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Excursus The Language Issue—Urdu

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Chapter Summary

Urdu today is among the most important languages in South Asia though academically it has lost ground. Contemporary Urdu is comparatively young, an islamicated version of Hindustani, it boasts a rich literary tradition. Contemporary Urdu is comparatively young, an islamicated version of Hindustani, it boasts a rich literary tradition. Lucknow became a competitor for patronising Urdu literature, and masters of Urdu poetry received support from Nawwab Asaf al-Daulah's court. After 1857 some Muslims turned towards Muslim discourses to bolster their presumably shattered Muslim identity. Muslim League and Hindu Mahasabha used the language issue for mobilising purposes, thus making language a component of national identity. Through media, Urdu literature spread among people, even those who did not know its script. Today Urdu still is cultivated in centres such as Delhi, Lucknow and Haydarabad.

Keywords: Delhi; Hindustani; Lucknow; Muslim identity; South Asia; Urdu

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