Script and religion

Aditya, the ]-[indu $kepti¢ a018967t at BC.SEFLIN.ORG
Mon Feb 15 14:04:34 UTC 1999

On 15 Feb 99,  Robert Zydenbos wrote:
> remembered this remark because I found it so surprising. Since I am not a
> Hindi specialist, I did not know how to check, and moreover I found it
> insufficiently interesting to enquire until now. The matter of script was
> brought up on this list (note: not by me), and in good faith I enquired.
> If anybody feels upset by this, I am sorry that I cannot really say that I
> am sorry. :-)

My comments were not directed at you but at the Pakistani representative
who made such baseless statements based on his political viewpoint. You
know me pretty well by now to realise that I am far from being a linguistic

> By the way, Amir Khusrau (who lived well before Tulsidas) wrote in
> different varieties of language called 'Hindavi' and even 'Hindi', and he
> used Urdu script. So please realise that my enquiry is not facetious.

I did not deny that many poets used either of the two scripts but Tulsidas
was  not one of them although he used many words derived from Persian
commonly used by HIndi/Urdu speakers. Most Hindi/Urdu speaking people
do converse in  the same language but somehow when it comes to writing
they seem to be influenced by religion more than anything else.

A more recent extension of the same mixing of religion into  languages is
the Sikh's everyday use of a script, Gurmukhi named so because it was
used in the writings of Sikh gurus only. Native panjabi speakers mostly used
Urdu script before creation of Pakistan and after that changed to using
Devnagri script.  It is like adoption of Pali by Buddhists against the
backdrop of Sanskrit.

There is nothing wrong in using a script that comes easier to the users but
to make it a political issue out of it and to start killing others is abominable.

In my previous note I have explained how the issue of Urdu has been so
divisive even for Pakistanis. In India, it is still an active issue with muslims
living as far as Andhra Pradesh where local language is not even Hindi but

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