Nation Current Affairs 30 Sep 2019 Urdu as ‘forei ...

Urdu as ‘foreign language’ furore in Chandigarh

Published Sep 30, 2019, 1:44 am IST
Updated Sep 30, 2019, 1:44 am IST
Earlier, the PU’s Urdu Department had objected to the proposal of the merger with other foreign languages.
Amarinder Singh.
 Amarinder Singh.

Chandigarh: The Punjab University (PU), Chandigarh’s proposal to merge the Urdu Department with the foreign language departments has snowballed into a major controversy. The university recently proposed that the Urdu Department be made part of the School of Foreign Languages, to be set up after merging the departments of Russian, French, German, Chinese and Tibetan languages.

However, with Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh saying that he will ask PU to review the decision, there seems to be some hope for the department. The Chief Minister tweeted “ Surprised to learn that @OfficialPU has proposed to make the Urdu Department part of the “School of Foreign Languages”.


Urdu is an Indian language, like all the great languages of our country. Will speak to the Vice chancellor & Senators to review this decision immediately.”

Earlier, the PU’s Urdu Department had objected to the proposal of the merger with other foreign languages. The department objects to Urdu being considered a foreign language and not an Indian language like Hindi and Punjabi.

The PU’s Urdu Department Coordinator, Ali Abbas, has written a letter to PU’s Dean, University Instructions (DUI), saying, “Urdu was born, nurtured and cultured in India during the first two decades of the 13th century by Amir Khusrau. From that moment onward, Urdu and Hindi languages have not looked back. Not only this, even Punjabi language was put on the path of development by Baba Farid Ganj Shakar.”

He has further written that “A wrong impression is being created by certain elements that Urdu is a foreign language.”

Mr. Abbas has, however, suggested bringing the departments of Hindi, Urdu and Punjabi under one umbrella of the Department of Indian languages.

“Or the Urdu Department may be allowed to function independently as per the present arrangement,” he wrote.

It is worth mentioning here that before partition, the Urdu department was a major department at the University of Punjab, Lahore, which was set up in 1882. Later it was introduced in Punjab University Chandigarh, in 1976.

Location: India, Chandigarh