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Urdu Hindi Controversy 1867 CSS Notes
By the mid of 19th century, when British took over control of the Sub continent, Urdu was nearly 300 years old. The amalgamation of different Muslim languages such as Arabic, Persian and Turkish gave birth to a new language which was called Hindustani, Shahjahani, Lashkari and finally Urdu. With the passage of time, the new language Urdu became the medium of expression of the Muslims of Subcontinent. By the time British Raj was established in Sub continent, Urdu was the official language of the country, which was given this status in 1825.
The Hindus due to their eternal jealousy and hatred towards the Muslims of Sub continent did not like the promotion of their culture and values. They wanted a chance to downgrade Muslims and their custom and traditions. This is why they were very annoyed with the rapid progress of Urdu in Sub continent. The British on the other hand too were not in favor of Urdu being an official language of the Subcontinent. They due to their takeover of the rule of Subcontinent from Muslims considered them their enemy and did not wanted the promotion of their cultural values in the region.
With the establishment of British Raj in India, Hindus finally got their long awaited chance and came forward in open opposition of Urdu. In 1867 Urdu Hindi controversy started when some prominent Hindu leaders in Agra and Oudh organized an agitation against the use of Urdu as official language and demanded its replacement with Hindi, written in Davanagri script, in courts and offices. This event disappointed many Muslims leaders such Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, who was working for the Hindu Muslims unity and their uplift.
Soon the Hindus anti-Urdu agitation spread to other parts of the country. In 1871, the Lieutenant Governor of Bengal, George Cambell ordered that Urdu should be scrapped from the syllabus books. In 1900, Anthony MacDonal, the Governor of United Provinces (U.P.) who was known for his widespread anti-Muslims sentiments, under Hindus growing pressure issued order that Hindi should be used as official languages in all public sector institutions.
Muslims Reaction To Hindi Urdu Controversy
The Urdu Hindi controversy shocked Muslims of Subcontinent. It revealed on them the real face of Hindus and their agenda. They also came out in full support for their language.
Urdu Hindi Controversy And Sir Syed Ahmed Khan
It extremely disappointed many Muslim leaders such as Sir Syed Ahmed Khan who was now convinced that Hindus would never be friendly with the Muslims. It was this occasion when Sir Syed Ahmed Khan gave his famous Two Nations Theory. He expressed his views to Mr. Shakespear, the Governor of Banaras, in these words, “I am convinced now that Hindus and Muslims could never become one nation as their religion and way of life was quite distinct from each other.”
Nawab Mohsin ul Mulk criticized the decision of legal and ethical grounds. The students of Aligarh College also protested against the decision of government for scrapping Urdu as official language.
Urdu Protection Movements
Urdu Hindi Controversy 1867 convinced Sir Syed Ahmed Khan for taking practical steps for the protection of Urdu language. He established Central Association in Allabad and used the platform of Scientific Society for the protection of Urdu language.
Nawab Mohsin ul Mulk established Anjauman-i-Taraki-e-Urdu in Aligarh which rendered invaluable services for the cause of Urdu. It produced several books on Urdu literature under the supervision of Maulvi Abdul Haq, the Baba-i-Urdu.
Urdu Hindi Controversy Conclusion
The Urdu Hindi controversy had significant and far reaching impacts for the Muslims of Subcontinent and politics of the country. It convinced prominent Muslim scholars and leaders of the Subcontinent such as Sir Syed Ahmed Khan that Hindus could never be friends.
The event also created political awareness among Muslims of Subcontinent. They were now aware that both Hindus and British were not sincere towards them and therefore they themselves should take practical steps to secure their status and future in Subcontinent.
The Hindus strong anti-Urdu stance reinforced Muslims belief in Two Nations Concept which later became the crowning factor in the Muslims struggle for a separate homeland.
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