Showing posts with label Muslim. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Muslim. Show all posts

Myths of Urdu

Pick up any Urdu textbook and the chances are that it will endorse the following myths: (

  • The term ‘Urdu’ means military camp. Language is called ‘Urdu’ because it was created in the army camps of the Mughals especially during the reign of Shah Jahan;
  • Urdu is a mixed language (khitchri zubaan);
  • Urdu is a Muslim language.

Now let us deal with these myths one by one.

All the histories in Persian about medieval India use the Turkish word ‘Urdu’ (which means ‘camp’ in original Turkish) for ‘city’. The word is not used in the original Turkish meaning in Indian sources in Persian for the most part. Sometimes the terms ‘Urdu-i-mualla’ and ‘Urdu-i-badshahi’ are also used. During Shah Jahan’s time, Urdu-i-mualla referred to the language spoken in the city of Shahjahanabad (Delhi).

The language we now call Urdu has an ancestor referred to as Hindvi and Hindi in most medieval Persian sources. In Gujrat, however, the language is called Gujri and sometimes Gujrati. In the Deccan it is called Dakani and around the Delhi area it is also called Dehlavi. During the 18th century the word ‘Rekhta’ was also used for it.

Meanwhile the British, and also some other outsiders, call it Indostan, Moors and then Hindustani. In fact, the name ‘Hindustani’ was used so much by the British that both Muslim and Hindu scholars often used it themselves for their common heritage during the 1930s and 1940s.

Syed Sulaiman Nadwi and some other thinkers who wanted Hindu-Muslim unity in British India even suggested that the term ‘Urdu’ be abandoned in favour of ‘Hindustani’ because the former conjured up the image of a military conquest and war whereas the latter had no such symbolic baggage.

The word ‘Urdu’ is a contraction of the phrase ‘zubaan-i-Urdu-i-mualla’ (i.e. the language of the exalted city) which came to be used during the late 18th century. It is, in fact, the most recent name for a language which certainly existed even in the 13th century. There are words and sentences which we can recognise even today in the malfuzat (sayings) and tazkiras (biographies) as well as other records of that period. They refer to the language used in the marketplace, songs, conversation and in homes. The military reference does not exist though the language must have been used among soldiers also.

It was certainly used in religious circles because even in far-off Kaniguram in Waziristan, a religious reformer called Bayazid Ansari wrote a book called Khairul Bayan in 1560 which has over 16 lines in this language which the author calls Hindi.

Now for the myth that Urdu is a mixture of other languages. If a language is really a mixture it is called pidgin which is nobody’s mother tongue and a reduced language. It may become a creole when it is developed and becomes somebody’s mother tongue.

Urdu’s ancestor — call it what you will — existed in India (probably in the vicinity of Delhi) as a full language. Words of Persian and Arabic origin crept into it. This was not because of military activities but ordinary everyday interaction.

This is a natural process and modern English came about in exactly this manner. That is why about half the vocabulary of English is from Latin and Greek via Norman French. But English is not called a ‘mixed language’ so why should Urdu be stigmatised as such?

If one starts calling languages mixed in the sense that there was no base for them and words from different languages combined then Urdu is not that kind of product. Urdu is mixed in the same way that English is: it has absorbed words from many languages. The third myth that Urdu is a Muslim language is more problematic. For about 500 years of its existence nobody called it Urdu. It was called Hindi and had many words of Sanskrit origin as do other texts — until the 18th century.

Then a language reform movement initiated by Muslim poets (Hatim, Mirza Mazhar, Nasikh’s students etc) threw out certain words from the corpus of the language. Among them were words like chinta (worry), prem (love), sundar (beautiful) etc. The movement was actually an attempt to create a linguistic marker for the cultural elite which was mostly Muslim. However, instead of being merely a class movement it became a religious one. Thus, Urdu was imbued with distinctive Perso-Arabic cultural content and served as an identity symbol for the Muslims of India.

In the same way, after 1802, modern Hindi was created by weeding out Persian and Arabic words and using only the Devanagari script for writing. These new languages — Sanskritised Hindi and Persianised Urdu — drifted apart from each other and still serve as identity markers for Hindu and Muslim nationalism in South Asia.

During the Pakistan Movement, Urdu became a symbol of the identity of South Asia’s Muslims. It was invested with emotional force and Maulvi Abdul Haq, who used to term it a composite language while in India, started calling it the mainstay of Muslim separatism.

Similarly, Sanskritised Hindi became the symbol of the attempt to eliminate the share of Muslims in Indian culture. This political gulf between the two sister languages remains to this day — although at the spoken level, Urdu and Hindi remain the same language as all Indians who watch Pakistani dramas and all Pakistanis who watch Hindi movies will testify.

However, while Pakistani Muslims insist that Urdu is a Muslim language, the Muslims of India refer to it as a composite language. This is because it is in the political interests of Pakistani Muslims to emphasise the differences between themselves and the Indians while the opposite is in the political interests of Indian Muslims.

In short, Urdu means different things to different people. It is only by separating the myth from reality that we can appreciate its true nature.

Dr Tariq Rahman

Origin of Vijayanagar Rulers

what is the origin of Vijayanagar Rulers , Major claims are kannadigas and Telugu, Let us see the facts.

The Vijaynagara kingdom was established by Harihara and Bukka in 1336 in Anegundi in koppal district of Karnataka. Later the capital was shifted to Hampi. The dispute has been on the origin of these two people. Let us what are the claims

Telugu Origin
  • Robert Sewell said the founders Harihara and Bukka were Kakatiya guards and of Kuruba/Golla origin
  • Saletore surmised that Hampi was lying outside the Hoysala territory and supported the Telugu origin of Vijayanagara kings
  • Telugu Nayaks (Kamma, Balija, Velama and Reddy) for revenue collection throughout the empire also supported the Telugu affinity
Muslim origin
Muslim historians and scholars of the time such as Ziauddin Barani, Isarni and Ferishta and foreign visitors like Ibn Batuta and Nuniz also recorded that the brothers were serving the King Prataparudra and were made captive after the fall of Warangal. According to another historian who based his research on evidence culled from inscriptions such as Gozalavidu record, "the founders of Vijayanagara were at first in the service of the last Kakatiya king Prataparudra of Warangal, and that when that monarch was defeated by Muhammad bin Tughluq and taken prisoner, they fled to Kampili and took refuge in the court of Kampilideva” . On the outbreak of a rebellion in Kampili the brothers were sent by Tughlaq with an army to Kampili to reconquer it from the rebels and rule the province as his deputies. They successfully accomplished the task but under the influence of Vidyaranya they renounced Islam, and threw in their lot with the Musunuri Nayaks who had just then succeeded, under the leadership of Kaapaya, in expelling the Muslims and re-establish the national independence. Harihara and Bukka then reverted to their ancient faith and having declared independence, assumed the leadership of the Hindus of Kampili in their fight against the Muslims.

Kannada Origin
  • Inscriptions prove that Harihara I and Bukka Raya I were in the Hoysala service a decade before their arrival at Kampili (in modern Bellary district).
  • Not only did the widow of Hoysala Veera Ballala III participate in the coronation of Harihara I in 1346, her name appears before that of the Vijayanagara King Harihara I in a 1349 inscription indicating he gained legitimacy for being a devoted heir of the Hoysalas.
  • original founding of Vijayanagara was in 1320 by Veera Ballala III, then known as Vijayavirupaksha Hosapattana. By 1344, the transfer of power from the Hoysala Empire to the emerging Vijayanagara empire seems to have been gradual and without bloodshed, as ex-Hoysala officers melted away from a crumbling Hoysala power now to support the Sangama cause.
  • In 1346, Harihara I made a grant to Bharati Tirtha in the presence of Krishnayitayi, queen of Hoysala Veera Ballala III, who herself made a grant on the same day. Harihara I was a commander in the Hoysala Kingdom and had been appointed by Veera Ballala III with autonomous powers after the fall of the Seuna and Kampili kingdoms, to administer the northern territories.
  • The very first fortress Harihara I built was the fort at Barakuru in coastal Karnataka in 1336, when he was a Hoysala commander in charge of its northern territories from his seat in Gutti, modern Ananthapur district in Andhra Pradesh, at that time a Hoysala territory.
  • He assumed the Kannada titles Purvapaschima Samudradhishvara (Master of eastern and western and occeans), Arirayavibhada (fire to the enemy kings) and Bhashegetappuvarayaraganda (punisher of the ruler who failed to keep a promise).
  • It has been pointed out that even famous Telugu scholars Vallabharaya and Srinatha, in their works called the Sangama brothers Karnata Kshitinatha, indicating they were a Kannada family.
  • An early inscription of Harihara II called him , Lion to the scent elephant of the Andhra king, demonstrating their anti-Telugu propensity. Persian author Ferishta of Vijayanagara days wrote the emperors as "Roies of Karnataka".
  • The Kannada writings of that time Chikkadevaraya Vamshavali and Keladinripa Vijayam state that the Sangama brothers were Kuruba by caste making them people of Karnataka.
  • Almost half of the Vijayanagar inscriptions are in Kannada out of a total of about 7000 available today and use surnames which are pure Kannada titles such as Bhashegetappuva - rayara - ganda, Moorurayaraganda and Arirayadatta. The remaining inscriptions are in Sanskrit, Telugu and Tamil.
  • The Karnataka Empire or Vijayanagar Empire was originally of the Karnataka region and it drew its inspirations from the Hoysala Empire and the Western Ganga Dynasty of the Karnataka. Inscriptional evidence shows that Ballappa Dandanayaka, a nephew of Hoysala Veera Ballala III was married to a daughter of Harihara I, the founder of the empire. This is claimed proof enough of the association Sangama brothers had with the Hoysala family.
  • It is also asserted that the theory of capture of Harihara I and Bukka Raya I by the Sultan of Delhi and conversion to Islam is false and that the testimony of epigraphs proves that the area around Hampi constituted their homeland. The empire never had a Telugu origin. The patron saint of the early kings was saint Vidyaranya, the 12th Shankaracharya of Sringeri in Karnataka and this is proof enough of their unquestionable identity with the Kannada country.
  • great devotion the founders of the empire had in Lord Chennakeshava of Belur and Lord Virupaksha of Hampi testifying to their origin from Kannada country
  • Sangama brothers even signed their Sanskrit records in Kannada as Srivirupaksha and used their Kannada titles even in Telugu, Tamil and Sanskrit records. No such Telugu titles were used by them.
Robert Sewell
while on a visit to Beidur in Mysore (Karnataka) in 1801, was shown by one Ramappa Varmika a Sanskrit book in his possession called the Vidyaranya Sikka, which mentioned that the founders of Vijayanagar were Harihara and Bukka, guards of the treasury of the Kakatiya King Prataparudra of Warangal. These young brothers met a spiritual teacher, Vidyaranya, the sage of Sringeri monastery, who guided them to establish the kingdom in 1336 and Harihara was made first king. Robert Sewell concluded that Harihara and Bukka were treasury officers of Golla/Kuruba caste, in the court of Warangal (Kakatiya dynasty). As you can see Robert conclusion is based on hearsay and does not carry any firm evidence.
Though controversies over the role of Vidyaranya in the founding of the empire exist, Vidyaranya was an important Sanyasi at the Sringeri order, though not the head of the monastic order until 1380. Vidyaranya Kalajnana (in Sanskrit), Vidyaranya Vrittanta, Rajakalanirnay written by Vidyaranya terms the two as working in gaurds in Kakatiya Tresaury,but it also says they are Kuruba lineage. Kurubas are kannadigas and Kaktiya is Telugu kingdom. And he also say they worked for Chalukyas, Now is the Saint trying to get support of both kannadigas and telugu?

Sivatatva Ratnakara
This book was written in 1709 well after all the legendary stuff has been created. It has Said Vijayangara kings as rulers of Andhra ,not rulers from Andhra

Scholars like Prof. K. A. Nilakanta Sastry, Dr. N. Venkataramanayya and B. Surya Narayana Rao are known for anti-kannada roles. Their theory of Telugu and Tamil older than Kannada and both are sister languages is well known. They are proposed that Kannada region spoke tamil before 1oth century. So their comments cannot be taken seriously.

Myth of Cheraman Mosque

Cheraman Juma Masjid is a mosque in Kodungallur in the Indian state of Kerala. Believed to be built in 629 AD by Malik Ibn Dinar, it is considered as the oldest mosque in India, and the second oldest mosque in the world to offer Jumu'ah prayers. Constructed during the lifetime of Muhammad, the bodies of some of his original followers are said to be buried here. Unlike other mosques in Kerala that face westwards this mosque faces eastwards.

Let us analyse the Facts

Keralopathi Account(16th century AD)
As the tradition goes, a Chera king, Cheramanperumal of Kodungallure, left for Mecca, embraced Islam, and accepted the name Thajudeen. He married the sister of then King of Jeddah. On his return trip, accompanied by many Islamic religious leaders, led by Malik-ibn-Dinar (RA), he fell sick and passed away. But he had given introductory letters for the team to proceed to ‘Musiris’ (Kodungallur, the Chera capital. The visitors came to Musiris and handed over the latter to the reigning king, who treated the guests with all respect and extended facilities to establish their faith in the land. The king also organised help for the artisans to build the first Mosque at Kodungallur, by converting Arathali temple into a Juma-Masjid. It was build in 629 A.C., and the area around it had been ear-marked for the team’s settlement. This is said in Book called Keralopathi, not anywhere. But there are different versions of Keralopathi giving different accounts. In one version he converted Buddhism.

Scholarly visitors
None of the early or medieval travelers who visited Kerala has referred in their records. Thus Sulaiman, Al Biruni, Benjamin of Tuleda, Al Kazwini, Marco Polo, Friar Odoric, Friar Jordanus, Ibn Babuta, Abdur Razzak, Nicolo-Conti – none of these travelers speaks of the story of the Cheraman’s alleged conversion to Islam.

No cheraman in 7th century AD
Sreedhara Menon authoritatively states that Kerala never had a king called Cheraman Perumal and quotes Dr. Herman Gundert, the German who composed the first Malayalam-English dictionary and the grandfather of Herman Hesse for this. But there seems to have been a Cheraman Perumal, whose history is overlaid by legend. According to Saiva tradition, he had an association with a Sundaramurti, the last of the three hymnists of Devaram. This Cheraman Perumal vanished in 825 A.D, about 200 years

A mention of the Cheraman Perumal legend appeared in the 16th century book Tuhafat-ul Mujahidin by Shaik Zainuddin, but he too did not believe in its historical authenticity. But later cut and paste historians seem to have forgot to add his disclaimer.

Source :Varnam