* Punjabi scholar says Punjabi literature comparable to literature of any other language
By Ali Usman
LAHORE: A large number of Punjabis are reluctant to accept Punjabi as their mother tongue, as they fear they will be considered illiterate if they speak the language, Punjabi intellectuals and scholars said on Friday.
They said the International Mother Language Day, which is being celebrated today, should remind Punjabis of their origins and ancestry. They said locals should take pride in their mother tongue instead of feeling shy of communicating in the language. They said the upcoming census could register Urdu as the mother language of Punjab, as most men had started using Urdu instead of Punjabi, which they feared could lead to invalid data collection.
Punjabi scholars: Talking to Daily Times, noted Punjabi writer and scholar Jameel Paul said the classic Punjabi literature was rich in language and was comparable to literature of other languages. He said the Punjabis of the Indian Punjab looked towards Pakistan for the modern diction of Punjabi, adding that it was our duty to provide the language with new words. He said if Punjabi was taught in primary schools, and if the parents started teaching their children Punjabi instead of Urdu, the language’s future could be bright.
Dr Nasir Rana, a noted Punjabi teacher, said the Punjabis should make their young generation realise the richness of the language. He said Sindhi primary schools gave the students the option to opt for either Sindhi or Urdu. He pointed out that no such option was offered in Punjabi primary schools.
Punjab Institute of Language, Art and Culture celebrated the day by organising an event titled ‘Maan Boli Dehar’ (Mother Language Day). International Mother Language Day is observed every year by member states of UNESCO, in a bid to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism. Daily Times, 21-Feb-09