Saturday, 27 February 2010

Punjabi-the oldest language of the world?

"People of the Punjab were not mute when the world-known ancient Indian Valley Civilization flourished in the north-west parts of the country. The Panjabis used to speak their own language which is older even than the Dravadian's".This was claimed by the eminent Punjabi litterateur Dr Satinder Singh Noor while delivering his keynote address in the inaugural session of the 2-day national seminar on the New Perspectives of Punjabi Language, Literature and Culture being organised by the Department of Panjabi, Kurukshetra University.

About 30 scholars of Punjabi language and literature are participating in this seminar from Haryana, Punjab and Delhi.

Refuting the ongoing theory that Punjabi was Indo-Aryan language, the Vice Chairman of the Bhartiya Sahitya Academi, Delhi Professor Noor said that the Panjabi was the oldest language of the world which existed in one form or the other before the use of Tamil and even Sanskrit because it existed before the emergence and blooming of the most ancient Indian Valley Civilization in this part of India. He cited examples with the help of many prevalent words using phonetics and morphological terms.

About 2000 words were being studied and scrutinised by scholars of Tamil and Telgu languages and they also agreed to the foregoing conclusions to this effect, he disclosed.

Dr Noor said Panjabi is spoken by the Punjabis who were residing in 160 countries all over the world. The diaspora is spreading this language abroad but intermingling of words with local foreigners has led to coining new words like globalikaran ( globalization) and glocalikaran (localization of globalization) with the change in their thoughts and practice of this language.

Quoting a report of the UNESCO, the Punjabi scholar said Punjabi has over 13 lakh words spoken and written both and therefore it can never die like other languages of the world. Not even hybridity of words can harm it.

The Panjabi scholars residing abroad were earlier creating Punjabi literature in prose and verse, but lately they have started writing in foreign language as it earned them name and fame both, but it is causing harm to the Punjabi literature abroad.

Dr Noor said though Panjabi was spreading all over the world in one way or the other, but its sweetness is relished only where it is being practised in purer tribal form either in agriculture sector or in some parts of Panjab which the modern urbanites term as backwards.

Lt. General (Rtd) Dr Devender Dayal Singh Sandhu , Vice Chancellor of Kurukshetra University said that the use of Punjabi language was increasing with the efforts of the scholars and the state governments. Speaking as the chief guest, Dr Sandhu said Haryana has made the Punjabi as its second language which has opened new vistas for its flourishing in new horizons right from schools to the universities as well as in the government offices.

He assured all financial and other assistance for the promotion of the Panjabi language in future.

Presiding over the inaugural function , the former Vice Chancellor of Kurukshetra University Professor Bhim Singh Dahiya emphasised the need of setting up a department of translation so that the best literature could reach the masses and the intelligentsia of the world. He said Rabinder Nath Tagore got the Noble Prize only when his Bengali lietrature was translated into English and forwarded by a famous poet Yeats. He also advocated setting up city universities to promote original thinking which Indian youth possessed in abundance.

Professr Amarjeet Singh Kaang , Director of the Seminar said there was no threat to the popular Panjabi language from outside but the emerging pollution to our culture by the process of globalization is certainly a cause of worry for all of us to save the purity of the Panjabi language and culture.

We have to search newer ways to protect and promote this language and culture in the changing scenario. He expressed satisfaction that though the Punjabi youths mostly abroad and in Indian metros were possessed by the western culture but some of the young scholars were emerging steeply in the Panjab these days with novel creations in Panjabi culture and literature.

CS Kanwar, Kurukshetra, Punjabi Newsline, Thursday, 25 February 2010,

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