Hindustani (हिन्दुस्तानी ہندوستانی , hɪn̪d̪ʊst̪aːniː), also known as "Hindi-Urdu," is a term covering several closely related dialects in Pakistan and northern India, especially the vernacular form of the two national languages, Standard Hindi and Urdu, also known as Khariboli, but also several nonstandard dialects of the Hindi languages.
Before the Partition of British India, the terms Hindustani and Urdu were synonymous; both covered what would be called Urdu and Hindi today.
In the early modern (Mughal) period, Hindustani gradually replaces use of Persian among the Delhi nobility in the later 17th century. The emerging prestige dialect becomes known as Urdu (properly zabān-e Urdu-e mo'alla "language of the court").
Originally the term Hindustani ("of Hindustan") was the name given by the Turco-Persian Mughal conquerors of India to Khariboli, the local form of Hindi at their capital, Delhi, and nearby cities. As a contact language between the two cultures, Hindustani absorbed large numbers of Persian, Arabic, and Turkic words, and with further Mughal conquest it spread as a lingua franca across northern India. It remained the primary lingua franca of northern India for the next four centuries, although it varied significantly in vocabulary depending on the local language, and it achieved the status of a literary language, along with Persian, in the Muslim courts. In time it came to be called Urdu (zabān-e Urdu , ज़बान-ए उर्दू, "language of the camp" in Persian, derived from Altaic Ordū "camp", cognate with English horde), and as the highly Persianized court language, Rekhta, or "mixed".
When the British conquered India from the late 1700s through to the late 1800s, they used the words 'Hindustani' and 'Urdu' interchangeably. They developed it as the language of administration of British India, further preparing it to be the official language of modern India and Pakistan.
In recent times, the word Hindustani has been used for the intentionally neutral language of Bollywood films, which are popular in both India and Pakistan.
Standard Hindi, the official language of India, is based on the Khariboli dialect of the Delhi region and differs from Urdu in that it is usually written in the indigenous Devanagari script of India and exhibits less Persian influence than Urdu. Many scholars today employ a Sanskritized form of Hindi developed primarily in Varanasi, the Hindu holy city, which is based on the Eastern Hindi dialect of that region.
Note that, the term "Hindustani" has generally fallen out of common usage in modern India, except to refer to a style of Indian classical music prevalent in northern India. The term used to refer to the language is "Hindi", regardless of the mix of Persian or Sanskrit words used by the speaker. One could conceive of a wide spectrum of dialects, with the highly Persianized Urdu at one end of the spectrum and a heavily Sanskrit based dialect, spoken in the region around Varanasi, at the other end of the spectrum. In common usage in India, the term "Hindi" includes all dialects, except the Urdu end of the spectrum. Thus, the different meanings of the word "Hindi" include, among others:
The term "Hindustani" is now used in India to deliberately convey the language of unified pre-1947 India, with a wealth of words of both Persian and Sanskrit origin, without an attempt at leaning towards either as has taken place with Urdu and Hindi. The term has a secular flavour; the speaker is rising above Hindu/Muslim visions of India.
The associated dialects of Urdu and Hindi are known as "Hindustani". It is perhaps the lingua franca of the west and north of the Indian subcontinent, though it is understood fairly well in other regions also, especially in the urban areas. A common vernacular sharing characteristics with Urdu, Sanskritized Hindi, and regional Hindi, Hindustani is more commonly used as a vernacular than highly Arabicized/Persianized Urdu or highly Sanskritized Hindi.
This can be seen in the popular culture of Bollywood or, more generally, the vernacular of Pakistanis and Indians which generally employs a lexicon common to both "Urdu" and "Hindi" speakers. Minor subtleties in region will also affect the 'brand' of Hindustani, sometimes pushing the Hindustani closer to Urdu or to Hindi. One might reasonably assume that the language spoken in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh (known for its beautiful usage of Urdu) and Varanasi (a holy city for Hindus and thus using highly Sanskritized Hindi) is somewhat different.
Hindi, one standardized register of Hindustani, is declared by the Constitution of India as the "official language (rājabhāshā) of the Union" (Art. 343(1)) (In this context, 'Union' means the Federal Government and not the entire country - India has 23 official languages). At the same time, however, the definitive text of Federal laws is officially the English text and proceedings in the higher appellate courts must be conducted in English. See Official languages of India. At the state level, Hindi is an official language in 10 out of the 28 Indian states (namely Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, and Punjab). In the 18 states where Hindi is not an official language, studying Hindi is usually compulsory in the school curriculum as a third language (the first two languages being the state's official vernacular language and English), though the intensiveness of Hindi in the curriculum varies.
Urdu, the other standardized register of Hindustani, is the national language of Pakistan, where it shares official language status with English. Although English is used in most elite circles, and Punjabi has a plurality of native speakers, Urdu is the lingua franca and is expected to prevail. Urdu is also one of the official languages of India, and in the Indian states of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Delhi, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh, Urdu has official language status. While the government school system in most other states emphasises Modern Standard Hindi, at universities in cities such as Lucknow, Aligarh and Hyderabad, Urdu is spoken and learned and is regarded as a language of prestige.
In Fiji, Hindustani has official status under Fiji's Constitution, along with Bau Fijian and English; citizens of Fiji have the constitutional right to communicate with any government agency in any of the official languages, with an interpreter to be supplied on request.
Fijian Hindustani descends from one of the eastern forms of Hindustani, called Awadhi, as well as the Bhojpuri dialect. It has developed some unique features that differentiate it from the Avadhī spoken on the Indian subcontinent, although not to the extent of hindering mutual understanding. It is spoken by nearly the entire Indo-Fijian community, 38.1% of Fiji's entire population, regardless of ancestry.
Hindustani speakers have a significant number of speakers in South American countries such as Suriname and Guyana, and Caribbean countries such as Trinidad & Tobago and Belize. The formal name of the language spoken in this region is generally called Caribbean Hindustani or Caribbean Hindi, although the Caribbean countries may add an adjective in front of the language name (i.e. Sarnami Hindustani) even though most individuals commonly refer to it as just Hindustani or Hindi. One major country in which Hindustani is spoken is Suriname. Sarnami Hindustani is the second most spoken language in Suriname after Dutch. This is due to the emigration of East Indians (known locally as Hindustanis in Suriname) from the Indian states of Bihār and Uttar Pradesh located in North India. The emigration was mainly of Bhojpuri speaking people which has led to the local Hindustani language having various Bhojpuri words and phrases from other Bihari languages. Ethnic Indians form 37% of the population in Suriname, the largest ethnic group there. Hence, Hindustani is spoken frequently in Suriname and Indian culture plays a major role there in general. Hindustani is also spoken among ethnic Indians of Guyana and is popular there as South Asians make up around 45% of Guyana's total population.
Parya (which was called Tadj-Uzbeki or Tajuzbeki by Bholanath Tivari), refers to the Hindustani dialect spoken by Indian immigrants from the 13th century onwards in the border region of Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, especially in the environs of Hisor, Shehr-e-nau, Regar/Tursunzoda and Surchi, located in the Gissar Valley of Tajikistan and the Surkhandarya basin of Uzbekistan. It is based on the Braj, Hariyani and Rajasthani dialects, and is highly influenced by Uzbek, Tajik and Russian languages.
Hindustani also has a significant number of speakers in North America, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East due to immigration by the people of India and Pakistan to these continents and regions. In South Africa, Kenya and other parts of Africa, older descendents of 18th century sugar cane workers also speak a variety of Bhojpuri as their second language.
Hindustani was also spoken widespread in Burma during British rule as the main language of the administration. Many older Burmese, particularly the Anglo-Indians and Anglo-Burmese of the country, still speak the language although it has no official status in the country since military rule.
Also see: Fiji Hindi
Vernacular Urdu and Hindi are practically indistinguishable. However, the literary registers differ substantially; in highly formal situations, the languages are barely intelligible to speakers of the other. It bears mention that in centuries past both Sanskrit and Persian have been regarded as the languages of the elite, even by those of differing ethnic and religious backgrounds.
There are four principal categories of words in Hindustani:
Excessive use of tatsam words sometimes creates problems for most native speakers. The educated middle class population of India may be familiar with these words due to education, but less-educated persons or people of rural backgrounds lack familiarity with more formal registers. The issue also exists with high-register vocabulary borrowed from Persian and Arabic.
Perso-Arabic script used to write Hindustani (Urdu):
Because of Anglicization and international use of the Roman script, Hindustani is also sometimes written in the Roman alphabet. This adaptation is called Roman Urdu. Despite opposition from Devanagari and Perso-Arabic script lovers, Roman Urdu is gaining popularity especially among the youth, who use the Internet or are "cyber-citizens."
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