Chandigarh, March 12: The 6th edition of the two-day World Punjabi Conference (WPC) concluded on Sunday, with a promise from Punjab finance minister on putting Punjabi on top on signboards in the state. He also added he would work to ensure Punjabi was more widely used in official work.
Manpreet, however, did not attend the session on ‘Political Views’, denying the audience a chance to ask questions. When he arrived at the venue, organisers pleaded paucity of time and organised the valedictory session, after a short address from him. Manpreet said, “Solutions to the state’s problems will emerge from within the state itself, as the Centre will not help Punjab.”
As the audience wondered if the government had escaped participating in the discussion, organisers said a report will be prepared on the event and a meeting will be held with the government for solutions to the issues raised.
Earlier, Hardev Arshi CPI, who was part of the session on political views, had said, “At least 15% of the state’s GDP should be reserved for education and health. There has to be a cultural policy too.” Bhiminder Singh (AAP) seconded him.
Iqbal Singh Lalpura (BJP) and Prem Singh Chandumajra (SAD) said political parties needed to come tegether for the state’s development.
In the session titled ‘Punjabi Language’, experts agreed that to save Punjabi language and culture, all dialects had to be conserved. Panelist Khalid Hussain said, “Pakistan has 10 crore Punjabis, almost double the number in India. They use Shahmukhi script. We cannot say that only Gurmukhi is Punjabi.”
Panelists concurred that Shahmukhi script be taught in Indian Punjab so that the gap can be bridged, and books could also be translated. “Many in Pakistani Panjab have learned Gurmukhi and have translated works of Punjabi writers in Shahmukhi,” Hussain added.
Panelist Suwarn S Virk talked the importance of language. “The British did everything to snatch away our language. They knew the power of the script.” He added, “If we forget language, we will forget our history.”
Professor Joga Singh expressed his grief on the situation of Punjabi in Chandigarh, saying, “’Eh sab ton badsoorat shehar e jehda apni bhasha nu bhasha nahi manda’ (It is the ugliest city which doesn’t call it’s language its own). The administration is resposible for this.” Panelists Lakhwinder Johal and Sukhwinder Amrit spoke on the situation of Punjabi in the media. At the event, the organisers — the World Punjabi Conference and the Punjab Arts Council — felicitated Padma Bhushan awardee Sardara Singh Johl.
Source Hindustan Times