Linguists in India never tire of informing us that linguistically speaking (in a
structural sense) Hindi and Urdu spoken in the same regions are the same language at
the informal spoken level but with different societal orientations of lexical choice at
the formal written level. But in the eyes of the Indian Constitution the two are
declared as separate languages both privileged to be included in the 8" Schedule a
decision reinforced by different choice(s) of script, with Hindi embodied in the
indigenously evolved Brahmi related ‘Devanagari’ and Urdu in the imported but
modified Perso-Arabic script. These choices of vocabulary (with Urdu taking pride
in Perso-Arabic vocabulary and Hindi leaning towards Sanskrit) are in keeping with
public perception about Urdu being viewed as the language of the Muslim minority in
the otherwise Hindi majority states, and the return of Urdu as mother tongue by
Muslims in Karnataka and Hyderabad who speak ‘Dakkhini’ has only added to this.
Hindi and Urdu together - as interacting living languages - best reflect the
complex composite culture of our country which may have developed some fault
lines but the common foundation has stood its ground and communication bridges
have been in place for centuries. It is time to strengthen these bridges and create
overt links between the two languages to enrich the verbal repertoire of the
populations that have often suffered as a result of divisive language policies. The
teaching of Hindi to Urdu speakers and the teaching of Urdu to Hindi speakers would
strengthen both languages and any step taken in this direction must be encouraged.
Mrs.Lalitha Handoo, a Kashmiri Pandit who has suffered this separation but striven
to bring the two together in this dictionary, must be commended for her effort.
Central Institute of Indian Languages hopes various states would draw upon this
effort and initiate the creation of this linguistic bridge word by word.
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