National language is what makes a nation unique and distinctive from other; building an identity of their own. The national language is not only the means of communication but also the carrier of one’s culture; comprising the stories, poems, and traditions. Our country, Pakistan has a rich and diverse linguistic basis. As per recent studies about 73 languages and dialects are spoken in Pakistan. But a national language is necessary to avoid any language barrier between the people of a nation belonging to different regions and having different regional languages. Urdu as our national language is a savior in this matter and also is emphasized as the national language by the father of the nation, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. In the words of Jinnah:
“…without a state language, no nation can remain tied up solidly together and function. Look at the history of other countries. Therefore, so far as the state language is concerned, Pakistani language shall be Urdu” (Jinnah, 1948)
Urdu as a national language is thus a source of binding together all the nation under one language understood by all and a common mean of communication between people no matter what’s their regional language is.
“Urdu is not just a national language it is our basic asset, which preserves in it our history our culture and WHO WE ARE!”
Urdu is our national language but are we fulfilling the rights of our language? Or it has just confined to the general knowledge books as our “National Language”? Consider the following scenario:
A teacher of Urdu was telling the students about the Urdu as our national language. Teacher: Hmaari Qaumi Zuban kyaa hai?
Student: Qaumi Zuban?
Teacher: Yes beta…our national language! Student: Oh okay teacher, sorry it’s Urdu
So, that’s how the national language become “impure” like many other things available in our country including even the eatables and medicines (unfortunately!). And the matter of concern is that “Is this impurity increasing to the extent that it could not be purified again”? Consider the following scenario.
One Friend: What we call “regretful” in Urdu?
Second Friend: I don’t know, let me Google it…Yeah, it is “Afsoos”
Yeah, “Afsoos” the perfect word for what I feel about the condition of Urdu I observed. We need the English words for the better understanding of Urdu. The Urdu (yeah our so called NATIONAL LANGUAGE) is becoming “dependent” on English (a FOREIGN LANGUAGE!). I am not denying the importance of English language. Yes, it is important and no doubt we all should learn it. But because of Urdu we should not start keeping Urdu at the back stage. English is indeed very important to learn as a medium of communication in the International Community but we should not leave behind Urdu.
Let’s Make an Observation!
To understand the place of Urdu in our daily life, let us make an observation. Sit with one of your friends and initiate a talk. And if you are unable to find anyone because of course it is mechanical era (who has time for HUMAN!), then shift towards the television (very dear to us all). Open any channel and listen to the program for just 5min. You will observe that the dialogues going on are all the mixture of English and Urdu. Switch the channel, you will find the same there too! Same trend is followed by news, talk shows, dramas, movies, game shows, morning shows, and even the advertisements. Wow! So cool we are growing as a MODERN nation!
What’s WRONG in all this?
It is okay to learn and use English language but it certainly is not okay at all to gradually replace it by Urdu. Being “modern” and remaining at pace with other nations is a good decision. But we should also remain strongly bounded with our traditions too. Our traditions are asset to us a, are our roots, and the gift from our ancestor. If now we start blending our traditions with “modernity” and will remain unaware of it, we will lose our INDEPENDENT IDENTITY (I am afraid!).
What should we DO?
The first step we have to take (before it’s too late!) is to OWN URDU! Yes, we do not owe our national language and are (unfortunately!) unable to make our next generations value Urdu. And how could the younger ones VALUE something which is continuously DE-VALUED by the elders? So, start valuing Urdu by heart not tomorrow but today. Try to replace the words of your daily routine use with Urdu like “Shukria” instead of “Thank You”, “Subha Bakhair” instead of “Good Morning”, “Shab Bakhair” instead of “Good Night”. It’s not UN- COOL to use Urdu words but yes, it is being COLD by replacing Urdu with English. Think about it before it’s too late!
“Losing the language means losing the culture. We need to know who we are because it
makes a difference in who our children are.”—Dottie LeBeau