The need to revive Urdu

Language development is a natural process which involves the four key skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing

Soon after the inception of Pakistan Urdu was declared the national language of the newly born state. The 1965 constitution declared in article 214 in 19 62 it was article 215. In 1973 constitution in its article 251. It states

(1) The national language of Pakistan is Urdu and arrangements shall be made for its being used for official and other purposes within fifteen years from the commencing day.

(2) Subject to clause (1) the English language may be used for official purposes until arrangements are made for its replacement by Urdu.

(3)Without the prejudice to the National Language, a Provincial Assembly may by law prescribe measures for the teaching, promotion and use of provincial language in addition to the National language.

Today after 43 years we are still waiting for those fifteen years to be completed as the constitution clearly promised that all arrangements shall be made, the latest was the verdict of supreme court in September 2015 directing both the provincial and federal governments to adopt Urdu as official language.

The arrangements in this regard seem mere directives and making it difficult day bay day for us to decided which language is to give the status of national Language as apparently though efforts may be made yet English is turning out to be stronger and supported day by day as it’s the international tool for us to communicate and share our point of view. The state of confusion which prevails upon Pakistan as a state whether to be a western style of democracy or the real Islamic state, is equally prevailing upon the status of Urdu and English as languages.

Language development is a natural process which involves the four key skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing. A child can learn five languages simultaneously if spoken well and pure forms and will be able to express as well. As discussed earlier the language development in our educational system is again in two directions specifically.

Language is best learnt when it involves the expression of feelings rather than the robotic expressionless reading which is used as a teaching tool in secondary and higher secondary classes in Pakistan

The public school where medium of instruction is Urdu and English is a horror usually as a language. And the private schools where English is the medium of instruction and Urdu turns out to be a difficult language. If we go for a simple comparison of both the languages Urdu is comparatively difficult for many reasons.

It’s as 37 alphabets, written in a proper writing script. Additionally with the alphabets with same phonetic sounds. English on the other hand is memorization of sounds and alphabets, once a student learns the alphabets the rest of the story goes easy. It may vary from learner to learner and teacher to teacher how he or she gets the students involved for the language learning.

Looking at the objectives and aims of National Curriculum 2007 it sets all the ideal objectives for Urdu to be learnt as a National language. Teaching of Urdu is compulsory from grade till grade 12 in all public and private schools. Looking at the text book of grade 10. It has four sections naming consisting of essays, letters poems and ghazals.

I just decided to read the book as wanted to recall the days we would study Urdu. I was wondering that for a grade ten student what interest can be generated in a language book by chapters The second chapter named Parnani (great grandmother) written in very different context and back ground that can hardly be observed in our surroundings. The next lesson Iqbal ka Tasaware Watniat is kind of confusing just emphasising that the western concept of state is different from Islamic one and Iqbal never liked it.

The confusion prevailing upon us a state is quite visible in the essay weather to accept it or reject it. The essay is followed by three depressing stories one of a typical sulking woman, a fold story Shair Alam Maimonayee, where the heroin is slaughter is depicted in a horrific manner and the last one Nam Daive Mali the biography of a gardener. The age group we are dealing with can develop the language skills with some pleasant content as well rather than the depressing and fanaticized stories. Lets check the poetry.

Quite interesting poems are added famous poets like Ihasn Danish Mir Anees Jamilud Din Aali. The ghazals again totally focusing g on an arrogant beloved who is least bothered about the lovers pain and agony. Sham-e-gam kuch us sarapa naz ki baat karo (oh gloomy eve please talk about that beauty) and Honton pay kabhi un kay meyra nam hi ayae (I wish he/she calls my name no matter if I am blamed). For student of 15-16 years what are we trying to improve with this fantasy and imagination.

It’s an age when the child is growing moving to adulthood needs quality and balanced material and content to later express him or herself why can’t we make learning a pleasant experience when it comes to language learning? We agree these may be the real life depictions to some extent but maximum learning takes place in an environment when incidents happenings are related to everyday life particularly in languages plus the literature to be taught should be a blend of all moods.

Language is best learnt when involves expression feelings rather than the robotic expression less reading as it is carried out usually in secondary and higher secondary classes.

A learner is a learner no matter which age he/she belongs to and there is no arm in deviating a bit from the traditional teaching methodology. Come on we are dealing the human beings, treat them as human beings. Teaching and learning is a very sensitive stuff and has to be carried out with sensitivity no matter what subject teachers are dealing with. We need to train our teachers on subject specific training and methodologies so that the variation in teaching keeps the interest of the student intact in all subjects.


The writer has experience in the field of education and is currently working as a resource person in the development sector

Published in Daily Times, December 21st 2017.