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suup to suup chhalnii bhii bolii jis me.n bahattar chhed

the kettle calling the pot black, the defective person should look at its own defects before opening the tongue, the one who have a clean image, then it is brag

zan-muriid

hen-pecked (husband), subservient husband, uxorious

ku.Dmaa.ii

the celebration of of an engagement, betrothal, engagement

duudh-shariik bahan

foster sister

baaGii

rebel, traitor, insurgent, mutineer, rebellious, disloyal

havaalaat

custody (plural & singular)

KHairaat

charity, alms

kal aanaa

to obtain relief, to be at ease.

murtasim

one who draws, printer, the one who sketches, engraver, the writer

mazduur

a hired labourer, worker

nizaam-e-qudrat

arrangement of nature, system of nature

shariir

body, body of animate being

zimnii-intiKHaabaat

an election that happens at a different time from a main election, to choose a Member of Parliament to replace one who has died or left his or her job, by-election

dastuur

custom, usage, manner, mode, fashion

vesar

a mule

aukhii

pinching or unpleasant remark

biyaarii

dinner

haathii ke daa.nt khaane ke aur dikhaane ke aur

all that glitters is not gold

jhilmil

twinkling of stars or light

gumaashta

superintendent, deputy, representative, agent, correspondent

Home / Blog / All that you don’t know about the word Ustad, is keeping you from becoming one!

All that you don’t know about the word Ustad, is keeping you from becoming one!

by Rajat Kumar 18 November 2021 2 min Read

All that you don’t know about the word Ustad, is keeping you from becoming one!

shaagird hain ham 'miir' se ustaad ke 'raasikh'
ustaado kaa ustaad hai ustaad hamaaraa

I am, Raasikh, the protégé of the masterly ‘Mir’
It is my master who’s the master of all masters
Rasikh Azimabadi

If you’ve spent hundreds of hours scouring through dictionaries, like I have, you must have noticed the label ‘vulg.’, which shows that the word you’ve arrived on has become ‘vulgarized’ or ‘corrupted’, indicating it’s no longer pronounced or written as it first was or intended to be.

And so is the case with the word featured today, Ustad. Literally meaning a master, teacher, or expert. While it has also come to be used as a close friend when addressed casually, it begs the question how can a word, which is literally the very definition of masterdom, slip up like a tenderfoot? Let’s find out.

Among the many loan-words which came into Urdu from Persian, Ustad, originally came from the Zend language, even appearing in the Zoroastrian religious text ‘Avesta’. A person who understood the Avesta text was called ‘Avesta-Ved’, meaning a knower of Avesta. Through its growing use, the word ripened into ‘Avesta-Viid’, and gradually, completely morphed into its modern-day version Ustad.

But this bit of history isn’t all, there’s more to it. 

In Persian and Urdu, it came to be pronounced differently, Ustaz (with Zal) in the former, and Ustad (with dal) in the latter. While both uses are correct, its Urdu version entered the Arabic-speaking diaspora, and -surprise, surprise- underwent change again! 

In Arabic, Ustad adapted to and pluralized according to the rules of Arabic grammar, spelling out as ‘Asaatiid’. In Urdu, interestingly, its Persian plural “Asaatiza” became the custom, while singularly it still remained ‘Ustad’. 

Oh, and let Rasikh’s verse above be a reminder that Ustad can still pluralize and reappear as ’Ustaado.n’, as per Hindi grammar rules.

So, what did we learn today? To unlearn is as important as it is to learn. After all, even languages do so!

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