An Indo-Aryan language historically associated with the Muslims of the region of Hindustan. Urdu is spoken by more than 100 million people, predominantly in Pakistan and India, and is the official state language of Pakistan. The language developed in the twelfth century from the regional Apabhramsha language of northwest India, serving as a workable, common mode of verbal communication after Muslim conquest. Urdu became the newly formed mixed speech, alternately referred to as Hindvi or Hindi up until the beginning of the nineteenth century. Urdu is, in fact, closely related to standard Hindi. The two are mutually intelligible and share the same Indic base. Differences exist in the lexicons, each borrowing from different sources — Urdu from Arabic and Persian, Hindi from Sanskrit. Markedly distinctive are their written forms: Urdu uses a modified form of Perso-Arabic script, while Hindi uses Devanagari. Within the artisan communities in India, we often work closely with Muslim weavers and embroiderers whose hallmark is to sign their finished work. Most kashmiri shawls will have the weaver’s hand-embroidered Urdu signature placed in a corner.