Punjabi will live on, just root out inferiority complex, says Vidhan Sabha Speaker
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Punjabi will live on, just root out inferiority complex, says Vidhan Sabha Speaker

Local bodies minister Sidhu, assembly speaker Rana KP Singh inaugurate two-day World Punjabi Conference; idea of a Punjabi Culture Parliament mooted

punjab Updated: Mar 10, 2018 18:26 IST
Arshdeep Arshi
Arshdeep Arshi
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Punjabi language,Punjab,Panjab university
(From left) Vidhan Sabha Speaker Rana KP Singh, Panjab University vice-chancellor Arun Kumar Grover, local bodies minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, author Surjit Patar and others inaugurating the World Punjabi Conference at Panjab University in Chandigarh on Saturday.(Karun Sharma/HT)

Creation of a Punjabi Culture Parliament and a belief that the Punjabi language might be going through hard times, but will live on, were the key ideas that came to the fore on Day 1 of the two-day World Punjabi Conference held at Panjab University Law Auditorium on Saturday. Vidhan Sabha speaker Rana KP Singh and local bodies minister Navjot Singh Sidhu inaugurated the conference. Agreeing that signboards in Punjab should have Punjabi on top, Singh said he would take up the issue with chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh. Sidhu quoted examples on how proud the French are of their language and do not acknowledge you, if spoken to in English. “Why do we feel inferior? Why do we say ‘Yeah, Yeah’, than feeling proud of who we are? ‘Je Punjabi banda Punjabi na bole, oh lagda jhooth bolda’ (If a Punjabi man doesn’t speak Punjabi, it seems as if he is telling a lie,” said.

“We need to create a Punjabi Culture Parliament and create a corpus of Punjabi language and culture. For such a project, I will give Rs 50 lakh in the first year,” the minister added. He also wished that a culture developed where birthdays of prominent Punjabi writers are celebrated.

Rana KP Singh said though Punjabi was going through a hard time, it cannot die. “Punjab suffered when some people, for their political gains, asked people to register their mother tongue as Hindi in the Census (he was referring to the division of Punjab after partition). There is also an inferiority complex that Punjabis have about our language,” he added. WPC chairman HS Hanspal lamented on the condition of Bhasha Vibhag Punjab in Patiala and how rooms meant for stay of language students had been rented out to the National Cadet Corps (NCC) and that the institution had failed to live up to its mandate.

In his address, Panjab University vice-chancellor Arun K Grover said the university had decided to present a proposal to the government that university students should be taught Gurmukhi as well as Shahmukhi script so that the divide created by partition can be bridged.

Punjab Arts Council chairman Surjit Patar said, “Punjab and Punjabiat need to be revived.” The council is jointly organising the event in association with the World Punjabi Conference. He talked about how schools are fining children who speak in Punjabi, even as the language was gaining increased traction globally.

Others who spoke were Punjabi University, Patiala, vice-chancellor BS Ghuman; Namdhari Satguru Uday Singh and former director, World Punjabi Centre, Deepak Manmohan Singh. Anita Singh, Jang Bahadur Goyal, Sukhi Bath, and Iqbal Mahal were honoured for their contribution to Punjabi language and culture. On Sunday, the conference shifts to Punjab Kala Bhawan.

First Published: Mar 10, 2018 18:25 IST