the communities and was, in the absence of a common religion the North-western Provinces and various part other parts of the subcontinent. I. H. Qureshi, History of the Pakistan,(BCC& Press Karachi, university of karachi2006) 807.

Language Controversy between Urdu and Hindi Although it was religion which was the key defining feature of Muslim identity, the Urdu language was an important symbol. For Hindus, except for the religious communities, the symbol of religion had to be played down to avoid alienating other major religious communities. However, despite linguistic pluralism, the Hindi language remained an important symbol in the construction of the Hindu identity for the Hindu community.

Tariq Rahman, language and politics in Pakistan,(Karachi, oxford university press 1996) 60 As in colonial Punjab  Hindu patshalas,which taught mantras and basic knowledge of the shastras, Muslims Quran schools, and Sikhs educational institutions which taught the sacred text of Sikhism, the Granth ,and the Gurumukhi Script of the Punjabi language used by Sikhs. The stand read spoken language of north India in the British period was referred to interchangeably as Urdu, Hindi.

Paul Brass, language, religion and politics in north India (Cambridge: Cambridge university press, 1974), 129 But its was written in different script: as Urdu was written in Persian script while Hindu community used it in Hindi for general communication purposes was generally written in Devanagri, also known as Nagri. as Urdu was incorporated various Arabic and Persian words while Hindi drew on Sanskrit was cited by Hindu nationalists as “proof” that Islam was foreign religion in India and there language should be the language of country.

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Vickie Langhor, Colonial education system and spread of local religious movements; the cases of British Egypt and Punjab,(Cambridge university press,2005) 174 But it was the fact that Urdu language being used by Hindu community of north Indian. Till 1931 many Hindu in colonial Punjab were literate in Urdu instead of Hindi language. Before the partition of India, during the colonial Punjab Language and script become the major source of division among the major communities of as Hindus –Muslims and Sikhs.

Ever since the beginning of the 11th century Northern India was remained under the Muslim rulers. During different periods different Muslims rulers ruled at different times and different dynasties spoke diverse languages as Afghans spoke Pushtu and Turks Turki and the Mughals spoke the Persian, Sikhs of the Punjab A Study of Confrontation and political mobilization, Dr Sarfraz Khawaja, (Islamabad, Pakistan: modern book dept, 1985) 41 As it was the fact that in the period of the later Mughals, Urdu and Persian both languages were the court languages.

When British succeeded the subcontinent they continued the same languages as the court languages. Shan Muhammad, the growth of Muslim politics in india1900-1919 (New Delhi, shish publishing house, 1991) 35. These languages were understood, also spoke at large scale, but natives languages were also spoke by the native communities as Hindi, Punjabi Pahari Hindustani. In which Urdu and Hindi both languages were the mixture of native and foreign languages Two sides of one coin Hindi Urdu, or Urdu Hindi

As Hindi and Urdu were two names of one language script differentiate between them it called Urdu when it written in perso-Arabic script (both languages were associated with Muslim community) and when written in the Nagari script (associated with Hindu community); there were some lexical and phrasal differences. Yet the two names for one language were frequently used for the same language and its literature segmented into parts largely on the basis of script and religions. S.

Settar, Indira BaptistaGupta, Pangs of partition vol ?,(new Delhi: Manohar publisher,2002. ) 34. Punjabi Hindu community used Urdu language as the language of commerce, journalism and administration. Urdu language was also the major language of literary expression not only in Muslim community in Hindu community as well in British Punjab while Punjabi was the spoken language. Atamjit Singh, The languages divide in Punjab South Asian Graduate Research Journal, 9Achadmic of the Punjab new America) Volume 4, No. , spring 1997 Colonial government language policy in Bihar and its after effects Urdu was mixture of Persian, Arabic and Hindi Punjabi. As this spoken language soon become to be written in the Persian and Arabic languages language. Urdu gained the as official language status after the abolishment of the Persian language in various provinces of the northern India so at 1842 lord Lawrence confirmed that “the use of this language (Urdu) is rapidly spreading among all the ranks and is becoming a lingua Franca” Abid41

Till the 2nd half of the 9th century Urdu not only became a dominate language but also symbol of Muslim influence and power But In 1837 Persian language had been replaced by Indian vernaculars and Urdu was introduced as the vernacular of ‘the vast tract of country known as Hindustani language, not only in Bihar and NWP and portions of central as well, However Government did not want personalized Urdu to be used as the vernacular. An order of 19 April 1839 declared:

The pleading and proceedings be recorded in lucid intelligible Oordoo, and that the natives ministerial officers… do not merely alternate a hindoostanee for a Persian verb at the end of sentence… Tariq Rahman, language and politics in Pakistan,(Karachi, oxford university press 1996) 62 As various colonial officers discourage again and again Urdu language they were in the favor to accepting Hindi as the vernacular language of the Hindustani people’s. The director of public instruction stated in his report:   Indo-Persian of the courts has no raisond’etre except as a remnan and reminiscence of mahomedan sovereignty Abid 62.

In 1872 sir Gorge Cambell, Lieutenant Governor of Bihar, approved order in which Urdu replaced by Hindi language in the courts of the province and this order was strictly imposed in 1880 by Sir Ashley Eden. Abid 62. As Hindi language was not pure one language but the blend of the many natives’ dialects of north India in its widest perspective it could be assumed that Hindi language spoken in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Orissa Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and the Colonial Punjab. Dr Sarfraz Khawaga, Sikhs of the Punjab A study of confrontation and political mobilization, (Islamabad: Modern book depot, 1985. 43. As Hindi language had written in Nagari or Devengri script. The Nagri or Devangri alphabet originated sometime in the 11th century AD. initially developed to write Sanskrit it later modified to write  with several other languages. The name Devangri is made up of two Sanskrit words: Deva, which means god, Brahman or celestiai and nagari, which means city. The name is variously translated as ‘script of the city’, ‘heavenly/sacred script of the city’ or [script of the] city of the god or priests’.

So for Hindu community Hindi language purged of all Persian and Arabic accretion which served to remind them of Muslim community ascendancy, As Devanagri script had a religious importance for Hindu community since it was the character which Brahmans used and in which Sanskrit books were written. So due to the religious association Hindu community insist to colonial government in various provinces that Urdu written in Persian script must be replaced by the Hindu with its Devanagari script.

To fulfill their demand they presented the reason that: (Urdu language was an amalgam of Persian and Arabic languages -and it -and it was forced upon us by our former rulers…but it was by no means accepted by the peoples at large…no Hindu gentlemen would ever condescend to educate his female in   Urdu language and Persian because the books written  in  these languages are usually obscene. Report by the north western province and qudh provincial committee of education commission, (1884) ,  490. quated by Dr Sarfaz Khawaja op. cit, 72.

Pro Hindi –script activities of Hindu community and Muslim response Pro Hindi agitation traveled from Bihar to the other provinces due to the two main reasons as: first when British replaced the Urdu language with Hindi language this decision provide the courage to the Hindu community due to this decision later Bengali Hindu community started protest in Bengal. Secondly then when Fateh chand established committees to press for Hindi language. Pro-Hindi movement quickly spread in   Hindu community of the north colonial Indian.

Then pro Hindi agitation travelled from Bihar, Bengal to other provinces such as NWFP. There was quashed manifestation occurred: a failure to introduce Devanagari in the colonial Punjab and NWFP. Jaswant Singh, Jinnah India-partition-independence (New Delhi: Rupa publisher, 2009. ) 41 Muslim reaction towards Urdu Hindi controversy in colonial Punjab Enforcement of Hindi language became a cause for grievance amongst major religious communities as Hindus and Muslims in various parts of indo-Pak Subcontinent. But in colonial Punjab arose for the very first time in 1882.

Paul R. Brass, Language, Religion and Politics in North India (London :Cambridge university press,1974),287 The demand of substitute of Hindi language in davanagri script for Urdu in Persian script in colonial Punjab by urban Hindu community was not only cause the Hindu – Muslim communal conflict. But pro-Hindi campaign, Devanagri script form  Punjabi Hindu community   and  protective activities of Punjabi Muslim community for  Urdu language was pushed the both religious communities to protect and promote interest of their own communities.

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