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Punjabi Language on the Move

Los Angeles, Jan 11, 2023 Sanghera
Ramesh/ A.Gary Singh

Punjabi Language Education Association (PLEA) has been promoting Punjabi language in BC’s public schools, colleges, universities and community for almost 30 years. PLEA strongly believes that getting our children interested in their mother tongue Punjabi at an early age is extremely beneficial to them. It not only helps the children and youth with their communication skills but also in staying connected with their heritage. Our efforts have been very successful. However, still a lot more needs to be done in this regard. PLEA was very pleased to see some positive developments in the Punjab and in some other countries about their interest and initiatives in promoting Punjabi in their schools and communities.

According to the latest media reports, in a western state of Australia, Punjabi has been recognized as one of ten languages that can be taught in schools. The last day of the week has been designated for teaching Punjabi to interested students. The government believes that this move will help connect students to their roots. A   large number of organizations and individuals have been working hard in promoting Punjabi at every level. For example, Punjabi Vikas Manch has been promoting Punjabi not only in the U.K. but also in Punjab. This organization’s secretary Shinderpal Singh Mahal, on a recent trip to Canada, shared his passion for Punjabi language with this writer and PLEA officials. We are very proud of the well-wishers of Punjabi like him.

According to a recent report dated January 2, 2023 by reporter Jaspal Singh in the Jalandhar based daily Ajit, Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Singh Mann has strongly urged people of Punjab to give preference to Punjabi language on the boards outside their businesses. Mann has started this campaign in connection with the upcoming International Mother Language Day on February 21. Punjab’s Minister of Higher Education and Languages, Gurmit (Meet) Singh Hayer was in Jalandhar recently promoting the campaign for Punjabi language on display boards. The Punjab government is pursuing this initiative with vigour. PLEA would like to thank Bhagwant Singh Mann, Meet Hayer and the Punjab government for this commendable initiative. Similar efforts are under way in many other countries.

Here in Canada, PLEA and well- wishers of Punjabi have been working tirelessly in promoting Punjabi at every level. A few months ago, PLEA’s representatives met with federal NDP leader Jagmit Singh and urged him to get some recognition for Punjabi language at the national level. We continue to work with federal and provincial elected officials in this regard. It is a matter of great pride for the well-wishers of Punjabi that according to the census held in May 2021, Punjabi, with almost one million speakers, was the third most spoken language in Canada after English and French. Punjabi is now being taught in a number of schools, colleges and universities in Canada .Moreover, it is a source of employment for thousands of people all across Canada. On behalf of PLEA I would like to urge every well-wisher of Punjabi to act as its ambassador and do whatever they can to create more pride in our mother tongue.

Balwant Sanghera
President, Punjabi Language Education Association (PLEA)