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Is Pakistan’s problem Urdu?

Updated Mar 05, 2016 10:02am


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The writer teaches physics in Lahore and Islamabad.
The writer teaches physics in Lahore and Islamabad.

For Pakistan’s founders, Urdu was to be the glue cementing together the new country. The pre-partition Muslim League rejected suggestions that English, Hindi, or Hindustani be the official language of undivided India. Instead, it wanted Urdu (Pirpur Report, 1938) because it was thought to be the carrier of Islamic culture. In 1948, Mr Jinnah addressed the students of Dacca University in immaculate English. He was emphatic: “The state language of Pakistan is going to be Urdu and no other language. And anyone who tries to mislead you is an enemy of Pakistan.”

Mr Jinnah spoke little Urdu and did not read its script. East Pakistan rioted but he was unmoved; nation-building needs a language. With time Pakistan rid itself of the burden of Bengal. Its new leaders drafted a new Constitution of Pakistan (1973) which decreed that Urdu become the official language within 15 years. This did not happen.

Gen Ziaul Haq also thought that Pakistan needed the ‘correct’ official language. He wanted Arabic, but some of his colleagues and administrators dissuaded him. He consoled himself by imposing compulsory Arabic teaching upon schools.

Examine: Urdu in schools causes ‘grievances’, says Unesco report

Since that time our language obsession has continued. In September 2015, an irritated Supreme Court judge, Justice Jawwad Khwaja, gave Nawaz Sharif’s government three months to implement “Article 251 in line with Article 5 of the Constitution”. This would make Urdu mandatory for “official and other purposes”. The ultimatum expired, English stayed.

Though not yet the official language, Urdu is Pakistan’s lingua franca.

Eventually Urdu did come to Pakistan — naturally and painlessly. Today fewer and fewer people speak and understand English — far fewer in percentage terms than in India or Sri Lanka. For lack of viewership, local English-language television channels have closed down but there are dozens of Urdu channels and some Sindhi and Punjabi ones too. Though not yet the official language, Urdu is Pakistan’s lingua franca.

But the rise of Urdu, and the decline of English, have not weakened regional, tribal, or class identities. Baloch separatism is fuelled by inequitable distribution of resources and high-handed treatment by the centre. Sindh’s grievances are over issues of water and land. Nation-building needs more than just a common language.

Ditto for building education. If we are to believe some of today’s education activists, most problems will miraculously disappear if only we make the right choice of language — whatever that “right” choice means. But flogging the language horse will get us nowhere. The problem lies elsewhere.

Read: Ways to switch over to Urdu

About 30 years ago, my colleagues at Quaid-i-Azam University and I had explored the conundrum of language and education through a documentary film broadcast by Pakistan Television. It was part of a 13-part series Rastay Ilm Kay that took a critical look at the crisis of Pakistani education. Serious then, it is far more serious now.

Upon viewing a rare surviving copy of this documentary, I felt that time had come to a stop. Not a single argument or counter-argument has changed. On the one hand, our cameras recorded those who wanted education in Urdu and condemned English as a colonial remnant. They blamed it for creating social inequality, and argued that teachers with bad English skills force students to memorise blindly. The cameras also captured those who said that English provides a vehicle to carry us forward. A true debate!

Unless we wish to spend the next 30 years arguing the very same points, we must squarely face two basic truths — those that mere wishes cannot change. If these truths take us in opposite directions, then we must learn to navigate as best as possible.

First, English opens a window into the external world so wide that all vernacular languages, Urdu included, are tiny peepholes in comparison. In principle, all languages can carry the same content. But in practice they reflect very different stages of intellectual development. Nobody is more unreasonably proud than the French. But even they have grudgingly accepted their language’s reduced status. English is now the choice of a shrinking globe, not the spearhead of aggressive colonialism.

Second, English cannot be a solution for Pakistan. Early learning happens fastest in the mother tongue, and only the tiniest fraction of Pakistanis speaks English at home. But even if English is decreed compulsory from the cradle onwards, there is insufficient language teaching capacity to make this work. Moreover Pakistan’s different languages encode distinct cultures with beautiful prose, poetry, and fiction in each. To lose this history would be tragic.

How terribly contradictory! Yet this bipolar conflict is generic to all former colonies. Using different mixes of bilingualism, and even trilingualism, managing conflict intelligently has enabled some to develop a better education for their young. Pakistan has not. Our students have ever decreasing ability to reason, low curiosity levels, and abysmal general knowledge. Why?

The real enemy of education in Pakistan is a regressive mindset, not language or financial resources. Critical thinking is actively discouraged, memorisation is encouraged. There is heavy presence of religious materials in all school subjects from history and social studies to biology and math.

So go ahead and change the language to the ‘right’ one. You might get a 10pc improvement at most. A parrot singing in Urdu or Sindhi understands no more than one who sings in English. The terrible authority of the teacher, sanctioned by tradition, weighs heavy upon young minds.

Here’s an example — a real one. Some pre-engineering college F.Sc students came to see me the other day. For fear of retribution they asked me to keep their visit secret. Their teacher had told them in class that seven divided by zero was zero! Dissatisfied, they sought an explanation. Instead they were reprimanded for being cheeky. I am older and more qualified than you, said the teacher, and so I am right.

To conclude: no nation becomes stronger by having the ‘correct’ official language. Instead it gains strength when it addresses the real needs of its people. Likewise, education cannot be improved by flipping from English to Urdu or vice versa. Change can happen only when education is seen as a means for opening minds rather than an instrument of ideological control.

The writer teaches physics in Lahore and Islamabad.

Published in Dawn, March 5th, 2016

The views expressed by this writer and commenters below do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.

Comments (237) Closed

Muslim Medina Mar 05, 2016 04:05am

Urdu was the basis of creation of Pakistan. It is the language of common people of Pakistan. I have been living in Toronto and both of my children speak Urdu. The most of religious gatherings around the world are conducted in Urdu. However, in Pakistan a few people think of Urdu as a backward language which is totally incorrect.

Satyam Vada Mar 05, 2016 04:26am

"A parrot singing in Urdu or Sindhi understands no more than one who sings in English." beautifully put! V

noor Mar 05, 2016 05:21am

Spot on....Sad state of affairs from -infinity to +infinity. By the way can you upload Rastay Ilm Kay on youtube? It will be great to watch what our intellects had to say about the education crisis at that time and how true their analysis was.

M. Emad Mar 05, 2016 05:37am

No Urdu writer won the Nobel Literature Prize.

IFTIKHAR KHAN Mar 05, 2016 05:53am

Despite being lingua franca, Urdu never enjoyed a loving status as national language by most Pakistanis, whose mother tongue is different than Urdu. Therefore, at best, it would have been a tool towards end but not the end itself. No matter what the state of Pakistan had done good for Urdu, the fast pace of developments in all fields including science and technology would have left more-spoken-than-written languages (due to lower literacy levels) like Urdu left behind. Looking ahead, improving literacy level, particularly of women, should be the first step. It should be in mother tongues with a dose of Roman alphabets taught alongside Arabic alphabets. Why can't Sindhi or Pushtu be written in Roman alphabets when Punjabi in Indian Punjab is written in Devnagri, Gurmukhi and English alphabets whereas in Punjab it is only Shahmukhi (Arabic alphabets). Changing minds is whole different animal; it is a Gorilla if mother tongue issue is a monkey.

Uday Mar 05, 2016 06:02am

Sir, Very interesting and good subject for present young generation in South East Asian Countries in particular Pakistani Youngsters. When I was young, I too resisted to learn English and realized later the importance and put lot of effort to learn the language at later date. Now I am leading good and comfortable life and thinking to do some social service in India. Pakistan needs people like you to up lift their standard of living. Thanks for such a good thought provoking article and thanks to dawn for publishing such a good article.

Cyrus Mar 05, 2016 06:31am

One thing is certain. English is not a remnant of British colonialism. When the Americans and the British (with their colonial troops) won World War II - English became the world's dominant language replacing both French and German. It has gone on to become the language of international business and the internet. English is a dynamic language adopted by many around the world as a second language. One thing America can be blamed for is the internet and the spread of the English language. In China, two businessmen, a Hokkein speaker and a Mandarin speaker, can't understand each other so they might speak English. The same for many Africans who don't speak each other's mother tongues. English is a reality. People who speak English can become bilingual in Urdu if they want to.

Law of Cause and Effect Mar 05, 2016 06:43am

"Change can happen only when education is seen as a means for opening minds rather than an instrument of ideological control. " Thanks for this profound line.

AS they say: mind is like a parachute, it is only good when it is open!

Law of Cause and Effect Mar 05, 2016 06:45am

Not language, but MIND is the cause and effect is the condition we are in.

It is always cause and effect, no matter how you look at it.

Satt Mar 05, 2016 07:04am

Pakistan's problem is not Urdu,Pakistan's problem is politics and politicizing everything.

Mirza Arshad Ali Baig Mar 05, 2016 07:11am

When Quaid Azam said in Dhaka that Urdu will be the national language of Pakistan, it showed his vision, far-sightedness, courage and rational thinking. A few years ago one of my Indian friend's father called me to translate his Nikah Naama into English. He was married in Kolkata, India in 1962. I said it must be in Hindi or Bengali and I can't read either of the scripts. He said, no. it is in Urdu and that all their religious and court work was done in Urdu even after many years of partitio. Urdu was a language that made a link between different nationalities, provinces and regions of the Sub-continent especially Muslim majority areas where Urdu was used alongside the local language including what later became Bangla Desh. continues...

Mirza Arshad Ali Baig Mar 05, 2016 07:13am

Continues....The fault lies with the followers and the so-called leaders who came later. They did ot promote Urdu due to their prejudices and inferiority complex towards English. If they had translated the technological advancements and trade terminology from English and other languages into Urdu and provide the needed training to the public Pakistan would be like China or Japan and doing technological advancements in Urdu. These folks in their inferiority complex for Western civilization and English language want the 200 million people to think and learn in English. A person best learns and creates in his/her mother tongue only. I have been in the IT in USA for last 40 years and I have wintnesed the best computer programmers come from Russia and China some of whom can't speak a correct phrase in English. They have no inferiority complex and are best software developers.

Khan Mar 05, 2016 07:20am

There is no spoken urdu or even written urdu left in any medium. From Talk shows to news to politics. No one can speak one full sentence in urdu. It has to be mixed with english words to send the message across. For example, in the recent PSl themes and tv adds: Instead of " It's now or Never" It's Now or khabi nahi. Or "leave it abhi" And the JS Bank add was the funniest mixture of English and Urdu. And read this add...written all in English..." Diamond ka supreem no.1 quality foam" . Was there really a need of urdu "ka" to make it complete? So, to be honest with you Urdu is gone with the wind, except, if one would really try hard to write songs or poetry in it. Other than that it cannot be used as a medium in schools or colleges. It is very limited in its scope. And a really good example of it is our national Anthem. Again there is only one "Ka" which is Urdu. The rest is all Persian.

Zak Mar 05, 2016 07:21am

Not all need to learn English, general population should be educated in urdu only , elite schools should be setup for privileged few and oxford education should be provided for them, these students who are educated based on western model should be selected for foreign service and other fields which need western education.

Maleeha Mar 05, 2016 07:25am

Excellent piece of Article ! I just want to ask a single question if you want Urdu as a sole official language ,then kindly convert all medical and engineering ,law books in urdu...Sigh! Why we can't understand the simple logic that Power dictates the world....When There was ottoman power in rule ,they dictated rules now ,when world order has changed ,we have to accept the reality that if we don't go for education in English we will be far beyond. Urdu should be mandatory along with Enlish. Once we make a place in world through our inventions and innovations ,believe me it will be us dictating world rules.The thing is to concentrate on undiscovered things and go for vast knowledge which will help in making a world better place for living :)

M M AMIN (Old Ravian) Mar 05, 2016 07:44am

Prof.P.H. has given a reasonably accurate survey of this festering issue . He has avoided to narrate the language debate has played a divisive role thus far . Its the English language that has gained followers ,over time ,while Urdu has lost :more and more schools have gone English medium ,even though their "English" quality is pathetic .He has rightly lamented the" Authority" of teacher has been a huge factor in the deterioration of the quality of teaching .

Logic Mar 05, 2016 08:30am

@Satt : And Urdu is a part of the political problem specially for higher science based studies.

Insaaf Mar 05, 2016 08:56am

Show me an advanced country that has progressed on a foreign language.

brr Mar 05, 2016 09:26am

The real issue is how best to let children have an open mind during their formative years and how best to make them curious enough to learn on their own, whatever language they happen to choose.

Now, you can blame incompetent teachers for all ills too, but what about parents who are as close minded as the teachers if not more. How about parents who care more about their children's afterlife than their ability to earn a living through hard work and their intelligence?

The parents are the real culprits.

Silajit Mar 05, 2016 09:46am

@Insaaf The United States of America, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, South Africa as examples of English. All of Latin America including Brazil, Argentina which may not be as progressed as the first list but are far ahead of where South Asia is.

sharath chandra Mar 05, 2016 10:08am


Kittu Mar 05, 2016 10:13am

English is the best gift to subcontinent from British. Accept it. We will have competitive edge in the world. India tried to impose Hindi, but was resisted in the South. So English stayed and thrived. Two language policy works better, Mother tongue and English. For Pakistan, Urdu is not the mother tongue of any province, yet it is the national language. Pakistan should adopt three language policy then. Mother tongue, Urdu and English.

Shair Ali Mar 05, 2016 10:16am

Well played.................!

A. Friend Mar 05, 2016 10:17am

What about the native languages of Pakistan like Punjabi, Sindhi, Baluchi, and Pushto?

wellwisher Mar 05, 2016 10:19am

over 68 yrs after independence, the subject should have become irrelevant.

Rohit Mar 05, 2016 10:19am

There is a lesson to be learnt from India where people are free to learn their own mother tongue along with English as a connecting language.....

seeker Mar 05, 2016 10:25am

English is still the language of knowledge. On the other hand Urdu is a beautiful language that needs to be preserved. It's wrong to link Urdu to a religion. There are several Hindu people who have worked hard to popularize Urdu in India. Even Shiv Sena fielded a noted Marathi author in election who was fluent in Urdu and was a great lover of the language. There are several classes in Mumbai alone that teach Urdu to people who originate from diverse parts of India. These people are typically lovers of literature and pe-dominantly Hindus. Lets' not misuse this beautiful language to create religious divide.

Cool Monk Mar 05, 2016 10:28am

@Insaaf Many many countries - USA, Australia, Canada, NZ, Singapore. While Scandinavian countries have their local languages, they are excellent in English.

Ahmed Mar 05, 2016 10:43am

Beautifully argued. The crux is education should be vehicle of " Opening mind ". Memorizing is " Closing the mind " of students. Education has never been a priority of rulers. And when rulers and elected reps are fake degree holders , will they ever heed to saner voices of society , like yours ? Human resource development requires investment and Govt is already $70 billion in debt. Lavish living , incompetency and corrupt practices are the hallmarks of rulers. Hope civil society aggressively pursues Education reforms.

Sunil Mar 05, 2016 10:52am

@Muslim Medina Who said Urdu was the basis of creation of Pakistan? Complete wrong. And more over its not a common language of Pakistan.Its only an official language.

Feroz Mar 05, 2016 11:04am

When a foreign Ideology can be adopted why so much fuss about adopting an foreign language ? The problems confronting Pakistan whether in Education or elsewhere all stem from this Ideology, language being a secondary though emotional issue.

Larkanavi Mar 05, 2016 11:08am

"The real enemy of education in Pakistan is a regressive mindset, not language or financial resources" and "A parrot singing in Urdu or Sindhi understands no more than one who sings in English". These two sentences sum up ,beautifully, the entire argument of this article.

Apoorv Swarup Mar 05, 2016 11:09am

I sitting in India find the entire point of a national language slightly ludicrous especially when our geographical entity as a nation encompasses such vast diversity in culture, traditions and obviously language. India officially has 22 scheduled languages! Our currency note too has the denomination stated in 18 languages! Most states keep English as the second language and thus most educated Indians on an average know 3 languages or more. i have had the fortune of knowing a sikh gentleman whose Malayalam was probably more fluent and melodious than most of my friends from kerala. Diversity is meant to be embraced, uniformity can never be enforced.

shashi Mar 05, 2016 11:21am


Gauhar Mar 05, 2016 11:31am

@Insaaf Even Urdu is also a foreign language for Pakistan. Pakistan's native language is Punjabi, Sindhi, Baloch and Pashto.

Rustom E Hind Mar 05, 2016 11:44am

@Insaaf Show me an advanced country that has progressed on a foreign language.

there are many usa, australia, newzealand, s Africa, Canada, ect ect many European countries like Nordic countries speak English along with native language

rising power like china has so many schools just to teach English , English teacher are being importated even from india there remember English speaking hongkong is more developed the mainland chaina even india a developing country is growing bec of English in india we have reached a understanding , 3 languages English, hindi and state language and we are happy

Mustafa R. Mar 05, 2016 11:49am


India is not a good analogy for us, India does not have a language as evolved as Urdu nor Pakistan has as many languages as India.

Mustafa R. Mar 05, 2016 11:53am


Depends on when you choose as the starting point of history, we don't know what language was spoken in Moenjo Daro and Harappa.

Syed M Nazim Mar 05, 2016 11:56am

Urdu is taking root in Pakistan because it has not been forced. Now it is understood in every corner and means of communication between ethnic groups. It will slowly replace English in offices too. In schools both Urdu and English should go side by side. Early learning in language children are used to, middle learning in Urdu and English and higher learning in English. As author says schools and teachers should develop reason, curiosity and interest in subject a child is learning.

Latif M Mar 05, 2016 12:03pm

@Muslim Medina I don't which world you live in, but I've attended Pakistani hosted events in English, in Toronto and Istanbul.

MindShare Mar 05, 2016 12:13pm

I agree that we need pluralistic language approach including mother language, Urdu, and English. This will pave way for kids to learn fast using mother language, Urdu will keep them in touch with their culture and religious literature and English is undoubtedly a universal language for technology learning.

Aroon Mar 05, 2016 12:27pm

Making a single language an identity of a nation is frivolous. Mother tongue is dear to people's heart. That must be respected, else they will rebel. Countries like Pakistan, India, Bangladesh needs roti, kapda and makhaan for the millions of poors. People should be thought to be practical so that they learn those languages that will bring about business and prosperity for themselves and the nation. To run the country we need official languages (more than one), encourage this at country and local level. People should learn languages not because it is forced on them but because they love to learn the language. While we all despise our colonial past, English has opened us to the modern science and technology and so many job opportunities. Chinese may become the English of the future. When that happens we should teach our kids Chinese.

Dr. Siddiqui Mar 05, 2016 12:37pm

Pakistan's problem is not Urdu, rather continuation of Lord Macaulay's education system!

Chris Roberts Mar 05, 2016 12:37pm

The early school-going years are the best for becoming fluent in another language. Relatives living in Quebec first put their children in French schools and now they are fluently bilingual (French /English). Many English-speaking parents in the rest of Canada choose French immersion programmes for their children, and in Ottawa, French is now being introduced in kindergarten. This could well be a model for Pakistan, so that students will have a good knowledge of English which is indispensible in today's world. Of course, it goes without saying that this reqires teachers who have proper English language skills, which should be part of their training.

shahid Mar 05, 2016 12:41pm

@M. Emad How many Chinese, Russian, Italian, Spanish, Farsi, Arabic, Hindi, Swedish, German, Japanese, Dutch, Danish, Greek, have gotten Nobel prizes?

Shakeel Ahmed Mar 05, 2016 12:46pm

Sir, you have very eloquently described that it is not the language one chooses as a medium that matters but "The real enemy of education in Pakistan is a regressive mindset, not language or financial resources. Critical thinking is actively discouraged, memorisation is encouraged."

Added to our woes, in addition to memorization, is the audience at large watching and trusting presenters and guests who appear on TV chat shows.

Kamal Gupta Mar 05, 2016 12:46pm

You have pointed out the discouragement of Critical Thinking. That is a problem in many developing and backward countries, and is encouraged by rulers who dislike being questioned.

shahid Mar 05, 2016 12:51pm

@Rustom E Hind

But do the Chinese and Japanese use English for general education at all levels? Do the Germans, Turks, Iranians, Arabs, French, Russians, French and many others do so? Learning English to read material in English is fine and that is what quite a few countries in the world do. But to force it on their KG to College education system is rare. Einstein wrote is works on relativity in German and one can give dozens of other examples. Only those who do not have science, engineering and technology backgrounds forward silly arguments in support of using ENglish at all levels of education.

Asif Ali Mar 05, 2016 12:51pm

For Pakistan, Urdu is not the mother tongue of any province,Is it suitable for modern science and computer technology, Only english can help us to free from religious fanaticism.

tauqeer Mar 05, 2016 12:56pm

nations are built up on commonalities and qualities, so at least one and same language is must for education and learning purposes.

Agrippa - The Skeptic Mar 05, 2016 01:00pm

@Mustafa R. : ... India does not have a language as evolved as Urdu ... Try looking at Bengali, Malayalam, Tamil, Kannada, Punjabi and Hindi literature, you will find all have a higher number of publications - one measure of the evolution of a language - annually than Urdu combined across the world.

Agrippa - The Skeptic Mar 05, 2016 01:02pm

@Zak :"Not all need to learn English, general population should be educated in urdu only , elite schools should be setup for privileged few and oxford education should be provided for them, these students who are educated based on western model should be selected for foreign service and other fields which need western education." Now this is a very original thought on nation building! Why didn't anyone think of it earlier.

Salim Mar 05, 2016 01:07pm

I think we should abolish urdu. After all we see on TV all the dramas show mostly everybody speaking English and Urdu is just used to connect those words. Everybody seems to be embarassed to speak urdu. Speaking Urdu without using few words of English in each sentence is considered a sign of an educated person otherwise you are considered illiterate or jahil. What if the esteemed writer had made the same arguments in China to people who choose to speak chinese and have developed quite well without much help of English language. And yes they are rightfully very proud of this fact. Shouldnt we be ?

Pune-India Mar 05, 2016 01:09pm

URDU's whole grammar is Hindi...whereas words are Turkish, Persian and Arabic...In India Urdu speaker are 25 crore (Indian Muslim population)

Ahmad Mar 05, 2016 01:11pm

Good article indeed! Learning english is a dire need of time for vying with the outer world . Writer is right that other countries pursue bilingual or trilingual policies .why does not pakistan take this step in managing this problem? Those who raise the slogan that the rhetoric of urdu as national as well as official language is a panacea of all the problems of education in pakistan ,are hyperbolizing the issue .it is high time state worked for creating critical minds and developing rational apporach rather than memorising nuts . Solution of all problems lie in developing rationalism and postivism.

Samir Mar 05, 2016 01:18pm

@M. Emad Why seek affirmation from the West?

Shankar Mar 05, 2016 01:21pm

@M. Emad So what ? It is nothing to do with URDU

Sajida Mar 05, 2016 01:22pm

English open world. It is also business language, so important

Mahmood Mar 05, 2016 01:25pm

@M. Emad So, Neither have Gujrati, Sawahali, African, Pushto, Zulu, Hebrew or Dari writers, etc. etc...

So what's your point??

Abbas Mar 05, 2016 01:38pm

This is an excellent article by one of the few intellectuals Pakistan is proud to have produced. Thank you Prof Hoodbhoy ji.

One aspect that I feel lacking is the role and importance of preschool education that is generally carried out (or not) at home. Researches have demonstrated beyond doubt that the learning that happens in the first two to five years of a child's life more of less determine their mental abilities for the rest of life. In Pakistan and I believe many other countries those years of a child's life are criminally neglected. Mind's capabilities are hard wired in those early years. The best people to engage with a child in those years are parents who, in Pakistan, speak with a child in a language alien to them, hence no good expressions, vocabulary, wisdom, critical approach, etc is modeled at that stage.

This makes a strong case for using mother language with a child in the early years. A language that a mother and father can effectively communicate in.

Thanks again.

Utpal Mar 05, 2016 01:41pm

@Insaaf : But Urdu is also a foreign language for any Pakistani as it was originated in India.

MAK Mar 05, 2016 01:42pm

Dr Hoodbhoy is absolutely right. Regressive repressive assumptive rote attitudes are the real bane , urdu as a general day to day language is fine but english remains language of the globe of which we are active part

Sr Mar 05, 2016 01:45pm

@Mustafa R. India does not have a language as evolved as Urdu? Just one south Indian language Tamil is more than 2000years old has more literature work used till today. Search for Thirukural for instance to come out of illusion. Even Urdu was in present day India.

Allauddin Mahsud Mar 05, 2016 01:46pm

Very good piece of writing. But the conclusion is a little vague which needs confident debating. Education for opening mind or education for ideological control? If it is ideological control than what does it mean and most importantly who mean it? This part of the argument has never been ventured to be challenged. There is nothing wrong with English or Urdu malicious intentions exclusive.

Sr Mar 05, 2016 01:48pm

@Agrippa - The Skeptic well said. The love for Urdu language is more political and hence more emotional in nature. Reality is all regional languages flourishing in India whereas it is otherwise in Pakistan.

Sr Mar 05, 2016 01:51pm

@Sr I meant even Urdu as language evolved more in present day India than in Pakistan. It is in India where there is environment for languages to evolve and flourish. Urdu can be main language bit should not be at cost of other languages

Rohit Mar 05, 2016 01:56pm

I sitting in India find the entire point of a national language slightly ludicrous especially when our geographical entity as a nation encompasses such vast diversity in culture, traditions and obviously language. India officially has 22 scheduled languages! Our currency note too has the denomination stated in 18 languages! Most states keep English as the second language and thus most educated Indians on an average know 3 languages or more. i have had the fortune of knowing a sikh gentleman whose Malayalam was probably more fluent and melodious than most of my friends from kerala. Diversity is meant to be embraced, uniformity can never be enforced.@Apoorv Swarup

Very well put Apoorv......its a pleasure to travel through India and admire the various languages/dialects spoken, really fills one with pride

Rohit Mar 05, 2016 02:05pm

@Mustafa R. India does not have a language as evolved as Urdu? Just one south Indian language Tamil is more than 2000years old has more literature work used till today. Search for Thirukural for instance to come out of illusion. Even Urdu was in present day India.@Sr

Well said and it is so much fun to know a few words from different languages so when you meet the native speakers you can bring job to them by surprising them.......Some little pleasures of life that one can get only in India

Roshan Ali shah Mar 05, 2016 02:10pm

You are right Sir that Change can happen only when education is seen as a means for opening minds rather than an instrument of ideological control. It is the practice of the governance system of the country to open unnecessary debates over petty issues create conflicts in the society. Live , avail their privileges and rule easily while keeping the common masses in darkness. We are living in dark-age where there is only one debate that all the problems could be resolved through the practice of theocracy.

sky Mar 05, 2016 02:12pm

I strongly support Dr.hoodbohy because there has been quite bit research of cognitive development of learning through media of mother language in USA as well as in Europe ,specially Germany. Rote learning takes a lot of memory of the brain and doesnot give the perception and hence its perception that brings the ultimate reasoning faculty of mind. unfortunately both in india and Pakistan , we have huge gap of giving quality primary education to the masses. primary education needs to be given focus and far more teacher's training are the answer for better learning to secondary education

Abbas Mar 05, 2016 02:14pm

A correction to my earlier comment...

It is actually first five years of a child life (and not two to five).

rashid Mar 05, 2016 02:20pm

If Japan, China and other European countries are successful in their national languages and economically and technologically powerful than so we can also be. Urdu hai jis ka naam hum hee jaan te hain Daagh, ke saray jahaan mein churcha humaree zubaan ka hai.

Ahmad Mar 05, 2016 02:27pm

Good article indeed .

A Student Mar 05, 2016 02:46pm

Urdu is the only language that works for people from North to South and east to west, if some one is thinking differently means not aware of ground reality. For example, most of the members of parliament can't speake English. The National language must be officials language as well...

Ghosh Mar 05, 2016 02:48pm

@IFTIKHAR KHAN : I like your comment very much.

Sat Goel Mar 05, 2016 03:29pm

Well researched article as always from this author.

Rahul Mar 05, 2016 03:42pm

Believe me Pakistan's problem is not Urdu. In fact Urdu is an asset to Pakistan, and as far as I can see one language throughout greatly simplifies administration.

Another Indian Mar 05, 2016 03:45pm

@Zak ... You sir, have simply blown my mind with that spectacular suggestion. Your idea, if implemented, will take Pakistan to new "levels" in no time.

SUNIL Mar 05, 2016 03:49pm

@Muslim Medina

It is a contradiction that your reply is not in Urdu.

Shahid Mar 05, 2016 04:00pm

Ability to read alone is not learning. It is genuine comprehension what is read. That is why at an early stage of any child, mother tongue is the most suitable language for education. Because it sows seeds of comprehension, 'reasoning' becomes natural for such confident and educated individual. Adopt the mother languages in respective provinces for success and real progress of this country through truly educated class of children.

KARACHI WALA Mar 05, 2016 04:39pm

Dr. Saheb you have put too much on the plate for a nation resisting to learn. With an advance apology, I would like to amend your last sentence as follow:

Change can happen only when education is seen as a means for opening minds rather than closing.

Munir Ahmad Kakar Mar 05, 2016 04:51pm

Excellent as always.

Farouq Omaro Mar 05, 2016 05:01pm

Urdu is the only language used throughout the sub-continent. It is a lingua franca throughout Pakistan and has native speakers as far south as Tamil Nadu. Both English and Urdu are important, English also belongs to South Asia as Indo-Pak languages also contributed to English.

BRILLIANT LOGIC Mar 05, 2016 05:18pm

Urdu is the state language of Jammu and Kashmir...and down south, the Tamil people who are very proud (and rightfully so) of their rich ancient language have allowed their government to establish a "Urdu Academy" which has been functional for many years now.

Fawzia H Mar 05, 2016 05:19pm

Urdu was imposed upon Pakistan. There should have been a referendum asking people to choose. There are 1.5 billion people who speak English of which only 375 thousand are native speakers. This means that the amount of publications in every subject are geared to the largest audience. In contrast there are a minuscule amount of books published in Urdu. Successive Pakistani governments are making the same mistake of not giving English the importance it needs in our educational system.

Mrs. Phannay Khan Mar 05, 2016 05:24pm

@Muslim Medina Urdu was the basis of creation of Pakistan? It wasn't even the first language of majority of Pakistani populace in 1947! Nor it still is. Whilst I appreciate your love for Urdu but when teaching your kids please do not distort historical facts.

Shakir Ansari Mar 05, 2016 05:41pm

@Zak In European countries education is in their own language not in English. For education there is no class for elite. All are in same line. They do not distinct them. You may translate Oxford books in your own language and educate. You may carry research work in your own language.

Mustafa R. Mar 05, 2016 06:02pm

@Agrippa - The Skeptic;

'Try looking at Bengali, Malayalam, Tamil, Kannada, Punjabi and Hindi literature'

Tell me if any of these languages have created a Ghalib, an Iqbal or a Mir Anees? I have read some of the English translation of Tagore, believe me he is no Iqbal or Ghalib.

Shakir Ansari Mar 05, 2016 06:07pm

@Mustafa R. have your gone through Rabindra Naath Thakur (Tagore) Chitterjee and many like them.

Real Issue Mar 05, 2016 06:08pm

Urdu is a dialect of Hindi. Just some sanskrit words have been replaced with persian / arabic words from Hindi.

R S Chakravarti Mar 05, 2016 06:13pm

Prof. Hoodbhoy is obviously right: there is no substitute for critical thinking. I spent my academic career trying to make MSc mathematics students at an Indian university think and reason but their past (BSc in affiliated colleges) experience got in the way and I mostly failed. Most students try to memorise their textbooks!

However, language is also an important issue. Maybe Pakistan could benefit from a 3 language formula: first the local language, then Urdu and finally English. I presume that the script would be the same for the first two. If Swiss children can learn their 3 languages perfectly, and also speak English well, why can't others do it? Of course it requires good planning and careful implementation.

R S Chakravarti Mar 05, 2016 06:15pm

@M. Emad That doesn't mean that none deserved it (pure speculation).

Brar Mar 05, 2016 06:23pm

@IFTIKHAR KHAN Sir here in Indian Panjab , Panjabi is not written in Devnagri or Roman but Gurmukhi only , please correct your self/

R S Chakravarti Mar 05, 2016 06:27pm

@Mustafa R. The language of the Indus Valley civilisation is not relevant now, just as the various American Indian tribal languages are not of much use to ordinary Americans.

Real Indian Mar 05, 2016 06:28pm

Whenever I read articles of Dr. Hoodbhoy, I feel very sad. One can see how much he values education/learning and feels restless to make his countrymen understand its importance. But how many people really understand and appreciate what he says? There is a Sanskrit saying - a king is respected in his kingdom but a learned man is respected everywhere. Learning means gaining knowledge - knowledge of various physical as well as metaphysical subjects. One needs to develop sharp analytical mind to separate valuable from junk material in every field. When society stops valuing learning and knowledge, the society starts its downfall. Dr. Hoodbhoy can see that happening in front of his eyes and it is hard for a person like him who values real learning.

R S Chakravarti Mar 05, 2016 06:33pm

@shahid China and Japan each have a single language known to the vast majority. In Einstein's time, German was far more important for maths and science than English. This was ended by Hitler.

By the way, China is trying to annihilate the Tibetan language and culture. It is not an example to emulate.

Keti Zilgish Mar 05, 2016 06:40pm

Free education at all levels (primary, secondary, etc) of all generations should be available in any language.

Raj Mar 05, 2016 06:41pm

I am from India living in the US and can speak 5 languages including Urdu and enjoy it. I learnt all these as a kid and still switch easily between all the five. The point being you can learn a lot as a child and make it enjoyable and not a chore.

R S Chakravarti Mar 05, 2016 06:45pm

I would like to add one point to my first post. Critical thinking, it seems to me, requires familiarity with the language being used (although familiarity is certainly not sufficient). This is probably an important reason why excellence is rare in most Indian universities (the situation is different in Centrally funded institutes). So early education in the mother tongue, as well as good training in English, are both important.

Asad Mar 05, 2016 06:47pm

Although I agree that adopting Urdu alone cannot raise the standard of education.

But, it will surely raise the ability to understand things much better at an early age, and bring national harmony, and decelerate elitism backed by English.

One of the fundamental criteria to get into Civil Service is to have excellent English writing skills. This automatically filters out majority of excellent individuals lacking English skills.

All public communications must be in Urdu, and English should only be taught as a foreign language.

Syed S Salam Mar 05, 2016 07:01pm

While I agree with Dr. Hoodbhoy on the points he enlists to support his central message, that language is not our core problem, I disagree with his contention that “early learning happens fastest in the mother tongue”. The concept of mother tongue has no meaning really in multiethnic societies like North America. I know of a Ukrainian mother and a Dutch father in Toronto, Canada (where I live), whose kids ‘first language’ is English. There are hundreds of millions of people all over the world who don’t speak a word of their parents’ native languages. In fact the majority of people in North America have roots in Europe and Africa; today they have zero connection to Polish or German or Italian or Swahili. They all speak English. Dr. Hoodbhoy rightly points to the dominance of the English language in global communication. My own view is that we continue to speak our regional languages ; with Urdu serving as a link language, so that people from different parts of the country can understand one another and use English as an official language.

Usher Mar 05, 2016 07:05pm

@Mirza Arshad Ali Baig The same thing I have noticed about Italian engineers. Many of them very sound engineers but no English at all.

US Mar 05, 2016 07:22pm

It's not that complicated. Make English, Urdu, and the local language (Punjabi, Sindhi, Pushto, Balochi...) all the "official" languages of Pakistan and allow every kid to be able to learn 3 languages.

Talha Mar 05, 2016 07:27pm

I am very anxious to teach Urdu to my kids. It is, literally, the glue holding our nation together and it happens to be a beautiful language which is far more logical and consistent in its grammar than English, despite being a melting pot of several languages.

Incidentally, I am watching as my toddlers grapple with the glaring inconsistencies in English and I think to myself: they shouldn't have to do this. They shouldn't be spending this much time in trying to learn what is inherently illogical.

Yawar Mar 05, 2016 07:27pm

It is disheartening that unlike in the rest of the world, English is losing its ground in Pakistan. The medium for the most prominent research and the internet is English. If we want to improve in science and technology, we will need to make English compulsory in our schools. The Japanese and South Koreans, for whom English does not come easy, have done it. So why cant we?

Talha Mar 05, 2016 07:29pm

Many of the most prosperous nations in the world are doing well precisely because of having their most popular language as the official language and sticking to their religious and sociological roots, In other words, we don't need to abandon Urdu and our religious orientation in order to progress, we need to embrace them wholeheartedly. No nation has ever progressed by aping and imitating another.

Sr Mar 05, 2016 07:33pm

@Mustafa R. You are too far away to understand these languages. These languages have produced stalwarts since past 2 millenniums. There is a strong cultural history to these languages. You need an open mind to understand linguistic diversity of South asia

ahsan7979 Mar 05, 2016 07:33pm

Lack of justice, not language is the problem of Pakistan.

Sr Mar 05, 2016 07:38pm

@Mustafa R. The fact is every language you have stated has produced it's own legends equivalent to Ghalib etc.

Syed S Salam Mar 05, 2016 07:53pm

@Real Issue There are a lot of similarities in Hindi and Urdu; although they are written in different scripts and as you rightly point out, Urdu has borrowed from Arabic, Persian and Turkish. It was and still is seen as a language of the Muslims of India. Punjabi too is a shared language of Indian and Pakistani Punjabis, with different scripts; and the same is true of Sindhi which is shared by Muslims and Hindus.

rathorew Mar 05, 2016 08:08pm

@noor I second that.

Real Indian Mar 05, 2016 08:43pm

@Farouq Omaro Urdu is the only language used throughout the sub-continent. It is a lingua franca throughout Pakistan and has native speakers as far south as Tamil Nadu. Both English and Urdu are important, English also belongs to South Asia as Indo-Pak languages also contributed to English.

Hindustani/Khadiboli is spoken throughout the subcontinent, not Urdu. Urdu and Hindi are refined versions of it. Hindi has more Sanskrit words whereas Urdu has more Persian words.

@alpha11 Mar 05, 2016 08:43pm

@Insaaf Germans.

Mir Ali Mar 05, 2016 08:49pm

Dr Parvez if you look towards your large eastern neighbour you would find how they have resolved this language conundrum. The best way would be to have a mother tongue, English and Urdu & Arabic for religious purposes. The problem of Pakistan and its economic and social regression lies in education and lack thereof which you have beautifully covered, but also the social aspect like emancipation and empowerment of women which sharmeen obaid has ignited there is one aspect which I would like you to analyse that is the feudal landlords in Pakistan who by their own accord contribute next to nothing but end up exploiting the poor peasants until Pakistan carries out meaningful land reforms, pakistan's socio economic outlook is bleak like the deserts of Thar

Hashmi Mar 05, 2016 08:59pm

Pervez Hoodbhoy I wish right minded people like you, should come on the helm of affairs but unfortunately I am loosing all hopes.

Syed Ahmed Mar 05, 2016 09:03pm

"But even if English is decreed compulsory from the cradle onwards, there is insufficient language teaching capacity to make this work." Even if we wanted to we do not have the capacity to use English as a medium of instruction for all the subjects that are required for study in our schools. There are simply not enough teachers who are fluent in English. Instead we should use Urdu or even Urdu as the language of instruction but at the same time have English as a subject and improve the quality of the English teaching staff.

yaqut khan Mar 05, 2016 09:04pm

I love Urdu.but the higher education should be in English.make Urdu sacompulsory subject upto MA ,MSc,.even for the students of MA English that's how we can protect this language .

R.K.Mohindra Mar 05, 2016 09:14pm

Well said,

R.K.Mohindra Mar 05, 2016 09:27pm

@A. Friend These don't matter to the will of majority.

Mustafa R. Mar 05, 2016 09:37pm


'Just one south Indian language Tamil is more than 2000years old'

I am not talking about how ancient a language is, I am talking about how capable a language is. I am sure Tamil science is also 2000 year old but they use much younger European science. Do they use Newton laws of motion or Swaminathan laws of motion?

Mustafa R. Mar 05, 2016 09:41pm


'Even Urdu was in present day India.'

So what? Sanskrit started in present day Pakistan, what does that prove?

Mustafa R. Mar 05, 2016 09:42pm

@Agrippa - The Skeptic;

At least I know that Urdu is superior to Hindi because it is always the Hindi speakers who claim that Urdu and Hindi are the same language.

BRILLIANT LOGIC Mar 05, 2016 09:44pm

@Mustafa really pities you....if you think other languages of the subcontinent haven't produced a ghalib or only shows your "tamil sangam poems"...especially under "Love" category....and you'll know how for poets have rehashing the same thoughts for over 2000 years.

Nasiroski Mar 05, 2016 09:48pm

@Muslim Medina Your reasons are completely irrelevant to your argument.

R.K.Mohindra Mar 05, 2016 09:50pm

@Mustafa R. Sir, Urdu too is not Pakistani or Muslim or Arabic word. It is derived from Turkish word Ordu. It means a clan .It was spoken in military camps by Turkish solders in India. The word Ordu, has been adopted in English via Russia as Horde. Like horde or clan of people. It has nothing to do with nationalism or spoken only by people who live in a land, called Pakistan. Please read famous book, published in Pakistan ,by a Pakistani writer, Ishtiaq Ahmed. Name of the book- From Hindi to Urdu. Urdu is the same as has been known as Hindustani. Is a language spoken in North India in Mughal and British times. Script is Persian and Arabic, while Verb, nouns/adjectives are a mixture with Devnagri. I would like a good debate on this subject and in only news paper it can happen is - Dawn.

Mustafa R. Mar 05, 2016 09:53pm

@Shakir Ansari;

'have your gone through Rabindra Naath Thakur (Tagore)'

Have been through English translation of some of his poems, particularly the one that won him the Nobel prize. Mind you that the Nobel was given not on the original poen but to it's English translation. After reading the translation I understood Iqbal's shair about the Europeans:: Jo kuch kam ker rahee hain quomain un mea mazaq-e-Sukhan naheen hai.

R.K.Mohindra Mar 05, 2016 09:53pm

@shahid Rabindra Nath Tagore

Sameen Mar 05, 2016 10:07pm

Very true fact.

Sadar Aslam Mar 05, 2016 10:08pm

to know the English meaning of something is called education in Pakistan. one who speaks english seems an educated person and native language speakers will always at the low as compare to english speakers. China is a great example for Pakistanis in every aspect of life. China is leading in every field because she pay attention and regard her language.

R.Kannan Mar 05, 2016 10:08pm

In India also, there has been a concerted effort to force Hindi as the official language. The Constituent assembly narrowly voted in favour of Hindi even as many states (South & East) voted unanimously against Hindi as official language. However, sober leadership realised the need to get people to accept the language voluntarily rather than by force. Anti Hindi agitations in Tamil Nadu in the mid sixties followed further attempts at making Hindi the sole official language. India today typically follows a 3 language policy - Hindi, English & the local language. Thanks to the refusal of Southern India to buckle under the Hindi assault, English survived & India's share in world economy is rising thanks to a large English speaking population. The Southern states lead the IT business & this can be traced directly to English education. Pakistan, probably, needs some people who think not of yesterday but a few decades down the line.

Faiza Abdur Rab Mar 05, 2016 10:13pm

Excellent Article, our priority should be quality education rather than emphasizing on the medium of Content, that definitely means up to date knowledge, independent analytical thinking and the training of accommodating others having different point of views but they are logically proven.The system needs to have space to offer due place for all individuals having minor deficiencies...Right is not always to rule, also give chance to fool.

Simple thinking Mar 05, 2016 10:14pm

Urdu is a language. its up to us which language we spoke in our daily life! We can speak Pashto, Punjabi, Saraiki, Sindhi, Balochi, etc It is a beauty that Pakistan has so many languages. No one is forcing you to speak any language. But because Urdu is spoken in many parts of Pakistan and as well as India and it was decided since the creation of Pakistan that Urdu would be our Mother language, therefore we should learn and speak Urdu. Again it is not necessary..

Amjad Wyne Mar 05, 2016 10:39pm

@Muslim Medina With all due respect, what language do your children use when in school, for their homework and learning, when communicating with non-members of the family that did not have roots in Pakistan, for exploiting tools such as the internet, Google, Facebook etc. etc. Your use of Urdu has a very different purpose - it helps you and your family connect with Pakistan, its culture and the family you left behind. So for those that reside in Pakistan, that are surrounded by Urdu, there is a need to learn and speak English so they can also do everything that you take it for granted while living in Toronto.

Mustafa R. Mar 05, 2016 10:49pm


You need an open mind to understand the beauty of Persian and Arabic, Urdu is a pale reflection of these marvelous languages. More than the vocabulary, what Urdu has gleaned from them is a sense of aesthetics that manifests itself in Urdu Ghazals and other forms of poetry.

Mustafa R. Mar 05, 2016 10:59pm


' The fact is every language you have stated has produced it's own legends equivalent to Ghalib etc. '

Please post a sample of Hindi Ghalib in Roman Hindi like. Please also let me know hot to say Mukarrar Irshad in Hindi.

Mustafa R. Mar 05, 2016 11:11pm

I was expecting such an article from Dr. Sahib.

SachBol Mar 05, 2016 11:47pm

Urdu was a language of bondage and connection among Muslims of pre-partition sub continent. A poet (Iqbal) from western part of sub continent could motivate and inspire Muslims from all the way to east Bihar and Culcutta with his brilliant Urdu couplets. And, it's still true in current Pakistan. People speak their local languages and dialects but they communicate with fellow Pakistanis from other parts with Urdu. So, whatever you say, Urdu is and will always be national language and Pakistan's identity....Period!

Anonymous11 Mar 05, 2016 11:49pm

@shahid, German was the dominant language in scient and technology at that time, only after WWII english replaced german.

Jahanzaib Shoukat Mar 06, 2016 12:19am

Urdu ought to be official language as the argument goes, and luckily we have it as our official language. I wonder that almost every department of Government issues its dictum in both English and Urdu languages just to facilitate the understanding of common person. There is no need for such hysteria that we will be losing our civilisation if we don't come to senses and accepting Urdu. Allow every one of this society to do his/her job in the manner the way he/she desires.

Farhan Mar 06, 2016 12:44am

@Muslim Medina Urdu is not a complete language as it has borrowed many words from Hindi and Farsi. In Pakistan we added arebic to it. Thus Urdu do not have a structured vocabulary.

Secularist Mar 06, 2016 12:54am

@Mustafa R. If I were you, I will not continue digging a deeper well. I happened to read and write five Indian languages and and familiar with original works in each of these languages. They compare well with works of Shakespeare, Sarte, Camu, Neruda, Tennessee Willams, T.S. Eliot.....and yes Ghalib.

Shehryar Mar 06, 2016 12:58am

Ok.. it was written very well. But i'm confused about how religious material present in schools has to do anything with language.

xizer Mar 06, 2016 01:43am

@Insaaf English is the de facto lingua franca. Did you know that in many countries in Europe, University Education is now offered in English? Germany offers scientific education in English (free I believe, for any qualified student from any country!) I know a friend from Poland who was educated in Polish in his own country; his son currently studies at the same medical school he went to, in Poland-the difference is that the son is studying in English!!

Mumtaz Mar 06, 2016 01:45am

Great topic, it has been established that one learns best in the language spoken at home/mother tongue. How much talent in Pakistan has gone to waste when the learner had to learn in English. Nothing against English but we are talking about basic initial primary school learning.

Ataturk of Turkey proved that just by changing the script of the Turkish Language basic reading/writing could be learnt by even grown ups in about 3 years compared to 5 years or so with the old script. Changing of Urdu script should be considered if learning time decreases and it helps to teach basic science etc in Urdu.

Roshan Mar 06, 2016 02:07am

Urdu is another variation of Hindi and is a language of India.

The reason is that Urdu follows Hindi grammar and doesn't have its own grammar. The only thing that makes Urdu different from Hindi is use of arabic and persian words. Urdu has never been a separate language but converts to Islam want to look different from Hindus and that is the reason they think Urdu is Islamic language which it is not.

KJ Mar 06, 2016 02:45am

Let us state some real facts. Urdu, is first and foremost, an Indian language. Urdu was never spoken in the those parts of India, which is now current day Pakistan, or for that matter what is Bangladesh now. This language was imposed upon the people of Pakistan. This situation is no different from the way the Russians forced their language upon the people of the Soviet Union, most of whom never spoke Russian before they became part of the USSR. Having said that, English could have been chosen as national language, but that language was way to foreign, and not historically connected with any parts of India.

Farhat Mahmood Mar 06, 2016 04:38am

Why so called Mohajirs are identified as Urdu speaking. More so in Karachi. Karachi is now more of an international city with Pakistanis living from all four provinces . Also there are many foreigners living in Karachi. I think we should move with times and stop calling Karachites as Urdu speaking people.

Waqas Javed Mar 06, 2016 04:58am

The rational thinking will just make us "Robots", so this critical thinking has its limits. The subjects like history, social sciences are as important as math and biology.

Confused Mar 06, 2016 05:03am

@Satyam Vada Same goes for Hindustani and Sanskrit.

ramesh Kateja Mar 06, 2016 05:25am

@Pune-India not all Muslims in India speak Urdu. Muslims in non Hindi States speak regional languages like Gujarati Tamil Malayalam Bengali etc. In only Hindi hinterland Muslims speak Urdu and dialects. During my numerous visits to Hindi speaking States I find majority of Muslim youth can't read Urdu as vast Muslim majority go to Hindi schools. My estimate is roughly 20 percent Muslims in India read write and speak in Urdu. Because of Islamic tag Urdu is on death bed.

scha Mar 06, 2016 05:32am

@Zak It will be nothing but "education casteism" privileged and underprivileged. Who will decide whether someone is "elite" or not?

Chicago com department Mar 06, 2016 05:39am

Please dont deprive us to have things around us in English. Imagine how low we are in ENglish . Pak is the only country in region which dont have English news channel, while India has 15 English news channel. WHy we have every thing in urdu on media too?

Fried Chillies Mar 06, 2016 06:50am

All good points to go with English the language of modern science, technology and finance. Yet in this day and age when man is thinking of colonizing space we should come up with instant translation software. It would enable any book published in English to be translated into any of the world's language. The world is fantastic because of the variety Urdu and all. Else we are on a slow but firm march to obselence of other languages

A. Khan Mar 06, 2016 07:01am

Says a lot that the constitution of the country is in English.

A. Khan Mar 06, 2016 07:03am

@Muslim Medina : The Muslim gatherings where mostly Pakistani attend are conducted in Urdu. Majority of the Islamic world does not speak Urdu.

I am not against Urdu as I like it as a language. But facts are facts.

Guru Mar 06, 2016 07:03am

@Pune-India Bollywood is presenting Hindi as Urdu!

Neutral Observer Mar 06, 2016 08:07am

@Khan Urdu is a great language; I have deep respect for Urdu. However, I don’t think that it was at all a wise decision to make Urdu and only Urdu as the national language of Pakistan. The nation was then at its infancy, it was more important at that stage to keep the people united and build institutions. If this debate was not initiated at that stage things could have been different. Many countries in the world have more than one language as their national language. Language is also an instrument of domination. As a former East Pakistani, I always felt the leadership of the country failed to realize that unity by taking everyone on board was the best option. They had instead encouraged and patronized dominance of a one ethnic group over the others.

saz Mar 06, 2016 08:10am

Fair and critical thinking is important.

SBS Mar 06, 2016 08:23am

Language is nothing but the means of expression of our work.It expresses our way of life,living style,our own character.I think english developed because they worked hard in vast field on the other hand our thiking was limited only to mere enjoyment and we have only sorties and poems etc. at the name of language.A language in incompetent if it does not have real issues involved.

AbbasToronto Mar 06, 2016 08:25am

Jinnah was far-sighted. Bengalis disagreed so 1971 split was inevitable.

In 1982 lecture on "zaban aur khat ka jadaliati rishta” I explored the merits of the Arabic script. In 1989 on “Comparative Analysis of Pakistan and Israel” I advanced that those with a “mixed” language fare better than “pure” ones.

Psycho-linguistics Sapir-Whorf went nowhere, and Chomsky’s Meta-Language theory is gathering dust. But human thinking is language specific.

Mixed languages outperform others - English in Europe, Japanese in east Asia. Urdu - army language has a wider base than Hindi, Bengali. Cursive is a mix of picto-systemic and alphabet-atomistic, still lending to machine manipulation.

1947 laggard China surpassed India by avoiding two-classes that English created in Indo-Pak.

The writer ably states that natural laws are best learnt in native language. Pak/Indians educated back home do well in the West, upto a ceiling that they hit. Middle class existence is the best they reach.

Shazad Mar 06, 2016 08:50am

For most Pakistanis, language does not matter, neither it should. But those who want to rule Pakistan using sham-democracy, use all tools to exploit people for their votes ... and their tools are language, provincialism, culture, ethnicity, water, resources, jobs, etc, etc, etc.

Insaaf Mar 06, 2016 09:03am

2 reasons why countries do not progress on a foreign language : 1. Only a tiny fraction of the population which speaks that foreign language will participate in the scientific discourse. The country loses the intellectual power of several millions of its citizens who cannot participate thus. 2. Other than emotional thoughts (love, rage etc) the language of thinking is the language of your childhood (the time when "hard wiring" of the brain occurs). Consequently you think in one language and translate your ideas to another, perhaps losing a lot in the process (controversial subject, google it to read more). By native language, I mean language that is spoken by majority of the country which is often the language learnt in early childhood. Hence English is the native language of USA, Canada, Australia etc. No harm in a country being bi-lingual. But then teach both languages to 100% of your population if you want to take advantage of their collective brain power.

Insaaf Mar 06, 2016 09:06am

@@alpha11 : Schooling as well as scientific subjects at University level (including Medicine) are taught in German in Germany.

nomi Mar 06, 2016 09:10am

Urdu should be given due respect, but why should a punjabi, pashtun, baloch, sindhi, kashmiri, gilgiti or a seraiki, sacrifice his language?

This is not how it should be.

Sridhar Mar 06, 2016 09:57am

@Kittu In India, 2 language policy is: mother tongue and English. Hindi is understood at conversational level but in South India learning it in school is not compulsory.

Devi Mar 06, 2016 09:59am

Growing up in India,every academic year we had two courses in our mother tongue and rest in English. Learned to read and write Hindi in high school. Now my language of communication in workplace is English, appreciate literature, music and movies of my mother toungue and enjoy Bollywood too.

kashif Mar 06, 2016 10:29am

My country i.e India,is an ocean of cultures ,traditions and languages.our national language hindi binds us togather and english makes this bond stronger.we embrace our diversity,we are proud of it.

Bharat Mar 06, 2016 10:39am

English is global language, not a colonial language anymore. In globalised economy, a language of communication was required and English has fulfilled this requirement. Best and latest works in Science, maths, literature etc. is available in english that plays critical role in shaping young minds in today's webisd world. Indian languages like urdu, bengali, hindi etc. are local dialects that are required for fast grasping at younger age. It is globally accepted that multi-lingual kids have better mental abilities. Sanskrit is our ancient and mother of all languages, which introduces our 5000 years old heritage. It is great to introduce it to kids, which devlops a sense in kids how all languages are basically similar and originated from one single source language. We south asians should be considered highly privileged that we have inherited so much language diversity and respect as it is. Associating language with religion is nothing but a concept of sick minds.

abdi Mar 06, 2016 10:52am

i agree with writer but not at all ,before entering in detail we should define language , language is not a simple source of communication amonge the people but it represent the culture , beliefs and values of a nation and transmit these vital element of nation to next generation , it joint us from our glory past. secondly we should see the case in broad sphere. for example , see this issue from glottalization and soft power point of views. dear writer though old means of slaving a nation like using carrot and stick is not useful in modern era but new means has taken place, i request you review again the issues like glottalization and soft power . "education for culture continue or change . third quadi Azam also aware of modern world and important of language in international relationship .

Bharat Mar 06, 2016 10:53am

@Gauhar Very good point...... In fact, one of our Tamil leaders argued the same, when requested to learn Hindi- "Why should my kids learn Hindi that will connect only to northen India, why not english, which will connect my kids to the World? Both are foreign languages for me." Then, compromise was reached that Kids will learn 3 languages, One mother tongue, one Hindi or regional language or Sanskrit (mother of all language) and English-International language. This is called 3-language formula and played critical part in development of Indian intellect of its own.

Saif Mar 06, 2016 11:10am

Why being pro Urdu is automatically anti English? A european kid learns at least 3 languages (his mother tongue, English and a third compulsory language of his choice). Either we are too lazy to learn any other language than English or we associate backwadness to it. I am afraid, the latter is the case. Learning languages adds to one's social competence. There is nothing backward about it.

Bharat Mar 06, 2016 11:22am

@Real Indian Correct... lingual problems of Pakistan are not of language but of script. Hindi, Urdu, Bengali, Sindhi, Pashto, Tamil, malyalam and many other Indian languages are intermixed languages using each other's vocabulary unknowingly and having common words from sanskrit, persian, arabic etc. also. If we agree on common most prevalent script like devnagri for all Indian sub-continent languages, problem shall be solved to a great extent.

Tariq Mar 06, 2016 11:44am

@kashif North south divide is so evident!

Mohammad Mar 06, 2016 12:02pm

@Sunil Its the lingua franca of Pakistan.. accept it..

Mohammad Mar 06, 2016 12:05pm

@Utpal Wasn't Pakistan a part of India earlier when Urdu was born? So how can it be a foreign language?

Mohammad Mar 06, 2016 12:06pm

@Farhan Do you know how many words English has borrowed from other languages?

Mohammad Mar 06, 2016 12:08pm

@Rahul Agreed complately!

Mustafa R. Mar 06, 2016 12:12pm


'Urdu too is not Pakistani or Muslim or Arabic word. It is derived from Turkish word Ordu.'

By the time Urdu was born all Turks had been Muslims for several centuries. Turk is actually short for Turko-Mongolian or what Indians know as Moghuls and they were all Muslims.

Indus Mar 06, 2016 12:28pm

@Tariq divisions are always evident. It's the commonalities that the wise see which overcomes them.

Mustafa R. Mar 06, 2016 12:53pm


If you had a word for Tahzeeb in your language you would know that you don't make personal attacks in a logical argument.

Ali Mar 06, 2016 01:06pm

Can somebody upload that documentary to youtube mentioned in the start?


Vik Mar 06, 2016 01:09pm

@Mustafa R. as evolved as Urdu? Have you read literature of any other languages?

Khwarezmi Mar 06, 2016 01:32pm

Pakistan's no. 1 problem was and remain corruption and lack of democracy within family based parties.

Urdu is very important and has 800 years of Muslim history within it while English is the global language. It is perfectly possible to have them both.

RAJA CHILL Mar 06, 2016 01:36pm

Three decades to decide that Urdu should be official language and then five decades still not enough to implement the decision formulated in constitution. So the issue is not urdu but the speed of actions....

Mustafa R. Mar 06, 2016 01:49pm

@Real Issue;

'Just some sanskrit words have been replaced with persian / arabic words from Hindi.'

Correct, but these Persian and Arabic words changed a Bhasha into a Zaban. We also developed a taste for Persian sense of aesthetics that gave rise to Urdu poetry. From Arabic we learned words like Tahzeeb.

Maurya Empire Mar 06, 2016 01:55pm

Only 8% Pakistani speak Urdu as mother tongue !

Vish1 Mar 06, 2016 02:16pm

@Kittu! Hindi in India has become popular due to Bollywood and Cricket commentary.. Language can not be imposed, but people learn based on their interest, needs or as a fashion statement!

kkk Mar 06, 2016 02:23pm

Urdu even connect India and Pakistan people infect Hindi and Urdu language works as a bridge between two nation as we cannot understand other language of Pakistan and Pakistani cannot under stand other then Hindi like tamil or Marathi languge.

Fareed Hussain Mar 06, 2016 02:32pm

A tiny fraction of Japanese or Chinese are fluent in English and yet have taken major strides in advancing their respective countries. We desperately need to change and challenge our learning culture from singing the praises of the past greates to the one that offers and encourages critical evaluation of the past and innovation in moving forward.

Nadeem Mar 06, 2016 03:43pm

Talking about 30 years ago, just watch the skits of Fifty Fifty from 1979-82. They are just as relevant today, maybe more so.

Ali Agha Mar 06, 2016 03:58pm

I respectfully disagree with Pervez Hoodboy Sahib. I know very few countries which speak two languages at a national level and are developed. I rather get rid of Punjabi, Pashto, Balochi, Sindhi and keep Urdu as our national language. And no, I am not an Urdu speaking person, yet my mother tongue is Persian and I realized how different I think from the rest of the Pakistanis after getting married to a Punjabi Girl, but we speak Urdu now at home and with our Kids and juts loving it. You will never be accepted in the world for your proficiency in English, yet you will be recognized for your own identity as a Pakistani and Urdu. English language is must and yes we may be able to get more outsourced telemarketing jobs, or data crunching work on English keyboards, but your green card or a disguised American accent will keep you and others confused about your own identity. Pakistan comes first, and Quaid rightly pointed out that Urdu should be our national language.

Sharjeel Jawaid Mar 06, 2016 04:02pm

Urdu is the mother tongue of 7 % Pakistanis; as assessed in previous censuses. Nevertheless Urdu is understood from Badin to Hunza and from Gwadar to Shakargarh, within Pakistan. It is also understood and spoken in most parts of Northern and Eastern India, and parts of Middle East and Hejaz. It may die as a language as predicted by Abdullah Hussain, but will stay alive as a dialect. English will remain the language of Communication, Business, Science and Technology. Nevertheless I am of the opinion that primary education must be disseminated in child's mother tongue.

Sharjeel Jawaid Mar 06, 2016 04:05pm

@Mirza Arshad Ali Baig Mr Jinnah speaking at Dacca was misguided. He had little information on India, East of Dehli. His "innocent" statement and the insistence thereon, from subsequent [non visionary] politicians; led to the great human catastrophe of 1971.

daada Mar 06, 2016 06:33pm

Although I agree with most of what you said in the article, learning Urdu is imperative for Pakistanis. If you don't know "YOUR" language, you neglect to learn your culture and history. Even if you don't consider urdu "your" language, most of recorded history, literature, poetry of the area is in urdu. Its tragic how Allama Iqbal is neglected in schools and students are forced parrot english vocabulary. Definitely agree upon the fact that regressive mindset is the problem more so language.

Haris Mar 06, 2016 06:57pm

@M. Emad not a valid point. Not all Nobel prize in literature were won for English writings. Many winners wrote in their native language and their work was translated in English.

Zak Mar 06, 2016 06:58pm

Urdu has without effort spread across the country as lingual franca and it is tied to the very foundation of the nation by the people themselves, not by government effort. Provincial languages are their inner identity. English is to connect to the outside world. The judges should stop meddling in peoples own desires. When people want change, it will come.

Seema Mar 06, 2016 07:15pm

@Neutral Observer I am not aware that the Bengali brethren gave an alternate feasible suggestion to keep the two parts of the country connected and enable communication with one another. It is quite obvious from the many posts in this article that West Pakistanis also had difficulty in adopting Urdu in the country but over the years all local languages are doing quite well and Urdu has proved its utility as a link language and also the language of expression for the majority of Pakistanis. Perhaps with time West Pakistanis would have learnt to appreciate Bengali also. I think matters were moving in this direction by the appearance of Bengali on stamps and coins.

No power or legislation can make a people leave their language if they have a deep attachment to it.

sri1 Mar 06, 2016 07:22pm

India since independence has been no stranger to linguistic tensions too. But the leaderships were practical and pragmatic to accept things as they were instead of appearing to impose one national language on everyone from the north to the south across the breadth of India. Officially, for the government and federal documents the language is English and Hindi. English was and is an "outsider" language, but there was no official denigration of the language. Hindi is the de-jure national language that allows most Indians to converse among each other, but does not have full status. And there are 15 plus official national languages and distinctly does not give anyone a distinct unfair advantage over others although knowing Hindi and English does help a bit more.

Nahid Aslam Mar 06, 2016 07:28pm

By enforcing Urdu when the Politicians make most of their Public speeches in English is a sure way to keep the Public ignorant and so subjugated. Those in Power are not daft ... they know the arguments ... but they also know that in a Land that was created under a false premise, if the Masses come to understand too much, they will lose their power.... and then where will they be????

Indian Mar 06, 2016 07:54pm

100% agreed. In India also, there is a gap between english medium schools and Hindi medium schools.

Please give everyone the same opportunity in schooling and don't remove the local language and culture. Pakistan has the problem that it tried to accept Arab as their role mode in every department. You follow whatever religion who likes but be proud of your forefathers and local culture.

Ahsan Khan Mar 06, 2016 09:03pm

It is really an interesting article. The writer was to the point. English is the language of masses and there is no other choice but to accept the reality.

hkhan Mar 06, 2016 09:04pm

@Maleeha can you please mention a single country where the native language is not official and national one and that is developed country. we hypocrisy all around us on as we have Urdu national language and English official language why its so and what's the use of it.

Mustafa R. Mar 06, 2016 11:10pm


I am still waiting for you to post some poetic works of a Hindi equivalent of Ghalib or Iqbal. At least post their names, I would look it up on the net.

Umar Aftab Mar 06, 2016 11:26pm

I speak Urdu but almost failed at it in FSc. It's not the language of my parents and Ghalib is as foreign as Shakespeare for me. I learnt English by reading books and now I am fairly successful. I would have been better off studying English and Arabic.

Mustafa R. Mar 06, 2016 11:52pm


'Hindi in India has become popular due to Bollywood '

That is the difference, Hindi learns from Bollywood and Bollywood learns from Urdu.

Sr Mar 06, 2016 11:55pm

@Mustafa R. Sanskrit did not evolve in present day Pakistan. It flourished when there was a different culture. Hope you understand

Mustafa R. Mar 06, 2016 11:56pm


'Urdu never enjoyed a loving status as national language by most Pakistanis'

Hahahahaha. As Allama Iqbal said: Shikwa bay-ja bhi karey koi to lazim hai shaoor.

Sr Mar 07, 2016 12:01am

@Mustafa R. I am South Indian and can speak of those ancient languages which have flourished in past 2 millenniums. Try read about Tiruvalluvar, Bharatiyar. One need an open.mind to appreciate any language in this world.

sagacious17 Mar 07, 2016 12:20am

Definitely the "right" language is English for Pakistan. Make Balochi, Pashto, Sindhi and Punjabi national languages and English as official language. Medium of instruction at basic levels should be in mother tongue and higher education would be in English. Urdu is a good language but it's not native to Pakistan.

Zak Mar 07, 2016 12:38am

@scha I agree with you, silly idea.

Just Someone Mar 07, 2016 12:46am

Excellent article. But how many in Pakistan are actually reading you?

Tamil Mar 07, 2016 12:46am

@Zak in India we already do that. The common people learn hindi or their own nations language, while the corrupt elite and bollywood personalities go to few elite school and then abroad. We are ahead of you on this.

Anjan Mar 07, 2016 12:51am

I am an Indian and apologies in advance to my Pakistani friends (and all the neighbors) just in case I accidentally hurt anyone's sentiment as that is not my intention. It is not Urdu or English but it is the mindset and getting stuck to a set idea are the problems. Unless we open our mind to other language (and culture and scared to mention religion) we start to live in a cocoon. As Rabindranath Tagore (Bengali Nobel Laureate in Literature,prize in 1912, from Kolkata) wrote 'if we close all our windows, how do we know we may be wrong as the bridge from the west could bring in the truth' (NB: not a literal translation for the purist). May be there is a learning from the the sage. Best:-)

solani Mar 07, 2016 02:45am

Our language Urdu is very sweet language, but it is not a scientific language it is a poetic language. Right now if you look at the scientific world English is on driving force. We have to get command on both the languages. In school we have to teach both the languages thoroughly.

Sanasee Mar 07, 2016 03:45am

@Indian No Arab model rather Lord Macualays model continues!

Shridhar Subrahmanyam Mar 07, 2016 04:15am

We in India sorted this out five decades back. When Lal Bahadur Shastri tried to impose Hindi on the non-Hindi speaking states the souther region exploded in protest. The Government backed off. None of the non-Hindi speaking stated make Hindi compulsory in schools and teach children in the first five years in their mother tongue and then switch to English and the mother tongue with Hindi as an optional. English is now widely spoken by the educated class and that has lead to inter regional marriages and a slow breakdown of caste divisions. It has also allowed our children to study abroad in the US, UK, Australia, Canada and many other countries. In the post Independence era we have had three Nobel Prize winners in Physics, Chemistry and Biology apart from other awards. All the Nobel prize winners started schooling in their native tongue and switched to English later!

RS Tirkie Mar 07, 2016 04:58am

@Muslim Medina : The most of religious gatherings around the world are conducted in Urdu.

RS Tirkie Mar 07, 2016 05:03am

@Mirza Arshad Ali Baig : Urdu was official language?

Robert Mar 07, 2016 06:12am

This is a little sad situation. Urdu was actually a language used by the Muslims of Delhi- Audh region and also parts of Central India. The majority of the Muslims living in the West would converse a lot more in their regional language. That may have also been because of more non-Muslims living there in pre-independence era. However, regional languages and English should be given a boost. Regional language helps in educating the rural folks a lot faster. English being a global language (as they conquered half the world) makes a community able to interact with the rest of the world. I believe, India too had this debate of making Hindi the official language. It was comparatively a simpler task as bulk of the population of the Northern states spoke in Hindi. Southern and some Eastern & Western states protested. Eventually it was decided that the official languages in a particular state/province would be English, Hindi and the local language.

skraichurkar Mar 07, 2016 06:58am

languages should be learnt and read/written in its own script to understand it clearly.

skraichurkar Mar 07, 2016 07:02am

@IFTIKHAR KHAN languages should be learnt, read/written in its own script to understand clearly.

Satyam Vada Mar 07, 2016 07:28am

@Confused That sentence sums up beautifully that the root cause of the problems of education system (Pakistan or India) is not language but lack of promotion of critical thinking and analytical skills.

aalahazrat Mar 07, 2016 08:20am

@Khan Please find following words from Urdu that are part of the anthem, one should educate themselves before commenting on things,

Pak, Zameen, Haseen, Nishan, Manzil, Murad, Nizaam, Quwat, Awaam, Qaum, Mulk, Sitara, Taraqqi, Kamaal, Maazi, Haal, Jaan, Saaya and Khuda

Karachi_Wala Mar 07, 2016 08:47am

Do you have any thoughts on French and Spanish. Both languages are used primary and/or official languages in respective countries.

Siddhartha Saxena Mar 07, 2016 09:24am

Truly messed up linguistic problem.

Naveed khan Mar 07, 2016 09:42am

Learning English and Urdu iare reality of life please promote it simultaneous in order to intersect with the world.

Naveed Awan Mar 07, 2016 10:29am

Great. Time I was kid I learned hinko , time I approach class 5th I learned arabic time i approach class 11th I learned urdu time I approached university I learned English and pushto , Ultimately I found English more useful than any other language in the world..

Leo Celestine Mar 07, 2016 12:00pm

English is the standard language of the world, without it Pakistan's education system and Pakistani's would be infinitely worse off. People must learn to live with the times and accept the realities.

Secondly, if Pakistani's really wish to preserve their Urdu's poetic heritage while retaining a modern and progressive outlook, sooner or later they must take a chapter out of Turkish history.

English must be a compulsory language within schools. Moreover, the scripts of Urdu and all regional languages should be Romanized to non-phonetic Roman alphabets. This is the best compromise between the requirements of modernity and the desire to preserve culture. I would go further so far as to say that Romanization of the Urdu alphabet might even give it a new life amongst the liberal elite where Urdu is becoming increasingly irrelevant due to the difficulties associated with the archaic and cumbersome Arabic and Persian script.

Amjad Siraj Mar 07, 2016 01:27pm

Incidentally India has declared 17 other languages as their national languages and by giving that status, the languages get a chance to progress. A note fro the article rightly suggested that the best learning in the early period is through mother tongue; has that been implemented at all ever??

Khalid Mar 07, 2016 01:27pm

In a country where critical thinking is discouraged, what hope do we have?. Sir Syed Ahmed Khan said that more than 100 yeas ago. We are doomed if we don't learn English. Look at the number of people you know who have Masters degree and ask them to put a page in English on anything they care passionate about and then decide what the quality of language skills are of our educated people. I have done this experiment with my relatives and it was a huge disappointment. What language we speak at home is almost irrelevant. Jinnah had a command over English language that even made the English look at him in admiration (or jealousy).

Mustafa R. Mar 07, 2016 09:41pm


'Sanskrit did not evolve in present day Pakistan. It flourished when there was a different culture. Hope you understand.'

I understand that whatever culture, if any existed at that time, it can in no way be tied to present day Pakistani culture. If there is any credit to be had, it is all your's. I hope you have a similar open mind about creation of Urdu in what today is known as India.

Satyam Vada Mar 07, 2016 11:02pm

@aalahazrat I do know that Sitara and Saya come from Sanskrit words Sitara and Chaya! Mulk is an Arabic word. Probably others too are either Arabic, Sanskrit or Persian.

Shabbir Ahmed Mar 08, 2016 03:13am

@Mustafa R. This is exactly the point Prof PH has tried to explain. Our problem is 'not the language but the regressive mindset'.

KM Ali Mar 08, 2016 06:10am

Wonderful discussion on the subject of language and intellect. I agree wholeheartedly that the language spoken at home and across the peers is the best to develop your intellect. However, as Parvez Sb mentions, critical thinking has to be encouraged to make the real difference. A combination of one language and rethink can give us the big jump.

Phoenix Mar 08, 2016 08:42am

Dr Pervez Hoohbhoy lecture about gravitational forces in Urdu was awesome and helps the students to grab it easily,although all students listening knew English . But each time Dr Hoodbhoy discounts Urdu importance .Today Urdu is spoken and understood in all continents .If you want to buy a car in US you will find a guy in all major showrooms speaking Urdu. Only the advance science books could be difficult to translate but still possible,and every science student do not reach PhD hence upto graduation you can confortably provide all books/materials in Urdu.

Altaf Mar 08, 2016 04:05pm

Languages evolve and diversify over time, and the history of their evolution can be reconstructed by comparing modern languages to determine which traits their ancestral languages must have had in order for the later developmental stages to occur. A group of languages that descend from a common ancestor is known as a language family. The Indo-European family is the most widely spoken and includes languages such as English, Russian, and Hindi; Source WIKIPEDIA

gary Mar 08, 2016 05:58pm

@Mustafa R. you seem to be a very learned man.