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| 9/30/2015 12:00:00 AM
ON a constitutional petition No.56 of 2003, our Supreme Court ordered Urdu to be revived as a language for official and educational purposes. The court`s decision is stricto sensuo in keeping with Article 251 of the constitution.

Urdu is the mother tongue of a small minority. Apart from major languages like Punjabi, Pashto, Sindhi, Seraiki and Balochi, there are 55 other variants spoken in the provinces. In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and northern areas, there are more than 20 dialects.

Let us not forget that the popularity of a language rises or falls pari passu with a country`s place in the comity of nations.

Historically, English, French, Russian, Arabic and Mandarin had been languages of imperialistic or conqueror states.

Shif ts in power triggered shif ts in the status of languages. English held sway as it dominated commercial, scientific andtechnological fields. Sir Syed Ahmed Khan understood the link between power elites and language.

Britain and Franceinsisted onenforcing English and French in their colonies.

During the heyday of the Soviet Union, Russian was the lingua franca from Prague to Hanoi. After the demolition of the Berlin Wall, Germans began to take pride in speaking German at international forums.

People follow language of the dominant power. English language supplanted Persian, the court language of the Mughals.

Hong Kong`s effervescence for Mandarin is because of China`s rise. When around 2050 China displaces the US, English is likely to give way to Mandarin as the world`s new lingua franca. We should learn and promote Mandarin besides English in our school system.

Amjed Jaaved Rawalpindi Cantt
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