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Celebrates International Mother Language Day

Surrey, Vancouver, Feb. 01, 2009
Balwant Sanghera
President, Punjabi Language Education Association

The Punjabi community has been prospering around the globe for quite some time. Through hard work and perseverance, more than 150 million Punjabis are making their names in 150 countries. As matter of fact, there is hardly any country where Punjabis haven’t made their mark. Wherever the Punjabis go, naturally, their language follows. Consequently, Punjabi language has become the tenth most spoken language in the world. This is a great credit to Punjabis everywhere.
Statistics indicate that the Punjab province of Pakistan has the highest number of Punjabi speakers numbering eighty million. Punjabi is spoken as the first language by 44% of Pakistanis. Punjabis are dominant in key institutions of Pakistan-business, agriculture, government, armed forces and the police.

It has been reported that 70% of Pakistani citizens can understand and speak Punjabi. This is followed by Punjab, India where the Punjabi speakers number more than twenty million. The remaining fifty million Punjabi speakers are spread out in other parts of the world.

As a matter of fact, currently there are three Punjabs. The Punjab in Pakistan, the Punjab in India and the NRI Punjab around the globe. It gives one a feeling of great pride to see mini Punjabs flourishing in countries like Canada, U.S.A, Australia, Singapore, U.K. and New Zealand etc. Various organizations and individuals have been doing a commendable job in promoting Punjabi culture, heritage and language.

Punjabi Language Education Association (PLEA) Canada is one such organization that has been working hard for more than fifteen years in promoting Punjabi language in Canada.

In addition to promoting Punjabi in BC’s public schools, post secondary institutions and the community, PLEA also holds two major functions every year- Jashan and the International Mother Language Day. This year will be the seventh celebration of the Punjabi language. In view of the contribution of the Pakistani community to Punjabi, this year’s celebration is a tribute to the Pakistani Punjabi community in Canada. The program will consist of two parts.
The first part of the program will include a number of prominent Punjabis of Pakistani heritage. They will share their perspective about Punjabi language in Canada. The main focus is to get the Pakistani community involved in promoting Punjabi. PLEA is very much interested in getting our Pakistani Canadian friends actively involved in this process. This function is a first step in this regard.

The second part of this celebration will consist of speeches, poems, and songs in Punjabi by our youth learning Punjabi here in Canada. As a token of its appreciation, PLEA will be handing out its T-shirts, pens and certificates to the participants.
The seventh annual International Mother Language Day is scheduled for Sunday, February 15 from 2 PM to 5 PM at Haveli Restaurant, 8220-120 Street in Surrey. On behalf of PLEA I would like to invite the public to join us in this celebration. It is free and there is no admission fee.




Balwant Sanghera

Balwant Sanghera
President, Punjabi Language Education Association . He is a retired School Psychologist and Community Activist in British Columbia ,Canada.