AMRITSAR: Reiterating his government’s strong commitment to promoting Punjabi language and culture, Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on Saturday urged Punjabis to come forward to start a mass movement to put all signs on buildings private and public across the state in the Punjabi language.
The Chief Minister, while addressing a rally at a state level function to mark Punjabi language month here at Guru Nanak Dev University, cited the examples of states like the Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and others where people show great respect for their native language by putting all these signs on their shops and business establishments in their native language. He said the time has come when Punjabis should also come forward to adopt this noble practice. Bhagwant Mann urged Punjabis to ensure that all signs are prominently displayed in Punjabi along with other languages as a sign of respect to the mother tongue.
The chief minister said people should ensure that the Punjabi signs are put up ahead of the International Day of Languages, February 21. He stressed the need to make it a mass movement as a sign of respect for the mother tongue. Bhagwant Mann said the Punjabi elders will adopt this before February 21 and whoever remains will be forced to toe the government line after that.
The Chief Minister also called on the Punjabi community in India and different parts of the world to widely promote the Punjabi language and culture. Bhagwant Mann said it is a fact that no one can survive by breaking away from their rich culture and mother tongue. He stressed that English was undoubtedly universally accepted around the world as a liaison language, but that this language should not be promoted to the detriment and status of our mother tongue.
The Chief Minister said rather every Punjabi should be proud of the glorious cultural heritage they have inherited. He said that Punjab is the land of great gurus, saints, seers and martyrs, adding that for centuries it has been a torchbearer for mankind. Bhagwant Mann said that Punjabis have carved out a place for themselves across the world through their hard work and dedication.
The Chief Minister said it is a curse if anyone forgets their mother tongue but unfortunately in the fashion of English and other languages, Punjabis are drifting away from their mother tongue. He said this trend needs to be reversed as it is an undeniable fact that a man can only communicate and express himself well in his mother tongue. Bhagwant Mann said that due to mental slavery, we still believe in the superiority of English language when the fact is that Punjabi is the best language for all of us.
The Chief Minister said that many countries abroad are using the Punjabi language but we are hesitant somehow to use it. He said that no language is a symbol of intelligence but unfortunately we continually ignore our own mother tongue just to pursue English. Citing an example from France, Bhagwant Mann said that French people prefer to converse in their mother tongue as a sign of respect, adding that Punjabi should also make Punjabi a part of their lives.
The Chief Minister said that the Punjabi language is a treasure as a lot of literature, songs, poems and other documents have been written in it. He said that the time has come when we must preserve this richness and perpetuate it for our languages to come. Bhagwant Mann said that we should be proud of our language, culture and traditions, adding that universities and colleges should come forward for this noble cause.
The Chief Minister has urged educational institutes to launch specialized courses in the Punjabi language to encourage students to join him. He said the creativity of Punjabi language students should be nurtured by giving them special attention. Bhagwant Mann said that the Punjabi language has produced a number of literati, intellectuals and poets, adding that Punjabi are always proud of them.
Previously, Higher Education Minister Gurmeet Singh Meet Hayer welcomed all the dignitaries on the occasion. He also informed about the department’s efforts to acquaint our younger generations with the glorious heritage of Punjab. Meet Hayer said mother tongue is the most important source of communication for any individual.
On this occasion, the Prime Minister also released new books from the Department of Higher Education and Languages. He also commended eminent writers on occasion.