Punjabi artists to be involved in state's cultural policy

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Chandigarh, Jun 10 (UNI) The Punjab government would involve top artists, writers, critics and connoisseurs of the state in framing its cultural policy.

This was stated by the Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal while honouring the Punjabi singing sensation, Malkiat Singh, the first 'Bhangra' artist to be honoured with the status of a 'Member of the British Empire' (MBE) by Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace last month.

The singer whose chart-busting ''tootak-tootak'' number was the first to catapult Punjabi singing on to the global stage, called on Mr Badal yesterday. Malkiat assured the Chief Minister that he would be available for any programme for promoting Punjabi culture both at home and abroad.

Malkiat went down memory lane as he recalled how he had yearned to be a singer during his childhood and used to dream of being in the company of Mr Badal, ''who had a tall presence in the national polity ever since he spearheaded the movement for democracy in the wake of the Emergency days''.

''I place the affection showered on me by Mr Badal as head of the government in my home state even above the honour bestowed on me by the queen, as the Chief Minister's gesture symbolises the love and affection of the people of my state'', he said.

Malkiat said Mr Badal inspired him to go even higher in the field of art and culture. He also requested the Chief Minister to initiate steps to check the menace of piracy and vulgarity in Punjabi singing.

He said Punjab had a rich cultural heritage which must be preserved at all cost for future generations. ''People all across the globe had been fascinated by the charm and ingenuity of Punjabi culture and we all have an obligation to preserve it in its purest form,'' he said.

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