It’s sad Punjabis don’t take pride in their language: CM Maryam

Published March 10, 2024
Artistes perform at a Punjab Culture Day event at Alhamra Hall, The Mall. — White Star
Artistes perform at a Punjab Culture Day event at Alhamra Hall, The Mall. — White Star

LAHORE: Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz, in an event at Alhamra on Saturday, dealt with the subject of Punjab language and culture, regretting at the apathetic attitude of the Punjabis towards their language and culture.

“Punjabi is such a sweet language. I feel sorry that people across the world take pride in speaking their language and are fond of it. Sindhis speak their language and take pride in it. People in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa speak Pashto and are proud of it. The Baloch speak their language and take pride in it. But when Punjabis speak their language, they don’t take pride in it, rather they teach their children either Urdu or English. I include myself in it but this is not good.”

She urged the parents to take pride in their Punjabi identity and teach their children Punjabi language besides teaching them English to compete in the world as well as Urdu, the national language.

The CM was addressing the Punjab Culture Day event at the Alhamra Art Centre on the Mall Road on Saturday.

Fearing extinction, she urges parents to speak their language with children; terms Indian Punjabi movies more entertaining than Pakistani films

Referring to the Sikh guests from India who were present in the ceremony, she said she would often see them and their children speaking Punjabi language across the world.

“I want our children to adopt Punjabi language in the same way. If you are away from your language, you are away from your roots and culture.”

Maryam expressed fears that Punjabi might get extinct in Pakistan as the people from Punjab were speaking only Urdu and English with their children.

She urged the parents as well as students of universities and schools to speak Punjabi and went a step ahead by saying that the language should be introduced as a subject in the education system to make the children speak it.

While continuing her praise for Punjabi language, Maryam went on to say that poetry in Punjabi language was sheer pleasure for its richness to encompass all emotions.

The CM said that Punjabi movies produced in India were more entertaining, regretting that present day Punjabi movies produced in Pakistan did not carry the flavour and quality of the classic Punjabi cinema.

Ms Nawaz said she still cherished and remembered the melodic Punjabi oldies by Noor Jehan. Saying that a new era of Punjabi movies should be introduced, she offered all sorts of help to the Punjabi film industry to make quality films. She asked the filmmakers to come to her with their demands.

Addressing the Indian Sikh guests, Maryam Nawaz held their Punjabi movies in high esteem, saying that they also took pride in speaking Punjabi language.

She said she was a `thoroughbred’ Punjabi and sought help of Azma Bokhari, the information and culture minister, to remember and use the Punjabi word ‘Thaith’ for herself.

Referring to good cultural traditions of Punjab, the CM said the culture of abuses for political rivals, especially women, in all political parties was not good.

The CM appreciated all the artistes for their performances in the event. She said Punjab was the land of Sufi saints and the Punjabis had a big heart. She said she had learnt a lot from her opponents and shared with the audience how she used to read Amrita Pritam and Punjabi Sufi poets when she was in jail.

She lauded the Information and Culture Department and culture ministry for holding the Punjab Culture Day.

The Alhamra Art Centre was festooned with decorative material. There were art and craft stalls featuring jewellery, artworks, wood work, metal work, block printing beside food stalls. A visual art exhibition at the Alhamra Art Gallery featured works by the artists of Punjab. The CM visited the stalls as well as the gallery and appreciated the artists and artisans.

There was a line of performances in the hall, including a Sufi dance performance by Versatile Dance Company, Luddi, Gidda and Bhangra. Arif Lohar enthralled the audience with his hit songs like Ik Phul Motiye Da.

Azma Bokhari, in her welcome address, said she was proud of Punjabi culture and that Punjabi culture and artists would grow under the patronage of Maryam Nawaz.

The chief secretary, commissioner and secretary information and culture Daniyal Gillani were also present.

Published in Dawn, March 10th, 2024

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