By Balwant Sanghera
VANCOUVER: It is rather unfortunate that a very well respected university like Delhi University has decided to exclude the Punjabi language from its four-year graduation program. If the media reports are correct, this is a regressive step. To its credit, Delhi University has produced some of the top-notch Punjabi scholars.
It is hard to understand as to why the university felt it necessary to take this step now. A place of higher learning is always a fertile ground for the growth and development of languages. As a second language in Delhi, Punjabi has always flourished. Delhi is home to a large number of Punjabis.
This decision is unfair to all of them. It is rather ironic that in a number of western countries such as Canada, the US, Singapore, the UK, New Zealand, Australia and Malaysia, Punjabis and their mother tongue Punjabi are progressing by leaps and bounds. However, in their homeland Punjabi is being given a step motherly treatment.
The decision makers at Delhi University may need a reminder that in the countries mentioned above, the Punjabi language has achieved a prominent place. For example, as result of the Punjabi community’s efforts, Punjabi is now the third most spoken language after English and French in Canada.
At the international level, out of some 6, 900 languages recognized by UNESCO, Punjabi ranks among the top 12. Close to 150 million speakers of Punjabi are now flourishing in 160 countries around the globe.
We at the Punjabi Language Education Association (PLEA Canada) in Canada would urge the Delhi University management to reconsider its decision and reinstate the Punjabi language as part of its four-year graduation program.
(Balwant Sanghera is president of the Punjabi Language Education Association or PLEA in Canada)