Between Urdu and Hindi

“Urdu is a language of mourning,'' he said, as he rested the newspaper on the jute table. The newspaper dated 7th December, 1992. He wore a white salwar kameez that smelled of talcum and senility, covered in inkblots and nicotine stains, while a cigarette balanced on the edge of the copper ashtray. A beige prayer mat balanced on the railing in the balcony, silent Arabic whisperings and a Qurʾān on the chair beside, filled the space of a lost someone. The blades of the fan groaned. All the birds in the sky seemed to have settled on a tree next door to the balcony.

It was a cold Sunday afternoon and the sky was dazzled in a saffron colours, above a mosque. He closed his eyes and could still hear the footsteps. The jarring sound of bare feet on dry mud; iron grating against chalk; a shrill voice on a microphone; and fear.

The silent sound of fear.

He spoke in Urdu. He dressed in Urdu. He wept in Urdu. He wrote in Urdu. He sang in Urdu.

He recited to the pigeons - a mushaira in his balcony in Urdu. He narrated history in Urdu. He thought of his homeland in Urdu. He could never translate his voice to Hindi ,for Hindi was borrowed and bargained; Hindi was imposed. Hindi was not his own so he spoke Urdu and he read right to left and it was an act of dissent.


heresy urdu protest


How can there be such difference between languages that were born of the same womb?

How can there be such difference between languages that only differ in script and style, in languages that only differ in region and religion?

What kind of a feud can divide a household that fought on the same soil against the same oppressor only 72 years ago?

When did we give 222,236 km² of land such authority?

Written by Alolika A. Dutta.