One of the most engaging debates on Matador Abroad last year, with over 120 comments, revolved around the article Why Hindi-Urdu is One Language and Arabic is Several, and I was recently contacted by Azad Qalamdar about an initiative of the Hamari Foundation a “Language Planning and People-to-People Communication initiative aimed at eliminating the written illegibility of Hindi-Urdu by neutralizing the script using Roman alphabet and simultaneously use the opportunity to create a People-to-People communication platform for Indo-Pak.”

Qalamdar writes:

We are of the opinion that the politically motivated division of The Hindustani Language as Hindi & Urdu was an epic injustice and disservice to the language and 900Million+ speakers.The deliberate disseverance of literary canon, forced sanskritization and persianization, super-enforced with extreme digraphia amounts to depriving the speakers of almost half of their very own linguistic heritage! We believe that the artificial Hindi-Urdu divide is detrimental to public interest as it severely limits the reach and accessibility of the language.

The peculiar brands of Hindi and Urdu manufactured as national languages in India and Pakistan since partition are patently un-natural as they do not represent the language as it is held by the people but are solely based on the establishments’ ideal of the national language. The interest of the people will be much better served if the efforts and money being wasted on addressing either of the two scripts are invested in creating content accessible to all Hindi-Urdu speakers alike.

Testimony to the argument is the fact that both ‘Official Hindi’ and ‘Official Urdu’ can only be found in text books and official speeches. Popular Hindi-Urdu is essentially the same (except for the script) across India & Pakistan (and among the worldwide Desi diaspora) and that is what we call Hamari Boli, the lingua franca of the Desi People!

Learn more about Hamari Foundation’s initiatives on the Hamari Boli website or find them on Facebook.

हमारी बोली + ہماری بولی