Why English is the Official Language of Pakistan?

Urdu Script

Let us clear the table by stating a very obvious fact:

English, NOT URDU, is the official language of Pakistan.

Once this misunderstanding has been cleared, I would like to point out that I am neither an educationalist nor linguist. I am a student of history and have long realized one fact. The policies of the British Raj are still very much alive in our bureaucratic and social setup.

Take the matter of language, for example. while the official line in both Pakistan and India is that Urdu and Hindi are the national languages respectively, the business of both public and private sectors is conducted in English.

If you back in history, you will find that this is not an isolated example. ever since the days of the Brahmans, the tradition of using a separate language for conducting the official business is in vogue. this custom has several advantages that are apparent to everyone.

The first and the most important benefit is the exclusion of the commoners from the matters that do not concern them. the bureaucracy is able to carry out what it wants without any fear of interference from anyone.

The second and rather useful advantage is the creation of a civil servant class that is anything but. this class of high priests and keepers of the records control all access to civil, social and political privileges.

The history of this duality starts all the way from the times of Brahmans. the official court language was Sanskrit which is also the language of Hindu religion. the common folks spoke a couple of Bhashas that were totally excluded from the official circles.

The Muslim invasion of India did not help the matters much. they brought Arabic and Persian as their court languages. this again facilitated the conquerors but did nothing for the commoners. the British Raj introduced English and the matters have remained the same for a thousand years.

The current establishment of both countries and especially Pakistan has maintained the age old tradition because it serves their purpose. the idea of an exclusive club is tantalizing enough to reject the basic notions of equality and justice.

Unless, people take matters in their own hands, things will not change. Urdu and the regional languages will remain sidelined because it serves the interest of the masters.

Zafar Iqbal

Zafar Iqbal

Zafar Iqbal is Contributing Editor of Awaz e Pakistan. He strongly believes in the power of words and words represent ideas that cannot be suppressed.
Zafar Iqbal



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