(originally posted in Daily Times Newspaper)
Punjabi intelligentsia at World Punjabi Congress (WPC) urged government to take sincere efforts in promoting Punjabi language, demanded to establish ‘Punjabi University’ to initiate academic discourse on language and appealed writers to revise their approach towards Punjabi language.
WPC organized one day National Punjabi Conference titled ‘Punjab, Punjabi Culture and Punjabi Language’ on Friday at Punjab Institute of Language and Culture Qaddafi Stadium. The conference was attended by a large number of writers, scholars, intellectuals, poets and artists from Lahore and across the country. The participants of the conference was passed declaration which presented by Karamat Mughal who endorsed unanimously. The declaration stated as, it’s high time of establishing first ever Punjabi University to initiate academic discourse on Punjabi language.
The governments had been always shown regrettable negligence for the promotion of Punjabi language and culture. WPC demanded by the conference delegates to make Punjabi language as a compulsory subject at the primary level. The declaration stated that more than 10,000 MA Punjabi degree holders are unemployed and they have suffered for years at the hands of anti-Punjabi bureaucracy. The gathering of Punjabi intelligentsia strongly condemned media channels to ignore Punjabi language and show Punjabi culture in a derogatory way.
In the declaration said that Punjabi newspapers were denied the proper quota of advertisements by the federal and provincial information departments and there has a need to promote cultural affinity among the provinces that important universities of the four provinces should teach the languages of all the provinces. The declaration further stated as the social media and the Internet and online facilities for the promotion of Punjabi language and culture. Similarly, the English translations of contemporary Punjabi writings should be circulated on the Internet.
Punjabi film is on decline and proper steps should be taken by the federal government to give financial impetus and other concessions to the filmdom. The propaganda for the division of Punjab by different political parties who are anti-Punjabi language, anti-Punjabi culture smacks of their prejudice against Punjab. It is a demand of feudals, conspirators and chauvinists, the declaration stated. Maqbool Ahmed Butt moderated the conference .The conference dealt with various topics including purism in Punjabi language , media and Punjabi, the decline of Punjabi film, the use of social media to popularise Punjabi culture, establishment of first Punjabi University, the teaching of Punjabi language at the primary level.
The first session was presided over by the renowned writer Abdullah Hussain, He said that all his Urdu writings reflects the sensibility and the culture of Punjab and expressed deep concern over some Punjabi writers who were being using archaic vocabulary and outdated sensibility in writing language. He said in order to popularise Punjabi language, there has to put great effort to make it simple that can be understood in all cities and all classes of society.
In a opening session of the conference, Farukh Zaman said “There was trend on the part of our Punjabi writers that they were caught in the usage of archaic and outdated words of Punjabi language and preferred the purist tendencies which actually a main hurdle in promoting Punjabi”. He said Punjabi language has to adopt new diction, modern idioms, metaphors and similes and sensibility. Professor Qamar Abbas said ‘every language in the world only make progress when it adopts new ideas and make experiments within, and we should welcome change rather than resisting it ’He said there was always culture creators, culture destroyers and culture custodians, and it was the duty of every one to save the culture of Punjab. He further said, centrist approach had created problem for Pakistan.
Renown writer Ahmed Saleem said that the Punjabi sufi poets specially Baba Farid had made tremendous efforts in promoting humanism and through their Punjabi poetry they highlighted the atrocities of the then rulers and Bulleh shah outspokenly wrote on the then ‘landscape of the Punjab culture’ and bluntly pointed out the wrongdoing of the rulers. Another speaker, Qazi Javed said according to 2008 UNESCO report on world languages, Punjabi language was on edge to extinct from the world if proper measures would not be have been taken.
In the second session of conference, renowned journalist and human rights activist Hussain Naqi while addressing said that Punjabi language problem is a political issues which should be solved by combined efforts. He said “When I had launched the Punjabi Newspaper that time my colleagues advised me not to launch the newspaper and said if you will publish any write-up in Punjabi language it considered in double meaning which will not accept’ adding that but I have launched it for living of the Punjabi language”. He said that if Punjabi language declares as a provincial language in Punjab so terrorism will not produce in this region and removed the Punjabi terrorism tagged because Punjabi language is Sufism language.
Human right activist I A Rehman said that If we have to confront with the menace of confrontation among regional languages, than we have to uphold the harmony of our rich cultural values. He emphasized to rediscover the forgotten traditional values and language.