Urdu is the name of the language commonly used by many people living in the Punjab and surrounding areas in India and Pakistan. It is the national language of Pakistan as well as one of the 23 official languages of India. The spoken language is verbally similar to Punjabi and even more similar to Hindi. However, it is written in a different script and in reverse direction i.e from right to left and the pages also run in reverse - In Urdu books the first page begins from the right most page. (ie: this is normally the end of most English and other language books). Most people who understand Punjabi or Hindi can easily understand most words of Urdu.
Urdu by origin is a Persian-ized dialect of Hindi. Urdu was spoken for centuries in the neighbourhood of Delhi in the Sultanate period. It is therefore mainly associated with the Muslim community as their language of preference. It is commonly used in Muslim majority areas of India. The official language of Jammu and Kashmir state of India is Urdu. As the language when spoken is very similar to Hindi and to a lesser extent Punjabi, Urdu is understood by many millions of people on the Indian sub-continent and overseas; Urdu poetry and songs are very popular and are listened to and sung by many Indians and Pakistanis alike.
Standard Urdu has approximately the twentieth largest population of native speakers, among all languages.
- See Wikipedia article on Urdu for more information