Punjabi World Conference held in Canada

 South Asian Observer, July 31, 2009

The three-day Punjabi World Conference, inaugurated on July 24th by Jason Kenney, the federal Minister Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturism, concluded on 26th July with a magnificent farewell function. In the session, embroidered with attractive cultural items, Ontario cabinet minister Harinder Takhar along with member parliament from Alberta Devinder Shorey and his counterparts from Ontario Gurbax Singh Malhi and Bonnie  honoured about 60 visiting writers and scholars who had gathered in city of Brampton from India, Europe, Canada and USA. Vick Dhillon MPP was also present.

Earlier Dr. S S Noor, Vice President of Sahitya Academy, national literature academy  of India, while presenting key-note address, underlined the importance of such interactions of Punjabis at inter-national level. In addition to expressing his concern about Punjabi Diaspora, he also introduced the audience with some of the literary and cultural projects that have been undertaken by various Indian organizations. The main concerns that were argued during the course of seminar spread over four sessions, apart from the trends in literature, journalism and cultural expressions, were ‘feminist issues’, ‘subalterns’, ‘ impact of globalisation, privatization and liberalisation’, ‘continuity and deviation of thematic lore in literature’  and ‘loss of traditional ethos in the cultural expressions’. Major papers were presented by Prof. Jagbir Singh, Prof. S S Bhatti, Prof. Baldev Singh Dhaliwal, and Prof Harjinder Singh Walia. Other significant papers were presented by Asif Shahkar (Stockholm), N S Kaushal (Kurukshetra), Balbir Singh Momi (Brampton), Dr. Vanita (New Delhi) Bakhshinder (Jullundur), Kirpal Pannu( Canada) Khalid Hussain (Oslo) and Jatinder Kaur (Ludhiana). Papers by Prof. H S Bhatia, Dr. Manmohan, Prof Nahar Singh, Amarjit Grewal and Prof Karamjit Singh were presented in absentia.

Always swelling beyond the capacity of auditorium the conference was attended by more than 200 participants in a pin drop silence and in a real serious disposition because Dr. Parkash Singh Jammu from Patiala created a flutter by announcing that the prediction of demise of the Punjabi language by a UNO report has to be taken seriously. But Dr. Noor rebutted his argument by providing the latest data of Punjabi speakers in the world. He said nobody can eliminate Punjabis from the globe and the language will survive till the last Punjabi breaths. He suggested that we should also read the next line of the same comment that gives respite; hence we should be cautious, than to be a part of hullabaloo. He said that creating such a fear itself can cause irreparable loss.  

Director of the World Punjabi Centre, Patiala, Dr. Deepak Manmohan Singh termed this to be one of the most meaningful and successful conferences organized at international level. Other significant people who took part in the Conference were C R Maudgil, Director Haryana Punjabi Sahitya Akademy, Dr. Deepak Manmohan Singh (Patiala), poet Minder Baghi (Anadpur Sahib), playwright Atamjit (Mukandpur), Principal Gurmohan Walia (Fatehgarh Sahib), Principal Daljit Singh (Amritsar) Prof Rajpal Singh (Patiala), Dr. Swaraj Sandhu (Chandigarh), poetess Harinder Brar (Ropar), poetess Jasveer (Dallas), Dr. Sadhu Singh (Vancouver), poet Sukhinder (Mississauga) and Principal Sarwan Singh (Brampton). Famous lyricist Inderjeet Hassanpuri (Ludhiana), poets Navtej Bharti (London), Dr. Sukhpal (Guelph), Amarjit Sathi (Ottawa) and Mittar Rasha (Ottawa) regaled audience in poetical symposium.

The chief co-ordinator Dr. Darshan Singh informed that 25 out of 40 papers received were presented and the selected presentations will be published soon in a book form. He also told that more   than twenty books by various authors were released at the conference. Ms. Rubi Dhalla MP, Dr. Christie Duncan MP, Andrew Kania MP and Vick Dhillon MPP were also present in the Conference.