Putting up Punjabi signboards not enough
In order to promote Punjabi in the state, putting up signboards in Punjabi is one of many steps required. Among the pioneers of Punjabi language is Bhai Veer Singh, whose 150th birth anniversary falls on December 5 this year. Our local municipal corporation decades ago, named the historic Lawrence Road and Chowk in his sacred memory as Bhai Veer Singh Marg and Chowk. However, it is all just on paper. The residence of Bhai Veer Singh is situated on this road, but no sign-board is displayed anywhere near the Chowk or on the road for that. Another renowned Punjabi writer — Lala Dhani Ram Chatrik — used to live on the GT Road near Putighar. However, the government has failed to preserve his residence. Successive state governments have been indifferent to the idea of preserving the residence of the great Punjabi theatre writer and director Gursharan Singh, popularly known as Bhai Manna. The state government must not just put up Punjabi signboards, but also take effective steps to preserve such places which once belonged to noted writers, and release some grants for the promotion of Punjabi to Punjab Natshala, Virsa Vihar, Thakur Singh Art Gallery and other NGOs.
Make Punjabi compulsory
People living in every state love their native language. It is a good step by the Punjab government as it would help promote the Punjabi culture. However, this step is not enough to promote the Punjabi culture. To promote the Punjabi culture, we must create interest for the mother tongue among the youth. The Punjabi culture should also be promoted in films. Knowledge of the Punjabi language should be compulsory to get a job in Punjab. Punjabi book fairs should be held in the state. To speak and write Punjabi should be compulsory in every department. Every competitive exam in the state should be conducted in Punjabi. In government departments, forms should be available in Punjabi. The Kavi Darbar should be held regularly. Prizes should be given to those who do well in Punjabi literature. If the Punjab government is really serious about promoting Punjabi, they should be strict in implementing measures to promote Punjabi and help publications that promote Punjabi culture.
Need to promote Punjabi literature
CM Bhagwant Mann has called for a mass movement to display all signboards in Punjabi across Punjab. It will definitely help promote the Punjabi culture in the state. There are more ways to propagate the Punjabi culture in the state. Making works of Punjabi literature available online can help the residents cherish the treasures of the Punjabi culture in a better way. The courts of Punjab must give all the judgements in Punjabi. It will not only help the residents understand the matter better, but also help to promote Punjabi language. Thirdly, advertisements by government authorities should be published in Punjabi as the Punjabi language, culture and heritage are rich treasures which need to be propagated.
Move will give boost to Punjabi
The move by the CM will help in promoting Punjabi in the state. The mass movement will definitely impact general public and Punjabi will get an impetus in the state. Apart from being the lingua franca in Punjab it is also spoken in states like Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Delhi. The CM’s decision of giving impetus to Punjabi by using it signboards is correct and will further give a boost to promoting Punjabi in our state.
Respect amp; glorify mother tounge
Punjab Chief Minister’s call for starting a mass movement for using Punjabi on signboards in public as well as private buildings across the state is an excellent step to increase the significance of the language. A few more similar measures should be taken by the government in order to promote the language, especially in private institutions where the value of the language has been reducing. Employment is also a major reason behind the decreasing usage of Punjabi. Young generation is of the view that English has become a necessity for securing a job, thus they are abandoning their mother tongue. It is a curse that we are showing disinclination towards Punjabi. We must respect our mother tongue to the utmost degree. The government should also take some measures towards glorifying the importance of Punjabi in Punjab. As the International Mother Tongue Day is in offing, so it is a moral duty of every citizen to underscore the importance of their respective mother tongue. Punjabi is the most beautiful, pure and religious language. “Love, respect and glorify your mother tongue”
Admn work should be done in Punjabi
Signboards above shops is a marketing strategy introduced by the British. Thus they should be client friendly and written in a script known to the readers. The Chief Minister’s idea to make it a mass movement deserves appreciation. Let us see more Punjabi around us. However, signboards alone will not promote Punjabi language and culture. Cities like Amritsar are tourist destinations such cities should have signboards in multiple languages. It is also pertinent to add that true Punjabi culture has already suffered greatly in the four decades. Punjabi culture is much more than Giddha and Bhangra. Punjabi values like respect, care for the elderly, hospitality, truthfulness, simplicity and responsibility in social functions must also be revived. A lot of improvement can be seen if the state government starts doing the administrative work in Punjabi.
PROF MOHAN SINGH
Promoting Punjabi to boost Punjabi culture
Punjabi culture can be promoted only when Punjabi language gets a respectful place and Punjabis start taking a pride in their language. The year 2019 was declared as the year of ‘indigenous languages’by the UNESCO and enthusiasts of Punjabi language had urged that Punjabis should come forward and get together to take steps for reinstating Punjabi as mother tongue in our homes and outside also. There have been attempts to against Punjabi but people of Punjab are either not conscious or have been indolent in taking a action to thwart such attempts. Punjabi is being mistreated across private schools. A majority of private schools prohibit speaking of Punjabi and use instead. The Parents have never raised this issue. After Haryana was carved out of Punjab, a survey was conducted in which many people who spoke Punjabi, recorded their mother tongue as Hindi. In big stores and Malls, most of the time English and hindi are used. The people of Punjab, do not bother to address such issues. All Punjabis, irrespective of their religion, must rise together for saving Punjabi. We need to encourage youth to respect our traditional Punjabi culture, educate them about their rich heritage. But at the same it has to be kept in mind that forcing Punjabi will not yield the desired results. The urge to learn and respect Punjabi and culture must come from within. The Punjab Government’s call for mass movement for displaying all signboards across the entire state in Punjabi is appreciable.
Follow NEP to promote mother tongue
The move can help promote Punjabi in the state, but to a limited extent only. It can be considered as a secondary measure for upgrading the position of Punjabi in comparison to that of the other languages. To promote Punjabi in true manner, the literacy in Punjabi should start from the grass-root level of education, with equal emphasis laid on teaching the mother tongue as laid on teaching English. The preparations for the implementation of the guidelines listed in the National Educational Policy (NEP) 2020, with respect to promotion of imparting education in the mother tongue, must be started at the earliest. Declamation, debate, reading and writing competitions in Punjabi can be organised in a systematic manner regularly, at the district and state levels, with eminent Punjabi scholars, writers, benefactors constituting the jury or the consultation team. Scholarships should be provided to those excelling in the language; these could be the school or college-going students or the aspiring Punjabi connoisseurs. Book fairs can be held from time to time, where literature of great, revolutionary authors can be showcased so that the public becomes aware of the splendid literary works in the holy language and are able to enhance their Punjabi lexicon. To make the subject more interesting and enthralling, comic textbooks, audios, videos on remarkable stories, poems, plays, lessons and biographies, should be made accessible for the students. All these suggestions, if enforced in an efficient way, could contribute effectively in the promotion of Punjabi in the state.
Draw lessons from France, Germany
There is no denying the fact that the Punjabi language is gaining foothold in foreign nations, especially Canada and the UK. But in our own nation, it is looked down upon in echelons of society. In educational institutions like schools and colleges, it is yet to get due respect and acceptability. We should not be averse to learning English, Hindi, French or any other language, but not at the cost of mother tongue. We should not treat the vernacular language in such a way that it becomes alien to the next generation. The latest move by the government to display all signboards in Punjabi is laudable. But much more needs to be done. First and foremost, the license of educational institutes discouraging Punjabi should be cancelled. Cultural and creative clubs should be constituted wherein accomplished exponents from the field of films, music and literature hailing Punjabi can be involved to educate, entertain and encourage youth to embrace the language. Incentives and rewards can given away to Punjabi language aficionados who help promote it holistically. We must draw lessons of wisdom from the people of France, Germany, Spain, etc.; who love their language from the core of their heart. It is the moral duty of every resident of the state to stand true to their salt.
Simranjeet Singh Saini
Make it compulsory subject, not elective
The prosperity of any language depends on the number of people who speak it. The mother tongue should always be preferred over other languages in any state. Therefore, in Punjab too, Punjabi should be the first preference. We welcome the Chief Minister’s call for the mass movement for displaying all signboards across the state in Punjabi. But this one step alone is not enough to promote Punjabi. Along with this, it is important to make Punjabi a compulsory subject instead of it being elective. Co-curricular activities in schools should be encouraged to be conducted in English as well as in Punjabi. There should be no penalty for speaking Punjabi in schools, and instead should be encouraged as a medium for education. Participation of children in discussions in their first language has been found to be effective in the overall development of a child. Office work should also be done in Punjabi. Mandatory Punjabi paper for competitive examination is also a good initiative by the government. Use of Punjabi in parliamentary proceedings and its live telecast instills the confidence and hope among the native speakers. Stigma and inferiority complex associated with speaking Punjabi should be shunned and one must take pride in the vast vocabulary and rich literature written in Punjabi language.
Include edu institutes, pvt establishments
The Punjab Government’s long-awaited decision to get all signboards written in Punjabi language (Gurmukhi script) is laudable and needs to be implemented strictly in the state. Punjab cannot afford any laxity, deviation or any further delay on the subject which is emotionally linked with Punjabis all over the world as the language is still victim of apathy and discrimination at the hands of successive administrative machineries. The government needs to go further in getting the order implemented at all Central Government offices and its boards and corporations, including Railways and highways, falling within the state boundaries. The formula of three languages with punjabi prominently at the top, Hindi in the middle and English may or may not at the bottom, be made applicable to such signboards. The latest order needs to be strictly applied to all shops, private business establishments and all educational institutions in a time-bound manner while providing penalties for the defaulters.
Promote Hindi amp; English equally
CM Bhagwant Singh Mann’s decision to have signboards in Punjabi across the state is a welcome. The government’s working and functioning and other correspondence is already in Punjabi. Now, the latest decision will further boost promotion of the vernacular language. However, let’s not forget that people from across the country and abroad visit Punjab, and for their benefit signboards should be in all three languages – Punjabi, Hindi and English. It’s equally important to promote Hindi and English as the former is our national language and the latter global. The number of IELTS centres is increasing rapidly because the youth want to go abroad for a bright future; this is the reason that other languages be also promoted in Punjab. In Canada, along with English, Punjabi is also mentioned on the signboards. Punjabi culture can be promoted through folk dance and music, especially songs sung by late Surinder Kaur, late Parkash Kaur and other Punjabi Singers decades ago.
Rajat Kumar Mohindru
Mother tongue has unique significance
Before the Partition, Punjabi culture was at the pinnacle of glory. Punjabi language was widely spoken over a vast territory by the majority of people and many renowned saints, Sufis and revered Gurus nurtured the language vide their recitals and preaching. Punjabi language and culture got a fillip during Khalsa Raj of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. Later, when Greater Punjab was divided and its larger part went to Pakistan, its rich heritage was subjected to a lot of sufferings, but sustained dignified existence despite the shift of epicentre. To utter dismay, the state was divided second time in 1966, arising many controversies on linguistic lines. Though Punjabi was recognised as the official language of Punjab, yet it transcended to second fiddle in some elite circles. Although one can undisputedly learn any number of languages to gain knowledge, yet in overall development of an individual mother tongue carries a unique significance. Sadly, many schools, clubs and social organisations blatantly ignore to accord due recognition to the vernacular language it deserves. In an attempt to promote the mother language, CM Bhagwant Maan has urged all establishments in the state to display signboards in Punjabi at prominent places by February 21, International Language Day. The initiative of the government is, indeed, praiseworthy and must be accorded due welcome by one and all.
Nirmaljit Singh Chatrath
With an aim to make the state a world-class medical education hub, CM Bhagwant Singh Mann recently gave approval to the construction of 16 more medical colleges across the state. Do you think the decision will put the state on the global map of medical education?
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