Sunday, July 8, 2012

English and Urdu

Khaled Ahmed writes in The Friday Times:  (one never knows when the link will no longer be available)

There is no doubt that Pakistan is in trouble. The world says that. Every Pakistani says that too. But the diagnoses of the two are different. That inclines Pakistan to disagree and take on the world for the wrong diagnosis. The world thinks Pakistan tolerates terrorism inside its territory and is either unwilling to counter it or lacks the capacity to do so. Pakistan thinks terrorism is caused by powers from outside (the US, India, Israel); therefore Pakistan has to fight these powers if possible with the help of its 'reformed' terrorists.

The world analyses Pakistan's disease in light of facts; Pakistan analyses the world outsides through strong emotion. It accomplishes the task in two methodologies that mutually undermine themselves.

In English, it reveals facts about itself that are unsavoury. Those who do so can be bullied or even killed. In Urdu, the paranoid response of the state is monolithic. English punctures the microcosm of a nationalist comprehension of the world. Urdu is the carrier of raw emotion and contains textbook solutions of crises. Urdu cannot violate the rule of its discourse. You can get away with the truth in English but not in Urdu. The state, the Taliban and Al Qaeda all scan Urdu carefully. You can get killed.

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