Injustice to the Punjabi language

Shafqat Tanvir Mirza

Punjabi is perhaps the only language for which Islamabad is out of bounds, for it is not being taught in any of the educational institutes including the federal colleges and universities (except the Allama Iqbal University where it has been unnaturally bifurcated). Even the National University of Modern Languages (NUML) teaches every Pakistani language except Punjabi.

This conclusion has been drawn from the BA/BSc results of the colleges and institutions attached with the University of the Punjab. One comes to know that at least four languages -- Urdu, Persian, English and Arabic -- are being taught in all educational institutes of Islamabad but many Pakistani languages are ignored.
According to the Punjab University results, out of 259 colleges, 180 do not offer Punjabi literature as an elective or optional subject while they offer Urdu, Arabic and Persian as elective and optional subjects. Perhaps the educational philosophers are of the view that our cultural soul is fully represented in these three languages and the rest is just rubbish.
Punjabi is being taught in only 79 colleges associated with the Punjab University. Here one should make a point clear that the colleges in Multan, DG Khan and Bahawalpur are not attached with the PU.
According to the university results, around 35,261 candidates appeared in regular elective Punjabi subject while the total candidates for Urdu were (843), Persian (5,458) and Arabic (9,763) which means that the number of the three later mentioned languages is 16,064 – less than half the total number of the Punjabi candidates. The Punjabi language is being taught only in 79 colleges while the three languages are being taught in more than 150 colleges with full-fledged number of staff.
A greater number of the candidates appear privately. Yes, but let us have a look at the total number of candidates of Punjabi, Urdu, Arabic and Persian, who are categorised as regular students. The position is:
Punjabi 2,488, Urdu 275, Arabic 1,703 and Persian 1,823.
Regular students mean that in as many as 150 colleges the staff for Urdu, Arabic and Persian is on the payroll while only in 79 colleges Punjabi teaching staff is available. One may calculate the expenditure incurring on Urdu, Persian and Arabic and compare it with the expenditure involved in teaching Punjabi. The ratio will be 100:20. Seeing the number of students appearing this year in BA/BSc examination, education wizards with the help of the experts of accounts and finance can easily calculate where the money is being wasted or it is counter-productive.
I have not talked about the money being wasted on teaching of English as a compulsory subject. Is there any need to teach English as a compulsory subject at BA level? I am further astonished to know that none of the teachers of the five literatures has ever considered the analyses of these facts and figures worthwhile.
It was perhaps the primary duty of the teaching staff of Punjabi to assert the importance of their subject and move to eliminate the discriminations. For instance in one city there are only two colleges, one each for girls and boys, but only the former offers Punjabi as an elective subject. Who will stop this injustice to the students, language, literature, culture and history of the land?
For instance, the whole area of Islamabad and around is ruled by two Punjabi Sufi poets -- Mian Muhammad Bakhsh and Mehr Ali Shah of Golara -- but both have been denied entry into the federal capital (proverbially speaking). Yes, there is Mian Muhammad Road and Mehr Ali Shah Agricultural University (in Rawalpindi) but so are Bhittai and Sachal Sarmast roads. Even a Brohi Road in the memory of the late famous lawyer who was considered the right-hand man of Gen Ziaul Haq. The best way for Islamabad rulers is that they should immediately introduce all the provincial languages as elective subject in the federal and non-federal colleges. It will bring more harmony and cultural solidarity.
The case of Punjabi is further strengthened by the results of the 9th class announced by the Lahore Board, which say that though there is no Punjabi teacher in the schools throughout Punjab, the number-wise Punjabi's position is 10th out of 40 subjects (including the five compulsory subjects). Of the total 227,308 candidates, the Punjabi candidates are 70,665 (about 30 per cent).
Almost same is the position of Punjabi at FA/FSc level the results of which have been announced by the Lahore Board (covering only Lahore, Nankana Sahib, Sheikhupura, Kasur and Okara districts). According to the announcement made on Sept 4, the total number of candidates is 141,467 and the number of Punjabi language candidates is 45,970 which is more than 32 per cent of the total candidates appearing in the final examination.

Curtsey:DAWN.COM: — PUBLISHED SEP 08, 2010 




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