As the government of Pakistan has embarked upon a task to make Urdu as the official language of the country, all the state institutions, government ministries and departments are in the process of achieving this target. Initially, the timeframe for this conversion is set at 15 years from now. This means that prime minister, president and other government officials will deliver speeches and greet foreign officials in Urdu language even when outside the country. Thus everything official including websites for government institutions, utility bills, driving licences, passports and other documents will carry text in Urdu. At the same time, we need to take into account the bottlenecks in achieving this gigantic goal at the time of digitization. It is often speculated that the internet is a new and efficient form of imperialism that controls peoples minds and perceptions without physically invading their homes. However, it should be taken as an opportunity towards cultural revival of marginalized languages, creating an environment of multilingualism. The last two decades have witnessed a rapidly increasing presence of other languages, including Urdu, on the World Wide Web. The earliest of Urdu websites in the country were dedicated mainly to news and literature. Although majority of the Urdu newspapers claim an online presence today, cyberspace is still relatively uncharted territory for them. Unfortunately, the popular perception of the Urdu medium as a symbol of lower status has hindered the efforts to translate Western knowledge into Urdu. Moreover, the future of Urdu language on internet seems in jeopardy as the Urdu language offered on the worlds prominent web – Google – is of the Indian version. Since the conventional ways of spreading knowledge and communities interaction fading gradually due to the free styles of communication on internet, texting and emailing remains the most recent source of anxiety for those proponents of languages preservation. Some believe that Urdu or any other endangered language is not in jeopardy due to the domination of English, but by the mindset of its literary practitioners. As a remedy, the people of Pakistan should allow the cultural forces to direct change. Schools and colleges should keep teaching academic or scholarly Urdu as this is only acceptable in informal language. The best way to promote Urdu on the internet is to just improve the quality of contents offered by Urdu websites and the advancement of automatic translation in addition to digitizing the Urdu literature. Otherwise, the Urdu language with its purely local version will get instinct in near future as is being witnessed for the last over two decades.

By Web Team

Technology Times Web team handles all matters relevant to website posting and management.