Usage of Urdu is on the wane from nikah cards

Hyderabad: There is a certain feeling of glee, an appreciation of aesthetic beauty , which is evoked when one opens an envelope in which is concealed a invitation to a wedding. The anticipation of the sumptuous feast aside, once opened, the card would reveal the ornate and cursive nastaliq Urdu script, usually in letters of gold or green and accentuated by diacritics and dots, which invites one to the nikah.

But like they say, globalisation and tradition are often at loggerheads. This seems to be the case as observers say that Urdu is slowly and quietly being dropped from the leaves of wedding cards.

For decades, it was mandatory for Urdu or Dakhni speaking Muslims of the city and large parts of the state to announce the adq-e-masood, or, the blessed union in chaste Urdu. For, much like the union, Urdu on the card was sacred. It was tradition.

But come the age of the millennial the romanticism associated with the language, compounded by its unfortunate reputation of not being associated with employment over the last 15 years, is on the decline.

Pegging the drop in demand for the Urdu leaflet between 15 per cent and 20 per cent, says Mohammed Aleem Siddiqui, proprietor Nikah Cards, “Its quite simple. This is because much of the new generation is unable to read or write Urdu.

These are usually non-resident Indians and a section of Hyderabadis who are adamant that they don’t want the language on the card.“

The calligrapher who writes the names on the invitation in Urdu is also becoming a rarity which is why , convenience aside, many are opting for printed stickers.

Zaheeruddin Ali Khan, managing editor of the Siasat Daily, traces a pattern. He says that while core Old City is holding on to tradition, it is in the newer parts of town where the trend is noticed.

“The Old City still has retained the rich culture of the Urdu language which is why an overwhelming majority of cards are both in Urdu as well as English. But the trend of wedding cards being only in Urdu is slowly emerging in areas such as Banjara Hills and parts of Secunderabad” he opines.

However, there are many families in these areas that have not given up on tradition, he clarifies.

Others like Syed Yusuf, an educationalist, point out, “While it is a big relief that we still have wedding invitations that have matter in Urdu on the right side of the card and English on the left, we do get cards that are only in English. It is painful.“

Many of those who opt to retain the Urdu leaflet have been replacing the ornate Persianised or Arabicised Urdu words and phrases with simper and more used alternatives. For instance, Siddiqui points out that ishaaiya, meaning dinner after Isha prayers has been replaced by oft-used taam, meaning dinner; nabiri, meaning granddaughter by poati; and bint, meaning daughter by duktar. “I try to convince my clients to retain standard Urdu. I explain to them that it is an important part of our culture,“ says Aleem.

Courtesy: Times Of India