October 18, 2017 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
Chandigarh: The city of Chandigarh was raised on the land acquired from the farmers of Punjab and this city hosts the campus of the Punjab University, but the native language of the region is being erased from both- the city and the campus. Earlier Punjabi was removed from the public sign boards in Chandigarh and now its removed from sign boards in the Punjab university campus.
As per media reports, students of the Punjabi department at Panjab University, Chandigarh, have started a drive to “save the status of the language” as the administration has not been using it on signboards while English and Hindi are used.
A report in Hindustan Times (HT) quotes Mehtab, a student of the Punjabi department at PU, saying: “Chandigarh was created on land acquired from the farmers of Punjab, but the condition of Punjabi here is very poor. Most students come here from Punjab, most of them speak Punjabi. But still there are efforts of oppressing the regional language.”
The students have submitted a memorandum over this to the vice-chancellor, Arun Kumar Grover, and the deans of university instructions and social welfare. Mehtab said, “Around four years back, too, the same thing had happened, but Punjabi had then got its place back after protests.”
Not Limited to Chandigarh or Punjab University or the sign-boards:
Denying proper status to Punjab language is not limited to the Punjab University or the city of Chandigarh; its happening everywhere in Punjab- from the Centrally owned or controlled sectors to the private sector institutions.
The National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) put Punjabi on 3rd place- after Hindi and English on its new signboards in Punjab.
Recently Punjab and Sindh Bank abrogated Punjabi as its official language and it was replaced with Hindi.
Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh, during his recent visit to Chandigarh, declared that Punjabi could not be retained in Chandigarh, which is a labeled as the Union’s Territory, as it was difficult to learn ‘each and every’ language.
Many ATM machines in Punjab and Chandigarh do not display information in Punjabi language, instead there are many ATM machines in Punjab and Chandigarh which display information in Hindi, English and some other state’s language including Marathi.
Bank forms are available only in English and Hindi, not in Punjabi. Similar is the situation with other sectors and institutions.
The situation in education sector is even worse, where most of the private and even the Government owned modern schools have marginalised the mother tongue Punjabi even in the primary education.
Why this all is happening?
It is a well established fact that the process of pseudo “Nation-Building” takes toll of the native/regional languages, cultures and identities. The Indian State is working on to homogenise the Indian subcontinent under a single entity label of the “Indian Nation” therefore regional/native languages are being marginalised in a planned manner.
Though the situation is worrisome, there are positive signs also. People have been taking notice of efforts to marginalise their language. The social media had highlighted the arrest of a Punjabi lover who had black painted the signboards in Hindi and English in Chandigarh in order to protest against marginalisation of Punjabi language.
Recently, the resident of many villages in Bathinda black painted the NHAI sign boards demanding first place for Punjabi language. Many youth groups have emerged that are not only protesting against the attempts to marginalise the Punjabi language but are also making efforts to preserve and flourish Punjabi language.