“Urdu is Punjab’s mother tongue”
The Urdu / Punjabi controversy between 1947 and 1953 in Pakistani Punjab
Keywords:Urdu, Punjabi, Pakistan, national language, language ideology, Progressive Writers Movement
This study examines the initial stage (1947-1953) of the Urdu/Punjabi controversy in Pakistani Punjab and the concomitant production of distinct language ideologies by different groups. I argue that three linguistic ideologies emerged in Lahore's intellectual scene in the post-partition years. One was a pro-Urdu ideology defended by Maulvi Abdul Haq and Maulana Salahuddin Ahmad, backed by the provincial government, and based on an assimilation between language and nation. The other two ideologies contested it: one was a Marxist ideology structured around the master binary of Bourgeoisie/People ('Avām), opposing the hegemonic use of Urdu and promoting Punjabi as a language of the people; and the other was an ideology supported by Pakistani nationalists mobilized by Faqir Muhammad Faqir and Abdul Majeed Salik, structured around the binary of Urdu-speaking settlers versus Punjabi natives and promoting Punjabi as a language of an ethnic community facing cultural and linguistic invasion.
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