Beautiful, poetic, easy on the ears, Urdu. A language where words have been spun so alluringly, it has brought the romantic down to their knees.

A language when spoken properly, even reprimanding someone seems like gentle raindrops to the ears.

When we look at its history, some argue that the word ‘Urdu’ is derived from the Turkish word ‘Ordu’ meaning ‘Army Camp’ or ‘Lashkar.’  One theory is that ‘Brij Bhasha,’ a dialect of Western Hindi, is the mother language of Urdu. When Muslims moved to (some prefer the word attacked) Delhi, they engrafted many Persian elements, which resulted in the creation of Urdu – a new hybrid language.  Another is that Urdu is the descendant of ‘Avestan,’ making it purely a member of the Iranian family of languages.

The most popular theory is that the Urdu language resulted due to the interaction of Muslim soldiers and Hindu locals after the conquest of Punjab and Sindh by Mehmud of Ghazni.

As Muslims ruled for nearly 1000 years, the constant interaction between the soldiers who came from different backgrounds and nationalities, as well as the locals, led to the development of this new language, mutually understood by all. Whatever theory you abide to, what can’t be denied is that Urdu is indeed a mix of Persian, Turkish, Hindi and Arabic.  And it must have been quite a daunting task adapting and assigning words to let it evolve into a complete new language.

Some of the words included were:

‘Bahaar’ meaning spring in farsi, buland meaning high, madad help, mard man, etc. All these words are the same in both languages and the adaptation makes sense; which brings us to one question - who named ‘woman’ Aurat in Urdu? And Why?

“Aurat” comes from the Arabic word ‘Awrah’ which is a specific term used in Islam to denote the intimate parts of the body; pudendum to be exact. The etymology of Awrah, taking it a bit further, means "defectiveness," "imperfection," "blemish" or "weakness."  

In Arabic, the word for Woman is Amra'a, in Farsi it is Zan, in Turkish it is Kadin. Clearly, the person who chose this particular word had some ridiculous ideas in his head.

Every time, a woman is called an ‘Aurat,’ she is put down, degraded, and insulted without even being aware of it.  Her social status is lowered as she is continually referred to as a ‘defect.’ Every time an Arab speaker hears one use it to refer to a woman, it usually ends in quiet snickers in the corner; the joke going all the way back to the person who chose this word in the first place.

Nicely played, sir.  Whoever you are.

Shamila Ghyas is a fantasy fiction author, blogger, and freelancer who writes for Khabaristan Times. Follow her on Twitter