What was the contribution of Amir Khusrau to the Indo-Persian Language and Literature?

There are different views on the origins of Urdu, differing in both time and geographic location. Urdu may have originated anywhere in India the Deccan, in Punjab, in Sindh or in the neighbourhood of Delhi. These hypothesis are backed by Urdu literature having been found in these areas as far back as the period of the Delhi Sultanate. Keeping in mind the linguistic character of the areas around Delhi, it is said that Urdu originated in or around Delhi over a period of a few centuries.

A continuous progression is seen in linguistic development from Sanskrit to the modem languages of Northern India, though there is a strong link between the Prakritic language `Hindvi’ of the middle ages and Urdu of today. The works of Amir Khusrau are intelligible to the speakers of Urdu and Hindi, even though they were written in the 14th century. It is hypothesized that Urdu developed when a regular and slow stream of Persian and Arabic words were infused into the language Hindvi. Urdu has been known by a host of names during this seven century long interval Hindvi, Hindi (not to be confused with modern Hindi), Rekhta, Shahjahani, Deccani and Urdu-e-Mualla. There is some debate as to whether all of them represent the same language, but the majority of experts agree that these are names of the language known today as Urdu. Although the language originated near Delhi, it was in the Deccan that it first gained acceptance.

The rulers of the Deccan were supportive of local languages, opposing the Persian influence in northern India. In the Deccan, the court became the center for the development of Urdu, and the initial poetry and literature in Urdu comes from there. The idea of using Urdu rather than Persian as the media of poetry and literature eventually spread to the northern parts of the Indian subcontinent. After the mainstream acceptance of Urdu as a poetic language in North India, a large number of poets began writing in. it. Great poets such as Mir, Sauda, Ghalib, Zauq and Haali made the language acceptable as a literary medium. The increasing quantity of poetry and literature caused the language to become more uniform and less volatile than it had been in the past.

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