Tracing the Boundaries between Hindi and Urdu
Author: Christine Everaert
In his story Hindi and Urdu, the famous author Saʿādat Ḥasan Manṭ o playfully compares Hindi and Urdu with ‘soda’ and ‘lemonade’. Th ere is some wisdom in his jest. Soda and lemonade may taste different, but they mainly consist of water drawn from the same well. With languages whose history is so intertwined, and whose relationship is so complex that it is even questionable whether they are one or two, it is diffi cult to find the right angle to investigate how they relate to each other. In the course of this research, the focus of the investigation shifted as a result of the research process itself. I soon noticed that I came across more than a few instances in which Hindi and Urdu turned out to be like lime soda: oft en they would prove to have a lot of each other’s charac-teristics, making it hard to determine whether lime soda should be considered soda or lemonade.