And while in India, the supposed fading of Urdu is a hotly debated topic, in other parts of the world it is still a flourishing language. But as globalization wipes out most things we consider familiar and leaves us with inescapable bastardizations (some would call it ‘communions’, however unholy a Schezwan Cheese Dosa may be), what is the fate of Urdu?
Do not for a moment imagine that Urdu isn’t adapting, type is being created for online usage, calligraphers have left the sober confines of workshops to spill onto streets screaming anarchy on walls, all in this poetic old tongue. And yet, while we can predict the immediate future with our good-natured research and speculations, can we tell what will happen in 2050? Will the Jetsons spout Urdu poetry? Will young girls drop Rumi bombs on the 2050 version of social media to passive aggressively call out lousy lovers? Or will the language be forgotten until it is excavated by archeologists from 2050 in an old crushed newspaper along with a statue of Mayawati clutching her handbag? What indeed?
To allow the thought creative interpretation we asked a few artists to go Nostradamus on us and predict the future of Urdu in 2050.
Ghar-e-beghar (Homeless in Homeland)– Furqan Jawed
Furqan assesses that Urdu is now associated with the rhetoric of a Muslim identity. And in the existing scenario this doesn’t bode well for the growth of the language either in India or abroad. So to restrict oneself to the aesthetic beauty of the language alone would be unfair, one must consider the socio-political scenario that has curbed the language and possibly points towards its demise. And hence the dystopian world and representation of a language that is struggling to survive despite the clichés and stereotypes that are thrust on it.
Jahaan-E-Urdu- Mohammad Azad
Here the letter ‘U’ looms large and omniscient and Mohammad uses the U to amalgamate everything the language stands for in 2050. He sees a world where the culture of ‘tehzib’ still flourishes and Urdu draws strength from that. It nurtures and protects the essence of other languages, as Sanskrit once was the root of everything, Urdu is now the root and the constant. It blends and seamlessly adapts into popular culture, as any language must do, to survive. Motion by Pawas Akarsh.
Anjaam (The Culmination)- Qamar Dagar
Qamar Dagar speaks of elegance, of refinement and how Urdu with it’s sweet rhythm and charm is quite perfect for poetry. Is this why there is such a ‘khazana’ of writings available from stalwart poets in Urdu? Of course. But the language also draws you in with aesthetics; the delicate calligraphy and linear beauty of Urdu are quite unmatched. And yet Urdu adapts and grows and when you change the physicality of the written form, something changes internally. It is a subtle change but a powerful one and if you notice, Urdu has now evolved from a language of communication into a visual art. Isn’t that true of the future as well? Qamar Dagar creates the visual of a flower blossoming, that blends the script into it’s form. A poetic metaphor for a language of poets.
Mustaqbil- Yusuf Zamani
Zamani sees the language from the eyes of an optimist. It adapts and molds itself into the most popular mode of communication of the time. Be it a digital code or advertising jargon, it lives and thrives by becoming available and useful.