Replace Urdu with Arabic – 3

by Zahir Uddin, Canada


This is with reference to the letters written by Editor CN Fardad Ali Shah and renowned economist Dr Tariqullah Khan, suggesting replacement of Urdu with Arabic as the national language for Pakistan.

I fully endorse the valuable ideas of both the writers. It was even the dream and wish of the founder of All India Muslim league HH Sir Sultan Muhammad Shah The Aga Khan-111, to have Arabic as national language for the proposed and much struggled newly born country. Later on due to unknown reasons Urdu was declared as national language. By saying this I do not mean to oppose anyone who thought or is still thinking that Urdu should be the national language. I have great respect for all those who struggled hard for creation of an independent state for the Muslim majority people of Sub-continent and all those who presently still thinking Urdu to be Ok as the national language.

There is a big difference between ‘it is OK’ and ‘it is better’. Look at it this way-In addition to our religious rites and rituals we have to go to Saudi Arabia every now and then. For our oil requirements, for other financial help, looking for labour employment, for conciliation, arbitration and particularly for settlement of political disputes we have to rush to Saudi Arabia where we need to speak Arabic. For political meetings we fly to Dubai where we need to speak Arabic. Similar is the position with other Arab countries.

Talking of the diminished relevance of Urdu we see that in order to meet our additional needs of oil and gas we have to look towards our brother and neighbor country Iran and Central Asian countries and to Afghanistan, where we need to speak Persian. For our strategic, financial needs and loans we have to run to China where we need to speak Chinese -even in Pakistan in different provinces we have to speak different languages. My question is that when and where do we benefit from our present national language Urdu?

We should accept the ground realities and do that which is better for us. In my view, not only Arabic, even if Persian or Chinese too had been our national language; it would have given us great advantage as both these languages possess big and deep history, culture, and development in them in terms of knowledge in science and technology.

1400 (Fourteen hundred) years ago when there were no means of transport and communications our Holy Prophet (Peace be upon him) asked us to go to (even) China in search of knowledge. Now as the whole world has become a global village we should make choice of that which is better for us without any hang ups or making anything a matter of false honour and prestige.