Punjab, Punjabi and Punjabiyat were on everybody's lips as the 5th edition of All-India Punjabi Conference started at Punjabi University on Monday.
Inaugurating the conference, chief minister Parkash Singh Badal asked intellectuals, writers and experts working in universities in the state to play a proactive role in ensuring the all-round development of the state.
Badal said teachers in colleges and universities should impart knowledge to children in rural areas on how they could get access to better education.
"The basic purpose is to give new direction and educate students in villages," the chief minister said. "There is no dearth of capability and skills in rural areas, but they need to be shown the right path."
Badal said the development of Punjabi language, literature and culture was directly related to the fate of the state and hence efforts should be made to spread awareness and preserve its heritage. The chief minister announced that like Virasat-e-Khalsa in Anandpur Sahib, the state government would soon build another state-of-the-art memorial near Kartarpur in Jalandhar highlighting the role played by Punjabis in the country's freedom struggle.
Welcoming the chief guest, vice-chancellor Jaspal Singh said the university was committed for the development of Punjabi language, literature and culture, adding that the objective of organising the conference was to instill awareness on linguistics and culture among Punjabis living outside the state.
Badal honoured Padma Shri Sant Seva Singh, Giani Balwant Singh, dramatist Ajmer Aulkah, Kewal Dhaliwal, singer Harbhajan Mann, Khalid Hussain from Jammu and Kashmir, Surjit Kaur Chahal, CR Moudgil and Joginder Singh. Finance minister Parminder Singh Dhindsa and rural and panchayat development minister Surjeet Singh Rakhra were also present.