Forgetting our roots


A writer has said that Urdu is our mother tongue. I hope it is a slip of the pen. Yes, Urdu did become our national language in 1947 but before that Urdu was the least spoken language in the provinces which constitute the present Pakistan.

Sindhis, Balochis, Pathans and Punjabis spoke their mother tongues in their homes (they still do to a greater or lesser extent), went to schools where the medium of instructions was English in the higher classes and Urdu was an optional subject. English, of course, was the official language.

I was 18-year-old when Urdu became the national language. At that point in time, apart from my mother tongue, I was fairly fluent in English but not so in Urdu. Since then it has been a fairly difficult learning process in face of the supercilious attitude of our Urdu speaking friends. One Punjabi word used while speaking in Urdu with them is enough to make one the butt of their jokes. The rustic yokel in TV dramas, particularly in those of Anwar Maqsood, speaking broken Urdu is invariably a Punjabi character, while the well spoken, well dressed sahib is always an Urdu speaking character without exception. Enough to put one off such TV dramas.




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