Tribute to Professor Pritam Singh
Virasat Foundation and South Asian Review, Surrey, Canada
Surrey, BC, Canada, Oct. 08, 2010
(Balwant Sanghera is a retired School Psychologist and Community Activist.)
Virasat Foundation and South Asian Review hosted an impressive tribute to a very well respected and prominent promoter of Punjabi language and culture. A large number Punjabi writers, intellectuals and community activists gathered at Bombay Banquet Hall in Surrey on Sunday, September 26 to fondly remember Professor Pritam Singh on the second anniversary of his passing away. On this special occasion two of his books were also released.
Looking for Sheikh Farid of Guru Granth Sahib is the result of Professor Pritam Singhs commendable research into one of Punjabi s most celebrated poets and Sufis. It deals in detail with Sheikh Farids life and contribution. The second book was about the life and works of Professor Pritam Singh. Titled Professor Pritam Singhs Life, Personality and Writings, this book
deals in detail with the life and works of one of the most ardent advocates of Punjabi language and culture. To his credit, both of these books are in Punjabi. These are a great tribute to a fearless crusader.
In his opening remarks organizer Bhupinder Singh Malhi emphasized the importance of ones mother tongue. He stressed that those who lose their language are bound to lose their identity as well. Mr. Malhi emphasized that the Punjabi language doesnt belong to any specific group but it belongs to the whole Punjabi nation. We must remember that this wonderful language has evolved over centuries and is one of the oldest ones on this planet. It belongs to all of us regardless of our cultural, religious or geographical boundaries/affiliations. As such, it is important to make an earnest effort in connecting our young people in particular with their mother tongue. We should not take anything for granted. On the other hand, each one of us has an obligation to make every effort in not only keeping our language alive but also help it flourish.
At this time there are close to 6,900 languages spoken around the globe. It is likely that 22% of them will become extinct in the next fifty or so years. Fortunately, Punjabi language has a fairly strong base with close to 150 million speakers spread out in over 160 countries. However, the main challenge for the well wishers of Punjabi is to create pride about learning
it and promoting it especially amongst the younger generations. In this context, the dedication of people like Professor Pritam Singh serves as a great.
In addition to glowing tributes by a number of prominent panelists, the audience was treated to a very lively keynote address. Professor Pritam Singhs famous daughter, Dr. Harshinder Kaur thrilled the audience with
her speech. Speaking in flowing Punjabi to a spellbound audience, she shared some of the very pleasant memories of her well-known father. A prominent writer, Dr. Harshinder Kaur also released her recent work Complete Knowledge
This special event was a very fitting tribute to Professor Pritam Singh. This celebration had brought to-gather some of the most prominent members of the community. The audience was treated to a very lively entertainment by a number of individuals and groups. These included Virasat Foundation students, Gaganpreet Singh, prominent tabla maestro Partha Mukherji and the Mann family. Overall, it was a very well organized and fitting tribute to a very special person who devoted his whole life as a tireless advocate for Punjabi language and culture.