The National language of Pakistan is Urdu, and arrangements shall be made for it being used for official and other purposes within fifteen years from the commencing day”, says the constitution of Pakistan in its article 251 clause 1 and adds to it in the clause 2 that “Subject to clause (1), the English language may be used for official purposes until arrangements are made for its replacement by Urdu.”

As per the given timeframe from the commencing day, how long should it have actually taken to implement Urdu as our official language? Do we have to do any basic Arithmetic to solve this puzzle? Yet, even if we do, Urdu should have been awarded the status of our official language by the end of the “regime” of our very own “Ameer-ul-Momineen” General Zia who introduced Islam and eastern flavour into everything around the planet, failed to implement the basic clauses of our constitution. Yet, one must ponder, did he care about what the constitution said or imposed?

Then, we had 3 tenures each for PPP and PML-N, plus one by our very own “enlightened moderator” commando Musharraf. Benazir Bhutto, as she had graduated from Oxford, was always comfortable with English as a mode of communication in her personal as well as public life. So, she not taking any measures to implement Urdu could make some sense. But what about Nawaz Sharif who couldn’t speak one fluent sentence even in Urdu, let alone English. Why didn’t he move for it? And the least we talk of Musharraf’s implementations, the better.

Does implementing Urdu mean some disrespect to English, the current official language of Pakistan? Take it or not, English is the global mode of communication. Not even that, it is our next cosmic mode of communication as well due to the English speaking NASA leading all the cosmic missions. Hence, one has to excel in it if he wants to feel and live like a global or prospectively a cosmic citizen. But having your own official language provides you with some concrete connections to your very own culture. And that’s why the Japanese, the Germans, the French, even if they are handy at English, they never opt for it to express and communicate in general. Rather, they prioritise their own languages as those relate to their cultures, civilisations and their social evolutions over the eras of human history. So, why having Urdu and why sticking to it, is an obvious thing. Can we afford to lose the literary pearls of Ghalib, Faiz, Manto, Insha and Iqbal etc. a few decades up the lane?

As for the global languages, English is the most widely used tool of communication between the residents of our planet. Next to it stands Arabic, being spoken in almost 27 countries and being loved in even more e.g. Al-Bakistan. Where does Urdu stand amidst these? Well, if we take the equation the other way round. Let’s not calculate the impact of languages by their scales of usage across the globe rather count it by the number of people speaking it. There, Chinese comes to be the first in the list owing to the population of China. And Urdu, in this list, stands amongst the top 10. If you account both Urdu and Hindi for one language, as both share almost all the grammar and vocabulary apart from a few exceptions, then this sub-continental language stands second in the list of biggest languages. Thanks to our taste for reproduction that we keep growing more and more kids, more than anything else.

So, we are in good enough numbers to have our language listed amongst the biggest languages of the world, why then are we always ashamed or scared of owning it? Let’s dig deep to decode this puzzle. In pre-partition days, English was our rulers’ language and every Indian having some hand at English would benefit himself socially, politically and hence economically. That led to the rise of a complex, the English speaking “Babus” started being considered ones of the superior human breed. That complex is still haunting both Indians and Pakistanis. Most of us have psychologically turned ourselves into those “Anglo-Indian” folks. Not to mention that it also pays off in this society.

Then, there is the problem with having two different mediums of education. The rural and the lower middle class that account for more than 80 percent of our population can afford to send their kids only to the state-operated Urdu medium schools. Whereas, the upper middle class and the elite, having all the resources and “energies” can afford to send their young ones to private English medium schools. Eventually our graduated yield consists of two apparently identical but psychologically mitotic graduates. As per Darwin’s theory of Artificial Selection, the English medium graduates would have a better chance for survival in the Pakistan, which still has English as its official language. And if, by any means, the Urdu medium graduates somehow manage to survive, they would eventually be sending their own kids for English medium schooling to grab better chances of survival for the generations to come. To what this duality of behaviour would lead us?

The technical hindrances for the sole implementation of Urdu are there as well. The first of all the tasks, in such cases, turns out to be the translations of all you need into the desired language. That becomes turbulence for the target audience. For instance, the translation of scientific terms is a funny thing. “Thermometer” translated as “Aala-e-Miqyaas-ul-Harart” wouldn’t be comprehensible even for those whose native language is Urdu. Being honest, Urdu has its limits with the vocabulary and it has to borrow from Arabic, Persian and Turkish to fulfill its appetite. Yet, the primary question is, do we even need to translate the scientific terminologies? While the English scientists are okay with the Arabic names and terms e.g. Algebra and Alchemy, why can’t we be? In Astronomy, there are hundreds of stars and galaxies with Arabic names, as they were discovered by some Muslim astronomers during that good old golden age of Muslim scientific culture. Till this day, even NASA is using those Arabic names without any fuss. What’s wrong with us then?

It is good to have a Supreme Court order by the retired Justice Khwaja for the implementation of Urdu as our national language and I also am one of those who are over the moon hearing this. But the order a practical approach to go for the implementation? Prior to that, we had the constitutional orders for the same to do within a span of 15 years, but did we in 42 years? Primarily, we have to be more practical with finding out all the prerequisites for this implementation. Then we’d have all the time in the world to rejoice over the implementation order.

@SameeSays