Chandigarh, April 30 : Punjabi language has today turned into a transnational language due the presence of Punjabis' around the world. But there are many thinkers who question whether the real essence of Punjabi existing any more?
This question is a matter of concern to many Punjabi intellectuals--writers, educationalists and artists.
Several initiatives are being taken to protect the language that Punjabis describe as 'Ma Boli' (the mother tongue).
Among various influencing mediums, theatre has been used as a medium for awareness and social change ever since the dawn of civilization. And, deriving inspiration from this fact Dr. Sahib Singh and his troupe have taken the language to distant places.
Dr. Sahib Singh has performed not just in different places in India but abroad as well. He did not just propelled a social message but also propagated Punjabi as a language through theatre art.
Dr. Sahib Singh, theatre artist, says: "Language is as important for human beings just like a mother is to a child. If a child is unable to get his mother's love, he won't have a normal physical and mental growth. It is the same with a language."
"Language is very important. Literature promotes language. However, theatre can help promote language in a superior way, because theatre interacts directly with the people," he adds
It is believed the Punjabi literature is also playing a significant role to retain its originality and zest among the community. Much of the credit goes to Punjabi authors like Mohan Bhandari, who has written over 17 fiction books and attracted a big readership through his writings.
Bhandari feels, besides literature, media has an important role to play to develop the reach of the Punjabi language.
Mohan Bhandari, the Punjabi writer, said: "A lot depends on what outlook Punjabi cinema promotes? What sort of telefilms are produced? This is how media can play its role. Newspapers have their own significance in promoting the languages. In Chandigarh and Jalandhar, several Punjabi newspapers and magazines are being published which I am unable to read." Today, there are a vast number of children being familarised with Punjabi.
Punjabi is taught as a compulsory subject in government-run-schools and institutions, but a call has been given to obligate it in private schools. It is felt that only the young generation can make Punjabi prosper. Neha, one student, said: "There is need to organize regular seminars on Punjabi language so that the Punjabi culture gets an identity in other parts of the world. The youth should together make an initiative to promote their mother tongue and make it accessible worldwide."
Kamaljit, another student, said: "If we learn Punjabi, our next generation will also follow it. Each school, be it private or government, should have a compulsory Punjabi subject. Each child in Punjab should learn Punjabi."
Besides, a huge contribution of famous singers to popularise Punjabi language cannot be forgotten. The music has certainly taken it beyond geographical confines.
With the expansion of the Punjabi music industry in the last few years, the language has become familiar everywhere.
Punjabi language that is today integral to Bhangra music has gained popularity even among those who barely know anything even about Punjab.
Briefly saying the future of Punjabi language depends not just on any one factor but a collective effort made from all. By Sunil Sharma