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The Urdu —English Controversy in Pakistan

  • Tariq Rahman (a1)

Pakistan is an ideologically inspired state and Urdu was a part of this ideology. During the development of Muslim separatism in British India it had become a symbol of Muslim identity and was the chief rival of Hindi, the symbol of Hindu identity (Brass, 1974: 119–81. Thus, after partition it was not surprising that the Muslim polemical and methodologically unreliable books. Some of them are, indeed, part of the pro-Urdu campaign by such official institutions as the National Language Authority, because of which they articulate only the official language policy (Kamran, 1992). Other books, especially by supporters of Urdu, invoke simplistic conspiracy theories for explaining the opposition to Urdu. One of them is that the elitist supporters of English have always conspired to protect it in their self-interest; the other that ethno-nationalists, supported by foreign governments, communists and anti-state agents, oppose Urdu (Abdullah, 1976; Barelvi 1987). While such assertions may be partly true, the defect of the publications is that no proof is offered in support of them.

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