In March, the Center told the Supreme Court that it was open to the suggestion of conducting NEET, a single window entrance test for admissions for MBBS and BDS courses, in the Urdu language from the next academic year. This has rekindled the debate on the present state and the future of Urdu language.
Every language affords its speakers the opportunity to experience the world through a distinct lens. While Hindi speakers perceive their surroundings through a vocabulary comprising Hindi words, English speakers discern worldly bustle through the English language. Every language, thus, grants a glimpse of a unique reality peculiar to that language. Increasingly, however, the Urdu language is nowhere within the eye’s line, which makes one ask: What happened to the Urdu language and the corresponding reality it afforded?
In pre-independence India, Urdu was the language of cosmopolitanism and distinction. Jawaharlal Nehru, one of the most revered leaders of the country, had once said, “Urdu is the language of the towns and Hindi is the language of the villages. Hindi is of course also spoken in towns but Urdu is almost entirely an urban language”. Urdu was, thus, a language of upward mobility in the period preceding independence.
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