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Punjabi Language flourish greatly in the world

  • Punjabi is among the top 20 languages of the world, spoken by more than 100 million people
  • Punjabi culture flourish greatly and the word "Punjabi" is now a brand name worldwide.

Read below, Article by Balwant Sanghera

June 10, 2009
Vancoucer, BC, Canada

On my recent visit to India, I had an opportunity to meet with a number of high-ranking officials of the Punjab government. They included the minister of education, Dr. Upinderjit Kaur.I had a very productive discussion with her and complimented the Punjab government for bringing in a couple of initiatives in promoting Punjabi in the state. These include making Punjabi compulsory from grades one to ten in every public and private school in the Punjab. Also, the government has made it mandatory for its officials to conduct the states business in Punjabi. These developments are very encouraging steps towards giving Punjabi its due place in the state.

Though the state is finally doing something about it, it is disappointing to see the lack of interest in Punjabi especially in large urban centers of Punjab. Somehow, people need to take more pride in using this language at all levels. This requires a major thrust not only from the government but also from all of those who take pride in this language. For all of us who love this language and live abroad, it will be a great boost.

I was pleased to find out that wherever I went, people were aware of the efforts being made by organizations like the Punjabi Language Education Association (PLEA Canada) in promoting Punjabi overseas. As a matter of fact, a large number of people including some of the prominent journalists( I met) were very appreciative of our efforts in this regard. This kind of encouragement goes a long way in keeping us fully motivated. Furthermore, stories like that of Varinder Sharma give us even more encouragement.

This young man took such a keen interest in Punjabi that he wrote his I.A.S (Indian Administrative Service) exam in the Punjabi medium and passed it with flying colours. Varinder Sharma is reported to have achieved the fourth ranking from top. He states that he found the Punjabi language to be very rich. Sharma has expressed a desire for posting in the Punjab where he can serve the people of Punjab and the Punjabi language with pride. In this context, Punjabis in general and PLEA in particular can be proud of the work all of us have been doing in promoting Punjabi.

As a result of these efforts, currently, Punjabi classes are under way not only in various schools and post-secondary institutions in BC but also in other cities like Calgary, Edmonton and Toronto. As part of this on-going process, PLEA has been actively involved in a number of initiatives. These include creating more interest among students and parents to consider Punjabi in their course selections at the school and post-secondary levels. Taking an inventory of resource materials as well as the needs of teachers and students in this regard is another priority being pursued. Also, PLEA is trying to encourage networking of promoters of Punjabi across Canada and abroad.

Another of PLEAs objectives is to encourage South Asian businesses to have Punjabi signage on their premises. Also, PLEA is encouraging non-South Asian businesses and public places such as hospitals, city halls, banks, airports and credit unions etc. to have Punjabi signage wherever possible.

Shortage of well-qualified Punjabi teachers and resource materials is an on-going concern. PLEA is fully aware of this problem and is trying to address it. Creating more pride in learning Punjabi is an area where PLEA needs total community support.

We must recognize that Punjabi has now become one of the most prominent languages not only in Canada but also across the globe. Lets be proud of this and make every effort in promoting it at every level.


Balwant Sanghera
(Community Activist and Retired School Psychologist Balwant Sanghera is chairperson of the South Asian Community Coalition Against Youth Violence)



Balwant Sanghera

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