Punjabi language will disappear in 50 years: Unesco report

By:Sarbjit Dhaliwal

Sunday Tribune 2 March 2008

Noted journalist Kuldip Nayar has taken it on himself to preserve the Punjabi language and culture.

"I have gone through a report prepared by Unesco which says the Punjabi language will disappear from the world in 50 years. It shocked me. I am out to save Punjabi language and culture," he said here today. He was invited by the Punjabi Bachao Manch seeking his help to save Punjabi in Chandigarh, capital of Punjab, a state carved on the basis of Punjabi language.

"Tomorrow I will be in Jalandhar and the next day in Patiala to speak in favour of Punjabi language and culture," he said. "Our roots, Punjabi language and culture, are decaying and none in Punjab is worried about it,"he said, adding, "I have been to Pakistan and people there also feel their new generation feels hesitant to converse in Punjabi".

It was shame for Punjabis that they were discouraging children from conversing in Punjabi while at home and want them speak English or Hindi. "I am not against Hindi or English, but I will not like these languages to become a cause for the demise of Punjabi language," he added.

He said politicians linked the language to politics and it caused huge damage to Punjabi language. He said at the time of the Punjabi Suba Morcha, he had met then Congress president Kamraj, who had agreed to keep the boundary of the Punjabi Suba up to Panipat and for including the remaining part in the greater Delhi region. Even Bhagwat Dayal, a leader from the Haryana region, had agreed. But Sant Fateh Singh, who was leading the morcha, did not agree, he said. "Now you see how much damage has been caused because of reducing Punjab, which was one of the biggest states in the country, into a tiny state. It happened because of political reasons," he said.

A former vice-chancellor of Guru Nanak Dev University Dr S.P. Singh said at the cost of Punjabi language, Adarsh schools, dominated by English language and culture, were being set up in Punjab. Political leaders were creating an elite class in urban and rural areas to strengthen political bases, he said.

He said the elite class was dominating bureaucracy, politics and other spheres whereas commoners had lost identity. Dr Darshan Singh, journalist Tarlochan Singh, manch's convener Gurpartap Singh Riar, former editor Shingara Singh Bhullar and Rajpal Singh were among the speakers.

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