Urdu is the national language of Pakistan and the official language in six Indians states. With more than 65 million native speakers and around 160 people, who speak it as a second language, Urdu is among the top 12 of the most spoken languages worldwide. But still, its a language which is - compared to other "exotic" ones like Chinese or Hindi - not very well-known by a lot of people in Western countries. Here is a list of 5 famous Britons, who learned to speak Urdu.
Rudyard Kipling was born on December 30, 1865 in Bombay (today Mumbai) and is the author of the famous novel The Jungle Book. His parents were rich Britons, who had emigrated to the Crown Colony. Kipling himself was raised by a Portuguese nanny and Indian servants, but moved to Great Britain at the age of six to get better formal education. It's said that he was very unhappy abroad and came back to Lahore in (back then) British India at the age of 16, where he started working as a journalist. Thats when he also learned Hindi as well as Urdu. Later on, Kipling also hired an instructor to teach him Persian.
George Fulton was born on November 10, 1977 and is a British journalist, who was living in Pakistan for nine years. He initially came into the country to work for the BBC on a program called Question Time Pakistan. Later on, he became the protagonist of the tv show George Ka Pakistan (George's Pakistan), in which he tried to become a Pakistani within three months and also learned Urdu language. He later on married the Pakistani tv presenter Kiran and received Pakistani nationality. Fulton left Pakistan in 2011.
Jemima Goldsmith (former Khan)
Jemima Khan was born on January, 30 1974 in Great Britain and is the former wife of ex-cricket national player Imran Khan. After they got married in 1995, the couple was living together in Pakistan for nine years until their divorce in 2004. While living in her ex-husbands homecountry, she learned to speak Urdu. Imran Khan and Jemima have two sons. She is now again living in Great Britain.
Ralph Russell was born on May 21, 1918 in England and is a former British scholar for Urdu literature. Throughout his life, he taught Urdu literature and Urdu language at the University of London. He was awarded with Pakistans famous Sitara-i-Imtiaz award for his services for Urdu language and literature. Ralph Russell died in 2008.Urdu literature from Ralph Russell: Urdu Adab ki Justuju, Juyinda Yabinda
Politic scientist, classical scholar and remarkable public speaker Enoch Powell was born on June 16, 1912 in Great Britain. The son of two teachers became a professor for the Sydney University in the subject classical Greek at the age of 25. While studying in Cambridge, Powell took courses in Urdu at the Oriental Studies School, now the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, to increase his later chances of a later vocation as Viceroy of India. For the same reason, he also learned Hindi.