(originally posted on Daily Times)
By Faizan Ali Warraich
LAHORE: After having two brain-storming sessions it was announced by the World Punjabi Congress (WPC) that peaceful marches will be held in Lahore & other divisional headquarters and every month one-day National Punjabi Conferences will be organized to press the demands; participants reiterated that Punjabi language should be extricated from the mire of archaic usage, purism and literary fundamentalism.
The second National Punjabi Conference was held on Friday at Punjabi complex under the aegis of World Punjabi Congress (WPC) to highlight the injustice being consistently meted out to Punjabi language and culture. A Lahore Declaration was passed unanimously reiterated the points made by the learned speakers. It also said that if peaceful protests are not heeded then next step would be to make demonstration in front of Punjab assembly if demands as espoused by different speakers are not met.
In his keynote speech, WPC Fakhar Zaman declared that despite our efforts Punjabi is not being given the rightful place by making it a language for the primary level, establishment of Punjabi University, a radical change in the curriculum in colleges and university, employment of over more than ten thousand MA Punjabi degree holders and language of Punjab assembly be declared Punjabi. He regretted that Punjab government and its anti-Punjabi bureaucracy is regrettably treating step motherly treatment to the language of great Sufi poets, cultural ethos and cultural heritage of Punjab province.
He further said that the TV channels and print media is showing little respect for this language, which according to UNESCO report is the 10th biggest language in the world. HE said social media importance could not be ignored and will be used to spread message of Sufi poets and to promote Punjabi language among new generation .In the end, a mushaira was also held. They were also of the view that contemporary Punjabi languages should be translated into English and be posted on the Internet.
On the occasion, Punjab Higher Education Commission chairman and former Vice Chancellor of Gujrat University Dr M Nizamuddin said that ‘Punjabi education model’ was possible and was being running successful across the border in Indian Punjab. He said Punjabi should be taught at the primary level and also that a Punjabi University should be established in Lahore. He added, we should start work from without having delay and not relay on’ brick models’ .
In the first session , Poet Tanvir Zahoor made inaugural speech and said linguistic movements only successful when effort being put collectively by writers, teachers ,intellectuals and common people .
Mudassir Butt another speaker said ‘only collective united front save the dying spark of Punjabi language, we have to re-orient our behavior & approach before heading ahead and to make successful this Punjab movement’. He questioned from the audience to ponder that after the forty years struggle in making Punjabi language official language of the Punjab province we haven’t been successful.