Did you know that the Pakistani national anthem was written so as to be intelligible in both Persian and Urdu?
The Pakistani national anthem is known alternatively as “Qaumi Tarana” or “Pak Sarzamin,” and the lyrics were composed in 1952 by Hafeez Jullundhri.
The fact that it is intelligible in both languages reflects the wide overlap in vocabulary in Urdu and Persian due to nearly 5 centuries of use of the Persian languages’s across the Subcontinent. Prior to the 19th century arrival of the British, the Persian language was the language of literature, poetry, culture, and science across South Asia and was widely studied as a second-language and as a regional lingua franca.
Under the Mughal Empire, it was the sole “official language,” and although it was gradually replaced with English by the British, Persian language and literature has remained an important part of the region’s cultural heritage. In Pakistan today the language is still studied by some of the educated elite as a second language, while about 1% of the population speaks Persian natively.