Rejuvenate Punjabi in Punjab

                  By Mahjabeen Malik

 Firstly, I am highly grateful to Allah Almighty to have bestowed me with good health and determination to avail a chance of attending the most prestigious literary conference at the avenue of LUMS this year; and after God I wish to pay my sincere thanks to Sir Zahid Hassan for inviting me on this wonderful event.

 Zahid Hassan is a renowned novelist, short-story writer and a researcher who is rendering his kind services as a researcher associate at LUMS. He has received Waris Shah Award on his three classic novels from Academy of Letters, and has won Dhahan International Award, Canada. My joy knew no bounds when I received invitation of Second Annual Conference on Punjab’s History and Culture from Zahid Hassan. I got a beautiful chance of spending my time amongst the cluster of stars; and indeed my rusty, dusty dull brain was brightened; it was really a good experience for me.   

The most renowned faculty of the office of Dean, Mushtaq Ahmad Gurmani School of Humanities and Social Sciences (MGSHSS), and the Gurmani Centre for Languages and Literature had organized a three-day, Second Annual Conference on Punjab’s History and Culture on Friday, February 22nd, 2019 to Sunday, February 24, 2019 at LUMS the most prestigious university of Lahore.

A galaxy of writers, poets, professors and linguists from around the country and beyond the border had participated in the conference. The stress on the importance of Punjabi was laid by the forceful lectures of scholars and writers. On the first day of conference, after lunch, at 2:40 pm Professor Javed Majeed addressed, he delivered a fruitful lecture on the importance of citizenship and nationality in colonial linguistics: A study of linguistic survey of India by George Abraham Grierson. This book is a real treasure in the avenue of Indian linguistic survey; it covers all languages of Indian regions with their different dialect. G.A.Grierson {1851-1841} was I.C.S.in India from 1841-1851.He took a special interest in languages’ research. Initially, he worked about Kashmiri and Sindhi .After that, he was selected by the government as a superintendent of the project of Linguistic Survey of India .He spent thirty years on this work in his office in Calcutta (India).George A. Grierson worked on more than five hundred languages of India. He did not neglect any regional language and dialect. Professor Majeed during his lecture described that according to Grierson Punjabi is Sikh’s language whereas Siraiki is the root language, thus Punjabi is the legitimate child of Siraiki. Grierson relates language to religion. In the end of the session, Professor Javed Majeed had to face a number of critical questions from the attendees. They expressed their disagreement with Grierson’s view point and said it is wrong to relate any language with any specific religion. They added that Punjabi is the language of inhabitants of Punjab’s regions and Gurmukhi belongs to Sikh community specifically. Although Grierson was a great linguist researcher and his theory was accepted and appreciated throughout the last century yet some of the linguists disapproved him especially his division of Indo-Aryan languages into two different classes, internal and external. Mostly his theory is applicable in Punjab’s languages;The importance of Grierson’s work is as significant as Taj-Mahal in India but now it is needed to be refresh review.

  Documentary in Punjabi “Kitay Mil ni Mai” was also displayed after the tea break on the first day of conference. In movie the special focus was on downtrodden people in Indo-Pak and a sensitive plight of shrine and their guardian was also highlighted. Dear readers I like to suggest you to watch that documentary film if you are keen to know about the history of Punjab’s language and culture, particularly if you are interested is in sophism as well. Ajay Bhardwaj is an expert Indian Punjabi documentary filmmaker. He has beautifully thrown light on the memories of partition in the mirror of poverty-stricken community. Punjabi poetry was recited particularly mystic (Sufi) poetry was recited and discussed by the learned.

 On the second day of the conference an eminent poet of Punjabi Mushtaq Sufi, Anjum Qureshi, a contemporary poetess and Zubair Ahmad  had recited their poems and highlighted the importance of “Mazahmti Shaeri” or critical poetry. This literary conference was lasted till three days from Friday, 22nd Feb to Monday 24th Feb but unfortunately I could have attended only two days. The participants and the guests were entertained by refreshment along with tea and a delicious lunch during break time.

After lunch break on 2:00 pm, a panelist including Dr.Sughra Sadaf, Maqsood Saqib, Jamil Pal, Ashok Kumar, Bakht Munir and Tahir Aseer had discussed the importance of Punjabi language. Dr.Sughra Sadaf emphasized that Punjabi must be taught as a compulsory subject in the province of Punjab. Tahir Aseer’s Punjabi Dictionary was inaugurated during the session; he said that he took only one year to compose his Punjabi Lughat/Dictionary special focusing on his regional dialect. Tahir Aseer added that the dialect of Attock which is called kamelpuri lehja is marginalized around the country that was the reason of his composition of Dictionary, so he could serve his regional people. He added that their language with a distinguish dialect is quite near to Punjabi so we request Punjabi to consider us Punjabi; we are neither Pashtu nor Siraiki. Renowned fiction writer of Punjab Parveen Malik and Tauqeer Chughtai, a poet, short-story writer, columnist and editor also hail from Attock with their distinguish dialect. A number of eminent writers from Attock district are rendering their services for the continuance of their divided dialect.

 Though Punjabi is a broadly spoken language, it had been discriminated since the era of British rulers. At the time of partition they declared Urdu as national language of the country, ”Sughra Sadaf explained”.   In this literary conference, the veteran and amateur authors were, particularly, encouraged to serve their own mother tongue with the weapon of their prestigious pen. That is really very necessary to keep alive the mother tongues otherwise a language may die; and it is an admitted truth that a nation dies if its language will die.

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