SV: interesting experience/Urdu/hindi

Bharat Gupt abhinav at DEL3.VSNL.NET.IN
Thu Aug 31 23:11:26 UTC 2000

Lars Martin Fosse wrote:
> Which is a perfectly normal linguistic process, the world is
> positively teeming with languages that have been through this sort of
> development. The term "Urdu", BTW, comes from the Turkish word "Hordu"
> (ever heard of the Golden Hord?), meaning military camp. So originally, it
> was essentially the language of the barracks.

Dr. Fosse has brought out in a more accurate manner the principle of interdependence and
mixing that medieval Indian liguistic situation displayed, and as I believe has been the
norm in India always, anaadikaalen.

But the linguistic development in this period was governed by a singular fact that the
invading Ghaznavite, Turkish and Tamurite Hordus/hordes had only some royal women and a
limited number of female dancers, musicians and prostitutes. After these soldiers
settled in India they took to Indian women and their progeny could not have  spoken
anything else but  the synchronic language/dialect of the Indian region laden with
persian-arabic words.

Thus as RB said, Urdu could not be a Turkish or Persian creole.

(This of course is different from the Pakistani official version that the
Arabs, Turks etc., "gave" a new tongue Urdu to the subcontinent and which did not
"develop" in India. But putting aside the needs to choose between "gave" and "develop"
which are really the political needs of Pakistan and India as nation states, the
historical facts speak for themeselves. If I have time I shall post texts from Farid
Ganj Shakar to Ghalib to show how urdu/hindavii changed from 12th to 19th cent. AD.)

Regardng this growth, it may also be noted that as early as by the end of the thirteenth
century there developed a class of neo-muslims and mongrel aristocrats, typified by Amir
Khusro (whose mother was a converted Hindu from Etah, Agra) of Sufi and Shia persuation,
who lacked blue blood, in fact, were looked down upon by the "pure" invading class, but
who began asserting the importance of Hindustan in their writings as a counter to the
Sunni Turkocentric elite.

Also consider the fact that with the huge influx of Indian slaves (more women and
children then men) in Afghani and Iranian markets, some degree of linguistic, musical,
sartorial and culinary impact must have taken place in the Ottoman Empire and its
sorroundings. I shall be thankful to learn of some studies in this area from list
members. Not only the  establishment  of Islamic invaders but also their their mind-set
before reaching India needs to studied in detail.

Bharat Gupt,  Associate Professor, Delhi University
PO Box 8518, Ashok Vihar, Delhi 110052  INDIA
tel 91-11-724 1490, fax 741-5658, email: bharatgupt at

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