Language is a Grandmother: The Long and Torturous Death of Urdu in America

Language is a Grandmother is a reckoning with the inheritance of Urdu for Muslims in America, seeking to provoke devastating self-interrogation in a critical moment: What will be the legacy of Urdu in America? What should be its legacy? What is Urdu’s relationship to Islam? The essay twins the life of Urdu with the life of the author’s grandmother— that language cannot escape the breath, and the death, of its heirs, while also rivering into the Islamic tradition to unearth the project of language and revelation vis-à-vis the Quran and the Prophet ‎ﷺ: How should Muslims live joyfully with wahy in their own language? Continue reading Language is a Grandmother: The Long and Torturous Death of Urdu in America

Macauley ke Bache: On Our Relationship to Urdu

The list of dead, white British men who lorded over the Subcontinent is long, but Thomas Macauley holds a special place among them. The archetypal British colonial administrator, Macauley was best known for his instrumental role in entrenching English into the cultural and epistemic life of the Subcontinent. In decreeing the supremacy of English as the language of power, and the displacement of traditional sciences and knowledges, Macaulay famously said: “We must at present do our best to form a class who may be interpreters between us and the millions whom we govern, — a class of persons Indian in blood and colour, but English in tastes, in opinions, in morals and in intellect.”  Continue reading Macauley ke Bache: On Our Relationship to Urdu