THE HISTORY OF REPRESENTATION IN THE INDIAN SUBCONTINENT: THE GENESIS OF A NEW LINGUA FRANCA

Authors

  • Sarah Syed Kazmi Department of English, Sir Syed University of Engineering and Technology

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.52567/pjsr.v4i04.889

Abstract

The South Asian Subcontinent has experienced invasions from different directions. In the ancient period we see Sanskrit and Pali, Prakrit and proto -Hindi languages evolve. With the advent of the Muslim conquerors, Persian the cultural language of the Ajam, became the court and official language. There was a natural intermingling of both peoples with different language tradition and a local dialect first called Hindavi emerged. The word Urdu meant Cantonment in Turkish. Where exactly in South Asia Urdu began to be used and recognized has become a matter of scholarly contention, which is traced here. The British invasion and the subsequent foundation of Fort William in Calcutta in 1800 led to the dissemination of both Urdu and Hindi and the political interplay of languages. This article delves into the role of the colonial power in promoting a language or a set of languages. It further dilates as to how lending a religious veneer to a certain language by design can further bolster its power positioning, particularly if the language is common among the lower denomination of the economic strata. Urdu was variously known as Hindavi, Deccani and the later more exalted epithet; Urdu i Mualla. The Islamization of Urdu and the Sanskritization of Hindi unravel efforts aimed at bifurcating languages along socio-religious lines preponderantly by the colonial agency. Thus, the apparent patronage for indigenous languages on the part of the Orientalists turned out to be a colonial venture driven by the ulterior motive to prolong colonial foothold in the Indian Subcontinent and to mitigate chances of rebellion. The article deliberates upon the making of a new lingua franca in the then Subcontinent which was home to a host of multicultural and multiethnic communities.

Keywords: Lingua Franca, Hindavi, Urdu i Mualla, Deccani, Fort William College, Multicultural, Multiethnic, Sanskritizarion, Islamization, Marginalization.

Author Biography

Sarah Syed Kazmi, Department of English, Sir Syed University of Engineering and Technology

Assistant Professor

Additional Files

Published

2022-12-31