Mother Language Day

I recently came across the fact that 21st February is the official “Mother Language Day” so I decided to participate in my own way.

I come from a continent with rich history and culture. The land of Pakistan,  a part of the Indian subcontinent which is not only rich in agricultural and natural reserves but also rich in traditions, language and culture because of all the different eras it went through. From the time of Indus Valley Civilization to the Arabs, Mughals and British, all have come and gone but the fertile land has absorbed the best of each culture and now blooms on the map of world as one the nation to which some of the worlds most talented and capable minds were born.

Although the national language of Pakistan is URDU, because it is divided into 4 main provinces : Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, so not only are there provincial languages but also many other regional languages. All together, there are about 100 or more languages spoken in Pakistan, including the regional languages. I come from Punjab so both Urdu and Punjabi count as my mother languages.

Urdu started developing in north India around Delhi in about the 12th century. It was based on the language spoken in the region around Delhi, and it was heavily influenced by Arabic and Persian, as well as Turkish. Urdu shares its origins with Hindi, sometimes referred to as a ‘sister’ language of Urdu due to the similar grammar base that they share. However, Hindi went on to be written in ‘Devanagri’, the same script as Sanskrit, and its vocabulary has more of a Sanskrit influence. During the 14th and 15th centuries, much poetry and literature began to be written in Urdu. Recently, Urdu has mainly been connected with the Muslims of the Indian subcontinent, but there are many major works of Urdu literature written by Hindu and Sikh writers. On the other hand, 12th Century also saw the emergence of Punjabi as an independent language which is said to be a decedent of  Shauraseni language – a language used mainly in drama in northern medieval India.

As far as my relationship to my mother language is concerned, it certainly not limited to the fact that these are the languages I have heard at home all my life. I come from a family with a strong literary background. From my own father who has successfully published a compilation of his poetry in Urdu language (with the name of Mata E Ashq – worth of tears) to my great grandfathers who inked down their thoughts in both Punjabi and Persian have not only loved and respected but also mastered these languages.

I personally think, Urdu is one of the worlds most beautiful language after Arabic. The letters are not only written with absolute delicacy but also said in a way that the richness of the language can be seen in every word spoken.

Here is a piece of poetry from a famous Urdu Poet, Mirza Ghalib :

which translates to;

“A thousand such desires that upon each one I would rather die, 

Though many of my longings were fulfilled, many still remain.. “

Here is an exclusive piece of poetry from Mata E Ashq, a book by Saleem Kawish:

893632_10151747809637382_321923420_oWhich translates into;

“The bird was shot to death, 

for he stole twigs to build a nest..” 

Share your thoughts, views or a little about you mother language here.

Take Care!

Dr. AM

To Purchase a copy of Mata E Ashq, click here and send a query 


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