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Urdu language – Spreading its wings all over the world

  

Did you know that there are between 60 and 80 million native Urdu speakers? Besides the more than 160 million who speak Urdu in Pakistan, there is considerable Indian population who communicate in Urdu everyday!   

  

Some interesting facts about Urdu language 

  

  • In Pakistan, Urdu is spoken and understood by a majority of urban dwellers in such cities as Karachi, Islamabad, Lahore, Rawalpindi, Peshawar, Quetta, Hyderabad, Sialkot, Gujranwala, Faisalabad, Multan and Sukkur.  
  • Urdu is used as the official language in all provinces of Pakistan.  
  • It is also taught as a compulsory language up to high school in both the English and Urdu medium school systems. This has produced millions of Urdu speakers whose mother tongue is one of the regional languages of Pakistan such as Punjabi, Sindhi, Pashto, Gujarati, Kashmiri, Balochi, Siraiki, and Brahui.    
  • Most of the nearly five million Afghan refugees of different ethnic origins (such as Pakhtun, Tajik, Uzbek, Hazarvi, and Turkmen) who stayed in Pakistan for over twenty-five years have also become fluent in Urdu. 
  • In India, Urdu is spoken in places where there are large Muslim majorities or cities, which were bases for Muslim Empires in the past. These include parts of Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Bhopal, Lucknow, Hyderabad, Bangalore, and Mysore.  
  • Some Indian schools teach Urdu as a first language and have their own syllabus and exams; Indian madrasahs also teach Arabic as well as Urdu.  
  • India has more than 2900 daily Urdu newspapers. Newspapers such as Daily Salar, Daily Pasban, Siast Daily, Munsif Daily and Inqilab are published and distributed in Bangalore, Mysore, Hyderabad, and Mumbai. 

  

Urdu beyond the Asian sub-continent   

  

  • Outside South Asia, it is spoken by large numbers of workers in the major urban centers of the Persian Gulf countries and Saudi Arabia.  
  • Urdu is also spoken by large numbers of immigrants and their children in the major urban centers of the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Norway and Australia.
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