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“Hindustani” written in Devanagari and Nasta’liq script

Though, the official language of India is Hindi. But, Indians all across the world speak Hindustani, and merely Hindi.

Well, interestingly, the language which Indians speak is Hindustani, which is a mixture of Hindi and Urdu languages. Today, ancestors of Hindustani language are known as Hindui, Hindavi, Zaban-e-Hind, Zaban-e-Hindustan, Hindustan ki boli, Rekhta, and even Hindi.


At the same time, various dialects of Hindustani came into being, like for southern India, the language came to be Zaban-e-Dakhani; for Gujarat, it became Zaban-e-Gujari; and for Delhi, the language became Zaban-e-Dehlavi or Urdu.

Well, in basic terms, Hindustani is a pluricentric language with two standardised registers, namely, Modern Standard Hindi and Modern Standard Urdu.

Mahatma Gandhi was the first person to use Hindustani language as as a "unifying language" or "fusion language". Moreover, the language also became an expression of Indian national unity during the Indian Independence Movement.

It must be noted well that when the Mughal conquests grew in the Indian subcontinent, Hindustani language spread like wildfire. This, again, was a result of contact between Hindu and Muslim cultures which further gave birth to Ganga-Jamuni Tehzeeb, which is still preached.

But, when British rule started in India, the use of the word 'Hindustani' declined, and was replaced by 'Hindi' and 'Urdu', or 'Hindi-Urdu'. This, perhaps, could be a reason why division occurred in Hindustani Language, giving birth to two languages– Hindi and Urdu.

So, now we see why we say “chaand" and not “chandrama", “zindagi" and not “jeevan”, and also, “mohobbat" and not “prem"! Well, this is because we unknowingly speak Hindustani and not Hindi or Urdu.


Keywords: Hindustani Language, Hindi-Urdu language, language of India.


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