The Tourism and Cultural Affairs Minister, Punjab, Navjot Singh Sidhu today gave a clarion call in favour of a people’s movement to restore the lost glory of the mother tongue ‘Punjabi’ language in Chandigarh. He also said that Punjabi language is the symbol of pride and identity for all of us and without it we would be left without any identity. So, every Punjabi must join hands for the honour of our mother tongue.Mr. Sidhu expressed these views at Punjab Kala Bhawan, Sector-16 here today while addressing a ‘Panchayat’ called under the aegis of the Punjab Kala Parishad to get Punjabi its due and rightful place in the Chandigarh Administration. He said that this struggle must be waged in unison because every government or administration has to bow before people’s movement. He further added that Chandigarh is the capital of Punjab and discrimination with the Punjabi language would not be tolerated here at all and he stands shoulder to shoulder with people in this struggle.Mr. Sidhu also added that the future generation under the influence of cartoons is deviating from the path that leads them towards their mother tongue Punjabi which makes it important for us to have cartoon characters in Punjabi. He also announced that the Tourism and Cultural Department would make a circuit connecting the ancestral homes of the prominent writers of Punjabi such as Bhai Vir Singh, Dhani Ram Chatrik, Nanak Singh, Gurbaksh Singh Preetlari, Shiv Kumar Batalvi, Amrita Pritam, and Balwant Gargi. The minister also announced that the Local Government Department would issue orders to give place of pride to Punjabi language in the signboards in all the cities and the correspondence would be made mandatory in Punjabi only.
On the occasion, the Chairman of the Punjab Kala Parishad Padamshri Dr. Surjit Patar said that he doesn’t oppose any other language infact he has immense respect for all the languages but what he stoutly stands in opposition to is adopting other languages at the cost of mother tongue Punjabi. Citing examples, he said that if a child learns Punjabi first and then English or other language then he/she can grasp other languages in a better manner.Speaking as a main speaker on the occasion, senior journalist Mr. Satnam Manak said that breaking the shackles of linguistic slavery is the prime need of the hour and the medium of education as well as the administrative language should be the mother tongue. Linguistic expert Dr. Joga Singh said that the linguistic experts have proven that a young child can most easily learn anything in mother tongue only. Eminent journalist Mr. Tarlochan Singh said that it is a matter worth pondering that out of the 29 states and the UT Chandigarh none of the 6 other UTs have English as the official language. This discrimination has been heaped upon Chandigarh only which explains why this panchayat has been summoned. Among others on the occasion, Mr. Devi Dayal Sharma, Dr. Sarabjit and Ragubir Singh from Kendri Punjabi Lekhak Sabha, Dr. Lakhwinder Johal General Secretary of the Punjab Kala Parishad, Deepak Sharma Chanarthal, Balkar Sidhu from Punjabi Lekhak Sabha Chandigarh also addressed. Among others present in this panchayat called courtesy Punjabi Lekhak Sabha Chandigarh, Pendu Sangharsh Committee Chandigarh, Kendari Punjabi Lekhak Sabha, All Gurudwara Management Organizations and Chandigarh Punjabi Manch included Lok Sabha MP Dr. Dharamvira Gandhi, Sri Ram Arsh, Dr. Deepak Manmohan Singh, President Punjab Sahit Akademi Sarabjit Kaur Sohal, Media Coo-ordinator Punjab Kala Parishad Ninder Ghugianvi, Sushil Dosanjh, Manmohan Singh Daoun and Karam Singh Vakil.