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