By Balwant Sanghera
VANCOUVER: During my recent visit to India, I was pleased to see a concerted effort by well-wishers of the Punjabi language to get it more respect and recognition in the state.
The huge march on International Mother Language Day on February 21 in Jalandhar City was a big success. It was organised by Punjab Jagriti Manch and spearheaded by prominent persons like Dr. Barjinder Singh Hamdard, Satnam Singh Manak and Deepak Bali. They had also lobbied Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal in this regard. It was a delight to see thousands of school, college and university students participate in the march.
Presence of young people in large numbers at this march was very encouraging. In Chandigarh, I had the pleasure of meeting with my good friend Baljit Balli, highly respected as a prominent journalist and a strong advocate of Punjabi language, and his colleagues at PTC Television and elsewhere. I was very impressed with their commitment and dedication to the Punjabi language. Wherever I went my message was very simple. Let us all work together and become part of a people’s movement (Lok Lehar) to promote our mother tongue Punjabi in whatever way we can.
Back here in Canada, it is an honour and a privilege for me to work with a dedicated group of people who have been doing a great job in promoting Punjabi at every level. I would like to commend my fellow members with the Punjabi Language Education Association (PLEA) of British Columbia, the Indo-Canadian media and our community for standing by us at all times. PLEA can do only so much. It is the media and the community that makes the big difference. Wherever I went in the Punjab, people were very complimentary about our efforts in promoting Punjabi here in Canada. Canada is the only country in the world where Punjabi has become the third most spoken language. Not only that, the Punjabi signage, increased job opportunities for Punjabi speakers and overall respect for Punjabi in this country makes us all proud. Mini Punjabs in cities like Surrey, Abbotsford, Calgary, Edmonton and Brampton reflect our community’s hard work, resilience and generosity. We need to continue these efforts, individually and collectively.
PLEA will be celebrating its eleventh International Mother Language Day on Sunday, April 27 from 1:30 PM to 4:30 PM at Balti House Restaurant, 8220-120 Street in Surrey. We are putting together a program that will involve our youth, elected officials, prominent members of the community and the public at large.
In this regard PLEA is very thankful to the management of Balti Restaurant as well as the Deepak Binning Foundation for their on-going support. On behalf of PLEA, I would like to invite every well-wisher of Punjabi language and the public to join us in celebrating our mother language Punjabi on Sunday, April 27.
This year’s celebration will be dedicated to the Komagata Maru Centenary. For further information, your readers should feel free to contact me at 604-836-8976 or Sadhu Binning at 604-437-9014.