Ancient period in Urdu literature was wholly the time of redefining and making Urdu language popular and well acceptable to both the Indian mass and class. Urdu literature by the time of advent in India, was already a declared rage and esteemed as a classy version in the erstwhile Persia and its development of literature. As such, with the ushering in of the Islamic rule and their kings in India, the dwellers of a predominantly Hindu India were welcomed with an almost culture shock, with complete overhaul of everything previous. Literary traditions, writing style, producing of work pieces by the ancient Hindu literature were shadowed by ancient Urdu literature, still then gladly inclined towards believing Persian Urdu as authentic, as opposed to Indian maturation of the Urdu dialect. However, the rest of development of history was yet to come.
Ancient period in Urdu literature in India was primarily answered by the gradual development of poetry and further prose structure, somewhere around the 15th century. The man who had exercised the most profound influence on the initial growth of not only Urdu literature, but the language itself (which meanwhile truly had taken shape as differentiated from both Persian and proto-Hindi approximately around the 14th century) was the legendary Amir Khusro. Credited, indeed, with the very structurisation and rationalisation of northern Indian classical music, acknowledged as Hindustani, Amir Khusro had penned works in both Persian and Hindavi, frequently devoting himself in nifty amalgamation of the two. While the couplets that come down from him are illustration of a latter-Prakrit Hindi devoid of Arabo-Persian vocabulary, his influence on court wazirs and writers truly perhaps had been mighty. This concept has almost been established by historians, because a century after his passing away, Quli Qutub Shah (founder of the Qutb Shahi dynasty, which ruled the Sultanate of Golconda in southern India from 1518 to 1687) was viewed to fancy for a language that can safely be branded to be Urdu.
According to yet another historical view of ancient period of Urdu literature in India, the language's umpteen primitive forms can be traced back to Muhammad Urfi (Tadhkirah - 1228 A.D.), Amir Khusro (1259-1325 A.D.) and, Kwaja Muhammad Husaini (1318-1422 A.D.). As Urdu started to witness its prospering in the kingdoms of Golconda and Bijapur, the earliest writings in this language were gradually established in the Dakhni (Deccani) dialect of south India. The Sufi saints were the earliest advocates of the Dakhni Urdu. Sufi-saint Hazrat Khwaja Banda Nawaz Gesudaraz is deemed to be the first prose writer of Dakhni Urdu and particular treatises like Merajul Ashiqin and Tilawatul Wajud are accredited to him, but his authorship is however open to fields of uncertainty. The first literary work in ancient Urdu literature is that of Bidar poet Fakhruddin Nizami's mathnavi 'Kadam Rao Padam Rao', penned sometime within 1421 and 1434 A.D. Kamal Khan Rustami (Khawar Nama) and Nusrati (Gulshan-e-Ishq, Ali Nama and Tarikh-e-Iskandari) were the significant other two great poets of Bijapur. Muhammed Quli Qutb Shah, the greatest of the Golconda emperors, a distinguished poet, is accredited with introducing a secular content to the otherwise largely religious Urdu poetry. Quli Qutb Shah's poetry was centred entirely upon love, nature and social life of the day.
According to ancient period of Urdu literature in India, the word Urdu (court or camp) is derived from the Persianised Turkish word (Ordu), which stands for "the camp of a Turkish army". North Indian Muslims with their own set of dialects had moved to South and Central India and had henceforth settled amongst the Marathas, Kannadigas and Telugus. These dialects thus had formed the basis of a literary speech, acknowledged as Dakhni or the 'Southern Speech', and were mouthed in the Deccan region. Later, north Indian Muslims, who had arrived with Aurangzeb for his conquests down south and some Dakhni writers, construed the possibility of chiseling out a new language. This language would be based on the literary traditions of Dakhni and have the Persian script along with generous usage of Perso-Arabic words, idioms and theme ideas, precisely giving rise to ancient Urdu literature, awaiting its further development.
(Last Updated on : 14-02-2013)