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Is Punjabi 5500 years old?


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However, a new shade was added to this linguistic sketch when in the latter half of the 20th century some linguists opined that Urdu was not an Aryan but a Dravidian language. Among them was Ain-ul-Haq Fareedkoti, who pursued this theory with detailed research. He began writing on issues concerning linguistics, languages of the Indo-Pak subcontinent and Urdu’s origin. He contributed his papers on linguistic issues to Urdu Nama, a magazine launched by the Urdu Dictionary Board and edited by the board’s then secretary Shan-ul-Haq Haqqi.

Ain-ul-Haq Fareedkoti’s real name was Fazl Elahi. According to official records, he was born on September 17, 1919, in Fareedkot, East Punjab. In his early literary career, he tried his hand at poetry and wrote under the penname of Sho’la Fareedkoti. Having joined the Royal Indian Army in 1942, he opted for Pakistan after independence and in 1974 retired from Pakistan Army Education Corps.

Fareedkoti Sahib wrote in Urdu, English and Punjabi on a variety of subjects but later devoted himself for the study of history and linguistics.

His papers on linguistics and the origin of Urdu were collected in book form and published under the title Urdu Zaban ki Qadeem Taareekh (Lahore, 1972). In English, he wrote Pre-Aryan Origin of Pakistani Languages (Lahore, 1992).

The theory that Urdu was an Aryan language was challenged by Fareedkoti Sahib. He, in his Urdu and English writings, surmised that contrary to the popular theory, Urdu did not have its roots in Sanskrit. In fact, his thesis is that not only Urdu but many sub-continental languages including Punjabi and Sindhi are Dravidian languages with influences from Manda and Indo-Chinese family of languages. To support his claim, Fareedkoti Sahib amassed a huge collection of data concerning the ancient languages, history, linguistics and their vocabularies. With a deep study of history and an interest in the ancient seals of Harappa and their scripts, he kept on looking for the roots of 

modern languages as he researched on ancient ones.

He finally arrived at the conclusion that languages spoken in the Indus valley some 5,000 years ago could not have vanished in thin air without leaving any trace behind and the vestiges those ancient languages could be traced in the present-day languages of Pakistan. He believed, as he wrote in his book Pre-Aryan origin of Pakistani languages, that the language “spoken in the streets of Harappa in the pre-Aryan times could not in any way be an Aryan language. It can also be safely concluded that ‘Harappan’ language might have been related to any primitive non-Aryan linguistic group. Naturally, the Dravidian and the Manda languages remained as the main contenders in this respect”.

Fareedkoti Sahib further writes that though Urdu, Hindi, Punjabi and Sindhi do not have enough Dravidian and Manda elements in their vocabularies, their grammatical structures totally differ from Sanskrit, or for that matter, any other Aryan language. In his opinion, grammatically these languages have close affinities with Dravidian languages and hence, clearly defy the “long-standing claims of western scholars” that emphasise Aryan origins.

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