Is Urdu a secular language? Yes. It has treasure trove of Hindu, Buddhists and other religious texts

Prof Anwar Moazzam

‎During the last four years, the cultural personality of India ‎has almost lost its presence under the dark clouds of total ‎politicisation of the idea of India. The essentialisation of ‎Hindutva in the continuing political discourse has been ‎struggling to divert peoples’ attention from the religious, ‎linguistic and cultural plurality of India and it appears that ‎they are gaining ground. The RSS– manufacturers of this ‎strategy– would find that it is futile to countercultural forces ‎of social co-existence. RSS has always depended on religious ‎polarization as a sure vehicle to gain Hindu Rashtra. The fact ‎is that the RSS is more anti-Muslim than pro-Hindu. ‎Hinduism did not suit them politically since it is an all-embracing way of life and hence, it adopted Hindutva.

In ‎accordance with this policy, they have just ignored Urdu, ‎which they consider the language of Indian Muslims, as a ‎custodian and promoter of Indian cultural values. I may even ‎claim that no other Indian language, other than Urdu, could ‎develop a system of Indian cultural values, as such. I would ‎highlight here the projection by Urdu writers and scholars ‎with regard to the religious traditions reflecting the spiritual ‎content of Indian cultural plurality.‎

MS Education Academy

I propose (subject to correction) that except Urdu, there is no ‎other Indian language that has translations of the sacred ‎texts of various religions of India. From the early 19th century ‎onwards, the Muslim and non-Muslim Urdu scholars, within ‎the purely non-religious character of Urdu culture, have ‎translated in Urdu, sacred books of almost all religions, along ‎with analysis of their teachings and lives of religious figures. 

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According to Mukhtar Taunki, Dr Ajay Malviyah in his Urdu ‎men Hindu Dharm states that in Urdu there are about 82 ‎translations of Bhagvat Gita, including approximately more ‎than 20 translations in verse. These translations were done by ‎both Hindu and Muslim poets like Shankar Dayal Farhat, ‎Banke Behari  Lal Behari, Suraj Prashad Tasavvur, Banvari ‎Lal Shola, Suraj Narayan Mehr, Jagan Nath Khushtar, Dvarka ‎Prashad Ufu Lakhnavi, Qais Khalili, Shiv Prashad Sahil, and ‎Mahdi Nazmi. Ufuq Lakhnivi’s Ramayan yak Qafia as ‎published in 1885, by Munshi Naval Kishore and its second ‎edition in 1914 by Manohar Laal Bhargav. It contains 13 ‎hundred couplets and about 500 proverbs. Ufuq has also ‎translated Ramayana in simple prose for general reading. The ‎eminent Urdu critic, Ehtisham Husain, paid high tributes to ‎Ufuq’s contribution to these translations. 

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Khuda Bakhsh Oriental Public Library, Patna has brought out ‎about 19 books in Urdu on Bhagvat Gita, Jog Bishist, ‎Jainism, Buddhism, and Sikhism; they include books on ‎Hindu incarnations and festivals, Hinduism and Hindu Dharm ‎during Akbar’s period, I may add that, besides one by ‎Hasanudddin Ahmed of Hyderabad, in Shashi Tharoor’s ‎Hindu Pakistan, at least three Translation of Gita  (including ‎one by Shanul Haq Haqi, an eminent Urdu poet and critic), ‎two translations of Mahabharata, (including one by an eminent ‎poet, Abdul Aziz Khalid), two translations of Guru Granth, ‎two translation of Dhaampadm (Buddhist); a translation of ‎Yajurved, was published in around 1860 and two translations of ‎Upanishads in 1926. 

Prof Anwar Moazzam is an expert on Islamic studies and Indian cultural affairs

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