Roman Urdu

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The Urdū Perso-Arabic alphabet, with names in the Devanāgarī and Roman Urdū alphabets

Roman Urdu is the name used for the Urdū language written with the Roman script.

According to the Urdū scholar Habib R. Sulemani: "Roman Urdu is strongly opposed by the traditional Arabic script lovers. Despite this opposition it is still used by most on the internet and computers due to limitations of most technologies as they do not have the Urdu script. Although, this script is under development and thus the net users are using the Roman script in their own ways. Popular websites like Jang Group have devised their own schemes for Roman Urdu. This is of great advantage for those who are not able to read the Arabic script. MSN, Yahoo and some desi-chat-rooms are working as laboratories for the evolving new script and language (Roman Urdu)."[1]

Although the idea of romanizing Urdu had been suggested several times, it was General Ayub Khan who most seriously suggested adopting the Roman script for Urdu and all Pakistani languages during his rule of the country.[2][3][4] The suggestion was inspired to an extent by Atatürk's adoption of Roman for Turkish in Turkey.

Sample texts[edit]

Zabu'r 23 Dáúd ká Mazmúr[edit]

Roman Urdū[edit]

1KHUDÁWAND merá chaupán hai; mujhe kamí na hogí. 2Wuh mujhe harí harí charágáhon men bithátá hai: Wuh mijhe ráhat ke chashmon ke pás le játá hai. 3Wuh merí ján ko bahál kartá hai: Wuh mujhe apne nám kí khátir sadáqat kí ráhon par le chaltá hai. 4Balki khwáh maut ke sáye kí wádí men se merá guzar ho, Main kisí balá se nahín darúngá; kyúnknki tú mere sáth hai: Tere 'asá aur terí láthí se mujhe tasallí hai. 5Tú mere dushmanon ke rúbarú mere áge dastarkhwán bichhátá hai: Tú ne mere sir par tel malá hai, merá piyála labrez hotá hai. 6Yaqínan bhalái aur rahmat 'umr bhar mere sáth sáth rahengí: Aur main hamesha KHUDÁWAND ke ghar men sukúnat karúngá.[5]

(Kita'b I Muqaddas: Zabu'r 23 az Dáúd)

Perso-Arabic script[edit]

{{{2}}} 1
وہ مجھے ہری ہری چراگاہوں میں بٹھاتا ہے: وہ مجھے راحت کے چشموں کے پاس لے جاتا ہے۔ 2
وہ میری جان بحال کرتا ہے: وہ مجھے اپنے نام کی خاطر صداقت کی راہوں پر لے چلتا ہے۔ 3
بلکہ خواہ موت کے سایے کی وادی میں سے میرا گزر ہو، میں کسی بلا سے نہیں ڈروں گا؛ کیونکہ تو میرے ساتﻬ ہے: تیرے عصا اور تیری لاٹھی سے مجھے تسلی ہے۔ 4
تو میرے دشمنین کے روبرو میرے آگے دسترخوان بچھاتا ہے: تو نے میرے سر پر تیل ملا ہے، میرا پیالہ لبریز ہوتا ہے۔ 5
یقیناً بھلائ اور رحمت عمر بھر میرے ساتﻬ ساتﻬ رہیں گی: اور میں ہمیشہ خداوند کے گھر میں صکونت کروں گا۔ 6

کتاب مقدس کے زبور 23 از داؤد

Devanāgarī script[edit]

1ख़ुदावन्द मेरा चौपान है; मुझे कमी ना होगी। 2वह मुझे हरी हरी चिरागाहों में बिठाता है: वह मुझे राहत के चश्मों के पास ले जाता है। 3वह मेरी जान बहाल करता है: वह मुझे अपने नाम की ख़ातिर सदाक़त की राहों पर चलाता है। 4बलके ख़ाह मौत के साये की वादी में से मेरा गुज़र हो, मैं किसी बला से नहीं ड़रूंगा; क्योंकि तू मेरे साथ है: तेरे अला और तेरी लाठी से मुझे तसल्ली है। 5तू मेरे दुश्मनीन के रूबरू मेरे आगे दस्तरख़ान बिछाता है: तू ने मेरे सर पर तेल मला है, मेरा पियाला लब्रीज़ होता है। 6यक़ीनन भलाई और रेहमत उमर भर मेरे साथ साथ रहेंगी: और मैं हमेशा ख़ुदावन्द के घर में सकूनत करूंगा।


(किताब-ए मुक़द्दस के ज़ुबूर 23 अज़ दाऊद)

Roman Urdu amongst Christians[edit]

Roman Urdu Bibles are used by many Christians from the South Asian subcontinent

Urdu was the dominant native language among Christians of Karachi, Uttar Pradesh, and Rajasthan in the 20th century and is still used today by some people in these Pakistani and Indian states. Pakistani and Indian Christians often used the Roman script for writing Urdu. Thus Roman Urdu was a common way of writing among the Christians in these states up to the 1960s. The Bible Society of India publishes Roman Urdu Bibles, which enjoyed sale late into the 1960s (though they are still published today). Church songbooks are also common in Roman Urdu. However, the usage of Roman Urdu in Christian contexts is declining in India with the wider use of Hindi and English in the states.

Roman Urdu and film industry[edit]

Bollywood, India's major film industry, uses a version of Roman Urdu as the main script for its film titles. This is because Bollywood films have an appeal for viewers across South Asia and even in the Middle East. The Devanāgarī script is used mostly by Hindi speakers while the Perso-Arabic script is used primarily by Urdu speakers. The language used in Bollywood films is so called Hindi, but most dialogues are actually written in Hindustani—they can be understood by Urdu and Hindi speakers alike. So this so-called Hindi is Urdu in its real sense. Because the film industry wants to reach the largest possible audience, just using the Devanāgarī or Perso-Arabic script would be unfavorable for the Bollywood industry as few individuals are literate in both scripts. In addition to this situation, a significant number of Indians cannot read the Devanāgarī script as India has a diverse linguistic landscape and some people do not speak Hindi even though it is an official language of India. English, which is written in the Roman script, often becomes the way to communicate among Indians who speak different languages. For these reasons, the neutral Roman script is used for Bollywood film titles, though some films include the Hindi and Urdu scripts as well.

The similar circumstances are also applied with Pakistan's Lollywood filming industry, where, along with the Urdu name or title of the movie, a Roman Urdu title is always provided for viewers.

Uddin and Begum Urdu-Hindustani Romanization[edit]

Uddin and Begum Urdu-Hindustani Romanization is another system for Hindustani. It was proposed by Syed Fasih Uddin (late) and Quader Unissa Begum (late). As such it is adopted by The First International Urdu Conference (Chicago) 1992, as "The Modern International Standard Letters of Alphabet for URDU-(HINDUSTANI) - The INDIAN Language script for the purposes of hand written communication, dictionary references, published material and Computerized Linguistic Communications (CLC)".

There are significant advantages to this transcription system:

  • It provides a standard which is based on the original works undertaken at the Fort William College, Calcutta, India (established 1800), under John Borthwick Gilchrist (1789–1841), which has become the de facto standard for Hindustani during the late 1800.
  • There is a one-to-one representation for each of the original Urdu and Hindi characters.
  • Vowel sounds are written rather than being assumed as they are in the Urdu alphabet.
  • Unlike Gilchrist’s alphabet, which used many special non-ASCII characters, the proposed alphabet only utilizes ASCII.
  • Since it is ASCII based, more resources and tools are available.
  • Liberate Urdu–Hindustani language to be written and communicated utilizing all of the available standards and free us from Unicode conversion drudgery.
  • Urdu – Hindustani with this character set fully utilizes paper and electronic print media.

The Hamari Boli Initiative[edit]

Initiated in 2011, the Hamari Boli Initiative is a full-scale open-source Language planning initiative aimed at Hindustani (Hindi-Urdu) Script, Style, Status & Lexical reform and modernization. One of primary stated objectives of Hamari Boli is to relieve Hindustani of the crippling Devanagari-Nastaliq Digraphia by way of Romanization[6]

See also[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ The News International, September 8, 2003, [1]
  2. ^ Paving new paths to romanise Urdu script, Mushir Anwar, Dawn (newspaper), Nov 27, 2008
  3. ^ The Urdu-English Controversy in Pakistan, Tariq Rahman, Modern Asian Studies, Vol. 31, No. 1 (Feb., 1997), pp. 177-207
  4. ^ The Language Movement: An Outline, Rafiqul Islam
  5. ^ World Bible Translation Center (pdf file)
  6. ^ The News International - Dec 29, 2011 -- "Hamari Boli (our language) is perhaps one of the very first serious undertakings to explore, develop and encourage the growth of Roman script in the use of Urdu/Hindi language"

Bibliography[edit]

  • Dua, Hans R. (1994b). Urdu. In Asher (Ed.) (pp. 4863–4864).
  • Insha, Ibn e. (2002) Urdu Ki Aakhri Kitab. New Delhi: Kitab Wala. ISBN 81-85738-57-2.
  • B.S.I. Kita'b I Muqaddas. Bangalore: The Bible Society of India, 1994. ISBN 81-221-3230-8.

External links[edit]