Chapter 7 Pakistani Languages

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Chapter 7

Pakistani Languages

Language is a natural and. effective source of expression of human emotions. It helps to communicate our views and feelings to others. The developed shape of any language is the result of a long intellectual hard work.

In the beginning, man used to communicate his emotions and feelings to others with the help of meaningful sounds. Gradually, these sounds took the shape of different words. In this way with the use of words, language became an important source of expression and communication.

The man first used language for the expression of his inner feelings. But afterwards the changes in social, economic, cultural and religions made the language of every locality specific and distinct in style and form. This is how different human languages and sounds originated. The use of language expanded with diversity of economic needs, and he conscious and unconscious feelings of man made words effective. At this stage the evolution of language and literature is called "Lok Adab". This kind of literature depicts the taste, mind and feelings of the people of that area. With the passage of time this source of expression became forceful, and the vocabulary of the language developed. And the society started producing quality literature for the expression of conscious and unconscious feelings. The more ancient a language is the more powerful is its vocabulary. It attains the capability of depicting the socio-cultural life of a society.

Pakistan is situated in such a part of the world where cultural heritage of different kinds are present. They have different literatures with respect to their social values.

The language spoken by Aryans was also called Sunsikrat. Now, its different varieties can be seen in Iran, Afghanistan, India and Pakistan. For example, Punjabi, Gujrati, Sindhi, Kashmiri, Aasami, Nepali, are Hindi forms of Aryan language. Kohistani, Persian, Balochi and Pushto are the Irani varieties. Inspite of common race and almost common language, the temperament of the people of Pakistan, India, Iran and Afghanistan are different from one another.

The national language of Pakistan is Urdu. Other than this, important regional languages like, Sindhi, Punjabi, Balochi, Pushto, Kashmiri (Hindko), Brahavi, Saraiki etc. are also spoken. The education in these languages is imparted up to University level.

The languages of the people of Pakistan are different but still they are united by one religion, and share a bond of national. language. This bond of language originated by amalgamation of regional languages and mutual dependence. This is known by the name of "Urdu".

Urdu - A National Language

Urdu is a language of communication of the people of different provinces. It is a source of national unity. Urdu is a word of Turkish language. It means "lashker" (army).

When the Government of Muslims strengthened in South Asia, they recruited people of different areas in their army. They were Arabs, Irani, Turkish, Indians, Punjabi, Sindhi, Pathan, Bengali and Baloch etc. These people spoke different languages and a new language emerged by their interaction. As this language was spoken by people associated with army, so it was named Urdu.

Urdu was given different names in different areas. In the beginning, it was called Hindvi, Hindi and Hindustani. Then it was called "Rekhta" and then Urdu-e-Muallah and now it is only called "Urdu".

At different stages, the literary genres of Urdu kept on changing like its name. For example, Ameer Khurso is considered to be an ancient poet of Hindi or Hindvi. In the period of Rekhta, Mashafi etc., and Mirza Ghalib and Zauq in the period of Urdu-e-Muallah are famous poets.

In 1647, when Shah Jehan made Delhi his capital instead of Agra, Lashkeri Languages and Zaban-e-Dehelvi lived in the same bazaar. The king suggested the name of this bazaar Urdu-e-Muallah so the language spoken there was called Urdu-e-Muallah or Zaban-e-Dehelvi. When this language reached Daccan and Gujrat, it was called Daccanni and Gujrati as well. After seeing its popularity, the nobles made special efforts for its promotion. In this way it rose to the literary heights from the primary level of communication.

The first dewaan of Urdu ghazal was prepared by Sultan Muhammad Quli Qutab Shah of Gevalcanda. Wali Daccanni of Daccan is also considered a great poet of Urdu. The poets who contributed .in the promotion of Urgu language are Mirza Muhammad Rafi Sauda, Mir Tagi Mir and Khawaja Mir Dard. Drdu became popular in the state of Udh and Lukhnow alongwith Delhi and Daccan. The art of Mersia Goi also flourished on this land with ghazal, and Anees and Dabir were the great poets of Urdu.

In the earlier part of nineteenth century, Urdu prose also flourished along with poetry. Great poets like Zauq, Bahadur Shah Zafar and Mirza Ghalib were also born in this period. Along with the ghazal of Mirza Ghalib his prose is also a precious treasure of Urdu literature. After the war of independence of 1857 the political and social conditions changed significantly. Due to this, the creative Urdu literature took a new turn.

Sir Syed Ahmad Khan formed Aligarh College. The prose in 0rdu literature progressed significantly along with social advancement of Muslims. Sir Syed and his friends experimented with Urdu poetry and prose and introduced new trends in Urdu. In .that era, national feelings and grief were expressed with great Pathos. Maulana Hali wrote "Musaddas-e-Hali" in that period, and made Muslims aware of their great heritage. In those days, Maulana Shibli presented Islamic history (Muslim period) in a new form and gave satisfactory answers to the queries of Western critics.

The poetry of great Eastern poet Allama Iqbal came afterwards. He tried to make the Muslims of South Asia realized that they possessed great cultural and social heritage. The only solution to their misery (pressure on Islamic values) is that they faced new situations and difficulties by making themselves weaker. He also made it clear that Muslims are tied in one bond no matter where they live in the world. They are like one nation, and they should face all odds together. Allama Iqbal wrote poetry both in Urdu and Persian. His poetry was so popular among the masses that some people learnt his long poems by heart. After Allama Iqbal, progressive movement was started' in Urdu literature under the influence of modem literature.

During the struggle for independence and after the creation of Pakistan, an air of freedom and confidence dominated in the progress of Urdu literature. Many writers wrote great works in their own respective styles: These include Urdu poetry, novel, drama, short story and research work and criticism.

Regional Languages of Pakistan


Punjabi is a very old language. It is a language of the Punjab. This language owes its origin to ancient Harapai or Daravari language. It has four main accents due to historical and geographical backgrounds. It is called by different names such as Majhi, Potehari, Chachi, Sarayiki, Dhanni and Shah Puri. Majhi is considered to be the quality accent and is spoken in Lahore and its surroundings. In the beginning, this language was a part of both Hindu hermits and Muslim Sufis.

The education and writing of literature in Punjabi language started since the arrival of Mehmood Ghazni in India. The name of Hazrat Baba Farid Ganj Shakar is important in this respect. The theme of his poetry is love, spirituality and patriotism. On the whole the themes of spirituality are especially expressed in Punjabi poetry by Shah Hussain. (Madhu Lal Hussain), Sultan Bahu, Bulley Shah and Khawaja Farid. The effects of social and political conditions are also evident along with spirituality. The use of local metaphors and similes is common. This is the reason that their works are very popular among the people.

The art of story telling also holds a special place in Punjabi poetry. The popular among them are the stories of Wads Shah's Heer Ranjaha, Hashim Shah's Sassi Punnu, Fazal Shah's Sohni Mahiwal, Hafiz Barkhordar's Mirza Sahiba. The stories in poetry, depict the picture of social, religious and economic life of Punjab. Novels were also written in Punjabi language. The popular novel writers are Dabir Singh, Meran Singh, and Sayedan Bux Minhas.

The Punjabi literature presents a complete, effective and bold picture of the Punjab. It does not have any match in the world of literature.

Punjabi became the forceful and effective source of expression of life, universal in its appeal. It has the ability to express even the slightest feelings of life. These include Waar, Dhoola, Mahia, Dohey, Ghori, Sathnia, Tappay, Sammi, Bolian etc.

Before 20th century a little work done in Punjabi prose was limited to the religious knowledge. Afterwards, people worked considerably well in novel writing, drama writing, story telling, research and criticism and other types of prose. Now-a-days modern play writing is also progressing a lot due to TV and Radio. The University of Punjab has a department of Punjabi where the courses of Punjabi at M.A. and Ph. D levels are being taught.


Sindhi is one of the oldest languages of Pakistan. It belongs to the Arya family and is spoken in the valley of Sindh and Katch. The number of people who speak this language is about 10 million. Although, this language looks to have the blend of Daravari, Sanskrit, Greek, Turkish, Irani and other ancient languages and cultures yet looked inspired by Arabi and Persian. After the arrival of English many words of English language became a part of Sindhi. The Sindhi literature and vocabulary expanded with the passage of time. This language is more powerful when it is compared to other regional languages of Pakistan. This is written in Arabic script and the number of its alphabets are fifty two.

Sindhi language is spoken and understood in the North Southern area of the province of Sindh. It has many accents. In the lower part of Sindh and in Rajhistan the accents of Lari, Katchi, Wacholi, .Kathawari and Aqdi are prevalent. In the South Balochistan the accents of Gadgali, Gadavi, Fikri, Laasmi, Kaichi, Noori, Cheeni are spoken. Moreover, various languages in other provinces are called Kohistani, ,Saraiyki and Wacholi. Its quality accent (Saahati) holds a top place in literary and journalistic writings.

Sjndhi was the only language among all the local languages of the whole Muslim world in which the Holy Quran was translated first. Sindhi language was developed even before the tradition of writing and reading in Sindhi. After the arrival of Muslims it got .equal importance along with Arabic. In the period from 1050 to 1350 special work was done, literary and religious in. nature. This is considered to be the earlier part of literary history of Sindhi. In this period the themes of patriotism, self ­confidence and spiritual aspects were presented. The stories of Ganaan, Haith, Soorthay, Gaatha and Doobray are worth mentioning. Ganaan was a unique style of poetry. The Islamic preachers used it for the preaching of Islamic values. Those preachers also invented its script, consisted of 40 alphabets. It is called Memonki or Khojki. In that period the spiritual people belonging to different schools of thoughts preached Islamic teachings through Sindhi poetry.

Uptill 18th century the great Sindhi poets like Shah Abdul Lateef Bhitai and Sachal Sar Mast contributed their excellent poetry. This period is termed as the unique period in Sindhi literature. Shah Abdul Lateef Bhitai praised the working class and highlighted human dignity. He adopted symbolic style in poetry and presented his musical verse in unique and popular forms. He took the basic material from the folk tales of Sindh. This is the reason that his poetry is spread in the whole of Sindh. The collection of his poetry is "Shah Jo Risalo". Another great poet of this period is Abdul Wahab who is known as Sachal Sar Mast. He wrote poetry in Sindhi, Urdu, S'araiyki, Punjabi and Persian. He was a spiritual man and "oneness" was his theme in spirituality and singular was the quality of his poetry. He gave the lesson of oneness to people. On the whole the number of his poetic verses are approximately nine lacs.

With the joint efforts of teachers, scholars and preachers, a great treasure of prose literature has been collected along with poetry. The efforts of Abul Hassan Sindhi are appreciable in this 'respect. He prepared a new script for Sindhi by making the Arabic script a base. The other name in this respect is Makhdoom Muhammad Hashim. He was a great religious scholar. He wrote almost 150 books in Persian and Sindhi. The topic of rill these books was commentary of Islamic values. Some of these books are still being taught as textbooks in Islamic schools and Jamiatul Azhar of Egypt. In that period Akhwand Aziz Ullah translated the Holy Quran with comments.

The Sindhi language progressed a lot after the arrival of English people. The name of Mirza Kaleech Baig is very important. He wrote books on poetry; and translated many valuable books of the world. He wrote on geography, history, biography, dictionary writing, grammar writing, short story writing, play writing, novel writing and research etc. He wrote about 400 books.

Many political and social changes occurred in the Sub-continent during the reign of English. The people became wiser. The Sindhi journalism got importance in this period and progressed at the same time. Whereas the Holy Quran was translated by Maulayi Mallah in 1970. The particular poetic types of Sindhi are Bait, Wai, Kaafi. In the modem literary period, Sindhi was influced by other languages. After the creation of Pakistan a lot of work has been done in modem short story, writing, play writing, literary research and education. The modem writers have amalgamated traditional style with modem trends and improved prose of all types. A considerable progress has been made in research and criticism. The centre for the advancement of Sindhi is playing an important role. The name of Sheikh Ayaz has secured international fame in the first fifty years of Sindhi poetry.


In NWFP the language of most of the people is "Pakhto" or "Pushto". The people who speak it are called "Pakhtoon" or "Pushtoon". This language originated almost 5000 years. ago in an area of Afghanistan called "Bakht" or "Baakht". Accordingly the people who speak this language are called Pushtoon or Pakhtoon. It later became "Pakhto" or "Pushto". Pushto is an old language. Like other languages Pushto literature also started with poetry. Its first book was written in the second half of 8th century which was called "Pata Khazana". The first poet is Ameer Korar. By the end of 14th century, the Pushto literature had absorbed external influences. The terms of Arabic, Persian can be seen in it.

During the earlier part of 19th century "Kaseeda" and "Marsia" were also considered an important branches of 'Pushto. It was in the reign of Ghias-ud-din Bulbun and Sher Shah Suri that "Kaseeda" and "Madah" became part of Pushto literature.

The researchers have found an ancient book named "Tazkarat-ul-Aulia". It can be known through this book that the Pushto poets of that era also tried to write Hamd-o-­Naat. This book consists of 1200 pages. In the reign of Mahmood Ghaznavi, a person named Saif Ullah properly prepared the alphabets of Pushto, which are still prevalent. The themes mostly found in Pushto poetry are honour, prestige and war etc. The concept of spirituality is also found. The leading poet is "Mullah Mast".

Khushal Khan Khataq is a great poet of Pushto. He was a writer and a warrior as well. He said, "Those moments are memorable for Khushal when there is a music of swords and iron coverings". Khushal Khan wrote on different aspects of life in his poetry. The important topics are Ishq-e-Haqiqi, Ishq-e-Majazi, war, spirituality, nature, prestige and bravery.

The second important poet of Pushto literature is "Rehman Baba". This hermit natured poet was always busy in expressing love and spirituality. According to him only love is the cause of the creation of this world. Rehman Baba holds a high rank in Pushtoon society. The style of Rehman Baba and Khushal Khan Khataq is a milestone in Pushto literature. The later poets also have an impress of these poets. A great treasure of Pushto literature are folk songs. They are of many types like Charbeta, Tappa, Lamkai etc. Some poets have adopted different types of folk songs in their poetry. These poets include Noor-ud-din and MiIllah Maqsood.

The prose in Pashto literature started progressing in 20th century. After the creation of Pakistan, some writers having modern ideas did considerable work in writing Pashto dictionaries, grammar, short story, novel and plays. They did it under the influence of modern education.

The Pushto language has three accents. One is the accent of the areas of North East, second is of the areas of South West and the third is the accent of the 'Zai tribe'. All of them differ by accent.


There are many views about the origin and family of Balochi language but the reality is that the pedod of the progress of Balochi literature starts after the creation of Pakistan. The Baloch people are gypsies with respect to their civilization. Their language is Balochi and it belongs to Aryai languages. The Balochi language has two important accents.

One is called 'Salmanki' and the other is 'Makraani'. Although Balochi script had already been invented but ancient Balochi literature took a written form after a very long time. On the whole Balochi poetry can be divided into three parts.

The most important part in Balochi poetry is patriotic poetry. Its themes include courage, grandeur, honour, patienqe and bravery. The second part is love poetry. It includes the themes of beauty, love and passion. The third part comprises folk tales. The stories of 'Lori' and 'Motak' present a reflection of social life in ancient times.

Ancient Balochi Poetry was highlighted in 1840. They highlighted the prominent features of Balochi poetry. The stories of Mir Chalkkar Khan, Hassan Zindu, Hammal Rand-o-Minhaad, Peering-o-Giran, Naazsha, Mureed Dahanni are popular in classical prose of Balochi literature. The start of the speedy origin of Balochi literature was done by Balochi magazines after the creation of pakistan. The first book on the history of Balochi language and literature was written by 'Sher Kamsar Mari’ in 1961. The Balochi poetry written in the reign of English included topics of spirituality, morals and hatred against English. A popular poet of this era is 'Mast Tokli'.

After the creation of Pakistan a quality script was developed for Balochi by altering Urdu alphabets. The literature and journalism of Balochi language took a new turn after the publishing of first Balochi magazine in 1960. The exercise on different types of writing is going on in modern literature. The Balochistan University offers the courses up to Ph. D level in Balochi language.


According to a research, the Kashmiri language is associated with languages of the valley of Sindh. It has four main accents which include Sulmanki, Hindki, Gandoro and Gaami. The quality accent is considered to be 'Gandoro'. The Kashmiri literature can be spread on five periods.

  1. The folk songs were promoted in Kashmiri in the first period. The "collective thought and feelings in Kashmiri society are the main expressions of this type of poetry. It is called' Rauf Yallon' in Kashmiri.

  2. The main theme of second period was 'Ilahiat'. The first poet of Kashmiri and a popular poet of this era is Shati Kanth.

  3. The tradition of writing stories started in this period. Hiba Khatoon" was an important poetess of this period. The stories of this period were not only written in Kashmiri but important Arabic and Persian stories were also translated in Kashmiri. The names of Armani Lal and Mulla Faqir are important in this respect.

  4. The spiritual influence was dominant on Kashmiri language and literature in the fourth period.

  5. The fifth period progressed under the influence of modem literature. It has new thoughtful trends. Ghulam Ahmad Mehjor holds an important place in this respect.

Other than the local creations, works of other languages were also translated in Kashmiri literature. The Kashmiri poetry adopted the Irani literature as a creative style especially after the translation of ghazal and masnavi.

In Azad Kashmir University, special arrangements have been made for the research and teaching of 'Kashmiriaat'.


  1. Why Urdu is called a language of national integration?

  2. Write few lines on Punjabi language under the following sub-heads.

    1. The dialects of Punjabi

    2. Themes

    3. Role of Saints and Sufis in the promotion of Punjabi

    4. Story-telling

    5. Genres of Punjabi literature

    6. Twentieth Century Punjabi prose

  3. Illustrate the evolutionary process of Sindhi Language.

  4. Describe the works of various poets and prose writers of Pushto

  5. Write a note on lyrical poetry, classical prose and works of the period of British Raj in Balochi language.

  6. Describe the five genres of Kashmiri language.

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