Should the Pakistani elite revive Sab-ki-Hindi (the Farsi of India).

78 Comments

I was overlooking Vidhi’s screen at the gym and saw the dance. Initially I thought Bharatanatyam (it didn’t have a title) is so elegant and mesmerising and I asked Vidhi, what it was.

She replied that it was a Kathak and I made a mini-rant about how India ignores Islamicate culture etc. Incidentally I only just learnt Vidhi had studied Katak and, surprisingly for someone from Chennai, not Bharatanatyam. Her mother (a Sindhi from the North) made the choice and chose accordingly. I’m trying to convince her to pick up Kathak again to offset the intensity of her research.

My point being is that while Kathak has distinctly Hindu/Indian origins; it is ultimately (like Hindustani music) a culmination of the Indo-Islamic culture (apparently Wajid Ali Shah was its finest patron).

My post is about another suggestion that I’ve been dwelling upon this am. I’m convinced that the noblest thing that Pakistani elites could do is resurrect the medieval Persian dialect of India.

It would probably take a decade or so but it would complete a process that the Achaemenians started and has been ongoing the last millennia; the Persianification of the Indus Valley.

Urdu has never been the official language of any Islamicate court; the irony is that it was a language created by Hindus to be eventually used by Muslims.

I’m also convinced that Shoaib Daniyal is in fact correct Urdu’s greatness is only growing since Hindi is a poor proxy for it. But ultimately knowing Hindi is a midway to learning Urdu.

https://scroll.in/article/809102/the-death-of-urdu-in-india-is-greatly-exaggerated-the-language-is-actually-thriving

It is time now for the Pakistani elites to complete our century long process and resurrect the gem of Islamicate culture, which is the medieval Persian language.

Also tacking this bit after the jump, which was a lovely segment about a Kashmiri Pandit returning to the Valley to settle:

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78 Replies to “Should the Pakistani elite revive Sab-ki-Hindi (the Farsi of India).”

  1. Urdu’s nothing special, it’s the same as Hindi just with occasional Persian and Arabic words thrown in. Even I (with my Hindi as crappy as it is) can understand the vast majority of it.

    For some reason, Indian Lefty culture warriors like to pretend it’s the best thing since sliced bread.

      1. Well, at the “Shuddh” level it’s Sanskritized (and I can’t understand Shuddh Hindi anymore than I can understand High Urdu), at the “Street” level it’s more Anglicized than anything else at this point.

        1. Yes but Urdu is safe because of Hindi.

          Now is the time for us to resurrect Persian, the Sanskrit of medieval India.

          Btw if you need help with wife selection I can give you several suggestions.

          (1.) Marry a Stemmie (physicist or mathematician).
          (2.) marry inter-caste but culturally similar
          (3.) marry as young as possible so you can delay children as much as possible
          (4.) marry someone who is even more cerebral and introverted than you
          (5.) marry someone whose focus will be their career not you..

          1. Is it good advice for a Stemmie to marry a Stemmie?

            Are ideal pairings introvert-extrovert, rather than both of the same type?

          2. @numinous opposites attract indeed but it’s better to be married to someone more introverted imho

            Re Urdu; Shoaib is right, Hindi is the stalking horse for Urdu. The millions of speakers that Hindi is absorbing are also internalising the exalted status of Urdu.

            It’s important that the Pakistani elite progress with the plan, which is sustaining the culture of the Islamicate kingdoms; all of whom spoke Persian..

  2. I don’t get the logic. If you are concerned about Urdu dying out in India, or being wholly replaced by a Sanskritized Hindi, why not ensure that the language lives on and thrives in Pakistan? What would be gained by replacing Urdu with Persian? The local languages are a lot closer to Urdu than to Farsi (actually, Punjabi and Sindhi are probably closer to Sanskrit than to Farsi, regardless of the induction of Farsi vocabulary in them.)

    The Persian language itself is by no means endangered, being spoken by all of Iran, and probably many in Afghanistan and Tajikistan (not sure where else.)

    1. Agreed. Absolutely don’t see the need for Pakistanis to adopt Persian. We are not Persian but South Asian with our own distinctive culture and traditions. Urdu serves as a lingua franca between people who speak their own regional languages while English is the language of administration.

      There is no reason for Pakistanis to pretend to be anything other than we are.

      1. @Kabir Agreed. If anything, I wish Pakistan would encourage the use and development of its regional languages (Punjabi, Sindhi, Pashto, and Baloch) more.

  3. Islam because of its nature, excludes what is internal compared to Hinduism which is internal in nature e.g. Infinite distance between man and allah vs. everything is brahman OR, Rajashik and Tamashik reward of janaat vs. dissolution with brahman etc. Fulfillment generated by external stimuli vs. internal journey

    All Indian classical dance and musical forms were religious/spiritual in nature and in their true origins were for worshipping lord shiva/vishnu but also depended on other worshiped deities too. In the current world, not all dancers have the same “internal” compass, but still many of them do. The act of looking at a dance form in this example only as a collection of movements as a form of external stimuli for the human senses to be enjoyed wasn’t its goal when they were created. Hence, the dichotomy with Islam. Doesn’t matter who the important patrons were somewhere in the timeline, the original Kathak was not technically islamite culture. Specificity should be the order here – like post 15-16th century kathak. Its like Christian Bharatnatyam which is a gospel preaching tactic these days.

      1. Understandable. Invasion changing some of the cultural norms here in India. Its ironic though, in spite of the external changes it still retains the divine aspect of it, not as much as Odissi and other south Indian forms which are much purer, but its still there. So any re-import to an Islamite culture will only carry its external shell. Like I said, Islamic cultures will treat it as like any other external form of entertainment, that’s why culturally it won’t add any value there. Plus you have to factor in the Islamic view of what will happen if you bring in practices of idolaters.

        1. Well I wasn’t really dwelling on Kathak; Pakistan would be better to start really engaging with the Persianate world..

          Sabki Hindi will really make us the lowlands of Turan..

        2. Kathak owes a lot to Nawab Wajid Ali Shah and the court of Lucknow. It is a prominent example of Indo-Islamic culture (as is Hindustani classical music). It is ridiculous to label it as a “practice of idolaters”.

          The Hindu Right seems to agree with Islamists in denigrating the unique beauty of the syncretic North Indian culture. Whether South Indian forms are “purer” because they are supposedly less influenced by Muslims is also a value judgement and hardly an objective fact.

          1. “It is ridiculous to label it as a “practice of idolaters”. – Why so? In multiple islamic records , aren’t hindus idolaters?

            “The Hindu Right seems to agree with Islamists in denigrating the unique beauty of the syncretic North Indian culture. Whether South Indian forms are “purer” because they are supposedly less influenced by Muslims is also a value judgement and hardly an objective fact.” – Add odissi as well. Its a fact in terms of from my belief system and what it establishes. Purer can definitely be linked to its spiritual and devotional significance in hindusim vs. Islam. I don’t have to gaze at indic beliefs systems from Islam’s view. I’ll do that from my gaze and also gaze at Islam from my Indic viewpoint. I can go into deeper aspects of sanatana dharma and its linkages with art forms and also draw upon ancient jatis in India and their traits. I can also compare with islam the religion from my gaze. Point is, is it necessary to do that here?

          2. You are entitled to your opinions but not to your own facts.

            Kathak and Hindustani music are part of the syncretic North Indian Ganga-Jamuni tehzeeb. There is plenty of ethnomusicological scholarship about how dhrupad and khayal evolved in the Mughal courts. You can prefer South Indian culture or whatever but there is no reason to misrepresent or minimize the contributions of Muslim patronage to North India’s high culture.

          3. And the left seems intent on attributing any and all positive cultural phenomena of India to medieval Muslim rulers or British colonial rulers.

            It reminds me of how people in the Hindu Right will claim things like the Taj Mahal as being a Hindu temple or the Vatican as a Shiva Linga. On the left, some seem to have the same zeal in attributing any and all positive phenomena to Muslims or Christians.

          4. I don’t know about “any and all positive phenomena” but Hindustani classical music, Urdu and Kathak certainly are a part of Indo-Islamic culture. Those are simply facts.

            Making up stories about the origins of the Taj is not equivalent to protesting the denigration of Ganga-Jamuni tehzeeb. This Hindutva erasure of Indo-Islamic culture is quite similar to Pakistanis not wanting to think about anything prior to the arrival of Muhammad bin Qasim.

  4. I think you are getting unduly worried about language “greatness” or its living/dying. Hindi the “coarse” language usability has ensured its speakers have increased overtime. So it is with English in India. A language which does not give a pathway to better economic opportunity will eventually lose out notwithstanding its greatness and all.

    1. Yes Saurav, exactly. In the Indian context, Tamil in Tamil Nadu’s politics has been the tool of the hypocrites in order to carve out an fictional identity of their own and pit their native population against the rest of India. Language in this case inflated or propelled to a mythical status to project a lie, which is the aryan dravidian blah blah and its associated sanatana dharma dynamics. So for me, its always a red flag when language is brought to the forte as the primary argument for cultural renaissance. Of course in the case of Islam’s conquest and destruction of other cultures, forced imposition of their languages have played a tool for propaganda and subjugation.

      Then there is the race issue here as well and that can be resolved using the persian route. Well, Pakistan has lived in denial that that their race is Indic rather than Persian or Arabs. So I suppose the flip over to the other side will be easy if some effort is put in place. I think that the two most important tools as to how Islam spread here 1.) Rape and subsequent muslim progeny 2.) Forced conversion by the sword; can be finally jettisoned out of Pakistan’s people psyche.

      Plus, I’m not aware of this. Do persians also treat subcontinental muslims as inferior muslims, similar to what the Arabs do? Iran especially cause of the shia sunni and terrorism issues?

      1. Islam was not spread in India through rape or “forced conversion by the sword”. People converted because of the Sufis, because they were attracted to a more egalitarian faith without caste, or for administrative advantages. This myth about “forced conversion” has been discussed to death on this blog before. The fact that it persists without good evidence says more about the mindset of the Hindu Right than about actual historical facts. This is not to say that there were not some forced conversions, but they hardly account for the majority.

        50% of Pakistanis are Punjabi. I think it’s quite clear to any rational person that most of our ancestry is native to the subcontinent.

        1. “Islam was not spread in India through rape or “forced conversion by the sword”. People converted because of the Sufis, because they were attracted to a more egalitarian faith without caste, or for administrative advantages. This myth about “forced conversion” has been discussed to death on this blog before. The fact that it persists without good evidence says more about the mindset of the Hindu Right than about actual historical facts. This is not to say that there were not some forced conversions, but they hardly account for the majority.” – No. Two things – 1.) An extreme position can be also met with another extremity. Be prepared for that possibility. 2.) Minutely (very minutely) agree on your comment about Sufis and admin posts. Look there is enough material to counter the myth of peaceful conversion. You have your sources and views, and I have mine. 3.) Convenient lack of rigour to always say, “blame the right wing”. Q.) You do consider the word of islamic historians from 10th to 16th century good enough, writing almost contemporary to the events? Right?

          “50% of Pakistanis are Punjabi. I think it’s quite clear to any rational person that most of our ancestry is native to the subcontinent.” – Good.

          1. You don’t have to take my word for it. Razib has written many posts discussing conversion of various Indian ethnic groups to Islam (It’s a very popular topic on BP). He can hardly be accused of being the biggest fan of Islam.

            As for “lack of rigor”, you are the one who is making gross generalizations like “Islam was spread by rape” without presenting any proper historical evidence.

        2. If you go by Richard Eaton, he has a different explanation for the growth of Islam in the subcontinent. He doesn’t think that “conversion to escape caste” satisfactorily accounts for the growth of Islam in the subcontinent.

          And Richard Eaton is a favored scholar of Muslims, Christians, and liberals. I only point that out so that you don’t dismiss him as a Hindu extremist. I don’t fully agree with him, but his theory adds to the conversation.

          1. Conversion to escape caste was only one of the possible reasons. But forced conversions en masse is a clearly a Hindu right-wing myth. The vast majority of Indians are still Hindu. Either the Mughals weren’t interested in forcibly converting people or they were extremely incompetent at it.

      2. “Pakistanis deny that their race is Indic”

        Of course, because “Indic” is not a race, but an artificial identity the Hindu-elite are trying to force on modern-India for the sake of national-unity. Pakistanis have no interest in this, and neither do Indian-Punjabis or Tamils.

        “Pakistanis think they are Persian and Arab”

        No they don’t. No Pakistani has ever said this. Some think (rightly or wrongly) that they have an ancient Arab/Persian ancestor, but everyone identifies as their ethnicity Punjabi/Sindhi/Pathan. For comparison, non-Muslim groups in the greater Punjab region also have stories about descending from Central-Asians (though in the pre-Islamic era). There are “North-Indians” who claim to be Aryans and look down on Dravidian-speaking South-Indians, despite having less Aryan admixture than many Pakistanis have Middle-Eastern.

        “Muslim conversion by rape”

        Unlikely, as there are no records for mass rape, and little difference in the West-Asian admixture when comparing Muslim and non-Muslim Punjabis/Sindhis. There’s actually greater genetic evidence for Hinduism spreading via Aryan rape of native Indians, but again, outside the initial invasion-period, I don’t think this was a huge factor either.

        Your comment on conversion by the sword is worn-out. Everyone knows its wrong, and if you still insist on it you are either trolling or just stupid.

        1. “Of course, because “Indic” is not a race, but an artificial identity the Hindu-elite are trying to force on modern-India for the sake of national-unity. Pakistanis have no interest in this, and neither do Indian-Punjabis or Tamils.” – “Indic civilzation” is the correct word.

          “Unlikely, as there are no records for mass rape, and little difference in the West-Asian admixture when comparing Muslim and non-Muslim Punjabis/Sindhis. There’s actually greater genetic evidence for Hinduism spreading via Aryan rape of native Indians, but again, outside the initial invasion-period, I don’t think this was a huge factor either.” – You are restricting yourself to Punjabi Sindhis only. AIT again? Sigh. Well of course millions and millions of numbers not through rapes, but to brush aside as if it was not a factor a lot of places in India is just intentional disregard.

          Your comment on conversion by the sword is worn-out. Everyone knows its wrong, and if you still insist on it you are either trolling or just stupid. – Not trolling for sure 🙂 We’ll see. Bhaand.

        2. So Hinduism is both (i) a colonial era British invention and (ii) a religion that Indo-European steppe peoples had already created in ~2,500 BCE prior to entering the subcontinent? And then these Hindu steppe peoples chose to spread their religion by raping the natives? Interesting.

          This is a very interesting account of history that contrasts starkly with the golden era of subcontinental Islamic rulers, who spread their Religion of Peace through peaceful means. What wonderful heroes.

          1. You sound confused.

            Nobody has said Hinduism is a British invention. They’ve said modern Hindu identity is a British invention.

            Nobody has said Hinduism was created by the Aryans outside of India. They’ve said the Vedas were created by the Aryans in Punjab, which is where Hinduism springs from.

            Nobody has said the Aryans raped Indians because they wanted to spread their religion. They raped Indians because that’s generally what foreign invaders did when conquering weaker peoples, and modern Indians carry the evidence of this in their DNA.

            Yes most educated people agree that Islam as a religion spread peacefully in India, as there isn’t good evidence that it spread violently.

        3. (My conjectures)

          I’m not sure there was ever a mass campaign of conversion (by the sword or otherwise), but it is undeniable that there was a strong element of coercion involved in a lot of those.

          To take one example: Iqbal’s ancestor, a Kashmiri Hindu, was supposdly given a choice of conversion to Islam or execution for embezzling of funds around the end of the 17th century. Not much of a choice if you ask me. And I don’t give much for the morality either: your crookedness is forgiven (or even tacitly endorsed) if you convert to Islam. Doesn’t speak well of the character of many who became Muslim.

          Other ways of coercion: impose a punitive jaziya/jizya tax on non-Muslims. More of a choice here compared to execution, but still coercive. I think similar dynamics were at play in the Balkans with the devshirme system. Probably a number of Serbs and Greeks converted to prevent their boys from being kidnapped by the Turkish army.

          Why after all this did so few people in India end up being Muslim? Because there weren’t enough foreigners ever to overwhelm the natives, and after successful conquests, they had to depend on local elites as vassals to maintain their rules. These local elites shielded their people from the more coercive aspects of Muslim rule; e.g., in Rajasthan. In places like Western Punjab where the local elites were killed off or demographically overwhelmed, conversion probably became the easier option. As Omar mentioned in one of the recent podcasts, if a headman of a clan decided to convert (usually for pecuniary reasons), the clan would convert en masse.

          1. Your first couple paragraphs are accurate. Nobody denies “coercion” wasn’t involved, but it was involved for every ideology that ever spread any distance (including Hinduism).

            Your last paragraph is a mess.

            None of the regions that converted to Islam following conquest by Muslims were ever “overwhelmed by foreigners” demographically, but most converted anyway (Egypt, Levant, North-Africa, Iran). The areas in India with the highest influx of foreign Turks/Iranians (UP/Hyderabad) never became majority Muslim. That would be Punjab, Sindh, Kashmir, and Bengal, areas with relatively little foreigner settlement.

            Hindu elites didn’t shield anyone from Islam, they were the ones who cooperated the most. Most of the Muslims in the major cities of Muslim rule are descendants from Rajput and Brahman converts. They were the arms and legs of Muslim rule in India.

            What shielded Hindus from large-scale conversion to Islam was their caste-system. The areas that did convert on mass (Punjab/Sindh/Kashmir/Bengal) weren’t Hindu, at least not in the orthodox sense.

            There is no evidence Punjabis were demographically overwhelmed or killed off.

          2. On the flip side if Pakistanis spoke Persian then we could have meaningless discussions on Kashmir and conversion but rather on Khorasan and Central Asia..

          3. INDTHINGS:

            Fair criticism of my last para. I wasn’t trying to say that there was a massive demographic turnover in Punjab; clearly there wasn’t. But it’s the part of the country closest to the Islamic/Persian-speaking world, and it has been under Muslim rule (or at least influence ) the second-longest (Sindh being the first.) My conjecture was that the Ghaznavid invasions broke the backs of the elites in that part of the country earlier, and there was more time for gradual elite conversion than there was in the Gangetic plains.

            This theory doesn’t necessarily explain Bengal, which as Razib has talked about, may be because of the weaker Hinduism and caste system in that region.

            UP and Hyderabad may have had a number of Turkic or Afghan warriors, but relatively speaking, the “westerner”/native ratio was likely higher in Punjab, given that it was closer to the Islamic world and under Muslim rule longer.

  5. “Conversion to escape caste was only one of the possible reasons. But forced conversions en masse is a clearly a Hindu right-wing myth. The vast majority of Indians are still Hindu.”

    And conversion en masse to escape caste, which you seem to indicate in your original post as being one of two reasons accounting for the growth of Islam in the subcontinent, is a Muslim and Western liberal myth. [“People converted because of the Sufis, because they were attracted to a more egalitarian faith without caste, or for administrative advantages.”] Even renowned Western liberal Richard Eaton would agree that conversion en masse to escape caste is a Muslim myth.

    “Either the Mughals weren’t interested in forcibly converting people or they were extremely incompetent at it.”

    Have you read medieval subcontinental Islamic literature? Spreading Islam was one of many interests of subcontinental Muslim rulers.

  6. “My point being is that while Kathak has distinctly Hindu/Indian origins; it is ultimately (like Hindustani music) a culmination of the Indo-Islamic culture (apparently Wajid Ali Shah was its finest patron).”

    Hindu and Indian is a British construct, so Kathak is an Anglo-Islamic cultural phenomenon. /s

  7. @Kabir

    “Making up stories about the origins of the Taj is not equivalent to protesting the denigration of Ganga-Jamuni tehzeeb. This Hindutva erasure of Indo-Islamic culture is quite similar to Pakistanis not wanting to think about anything prior to the arrival of Muhammad bin Qasim.”

    How do you reconcile GJT with TNT?

    I think the podcast featuring Ajay Varghese is helpful in this discussion. The idea of harmonious Hindu-Muslim syncretism has instrumental value for (i) fighting against partition, (ii) fighting against Hindu nationalism, and (iii) fostering Hindu-Muslim peace and unity. But is it something that really existed or is it more of a myth outside of some discrete instances in Akbar’s court?

    How does one reconcile the GJT myth with endless riots and bloodshed? From precolonial times, to colonial times, to present-day, the heart of the GJT region (Western UP) remains fraught with communal violence.

    It’s easy for Muslims, who had all of the power in North India for 500+ years, to claim that the imprint of their culture is the product of harmonious syncretism. Especially since that narrative can help defuse violence today, where that power structure has been inverted. A Muslim may look at the Qutb Minar complex, a Muslim religious site built using the rubble from scores of destroyed Hindu and Jain temples, as a symbol of GJT syncretism. It’s understandable if others don’t view it so.

    1. TNT was a political theory that was used for a specific purpose. It resulted in Partition and the deaths and displacement of millions. It also effectively destroyed the Ganga-Jamuni tehzeeb. Indian nationalism was based on rejecting TNT. This is the argument used for why Kashmir should be part of India. If one believes that Hindus and Muslims cannot live together in the same country, then obviously Kashmir should have gone to Pakistan in 1947. It is ironic that Hindutvadis and Islamists, despite their total opposition to each other, accept TNT as fact.

      “Endless communal violence” is hyperbole. One can argue that communal violence was not such a huge problem until the British period when identities became more fixed (due to the census and divide and rule policies). How many riots actually occurred under the Mughals for example?

      A distinct Indo-Islamic culture exists which is evidenced by things like Urdu, Hindustani music and Kathak. Hindutva attempts to marginalize this culture are just as problematic as the attempts of many Pakistanis to deny any of our heritage prior to MBQ. Both types of attempts are a violence to History.

  8. The level of some comments under this post is almost bot like!

    ~

    Anyway, good luck with Persian Pakistan and Islamicate Kathak 🙂 And my best wishes to Roshan Lal sœb on his Kashmir “re-settlement” in the twilight of his life. yodvai köshir pö’Th karhön kath…

    1. “best wishes to Roshan Lal sœb on his Kashmir “re-settlement”

      You dont sound optimistic 😛

  9. I had suggested this in a post not too long ago. I think Persian as an official language in Pakistan would greatly benefit the country. Culturally, Pakistan is a ‘nostalgia state’, setup to continue a threatened Islamicate cultural legacy. A thriving Persianate cultural industry would greatly anchor the country.

    1. Persian is not understood by the vast majority of Pakistanis and has a completely different grammar from any of our regional languages. Urdu is far more closely related to Punjabi etc than Persian is. Not to mention that Urdu has historically been the prestige language for South Asian Muslims.

      It is up to Pakistanis what our national language is. This desire to kick us out of South Asia and foist another identity on us is bizarre.

      1. Well, neither is English. And Urdu was never the ‘prestige language’ for most Muslims in South Asia. The language never had that status in Bengal and Sindh, and was only made mandatory in Punjab by the British. The prestige language of South Asian Muslims has always been Farsi.

        1. English is a global language and its role in Pakistan as the language of government administration is part of the legacy of the Raj (just as it is in India). Persian is not a global language and it would make very little sense for Pakistan to adopt it. A case can be made for doing more government work in the national language but not for moving from one foreign language to another.

          Urdu can certainly be said to be the prestige language of North Indian Muslims. Yes, Farsi was the official language of the Mughal court but even they had moved to using Urdu by the end. Bahadur Shah Zafar is a noted Urdu poet. Ghalib, Mir and Iqbal are our high culture.

          You can’t deny that Urdu is far more closely related to the regional languages of Pakistan then Farsi is. Anyway, there is no grassroots support for transitioning to Persian. For better or for worse, Urdu forms part of Pakistan’s national identity.

          1. “Yes, Farsi was the official language of the Mughal court but even they had moved to using Urdu by the end.”

            This is factually incorrect. Mughal empire retained Farsi as the official language till the end. Urdu was used as an official language first by British.

            Though I believe Zafar didn’t have much of an official work at his disposal anyway, his empire being limited to the walls of red fort. No wonder he had so much time on his hands writing poetry.

          2. I wasn’t talking about official language or not. According to wiki, Urdu was being patronized by the court as far back as the time of Muhammad Shah Rangila.
            Anyway, what Pakistan’s national language is hardly hinges on what the official language of the mughal court was.

          3. Of course it does; Pakistan is the Neo-Mughal state fallen back on the Indus.

            You forget we border two Persian speaking nations (Iran & Afghanistan) and are thinly separated from Tajikistan by the Wakhan corridor.

            How surprising that the three speaking Persian nations on earth all cluster close to Pak. Quelle coincidence?

          4. Pakistan borders Persian-speaking nations but Pakistanis don’t speak Persian. We speak Urdu and our regional languages.

            I really do not see this need to drop the national identity and culture we have and develop an alternative Middle Eastern one.

  10. I felt the need to provide some perspective beyond the nauseating bubble of Urdu supremacy between Kabir and Zach, so

    ” …about the time Muslim political power began to wane (at the end of the seventeenth century) the Muslim political elite associated with the Mughal court intentionally set out to “reform” Hindi/Hindavi by excluding Sanskrit and Sanskritderived words and introducing large numbers of Persian words. This movement gave
    rise to “New Urdu,” which unlike “Old Urdu” (Dakani) cannot be said to be the
    common language of Hindus and Muslims, but rather a deliberate bifurcation of the
    previous unity of Hindi/Hindavi.”

    https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/journal-of-asian-studies/article/house-divided-the-origin-and-development-of-hindihindavi-by-amrit-rai-delhi-oxford-university-press-1984-x-322-pp-notes-bibliography-index-2995-distributed-by-oxford-university-press-new-york-ny/9A6A0E87B31CC22C9CF37D12716D67BB#.XMza5r8xUEw.twitter

    1. Very true. In fact the doyen of Urdu poetry, Mirza Ghalib himself stated that true Rekhta was the language which did not have excessive flavor of Farsi.

      Amir Khusro is generally owned by Urdu-wallahs. He was one of the earliest writers of the language (13th century!) And one can’t help notice how close his language was to modern standard Hindi instead the modern standard Urdu. Sample some of his “Urdu” poems here. (Written in roman letters).

      https://www.scoopwhoop.com/amir-khusro-poems/#.1cxccnwkw

      Notice that he doesn’t even use the common words like”ishq” or “muhabbat” for love. “Prem” is what he uses all along.

      So obviously this Farsi/Arabi vocabulary is a later intrusion.

        1. The point here is that what we know of as Urdu today was derived by artifically wiping off Sanskritic elements from medieval Hindi/Hindavi (which was propagated by Naga Sadhus across areas of the subcontinent).

          This is directly opoosite to your claim that somehow “Urdu” was the “original” one and Hindi merely an artificial creation

          1. I don’t care about the Hindi/Urdu debate at all, but this is nonsense, as was the source you posted above about this. It wasn’t even a source, it was a single page cut out of a review of someone’s truncated argument you tortured into the above formulation.

  11. With Kathak vs. religious/spiritual influence decreased driven post mughal era kathak, what I’ve established is a clear distinction between what was from hinduism’s perspective vs. mughal era kathak, and also put the spotlight on intrinsic vs. exterior e.g. spiritual dance forms vs. disco, ballet, break dance, christian bharatnatyam etc. The latter that focuses on honing an exterior skill without any precursor. “Opinion” is what I’m not using, but cold hard historical facts – “X” was created for “Y”, if its now A for “none”, then that’s a different set of truth. While Kathak under the Mughal influence might have turned out to be something else with the focus on honing a particular set of movements, and still looks beautiful, the other classical dance forms still retain that intrinsic goal. I set the metric from my gaze. It seems that it is hard to understand this from a non-indic religion POV, hence the struggle above.

  12. Iran is a puny country and a has-been power with its glory days centuries ago.

    If Pakistan does indeed want to ensure relative prosperity and security (against India as well as climate change) for its future generations, its best bet is to throw its weight completely behind China.

    I’d think the country is fertile ground for a rich and unique Sino-Indic-Islamic culture to take root, especially since Tibet, Uighuristan etc will be Han-ified soon.

    Embedding itself more into the regressive Islamic world would be like cutting its nose to spite the face. Indian disappointment at losing a territory to a neighbouring culture will be mitigated by the comfort of knowing Pakistan will always play in the little league.

    1. @Prats

      Iran is not a puny country. However, it certainly isn’t the force in the world it used to be. Likewise debt-ridden Greece or Italy or brexiting Britain.

    2. \Iran is a puny country and a has-been power with its glory days centuries ago.\

      Actually Iran’s global position is getting more powerful – and Iran has to thank ‘the Great Satan’ the USA for it. The Great Satan who has no border or other direct quarrels with Iran knocked off two deadly enemies of Iran on it’s borders – Saddam’s Iraq and Taliban Afghanistan, who had animosity for Iran on racial and religious grounds. Having knocked off Saddam Hussein , the Great Satan empowered Shias of Iraq and now Iranian forces have continuous link to the Mediterranean sea . Sunni world in west asia is in chaos . By it’s staunch support to Bashar Al-Assad and in the forefront of fight against ISIS , Iran’s influence is much greater today than what it was 50 years ago. One can call the present day Iran a distant successor to Achaemenids or Parthian Empire.

      Global powerwise , size does not matter – Iran ‘puny’ , so what . England with a few million population was able to conquer and rule over hundreds of millions in all continents . Russian Communist Party , though only a few hundred and few thousand , were able to capture power and make a super power

      1. @Slapstik @Vijay
        I was using the term ‘puny’ mainly in the polemical sense that Zac likes.

        @Vijay
        “Iran’s influence is much greater today than what it was 50 years ago. One can call the present day Iran a distant successor to Achaemenids or Parthian Empire.”

        Taliban is coming back for one. In any case, Iran might have some diffuse ‘influence’ on the region but it’s not a rising tide that will lift all its allies along unlike China or the US.
        Pakistan is an outsider of sorts in the Islamic world. Involving itself in the petty quarrels of the region is not going to help it economically, especially since electric cars are going to take off and oil will become less valuable.

  13. // Punjab/Sindh/Kashmir/Bengal) weren’t Hindu, at least not in the orthodox sense //

    Lol @ the knowledge of Hinduism in Kashmir. You really shouldn’t be talking about stuff you haven’t the foggiest about 🙂

    1. Well to be fair our idea of “what we were” is heavily derived from “ what we are” now. I think some time back indithings made that comment that Punjab and Sindh was never really hindu majority or was part of “india” to begin with( before Mughals). This is a sentiment which I find when i have talked to Muslim Kashmiris. This happens to a smaller degree in the case of Dravidians as well. The politics of today heavily influence our perception of the past.

      The reverse also happens where the Assamese / Tripura tribals who we have documented evidence were not part of “India” do draw their history to pre historic “India” just because they happen to be majority Hindu, a sentiment which you will not find in their neighbor Nagaland for example.

      TLDR: Our “today” influences our past. Their is no objective way to look at our past.

      1. \This happens to a smaller degree in the case of Dravidians as well. \

        If by dravidians you mean supporters of Dravidian political parties like DMK, ADMK, etc , you are mistaken. They have all signed upto Indian nationalism with varying degrees of enthusiasm. There are some fringe groups which usually don’t sand for elections, with fire eating rhetoric, even they don’t go for separatism.

        1. Tamil separatism’s heyday was before my dad was born lol. At this point it’s a minor internet meme.

        2. Saurav has a very weird (and archaic) view on southern (Tamil mainly) culture and politics. It’s like when I was a kid (in the north) and was asked (actually told) by other kids if we worshiped Ravana; I’m sure they got that from their parents.

          1. It is in the nature of internet discussions that people with theoretical or bookish understanding of things will make confident assertions.

          2. LOL
            to each their own ,man

            My idea of of the south comes from studying and working briefly in the south, with folks many of whom were not tam-brahms, so yeah perhaps not the “distilled” version of Dravidian nationalism which is portrayed nowadays

  14. How do modern Iranians view the Persian literature produced in India? Is it taught in universities in Iran? Are they familiar with Ghalib, Iqbal etc, and if yes, how do they rate them?

    1. Like asking if the Brits know Nirad Chaudhari or Amitav Ghosh.

      Yes, students of Persian literature will have some familiarity with the works of Ghâleb, Eghbâl-e Lahori etc. One of the ideologies of the Iranian Islamic Revolution, Ali Shariati, drew some influence from Iqbal — so the Mollahs would give good ratings I presume.

      Common people off the street won’t really know these chaps. Much more likely to know Gândi than Ghâleb.

      1. I am hoping some Iranian, or at least someone with Iranian connections will be able to give more informed opinion, but thanks for commenting anyway. 🙂

  15. if the Pakistani elite (however one defines it) starts to patronize “sab-ki-hindi”. This would make dialog with India easier and perhaps normalization of relations as well. But, why go through this process? To many in the Pakistani elite, it would be amount to turning back to South Asian roots, as opposed to the Middle Eastern/Central Asian identity that it has strived so hard to emphasize.

    1. “Sab-ki Hindi” is a kind of Persian so I don’t know how this can be called “turning back to South Asian roots”

      As for making dialogue with India easier, Urdu is for all intents and purposes an Indian language yet that doesn’t make much difference to Pakistan’s issues with India. The language we use isn’t going to solve the Kashmir dispute for example.

      Ironically, I (as a Pakistani) have consistently been arguing that we are South Asian. It is some of the non-Pakistanis on this blog who insist that Pakistan is a Middle Eastern country.

      1. From what I can see the non-Pakistanis are saying it is part of the self-image of some (most ? many ? few ?) Pakistanis that they regard themselves as separate from India not just politically but also civilisationally and historically – and closer to lands further West and North.

        This may or may not be exaggerated ( i genuinely don’t know – and welcome Kabir’s denial of it) but it is not completely unjustified.

      2. @kabir u argue that you are allegedly South Asian and then spend all your time arguing with your “fellow south asians.”

        It’s as though Indians & Pakistanis enjoy this abusive marriage, which is unhealthy for all.

        1. I’m not “allegedly” South Asian. I actually am South Asian. All four of my grandparents were born in British India, two of them in territory that forms today’s Republic of India. 50% of Pakistanis are ethnically Punjabi. There’s no way these people can be called Middle Eastern.

          The fact that Pakistan has political differences with India does not make Pakistanis Middle Eastern. We speak South Asian languages, eat South Asian foods, wear South Asian clothing. The only thing we have in common with the Middle East is our religion.

          Like it or not, we cannot change our geography and our history.

  16. “Ironically, I (as a Pakistani) have consistently been arguing that we are South Asian. It is some of the non-Pakistanis on this blog who insist that Pakistan is a Middle Eastern country.”

    LOL

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