Of his love for the native language and to contribute to its culture here, Prof Pandit Rao Dharennavar is making various efforts to promote Punjabi language in Chandigarh. Known for his translation of social and religious literature between Kannada and Punjabi, he is the only person to have volunteered to teach Punjabi in government schools as part of the education department’s voluntary session scheme for residents. Rao, who is originally from Karnataka, moved to Chandigarh in 2003 and spent two years to hone his Punjabi skills.
During a lecture with Class 11 children of Government Model Senior Secondary School (GMSSS), Sector 46 on Tuesday, Rao announced that the students who will score more than 90 per cent marks in their classes 11 and 12 will be awarded with a scholarship of Rs 1000 and in BA, if they opt for elective Punjabi, then they will be rewarded Rs 12,000 scholarship.
Planning to shell out the money from his own salary, he said, “Being a professor, I earn Rs 70,000, out of which around Rs 30,000 is being saved for scholarships. With this, the award money given by Punjab government will also be kept for the scholarships only.”
Rao also taught the students about the importance of Punjabi language and why each student should make it as a career option. A Punjabi poetry fan, he expressed resentment over the way the language was being used in Punjabi rap songs.