Urdu-speaking people
اہلِ زبانِ اردو
The phrase Zuban-e-Urdu-e-Mualla or "Language of the Exalted Camp"
Total population
68.62 million[1] (2019)
Regions with significant populations
India (diasporic Urdu Belt, a regional belt that consists of Hindi-Urdu belt states such as Uttar Pradesh, Kashmir, Bihar-mostly Patna and Darbanga, Khandesh, coastal Malwa region, Shimla district and Kangra district and other Indian states, many speakers live in various cities in South India, mostly Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai)

Pakistan (Muhajirs in Karachi, Hyderabad & mainly across large cities in Sindh and other large Pakistani cities)

Nepal (Terai)

Bangladesh (Old Dhaka as well as pockets in other parts of the country)
 India50,772,631 (2011)[2]
 Pakistan14,706,159 - 30,000,000 (2017 census & 2013)[3][4][5][a]
   Nepal413,785 (2021)[6]
 United States397,502 (2013)[7]
 Bangladesh300,000 (2008)[8]
United Kingdom United Kingdom270,000 (2011)[9]
 Canada210,815 (2016)[10]
 Australia69,131 (2016)[11]
Languages
Urdu
Religion
Islam, small minority Christianity and Judaism

  • ^a The figure for Pakistan includes only first language Urdu-speakers, known as Muhajirs, and not other ethnic groups of Pakistan who may fluently speak Urdu as a first or second language, numbering up to an additional 94 million.[12]

Native speakers of Urdu are spread across South Asia.[note 1][13][14] The vast majority of them are Muslims of the Hindi–Urdu Belt of northern India,[note 2][15][16][17] followed by the Deccani people of the Deccan plateau in south-central India (who speak Deccani Urdu), the Muhajir people of Pakistan, Muslims in the Terai of Nepal, and the Biharis and Dhakaiyas of Old Dhaka in Bangladesh.[18][5] The historical centres of Urdu speakers include Delhi and Lucknow, as well as the Deccan, and in the modern era, Karachi.[19][20] Another defunct variety of the language was historically spoken in Lahore for centuries before the name "Urdu" first began to appear. However, little is known about this defunct Lahori variety as it has not been spoken for centuries.[21]

The term "Urdu-speakers" does not encompass culturally non-native speakers who may use Urdu as a first or second language, which would additionally account for a much larger number of total speakers in South Asia.[12]

History

From the early Muslim kingdoms developed Indian Muslim clan-groups who were well-rooted social groups that acted as warrior lineages providing court officers and military soldiers. These evolving communities or tribes played a key role in providing a local Muslim leadership.[22]

Mughal Empire

As early as 1689, Europeans used the label "Moors dialect", which simply meant "Muslim",[23] to describe Urdu, the language associated with the Muslims in North India,[24] such as John Ovington, who visited India during the reign of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb:[25]

The language of the Moors is different from that of the ancient original inhabitants of India, but is oblig'd to these Gentiles for its characters. For though the Moors dialect is peculiar to themselves, yet it is destitute of Letters to express it; and therefore in all their Writings in their Mother Tongue, they borrow their letters from the Heathens, or from the Persians, or other Nations.

Fall of the Mughal Empire

The rural Upper Doab and Rohilkhand was dominated by a literate and homogenous elite, who embraced a distinctive Indo-Persian style of culture. This service gentry, performing both clerical and military service for the Mughal empire and its successor states, provided cultural and literary patronage that contninued, even after the political decilne, to act as preservers of Indo-Persian traditions and values.[26]

The end of Muslim rule saw a large number of unemployed Indian Muslim horsemen, who were employed in the army of the East India Company.[28] Thus 75% of the cavalry branch of the British army was composed of a social group referred to as the "Hindustani Mahomedans". This included Indian Muslim Baradaris of the Urdu-Hindustani Belt such as the Ranghar(Rajput Muslims), Sheikhs, Sayyids, Mughals, and Indianized Pathans.[29][30] British officers such as Skinner, Gardner and Hearsay had become leaders of irregular cavalry that preserved the traditions of Mughal cavalry, which had a political purpose because it absorbed pockets of cavalrymen who might otherwise become disaffected plunderers.[31] The Governor-general insisted that it was incumbent upon the British to "give military employment" to various north Indian Muslim soldiers, particularly those "formerly engaged in military service of the Native powers".[32] The lingua franca spoken in the army was a form of Urdu referred to in colonial usage as "military Hindustani".[33]

7th Hussars, charging a body of the Mutineer's Cavalry, Alam Bagh, Lucknow

The Indian Rebellion of 1857 was initiated by the 3rd Bengal Light Cavalry in Meerut, which was composed mainly of Indian Muslims.[34] The mutineers made for Delhi, where its garrison revolted, massacring its British population, and installed Bahadur Shah Zafar as its nominal leader. The spread of the word that the British had been expelled from Delhi, interpreted as the breakdown of British authority, acted as a catalyst for mutiny as well as revolt. Regiments in other parts of northern India only revolted after Delhi had fallen.[35] British characterizations of Muslims as fanatics took the fore during and after the Great Rebellion, as well as produced the Indian Muslims as a unified, cogent group, who were easily agitated, aggressive, and inherently disloyal.[36]

Urdu nationalism

See also: Urdu movement

Syed Ahmed Khan and Mohsin-ul-Mulk

Even in later days, the same clans were dominant groups in the associations in the defence of Urdu and district Muslim Leagues which were among the first forays of Muslims into electoral and pressure-group politics.[37] In the 19th century, Sir Syed Ahmed Khan and his followers such as Mohsin-ul-Mulk further advocated for the adoption of Urdu as the language of Indian Muslims, and led organizations such as the Anjuman-i Taraqqi-i Urdu and Urdu Defence Association, which won popular support in the Aligarh Movement and the Deoband Movement.[38] The Urdu language was used in the emergence of a political Muslim self-consciousness.[39] Syed Ahmed Khan converted the existing cultural and religious entity among Indian Muslims into a separatist political force, throwing a Western cloak of nationalism over the Islamic concept of culture. The distinct sense of value, culture and tradition among Indian Muslims originated from the nature of Islamization of the Indian populace during the Muslim conquests in the Indian subcontinent.[40]

Clans

See also: Baradari (brotherhood)

The Biradari, a term of Persian origin literally translating to "brotherhood",[41] is the word used for a social unit based on kinship such as tribe or clan.[42] The chief of the Biradari is the "Sardar", who is usually an elder man annually elected as the greatest man in the Biradari. Decisions on important matters are taken only after consulting the Biradari, and once taken binding on every member, especially in rural life.[43]

Despite their tribal geneaologies tracing to foreign regions, these elites embellished rural seats and traditions within India, developing a sense of pride in home (watan). Families of Muslim service people from gentry families were bound together by tight marriage alliances, which often became permanent arrangements.[44] Bitter factionalism over between clans over land-rights was also a common feature of society.[45]

Bilgrami

See also: Bilgram

Syed Husain Bilgrami

The Sadaat-i Bilgram are a tribe of Indian Muslim Sayyid families who inhabit the historic district of Bilgram in Hardoi District.[46] The Bilgrami Sayyid were important power brokers in the southern part of Awadh, and remained an important and influential clan, throughout the Middle Ages.[47] The Bilgrami Sayyids were supporters of the Indo-Muslim Shaikhzada faction of Munim Khan II during the reign of the Emperor Bahadur Shah I. When Ruh-ul-Amin Khan of Bilgram reportedly entered state service with only 60 horsemen and foot soldiers, the Grand Vizier Munim Khan created him a mansab of 6000 and made him his close associate.[48]

In the 20th century, Syed Hussain Bilgrami was one of the early leaders of the Muslim League.[49]

Barha

See also: Sadaat-e-Bara and Barha Dynasty

The Barha tribe of Sayyids are an Indian Muslim community claiming Zaidi Sayyid descent who are named after the Barha country in Uttar Pradesh between Meerut and Saharanpur.[50] Their settlements, known as Qasbas, are named Behra Sadaat.[51] Due to their reputation for bravery, to the point of recklessness, the Barah tribe held the hereditary right to lead the vanguard of the Army of the Mughal Empire in every battle.[52][53] 6 years after Aurangzeb's death, the Barha Sayyid nobles became highly influential in the Mughal Court under leadership of the Sayyid Brothers, Qutb-ul-Mulk and Hussain Ali Khan, who became de-facto sovereigns of the empire when they began to make and unmake emperors.[54][55] The Sayyids had developed a sort of common brotherhood among themselves and took up the cause of every individual as an insult to the whole group and an infringement to the rights of Sayyids in general.[56]

In the 20th century, Mohsin-ul-Mulk founded the Urdu Defence Association, or the Anjuman-i Taraqqi-i Urdu, committed to the perpetuation of the Urdu language.[57][58]

Alvi

Main article: Alvi

The current president of Pakistan, Arif Alvi

The Alvis (the term derived from the Arabic term al-Alawi, meaning 'of Ali') are those who claim descent from the 4th Rashidun caliph, Ali ibn Abi Talib (the cousin, son-in-law, and companion of the Islamic prophet Muhammad), through his wives whom he married after the death of Fatima, the prophet's daughter. In the Indian subcontinent, they settled mainly in Hyderabad and present-day Uttar Pradesh. The current president of Pakistan, Arif Alvi belongs to the same Alvi clan.[59] Like Urdu-speaking people The Alvis of Kakori are referred to as Moulvizadigan (Moulvis) or Makhdoomzadigan (Makhdooms) indicating whether they are descendants of Mullah Abu Bakr Jami Alavi, who settled in Kakori in 1461 or descendants of Qari Amir Saifuddin Alavi, who settled in Kakori in 1552, they are mostly known as Shaikh.[60]

Ansari

Mughal Portrait of Lutfullah Khan Sadiq Panipati

The Ansaris who claim origin from the descendants of Abu Ayyub al-Ansari (the stand-bearer of the Islamic prophet, in Medina), mainly through the 13th century Khwaja Abdullah Pir Haravi, inhabited the town of Panipat.[61] Prominent Ansaris in the pre-modern era include Lutfullah Khan Sadiq, the governor of Shahjahanabad under the Mughal Emperor Muhammad Shah. His brother Sher Afkan Panipati possessed an armed train composed solely of Indian Muslims or Hindustanis.[62] In the modern era, the Urdu poet Altaf Hussain Hali,[63] wrote the book Musaddas-e Hali is considered by Pakistani scholars as an important text leading to the development of the Pakistan Movement.[64][65] Many other towns were also inhabited by the descendants of Abdullah Ansari. Lucknow's Firangi Mahal is home to many Ansari scholars, Saharanpur, Kakori, Gorakhpur, Aligarh and Yusufpur.[66] Indian political activist Muhammad Mian Mansoor Ansari hailed from the Saharanpur branch of the family. Many great figures also arose from the Yusufpur branch of the family such as Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed Ansari, Qazi Faridul Haq Ansari, Shaukatullah Shah Ansari and former Indian Vice-President, Hamid Ansari.[67][68]

Ranghar

The Ranghar were classified as an "agricultural tribe" by the British Raj administration and were recruited heavily in the British Indian Army ,[69] especially in Skinner's Horse. the Ranghars were the nucleus of the 3rd Bengal Light Cavalry which captured delhi in 1857[29]

Barabasti

Barabasti refers to a Biradari of Indian Pathans named after their origin from twelve villages known as Barah Basti in Bulandshahr, where "Barah" means "twelve" in Hindustani, similar to the naming of the Indian Muslim Barah Sayyids of Muzaffarnagar.[70] Like other Pathans in Northern India, they are quite Indian in language, manners and appearance.[71] In the War of 1857, Abdul Latif Khan of Khanpur, the head of the Barah Basti Pathans raised the standard of revolt against the East India Company,[72] writing a petition to the Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar promising to come to the Dehli court, and to bring some elephants with him, representing that he had been unwell.[73] Nawab Walidad Khan of Malagarh occupied Aligarh and Khurja and attracted to his standard the fanatic Muslims of Barah Basti community from which many of the sowars of the Irregular Cavalry were recruited, along with the Sayyids of Shikarpur,[74] and his 'near relation' Ismail Khan, who was the kotwal of Meerut and had served in the Skinner's Horse.[75]

Lalkhani

The Lalkhanis are Muslim Rajput converts from the Bargujar tribe, who assimilated to Lalkhani identity after their conversion.[76] The Lalkhanis held estates in the districts of Bulandshahr.[77] Nahar Ali Khan, who received the Taluqa of Pitampur from the Emperor Shah Alam II in 1774, offered resistance against the East India Company with his nephew Dunde Khan.[78] Mir Muhammad Baquar Ali Khan was the Raja Of Pindrawal while Nawab Saeed-ul-Mulk Chhatari, the last Prime Minister of the Nizam of Hyderabad, was one of the most prominent politicians of the All-India Muslim League.[76]

Gardezi

The Gardezi tribe of Manikpur are an Indian community of Sayyids who had settled in Manikpur since the 12th century.[79] In the 1700s, Raji Muhammad Khan who belonged to the Gardezi tribe of Manikpur was the Mir-i-Atish, or artillery chief, of the Mughal Emperor Jahandar Shah after he had blown up prince Jahan Shah's powder magazines.[80]

Bangash

Nawab Muhammad Khan Bangash ca 1730

The first immigrants to Mau were the descendants of the Khwaja Bayazid Ansari, the ethnic Ormur leader and founder of the Roshaniyya movement who had settled in Mau and Shamsabad. Muhammad Khan Bangash, the first Hindustani Pathan mercenary,[81][82] was rewarded with the jagir of Farrukhabad area.[83] He was so illiterate that he did not understand a single word of Persian or Pashto.[84][85] Being few in number, the bulk of Muhammad Khan's soldiers were elite slaves known as 'disciples', primarily Hindu Rajputs and sometimes Brahmins who were adopted, converted to Islam and submitted to a regime of religious, literary and military training which was focused on the transformation of the recruit's identity, who played a significant role as a kind of artificial family in-group attached to their patron. Before Muhammad Khan's death, the separation between the various tribes and castes broke down, forming a homogenous group, so that Muhammad Khan had founded his own Indian Muslim tribe or caste. To increase his independence from his nobles further, he continued to encourage immigration of Pashtuns of the Bangash and Afridi clan in Tirah. In India they were referred to as qaum-i-bangash which became a wider and more diffused label. [86]

Turk

1.5 million residents in the regions of Moradabad, Amroha and Sambhal, belonging to an Indian Muslim brotherhood descending from Turks, primarily from the era of the Delhi Sultanate. According to Professor Abhay Singh, these community originate from the era of the Turkan-e-Chahalgani, the Corps of Forty Turkic slave emirs, whose power was broken up by Ghiyas ud din Balban, and as a result they fled and settled down in the different villages of Katehr, near Badayun which was an important centre of the empire. They primarily speak Urdu and are Indian Muslims in customs, traditions, and language.[87] Suspicious of outside interference, the Turk villages are closely knit together into a Biradari (brotherhood) whose affairs are controlled by annually elected Sardars, the chief of the Biradari. they control all the activities of the community both internally and in relation with the outside world. The delinquent is severely ostracised which in their parlance, the man punished is not respectable enough to smoke the same Huqqa or drink from the same bowl as the honourable Biradari. If the offender repends and expresses a desire to retrieve his guilt, he must atone by means of a grand feast to the community. Occasions of celebration in the villages include the event of Ghazi Salar Masud's invasion on his way to Bahraich, which are celebrated with wrestling and fencing matches.[88]

Amrohi Sadaat

The 7th Irregular cavalry recruited a large number of Indian Sayyids from the Bareilly region, as well as Indian Pathans and Muslim Rajputs.[89]

The Sadaat-i-Amroha belong mainly to the Naqvi sub-group, because they are descendants of the Sufi saint Syed Sharfuddin Shah Wilayat. The Amrohi Sayyids formed the military and service gentry of the region in the Mughal empire.[90] Amroha became a hereditary jagir, as the family of Saiyyid Khwaja Ahmad Khan, sadat-i-Amroha, held pargana Amroha in their jagir for about a hundred years.[91] When the Marathas invaded and plundered Rohilkhand, the country of Western Uttar Pradesh was burnt with the exception of Amroha owing to a few thousand Amrohi Sayyid soldiers that drove out and conciliated with the Marathas.[92] According to the Urdu poet, Mir Taqi Mir, it was a Sayyid of Amroha, Syed Sadaat Ali, who convinced him to pursue poetry in Urdu, the verse which resembled Persian poetry, which was the "language of Hindustan by the authority of the king".[93][94]

Rohillas of Shahjahanpur

The first use of the term Rohilla was in the 1600s, to refer to the community of Diler Khan Rohilla, who was born in India,[95] and was the founder of his community in Shahjahanpur and Hardoi.[96] This community over generations had become culturally closer to the Awadh than to the Rohillas of Rampur, and sympathized with the Nawab of Awadh.[97] A large number were recruited in the army of Ghulam Muhammad Khan of Rampur during the Second Rohilla War. A large number led by Diler Khan betrayed the Nawab of Rampur and defected to the side of the Nawab of Awadh.[98][99][100] Khan Barkat Ali Khan who belonged to the Shahjahanpur Pathans as a risaldar rendered services to the British during the Anglo-Sikh War of 1848. After his retirement he settled down in Lahore and devoted work to the Anjuman-i-Islamiya. He gave constant support to the Aligarh Movement and to Sayyid Ahmad Khan, and was instrumental in the establishment in the first Girls School at Lahore.[101]

Muslim Kambohs

Viqar-ul-Mulk Kamboh Zuberi

The Kamboh tribe likely originated in northwest India.[102] The Muslims are referred to by the name of Zuberi. The Kamboh Sheikhs were found among the irregular cavalry but rarely enlisted in the infantry.[103] Muhammad Khan or Khair Andesh Khan, a prominent Muslim Kamboh in the reign of Shah Jahan and Aurangzeb built a fort in Meerut, the gate of which is the Khairnagar Darwaza. In 1690 he also built the Khairul Masjid wal Muabid in the heart of Meerut city, as well as Khairandeshpur in Etawah.[104]

Qidwai

The Qidwai are a tribe of Indian Muslims who claim descent from the Bani Israil.[105] The Qidwai were recruited in the household cavalry of Shuja-ud-Daula, which was mainly composed of the Sheikhzadi.[106][105] These clans had not taken any profession other than a soldier or a civil officer.[107] Abdul Majid Daryabadi belonged to the Qidwai clan in Daryabad.[108]

Bukhari Sayyid

Portrait of Shaikh Farid Bukhari

Medieval sources refer to a specific group of Indian Shaikhzadas called the Bukhari Sayyids. These were descendants of Makhdum Jahanian or Jalal Bukhari who was born in Multan in Punjab, and so in recent history were immigrants from the Punjab, but retained the title Bukhari due to genealogical links to the saint Jalaluddin Bukhari. By the 16th century, they had lived for several generations in Hindustan and were Indian Muslims associated with specific regions in Hindustan. Among these was Shaikh Farid Murtaza Khan, the Indian Muslim of Delhi who was the Mir Bakhshi of Akbar and Jahangir. The Bukhari Sayyids, the Barha Sayyids and the Kambohs were specially favoured for high military posts. Jahangir mentioned the great commanders and armies as involved in the Deccan campaigns with Shah Jahan as a prince, especially the Sayyids of Barha and Bukhara, the Shaikhzadas, the Hindustani Pathans and the Rajputs, to the campaigns in Kandahar.[109][110] The current Shahi Imam of the Jama Masjid in Delhi is a Bukhari Sayyid.[111]

Culture

Qasbas

In Urdu, the word qasba refers to a settlement larger than a village but smaller than a city; in short, a town. In India, a qasba is a small town distinguished by the presence of Muslim families of rank.[112]

Cuisine

Cultural affinity meant that Indo-Persian influence played a large role in the making of Indo-Muslim cuisine in Northern India.[113] Characteristic ingredients of this cuisine include onions and garlic, spices such as cloves, cardamom, nutmeg, mace, back pepper and cinnamon, and use of yoghurt, cream and butter.[114] Special dishes include biryani,[115] qorma, kofta, seekh kabab, nihari, haleem, Nargisi koftay, roghani naan, naan, sheer-khurma (dessert), and chai (sweet, milky tea). [citation needed]

Geographic distribution

Distribution of Pakistanis speaking Urdu as a first language in 1998

Although the majority of Urdu-speakers reside in Pakistan (including 30 million native speakers,[5] and up to 94 million second-language speakers),[12] where Urdu is the national and official language, most speakers who use Urdu as their native tongue live in northern India, where it is one of 22 official languages.[116]

The Urdu-speaking community is also present in other parts of the subcontinent with a historical Muslim presence, such as the Deccanis, the Biharis[18] and Dhakaiyas (who speak Dhakaiya Urdu) in Bangladesh,[117] the Urdu-speaking members of the Madheshi community in Nepal,[118] some Muslims in Sri Lanka[119] and a section of Burmese Indians.[120] Many people of Pashtun origin are also diversely scattered and principally settled in the plains of northern and central India, known as the Pathans.[121][122][123] The majority of Indian Pathans are Urdu-speaking people,[124] who have assimilated into the local society over the course of generations.[124] Following the 1947 Partition of India, a large number of these Urdu-speaking communities migrated to Pakistan along with other Indian Muslims, who are known as Muhajirs.[125]

In addition, there are Urdu-speakers present amongst the South Asian diaspora, most notably in the Middle East,[126] North America (notably the United States and Canada),[126][127] Europe (notably the United Kingdom),[128] the Caribbean region,[128] Africa (notably South Africa and Mauritius),[128] Southeast Asia (notably Singapore)[129] and Oceania (notably Australia[11] and Fiji).[128] Other communities, most notably the Punjabi elite of Pakistan, have adopted Urdu as a mother tongue and identify with both an Urdu speaker as well as Punjabi identity.[130][additional citation(s) needed]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ "Urdu" does not broadly refer to the Hindustani language, but merely the literary-register (or style) of the macrolanguage self-identified as a spoken language predominantly by Muslims in South Asia, hence accounting Modern Standard Hindi as a separate entity statistically.
  2. ^ During early days of British India, North Indian people of many faiths, including Hindus, self-identified as Urdu-speakers prior to the mid-19th century, after which they self-identified as Hindi-speakers.

References

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