Gone are the days when signboards across the City Beautiful carried directions in four languages — English, Hindi, Punjabi and Urdu — but with time, Urdu has disappeared from a majority of these signboards.
Surprisingly, the UT administration never took note of why and how one of the language was dropped.
However, a few signboards on Jan Marg, Uttar Marg and towards Sector 5 still bear the directions in Urdu - these are some of the signboards that were, probably, never repainted.
Some senior citizens, when asked about the signboards carrying the directions in these four languages, recalled that earlier directions were written in Urdu as well considering that many people had come here from Pakistan after the partition, and Urdu was a known language among them. A senior citizen, Harjoban Singh, a resident of Sector 21, said, “While the administration is working hard to preserve the city’s culture and heritage, it’s also the responsibility of the officials to ensure the signboards are reintroduced with all the four languages again. I am sure, many are not even aware that we used to have signboards in the four languages.”
Meanwhile, Prof Pardeep Kumar Bhagat, principal of Chandigarh College of Architecture (CCA), said, “These signboards, the finest example for all other cities, were made by Pierre Jeanneret, a Swiss architect. But this is surprising the UT didn’t notice that Urdu is missing from a majority of the signboards. I believe since Urdu has gone out of reach in the city, it also kept missing from the signboards.”
He added, “Signboards give a metropolitan look to a city. The reintroduction of Urdu will give them a better look to these signboards, and it will be a proud feeling that we respect all the languages.”
Mayor Poonam Sharma said, “We should continue with the tradition and there is no reason that Urdu should be dropped. A larger population of Muslims live in the city and we should respect all the four languages.”
Chief architect Kapil Sethia said, “First we will have to check the previous records and consult the Union home ministry, as there is a dedicated department that takes care of which of the languages have to be written on signboards.”
UT advisor Vijay Kumar Dev said, “The MC and the engineering department will be asked to reintroduce Urdu in these signboards.”