Urdu (/ˈʊərduː/; Urdu: اُردُو, ALA-LC: Urdū, [ˈʊrduː] ) – also known as Lashkari (لشکری, Laškarī, [ləʃkəri:]) – or Modern Standard Urdu is a Persianised standard register of the Hindustani language. Urdu is the official national language, and lingua franca, of Pakistan. In India, it is one of 22 constitutionally recognised official languages, having official status in the five states of Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal, as well as the national capital territory of Delhi.
As both registers are composed of the same Indo-Aryan vocabulary base colloquial Urdu is largely mutually intelligible with colloquial Hindi, with the two registers being grouped together as Hindustani or Hindi-Urdu. With respect to literary vocabulary, however, formal Urdu draws heavily from Persian vocabulary and requires knowledge of some simple Persian grammatical structures, while formal Hindi heavily draws from Sanskrit for its formal and technical vocabulary.
Urdu became the official language of government in northern and northwest British India, along with English, from 1837 onwards in place of Persian, which had been used by various Indo-Islamic empires as their language of government. Religious, social, and political factors arose during the colonial period that advocated for a distinction between Urdu and Hindi, leading to the Hindi–Urdu controversy.
According to Nationalencyklopedin's 2010 estimates, Urdu is the 21st most spoken first language in the world, with approximately 66 million who speak it as their native language. According to Ethnologue's 2018 estimates, Urdu, is the 11th most widely spoken language in the world, with 170 million total speakers, including those who speak it as a second language.If grouped along with Hindi, Hindustani would be the 3rd most spoken language in the world, with approximately 329.1 million native speakers, and 697.4 million total speakers of both Urdu and Hindi.