International Mother Language Day
Surrey, Vancouver, Feb. 01, 2009
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.