Linguistic Bigotry: The Great Debate – I

NeechaN di ashnai koloN faiz kisay nahiN paya
kikar te angoor chRahia har gosha zakhmaya

(No one can benefit from people with lowly mentality. If the grapes’s vine is wrapped on a ‘kikkar’ tree, every bunch [of grapes] is damaged)





 Note for WoP readers: Dr. Syed Ehtisham is a writer and analyst who frequently contributes to one of my favorite website

 Dr. Syed Ehtisham circulated this note among APPNA’ e-mail lists. He did not name the person but according to investigation by Dr.Manzur Ejazthe said person was Dr. Arif Muslim and the Dr. outraged Dr. Ghazala Qazi who read Mian Mohammad’s verses for him:-

NeechaN di ashnai koloN faiz kisay nahiN paya
kikar te angoor chRahia har gosha zakhmaya

(No one can benefit from people with lowly mentality. If the grapes’s vine is wrapped on a ‘kikkar’ tree, every bunch [of grapes] is damaged)

And now the note from Dr. Syed Ehtisham……


“I had gone to the APPNA NJ meeting to meet friends and come back home to report happy tidings to those who were not there.

I had a very unpleasant encounter.

I debated with myself for a long time if I should ignore the ravings of a bigot.


 I was in a very pleasant conversation with Ghazala Kazi when an establishment figure of APPNA our conversation, somehow, turned to the question of languages. This person whom I had hitherto taken for a rational person, out of the blue came out with a statement which would embarrass even a rabid ethnic chauvinist.

According to him URDU was a language and Punjabi a “boli”. One could pass that as a crude chauvinistic comment.

But the man expanded, ”jaisai GhoRae, gadhe, billi aur Kuttae ki boli, waisae hi Punjabi boli.

We must all condemn this outrageous statement in unequivocal terms. We must demand an unconditional apology. Official APPNA must take a formal notice.

Dr. Syed Ehtisham”

Here ends the note by Dr. Syed Ehtisham. Now what I understand from a reply by Dr. Manzur Ejaz and Omar Ali, Dr. Syed Ehtisham seems himself not from the land of the five rivers, his comments are indeed appreciable that he pointed to a historic fact.

 Dr. Arif Muslim has no doubt hurt the sentiments of millions of those who not only speak this language but also love the sayings of sages like Hazrat Baba Farid, Baba Guru Nanak Dev ji and others who used this as a medium to express their godly thoughts. I do not know for sure whether Dr. Arif Muslim is an Urdu lover or Punjabi hater but one thing which I personally experienced too, from one of my friends, one of the  “Ahle Zuban” said something similar to what Dr. Muslim has said. Here I would only add that such people who try to put Urdu as a language and Punjabi as a boli are doing no service to Urdu either.

 Urdu is a sweet and impressive language and more widely used than the Punjabi. But by uttering such remarks Dr. Arif and the like belittle Urdu and create more antipathy for the language than otherwise they would wish to.

 For readers of WOP, above is a verbatim reproduction of what transpired in the APPNA meeting and then also a very cognitive reply from Dr. Manzur Ejaz and Omar Ali. [Nayyar]

Next: Linguistic Bigotry: The Great Debate – I

Page  2




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5 replies to “Linguistic Bigotry: The Great Debate – I

  1. punjabi is a beautiful and sweet language.this bigoted and prejudiced comment is unwarrented.this type of mentality is very much present in the migrants from india who think only their language urdu and their culture is sophisticated and the punjabis are phillistines.
    but it has to be said that the punjabi people themselves have to share a lot of blame for not fighting against this karachi you cant find a single punjabi who is willing to speak his mother tongue,whereas all all other ppl speak their regional languages with pride,the punjabi people feel they will be considered as illeterate,backward villagers if they speak punjabi.not amongst themselves are they willing to speak punjabi lest any1 think they are “paindoo”.this is a worrying situation as when u r ashamed of who u are then as a people u r bound to suffer.wake up ppl! speak punjabi,there is no shame in speaking it.

  2. A fool’s fight it is. One should clearly recognize that it is a mix of Hindi and Urdu that reigns the subcontinent. Those who bring this great language into confrontation with other regions’ languages do no service to this great lingua franca of the subcontinent.

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