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The Australian National University

Hindi-Urdu program

Cricket players at the 16th century Nanda Devi Temple in Almora; Photograph by Dozafar
अल्मोड़ा के सोलहवीं शताब्दी के नन्दा देवी मन्दिर के पास क्रिकेट खेलनेवाले

The aim of the Hindi-Urdu program in the School of Culture, History & Language of the College of Asia & the Pacific at ANU is to provide students with the skills necessary to speak, read and write the sister languages Hindi and Urdu.  While spoken Hindi and Urdu share the same grammar and basic vocabulary, the two languages differ in script and literary usage.  With the exception of Urdu 2A and Urdu 2B, all of the courses in the Hindi-Urdu program are taught through the Devanagari (Hindi) script. The Urdu form of the Arabic script is used in Urdu 2A and Urdu 2B.

Knowledge of Hindi, the official language of India, is essential for those interested in any aspect of the civilisation and society of modern India and a familiarity with Urdu, the official national language of Pakistan, is necessary for those who want to focus on contemporary Pakistan.  Urdu is also a recognised state language in India.  Both Hindi and Urdu are needed for students who want an understanding of the cultural and historical roots of India and Pakistan.

Emphasis in the Hindi and Urdu courses is on the current standard forms of those languages.  Fundamental importance is given to the development of fluency in both speaking and writing, with all courses beyond the first year being conducted in Hindi-Urdu.  Class conversation is structured around the reading of a variety of modern and contemporary Hindi-Urdu materials, ranging from short stories and novels to newspaper and magazine articles. Works chosen are by outstanding authors like Dhanpat Rai Shrivastav “Premchand”, Gyanranjan and Mamta Kaliya. Past and current Bollywood films by directors like Raj Kapoor and Sai Paranjpye are a part of the content of most advanced-level courses.

Attention is also given in advanced-level courses to the appreciation of the cultural matrix in which Hindi and Urdu are rooted with reading and discussion of the writings and thought of such influential pre-modern Hindi authors as the mystic Kabir, the devotional poet Surdas, the founder of Sikhism Guru Nanak and the Rajput noblewoman Mirabai.

In the Urdu courses works by authors like the short-story writer Krishan Chander, the novelist and short-story writer Saadat Hasan Manto, the poet Mirza Asadullah Khan “Ghalib” and the last Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah II “Zafar”, leader of the struggle against the British in 1857-1858, are read and discussed.

The syllabus

The Hindi-Urdu course begins with Hindi 1A in the first semester and Hindi 1B in the second, both of which are conducted in Hindi as far as possible. Careful attention in Hindi 1A and Hindi 1B is given to mastery of the fundamentals of grammar along with development of the ability to speak Hindi-Urdu in daily life. No previous knowledge of Hindi-Urdu is assumed and instruction is given in reading and writing the Devanagari (Hindi) script.

Hindi-Urdu can be studied either independently or as a part of an undergraduate or postgraduate degree. The Hindi-Urdu course includes provision for study in India during the summer or for an entire year in the Year-in-India program.

Further information

For further information contact the Hindi-Urdu Program Coordinator Dr. Peter Friedlander:
Email: Peter.Friedlander@anu.edu.au
Telephone: (02) 6125 3152.

 » Learn more about the syllabus of the Hindi-Urdu program

Updated:  20 February 2015/Responsible Officer:  Director, Culture, History & Language /Page Contact:  CHL webmaster