This book is the first of its kind on the socio-political history of Urdu. It analyses the historiography of the language — narratives about its names, linguistic ancestry, place of birth — and relates it to the politics of identity-construction among the Hindus and Muslims of India during the last two centuries. More importantly, a historical account of the use of Urdu in social domains such as employment, education, printing and publishing, radio, films, and television etc. has been provided for the first time. These accounts are related to the expression of Hindu and Muslim identity-politics during the last two centuries.
Evolution of Urdu from the language of the laity, both Hindus and Muslims, of the Indian subcontinent during the period between 15th—18th centuries to its standardization into two languages: Persianized Urdu and Sanskritized Hindi are highlighted here. The writer looks at narratives of the names, theories of genealogy, and places of origin of the language in relation to the political imperatives of identity-politics of Hindus and Muslims during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In a nutshell, historiography is analyzed with reference to its political and ideological dimensions—and a fresh analysis regarding the linguistic history of Urdu is provided.
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