Punjabi Nationalism!

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Punjabi Nationalism

Punjabi nationalism is a point of view that asserts that Punjabis are a nation and promotes
the cultural unity of Punjabis and the diverse ethnic people who inhabit the ethno-linguistic
region of the Punjab. Baba Sheikh Farid is considered as the Father of Punjabi nationalism.
Baba Bulleh Shah (wrote Kafis), Waris Shah (wrote Heer Ranjha) and Bhai Vir Singh (Modern
Punjabi Literature) have immense contribution to Punjabi Boli.

Rise of Punjabi Nationalism
The act of uniting by natural affinity and attraction of the various tribes, castes and the
inhabitants of the Punjab into a broader common "Punjabi" identity with grooming of "Punjabi
nationalism" started from the onset of the 18th century, when the "Sikh Empire with Secular
Punjabi Rule" was established by the Maharaja Ranjit Singh. Prior to that the sense and
perception of a common "Punjabi" ethno cultural identity and community did not exist, even
though the majority of the various communities of the Punjab had long shared linguistic,
cultural and racial commonalities.

Actually, after capturing and conquering the Punjab by the Mahmud Ghaznavi in 1022 after
defeating the Raja Tarnochal pal, from centuries, Punjab was under continuous attack by
the foreign Muslim invaders. Before invasions of Ahmad Shah Abdali, the Mughals were the
invaders of Punjab. Punjabi tribes, castes and the inhabitants of Punjab revolted against
them, but in a personal capacity and without uniting by the natural affinity of Punjabi people.
However, Punjabi Sufi Saints were in a struggle to awaken the consciousness of the people
of Punjab. Guru Nanak condemned the theocracy of Mughal rulers and was arrested for
challenging the acts of barbarity of the Mughal emperor Babar. Shah Hussain approved
Dulla Bhatti’s revolt against Akbar as; Kahay Hussain Faqeer Sain Da - Takht Na Milday

During the late 18th century, due to lacking in unity by the natural affinity of the various
tribes, castes and the inhabitants of the Punjab into a broader common "Punjabi" identity,
after the decline of the Mughal Empire, led the Punjab region into a lack of governance.
In 1747, the Durrani Empire was established by the Ahmad Shah Abdali in Afghanistan,
therefore, Punjab saw frequent invasions by the Ahmad Shah Abdali. The great Punjabi
poet Baba Waris Shah said of the barbaric and brutal situation that; "Khada Peeta Lahy
Da, Baqi Ahmad Shahy Da" ("We Have Nothing With Us Except What We Eat And Wear,
All Other Things Are For Ahmad Shah").

In the result of spiritual grooming and moral character building of Punjabi people by the
Punjabi Saints and Punjabi poets like; Baba Farid - 12th-13th century, Damodar - 15th
century, Guru Nanak Dev -15th - 16th century, Guru Angad - 16th century, Guru Amar
Das - 15th - 16th century, Guru Ram Das - 16th century, Shah Hussain - 16th century,
Guru Arjun Dev - 16th - 17th century, Bhai Gurdas - 16th - 17th century, Sultan Bahu
- 16th-17th century, Guru Tegh Bahadur - 17th century, Guru Gobind Singh - 17th
century, Saleh Muhammad Safoori - 17th century, Bulleh Shah - 17th-18th century,
Waris Shah - 18th century and due to frequent invasions by the foreign invaders, at
last, by the Ahmad Shah Abdali, stimulated the natural affinity of Punjabi people, taught
the lesson to the various tribes, castes and the inhabitants of the Punjab and forced
them to unite into a broader common "Punjabi" identity. Therefore, Punjabi nationalism
started to initiate in the people of the land of five rivers to defend their land, to protect
their wealth, to save their culture and retain their respect by ruling their land and
governing the people of their nation by their own self.

In the late 18th century, during frequent invasions of the Durrani Empire, the Sikh Misls
were in close combat with the Durrani Empire, but they began to gain territory and
eventually the Bhangi Misl captured the Lahore. When Zaman Shah invaded Punjab again
in 1799, Maharaja Ranjit Singh was able to make gains in the chaos. He defeated Zaman
Shah in a battle between Lahore and Amritsar. Lahore was a Muslim Punjabi community
and Hindu Punjabi community majority city, but the citizens of Lahore encouraged by
Sada Kaur offered him the city and Maharaja Ranjit Singh was able to take control of it
in a series of battles with the Bhangi Misl and their allies.

Beside the fact that, in 1800 century, religious ratio of Punjabi people in Punjab was
48% Muslim Punjabis, 43% Hindu Punjabis, 8% Sikh Punjabis and 1% others, but due
to attraction of the various tribes, castes and the inhabitants of the Punjab into a
broader common "Punjabi" identity and uniting by natural affinity of "Punjabi
Nationalism", Punjab was a secular regime, Punjabi was a secular nation and after
throwing out the Muslim Mughal invaders of Punjab from Delhi, India and Muslim
Afghan invaders of Punjab from Kabul, Afghanistan, a Sikh Punjabi, Maharaja Ranjit
Singh was the ruler of Punjab, which provided the boost to the already initiated Punjabi

Fall of Punjabi Nationalism
Maharaja Ranjit Singh made Lahore his capital and expanded the Kingdom of Punjab to
the Khyber Pass and also included Jammu and Kashmir in it. He was also successful in
keeping the British from expanding across the River Sutlej for more than 40 years. After
his death in 1839 the internecine fighting between the Sikhs and several rapid forfeitures
of territory by his sons, along with the intrigues of the Dogras and two Anglo-Sikh wars,
eventually led to British control of the Lahore Darbar in 1849.

As, after Bengali nation and Hindi-Urdu Speaking UP, CP people of Gunga Jumna culture,
Punjabi was the third biggest nation in South Asia and for the British, Punjab was a
frontier province of British India because, Punjab had boundaries with Afghanistan,
Russia, and China. Therefore, to rule the South Asia, the prime factor for the British
rulers was to control the Punjab by dominating or eliminating the Punjabi nation.

British rulers were well aware of the fact that, they succeeded to capture the Punjab
but they has not concurred the Punjabi nation. Therefore, British rulers imposed martial
law in Punjab to govern Punjab and due to a fear from Punjabi nationalism; British
rulers started to eliminate the Punjabi nation into fractions by switching over the
characteristics of Muslim Punjabi, Hindu Punjabi, and Sikh Punjabi from “ Affinity of
Nation to Emotions of Religion”.

For demolishing the nationalism and promoting the religious fundamentalism in the
Punjab, British rulers, not allowed the Punjabis to use their mother tongue as an
educational and official language. Therefore, the British rulers first introduced the
Urdu as an official language in Punjab and they brought the Urdu-speaking Muslim
Mullahs and Hindi-speaking Hindu Pundits from UP, CP to Punjab for the purpose
of educational teaching of Punjabi people along with, UP, CP bureaucracy, and
establishment for the purpose of Punjab administration.

It resulted in the supremacy of UP-ites and UP-ite mindsets in policy making and
decision taking in national affairs and foreign relationship of Punjabi nation,
managed, motivated and sponsored by the British rulers to eliminate the Muslim,
Sikh, Hindu and Christian Punjabi’s into different religions and languages to secure
their rule over last captured land and martial race of the subcontinent.

As a result, the Punjabi nation became a socially and politically depressed and
deprived nation due to the domination of Urdu-Hindi language, the hegemony of
Gunga Jumna culture and the supremacy of UP-ite traditions.

However, beside all the efforts of British rulers to demolish and eliminate the
Punjabi nation, due to struggle of Punjabi nationalists during British rule in India,
beside the dissimilarity of religion, because of natural affinity on ground of similar
language, culture and tradition, Muslim Punjabi, Hindu Punjabi, Sikh Punjabi and
Christian Punjabi were still a nation. Religion was a personal subject for building
the moral character and spiritual development for the life of the hereafter.
Punjabi nationalism was a subject for the worldly life affairs. Whereas, clans
moreover, communities were the institutions for social interaction and charity
work. Punjab was a secular region, the Punjabi language was a respectable
language, Punjabi culture was an honorable culture and the Punjabi nation was
a wealthy nation in the British India.

In the 19th century, due to politics of congress, dominated by the Hindi speaking,
UP-ite Hindu leaders of UP, CP, Hindu Punjabi's started to prefer the Hindi
language instead of Punjabi by declaring the Hindi as a language of Hindus and
started to become clones of Gunga Jumna culture and traditions with the loss of
their own Punjabi identity. Later on, Muslim Punjabi’s did the same and started to
become the clones of Gunga Jumna culture and traditions with the loss of their
own Punjabi identity, because of preferring the Urdu language upon Punjabi by
declaring the Urdu as a language of Muslims, due to the influence of the Muslim
League, dominated by the Urdu speaking, UP-ite Muslim leaders of UP, CP and
presence of UP-ite Muslims in Punjab.

As a consequence of preferring Hindi language by Hindu Punjabi’s by declaring
the Hindi as a language of Hindus and preferring the Urdu language by the
Muslim Punjabi’s by declaring the Urdu as a language of Muslims, the characteristics
of assimilation to accomplish the sociological instinct started to switch over from
“ Affinity of Nation to Emotions of Religion” and “A Great Nation of Sub-Continent
Got Divided on Ground of Religion with Partition of Punjab and Got Emerged into
Muslim and Hindu States, Pakistan and India”.

Hence, it started the fall of Punjabi nation and Punjabi people started to receive
the reward of hate and regret from every honorable nation, in addition, the
humiliation, loathing, and abuse from Hindi-Urdu speaking persons too.

This was the punishment of Punjabi's for not respecting their motherland,
language, culture, and traditions, due to avoiding, ignoring and rejecting the
act of unity by natural affinity and attraction of the various tribes, castes and
the inhabitants of the Punjab into a broader common "Punjabi" identity.

Therefore, since the partition of British India, socially and politically, the Punjabi
nation is a confused, depressed and deprived nation due to "Dilemma of Division
of Punjab and Punjabi Nation", "Trauma of Massacre of 2 Million Punjabis" and
" Shock of World Largest Mass Migration". Therefore, Punjabi's are hanging to
relocate their ideology that; The dominant factor of their identity should be their
nation? The dominant factor of their identity should be their religion? The
dominant factor of their identity should be their state?

Revival of Punjabi Nationalism
At present, the Punjabi nation is composed of 56% Muslim Punjabi community
of Punjabi nation, 26% Hindu Punjabi community of Punjabi nation, 14% Sikh
Punjabi community of Punjabi nation, 4% Christian Punjabi community of Punjabi

After the division of British India with the creation of Pakistan, the Muslim Punjabi
community of Punjabi nation and Christian Punjabi community of Punjabi nation
opted Pakistan as their state, whereas, the Hindu Punjabi community of Punjabi
nation and Sikh Punjabi community of Punjabi nation opted India as their state.

Pakistani Muslim Punjabis are the majority population of Pakistan and they have
total control on the agricultural sector, trade sector, industrial sector, educational
institutions, skilled professions, media organizations, political organizations, civil
bureaucracy, the military establishment and foreign affair institutions of Pakistan.
However, since the creation of Pakistan, Pakistani Muslim Punjabis have felt
uncomfortable and upset due to the insulting attitude and behavior with Pakistani
Muslim Punjabis regarding social respect and regard of Punjabi people by the
non-Punjabi Muslims, victimization with the Punjabis in Sind, Karachi, Baluchistan
and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, hurdles in socioeconomic stability of the Pakistani
Muslim Punjabi community in Pakistan, conspiracies in the prosperity and integrity
of Punjab by the non-Punjabi Muslims of Pakistan.

Many times, Punjabi nationalists tried to gather and unite the Pakistani Muslim
Punjabis for the struggle to achieve the goal of social respect and regard of
Punjabi people, for fair treatment with the Pakistani Muslim Punjabis in Sind,
Karachi, Baluchistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, to remove the obstacles in
socioeconomic stability of Pakistani Muslim Punjabis, to counter the conspiracies
in prosperity and integrity of Punjab. However, the effort of uniting Pakistani
Muslim Punjabis without stimulating awareness of their Punjabi identity in Punjabi
masses and without providing them the consciousness of their Punjabi ideology,
the effort of Punjabi nationalists always remained frail, fruitless and useless.

However, now it seems that Punjabi nationalists are succeeded in stimulating
awareness of Punjabi identity in Pakistani Muslim Punjabi masses, therefore,
now Punjabi nationalists are in the struggle to promote Punjabi language,
culture, and traditions, along with, demand from Government of Punjab to
implement Punjabi as an educational and official language of Punjab. But,
it is an initial stage.

Punjabi nationalists are required to move forward and relocate the ideology
of Punjabi nation too. Because, ideology is an orientation that characterizes
the thinking of a group or nation and due to becoming clones of Urdu speaking,
Gunga Jumna culture, people of UP, CP, Pakistani Muslim Punjabis had lost
their characteristic of thinking as a Punjabi and they became addicted to acting
as a Pakistani Muslim only by ignoring or withdrawing from their natural Punjabi

As the nation, religion, and state are realities, because their functions, intentions,
principles, purposes, reasons, rules, and utilities are different, therefore, now
Punjabi nationalists are required to provide the consciousness of Punjabi ideology
too, to the Pakistani Muslim Punjabi masses, that;

1. They are inhabitants of the historic land of five rivers called as Punjab, their
language is Punjabi, their culture is Punjabi and they attain the Punjabi traditions,
therefore, without discrimination of race, color, creed or religion, they are Punjabi
and they are the part of Punjabi nation. That's why, as a Punjabi and being the
largest population in the 9th biggest nation and Punjabi speaking population of
the world and the 3rd biggest nation of South Asia, they are supposed to build
up the respectable social, economic and political interaction with other religious
communities of the Punjabi Nation, as well as, political stability, economic growth
and social respect of their nation in the worldly life affairs.

2. They follow the teachings of Islam, therefore, without discrimination of race,
color, creed or nation, they are Muslim and they are the part of Muslim Ummah.
That's why, as a Muslim Punjabi and being the 3rd largest ethnic community in
the Muslim Ummah, they are supposed to practice Islam for their moral character
building and the spiritual development of the life of the hereafter, moreover,
respectable social, economic and political interaction with other ethnic communities
of the Muslim Ummah.

3. They are the citizens of Pakistan, therefore, without discrimination of race,
color, creed or nation, they are Pakistani and they are the part of the Pakistani
State (A state composed of the area of Indus Valley Civilization). That's why, as
a Pakistani Muslim Punjabi and being the largest ethnic population in Pakistan,
they are supposed to take part in the political stability, economic growth and
social respect of their state Pakistan, furthermore, respectable social, economic
and political interaction with other ethnic communities of Pakistan.

After division of British India with creation of Pakistan, the Christian Punjabi
community of Punjabi nation also opted the Pakistan as their state, therefore,
revival of Punjabi nationalism in the biggest religious community in Punjabi nation,
i.e; Muslim Punjabi community of Punjabi nation will directly benefit the Christian
Punjabi community of Punjabi nation due to creation of atmosphere and
circumstances to accelerate the respectable social, economic and political interaction
of Punjabi Muslims with the Punjabi Christians because, both the communities are
part of same nation. For the purpose, Pakistani Christian Punjabis are required to
determine that;

1. They are inhabitants of the historic land of five rivers called as Punjab, their
language is Punjabi, their culture is Punjabi and they attain the Punjabi traditions,
therefore, without discrimination of race, color, creed or religion, they are Punjabi
and they are the part of Punjabi nation. That's why, as a Punjabi and being the
largest population in the 9th biggest nation and Punjabi speaking population of
the world and the 3rd biggest nation of South Asia, they are supposed to build
up the respectable social, economic and political interaction with other religious
communities of the Punjabi Nation, as well as, political stability, economic growth
and social respect of their nation in the worldly life affairs.

2. They follow the teachings of Lord Jesus Christ, therefore, without discrimination
of race, color, creed or nation, they are Christian and they are the part of Christian
Ummah. That's why, as a Christian Punjabi, they are supposed to practice
Christianity for their moral character building and the spiritual development of the
life of the hereafter, moreover, respectable social, economic and political interaction
with other ethnic communities of the Christian Ummah.

3. They are the citizens of Pakistan, therefore, without discrimination of race, color,
creed or nation, they are Pakistani and they are the part of the Pakistani State (A
state composed of the area of Indus Valley Civilization). That's why, as a Pakistani
Christian Punjabi and being the largest ethnic population in Pakistan, they are
supposed to take part in the political stability, economic growth and social respect
of their state Pakistan, furthermore, respectable social, economic and political
interaction with other ethnic communities of Pakistan.

The Pakistani Muslim Punjabi community of Punjabi nation and Christian Punjabi
community of Punjabi nation are the 60% population of Pakistan and Punjabis has
total control on the agricultural sector, trade sector, industrial sector, educational
institutions, skilled professions, media organizations, political organizations, civil
bureaucracy, military establishment and foreign affair institutions of Pakistan. But,
due to only 2% population of India, the Hindu Punjabi community of Punjabi nation
and Sikh Punjabi community of Punjabi nation is not in a position to dominate the
state of India. However, to participate in the revival of Punjabi nationalism, Indian
Hindu Punjabi community of Punjabi nation and Indian Sikh Punjabi community of
Punjabi nation is also required to determine their role; 1. As a Punjabi 2. As a
Hindu/Sikh Punjabi. 3. As an Indian Hindu/Sikh Punjabi.

Punjabi nationalists movements
In 1947 after Partition of Punjab into Indian Punjab state and Pakistani Punjab
province there were some several movements for protection of Punjabiyat in both

Punjabi nationalism in East Punjab
Punjabi Suba movement was aimed at creation of a Punjabi-majority subah
("province") in the Punjab region of India in the 1950s.This movement resulted in
Punjabi-majority state in India on 1967. There are still cold movements to end
discrimination to Punjabi language implement it in Punjabi majority areas like
Chandigarh, Haryana, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmirand many
institutes like schools-colleges in Punjab state itself where Punjabi language is
ignored. Punjabi language dialects like Bauria, Bazigari, Bhand, Dhaha, Gojri,
Lahanda, Lubana, Odi, Rai Sikhi and Sansi are also becoming extinct in Punjab,
India.There is Hindi imposition since 1950s and 1960s in state against Punjabi
language. Despite a rich heritage of Punjabi literature, Punjabi Television serial
industry in Indian Punjab has totally disappeared. In 2008 by a landmark decision,
the Punjab government and Punjab Legislative Assemblylegislated the Punjab
Languages (Amendment) Act, 2008 to make the study of Punjabi compulsory up to
class tenth in Government and private schools applying equally to the schools
affiliated to the Punjab School Education Board (PSEB), Central Board of Secondary
Education (CBSE) and Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE) throughout
Punjab and all the official work in the government offices and semi-government
institutions would be carried on in Punjabi. All official correspondence and the official
work in all Colleges and Universities in the state would also be carried in the Punjab

Punjabi nationalism in West Punjab
In Pakistani Punjab province, Punjabi Language Movement is a linguistic movement in
aimed at reviving the Punjabi language, art, culture and literature in Pakistan. There
are several attempts going on by Punjabi society for implementation of Punjabi
language as it is completely ignored by authorities in Punjab province. Urdu is
preferred medium of education in local schools-colleges as well as Government
paperwork which is very threatening for survival of Punjabi language in Punjab,
Pakistan. But Urdu is the mother tongue of only about 7.57% Pakistanis. In
September 2015, a case was filed in Supreme Court of Pakistan against Government of
Punjab, Pakistan as it did not take any step to implement Punjabi language in the
province.[34] Punjabi lovers also say that creation of Bangladesh out of Pakistan
proves that love of Mother-tongue is more important than religion.Pakistani Punjabi
language film industry is in crisis as filmmakers were not producing Punjabi language
films like before 1975 Punjabi films ruled in film industry of Pakistan. Television
Channels from Lahore (Punjab's capital city) are all in Urdu instead of Punjabi.There
is still 150-year-old unofficial ban on education in Punjabi language in Punjab, Pakistan
and Government is ignorant about it thus compelling Punjabi people to protest. In
August 2015, Pakistan Academy of Letters, International Writer’s Council (IWC) and
World Punjabi Congress (WPC) organised Khawaja Farid conference and demanded
Punjabi University should be established in Lahore and Punjabi language should be
declared as the medium of instruction at the primary level. In Lahore, every year
thousands of punjabis gather on International Mother Language Day seeking an end
to the 150-year-old ban on education in Punjabi in Pakistan and against Urdu-isation
of Punjab.In September 2015 at Government Emerson College, Multan thousands of
aspirants seeking admission protested against the administration for forcing them not
to adopt Punjabi and Saraiki dialect as compulsory or optional subjects as usually
majority of students prefer Punjabi and Saraiki dialect balancing their marks sheet
in BA (third year).

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The Punjabi vote-who wins that takes all but who will do
so this time?

By Saad Ahmed Dogar

The politics of the dominant unit determines, more often than not, the outcomes of the elections. For the
federation in Pakistan, that unit is Punjab. PHOTO: APP

With a short time left in Pakistan’s general elections 2018, many of us have already
started making guesses about their outcome. While predictions about the elections
cannot always be accurate, one can reasonably try to evaluate some of the factors
which will help in determining the results of the entire event.

While evaluating the electoral system of a country which is a federation, it is important
to look at the dominant province or unit within it. The politics of the dominant unit
determines, more often than not, the outcomes of the elections. For the federation in
Pakistan, that unit is Punjab.

One does not have to be good at math to figure out that forming a government in
Pakistan is a simple ‘numbers’ game. Exactly 183 of the 342 seats in the National
Assembly are from Punjab, making the province the main battleground for all major
political parties. But what factors might guide the Punjabi vote?

Political matchmaking in Punjab
Of course, Punjab is a diverse region and divided along multiple social, ethnic and
regional layers. For instance, the economy of southern Punjab depends largely on
agriculture, while northern Punjab has its economy based on small to medium
industries and the retail sector. Since the country’s neglected agriculture sector
witnessed a negative growth of 0.19 per cent in the financial year 2015-2016,
expect southern Punjab voters to look at the opposition parties that may pretend
to be pro-farmers and address the grievances of farmers during election campaigns.

Northern Punjab has experienced sufficient development during the Pakistan Muslim
League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) tenure, which has led to growth in industrial and services
sectors by 6.4 per cent and 11.13 per cent respectively in the FY 2015-2016. A
positive impact of this development, coupled with the fact that it is considered to be
a traditional stronghold of PML-N, will make it hard for the opposition parties to
challenge its cemented position in the region. But economy and development are
not the only predictors of how the electorate might vote. It certainly is a guide to
where the resentment in voters lies.

Traditional factors such as caste and the system of kinship will continue to play a
dominant role during the next year’s elections. This will be a tug of war for the so-
called ‘electables’. Even during the 2013 elections, we saw the PML-N and the
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) distributing tickets after considering the strength
of the candidate’s caste in addition to their influence. Expect the same shenanigans
to continue prior to the elections 2018.

The load-shedding card
If economy and development are not the focus of a majority of the electorates,
then the never-ending issue of load-shedding certainly is. Regardless of the promises
made to rectify the issue of power shortages within six months or so, the problem
still seems to be lingering on in the country.

Most areas continue to face chronic power shortages in the form of load-shedding
— eight hours daily in cities and urban centres. Some rural areas are facing 14 to
16 hours of load-shedding. According to a study conducted by Dr Hafiz Pasha in
2012, Punjab – the most populous province in Pakistan – faces 1,683 hours of
load-shedding annually.

The situation becomes even more troubling once the economic cost of load-shedding
is considered. Pakistan’s economy suffered Rs14 billion (seven per cent of the GDP)
in 2015 as load-shedding cost, according to another research conducted by the
Consortium for Development Policy Research. Moreover, some 500,000 households
are impacted by unemployment as businesses have been forced to shut down because
of the ongoing energy crisis in the country.

A shortfall of 4,500 MW keeps fluctuating, depending on the temperature and the
production level of the independent power producers. The PML-N government in the
centre announced that it would be able to add over 5,000MW electricity in the system
by 2018 which would help in reducing load-shedding. If the government is unable to
drastically cut down on load-shedding then we can expect the issue to hit the PML-N
and the frustration will most likely get translated into a reduction in the party’s vote share.

The effect of Panama
The Panama Papers Leaks case already has taken the issue of high-level corruption in
Pakistan to an unprecedented level. Allegations of corruption have been thrown around
in the country for as long as there had been political parties, however, this is the first
time that the battle is not limited to the rhetoric but has become a legal fight.

A joint investigation team (JIT) members – tasked with investigating the Sharif family’s
offshore properties – are still investigating the high-profile case. Albeit under immense
pressure from the government, the JIT is unlikely to reach an outcome that will be
completely in the PML-N’s favour, considering that the money trail which could not be
provided before the Supreme Court is unlikely to magically appear before the investigation
body either.

Apart from the case results, it will be more interesting to note how it will affect the
decision of the electorates?

The Panama Papers Leaks case certainly would not be the only deciding factor since the
rural politics of Pakistan is based on a system of kinship and patronage rather than be
concerned with an outcome of a single case in the top court. However, the case has had
some effect, according to a Gallup survey; PTI witnessed a surge in its popularity by
three per cent while PML-N saw a decline by two per cent. If the JIT report comes against
the PML-N, we can expect a further decline in the latter’s popularity.

Money and politics
While load-shedding, Panama Papers Leaks case and the politics of Punjab are variables
only in the local politics, there are certain other constants which will assist us to predict
election results with some accuracy.

For instance, money is a very constant predictor of electability in the most modern
democracies. During the United States mid-term elections, 94 per cent of the biggest
spenders won the house elections. The situation in Pakistan is also not any different.
According to political commentators, around Rs30 to 40 million are spent in a single
constituency of a member of the National Assembly. Thus, to be a serious candidate in
Pakistan’s elections also, the richer you are the better your chances are of getting elected.

Of course, the Election Commission of Pakistan imposes a limit on the amount spent by
parties in their elections campaign under Section-49(2) of the Representation of Peoples
Act to only Rs1.5 million for NA candidates and Rs1 million for Provincial Assembly
candidates. However, these restrictions are meaningless as the candidates find a way to
bypass these rules by not using the account for their campaign funding and mostly
spending in cash.
Saad Ahmed Dogar is a lawyer based in Lahore.

Thesis show:’Punjabi is only looked down in

By Amel Ghani/Photo Ayesha Mir

Select work on display at the exhibition. PHOTO: AYESHA MIR/EXPRESS

The work of 41 visual and communication design students from the National College of
Arts (NCA) is being showcased at the department’s thesis show.

“One feels a disconnect when visiting historical sites,” student Mariam Jaija told The Express
Tribune. Jaija, whos thesis was a publicity campaign for the Lahore Fort, said most visitors
failed to connect with the fact that royalty used to once dwell there. “For instance, it is
difficult for one walking on the elephant trail to visualise that this path was once actually
treaded upon by elephants,” she said.
Jaija used this information extensively in her posters, saying this would make it easier for
visitors to connect with the site. The other motifs employed by her were inspired by the
fort’s picture wall. Jaija has used the same colour palette and symbols to create a visual

Student Abdul Basit’s thesis was premised on promoting Punjabi. “A cosmopolitan place
like the NCA made me conscious of my Punjabi heritage,” he said. Basit said this was so
as he had realised that while everyone else knew their mother tongues he was always at
a loss when it came to Punjabi language and literature.

His work was inspired by the truck art and textile peculiar to the Punjab. Basit’s posters
were premised on the idea of an event being convened to celebrate Punjabi. Other material,
including a booklet, contained information regarding the history of the language. “Speaking
Punjabi is only looked down on in Pakistan. It is widely spoken across other places,” he said.

Basit’s thesis also shed light on legends like Bulleh Shah and Baba Farid. “Farid has a
formidable body of work in Persian but it is Punjabi that has rendered him immortal,”
he said.

Another student Talha Sajjad also derived inspiration from his Punjabi heritage. Sajjad, who
has presented Waris Shah’s Heer, with a contemporary twist, used an English translation of
the work with modern illustrations. He said he had elected to work with Heer as the tale
had remained in vogue for 700 years. Shah’s narration of the story became popular around
four centuries ago,” Sajjad said.

Student Ahmed Tariq’s work was based on his own hearing disability.

He said the physically disadvantaged often had to confront great hardship in the society.
“People should put in place a support structure for them instead of marginalising them,”
Tariq said. He said it was differences, such as disabilities, that added colour to the society.
Tariq portrayed this by affixing coloured strips of paper to a white background. Another
piece of his was a layered box that featured a sentence broken into parts. “It depicts the
difficulty of speaking. How words start falling apart when one starts talking,” he said.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 13th, 2016.

Stories about Punjabi


Why have we forgotten the long lost glory of the
Punjabi language?

By Azam Gill

The thorny issue of “Pakistan’s regional languages face looming extinction” has
been projected to the forefront in an AFP report carried, among others, by The
Express Tribune and Dawn.

‘“There is not a single newspaper or magazine published in Punjabi for the 60 million-plus
Punjabi speakers,” wrote journalist Abbas Zaidi in an essay, despite it being the language
of the nationally revered Sufi poet Bulleh Shah and the native-tongue of Prime Minister
Nawaz Sharif.’
The historical relegation of the Punjabi language comes from the cloud overshadowing
the Punjabi stance in the 1857 War of Independence, paving the way for Urdu’s
ascendance. The Punjabis meekly ceded the high ground moving house to a lower cultural
altitude. Urdu–indexed Punjabi is considered more refined, especially when it is adequately
sprinkled with brain -twisting Urdu plurals.
If Punjabi is doing better in India, the credit goes to Sikhs. It also flourishes through Europe
to North America, thanks to the Punjabi–specific Sikh liturgy and the Guru Granth Sahib
Jee’s Sant Bhasha language being mainly Punjabi. Indeed, it is recognised as the third
mostcommon language in Canada. Yet, hearsay has reduced Punjabi to a crude, expletive-
rich derivative of Hindi and/or Urdu and the Punjabi people as collaborators in the 1857
revolt against the British Raj. As such, defining Punjab and a Punjabi are prerequisites to
setting the record straight.
So first the language, and then the 1857 blister on the reputation of Punjabis. On the eve
of the 1947 partition of India, Punjab encompassed present-day southeastern Pakistan plus
now gerrymandered Himachal, Haryana and Punjab of contemporary India. The inhabitants
of this area are Punjabis by jus soli, or birthright.
Punjabi is a tonal Indo-Aryan language of the Indo-European group, written in the Gurmukhi,
Shahmukhi and Devanagri scripts. The choice of script is usually determined by the user’s
belief system.
It is the first language of almost half the population of Pakistan, and can be traced to medieval
India’s Sauraseni, descended from Sanskirit and Prakrit. Its flourishing literary tradition dates
from the writings of Baba Farid and Guru Nanak Dev Jee. And Punjabi is certainly not deformed
Hindi or Urdu spoken by peasants getting high on black carrot kaanjee.
In the 16th and 17th centuries, the meta-language emerging from the polyglot Mughal army
eventually synthesised as Urdu, a camp language. Its rise as the dominant language of north
Indian Muslim culture was proportionate to the decline of Mughal power. The cultural
sophistication of the 19th century, Urdu culture has been amply acknowledged by William
Dalrymple in The Last Mughal.
Subsequently, the choice of Urdu as a national language completed the Muslims’ demand for
Pakistan. Mr Jinnah, a consummate lawyer, prepared a very strong case. A nation means “a
large body of people united by common descent, history, culture, or language, inhabiting a
particular state or territory.” Urdu was inserted as the second last component.
So Urdu, the default choice for a national language, was effectively transplanted from Uttar
Pradesh to unite Balochis, Bengalis, Pakhtuns, Punjabis and Sindhis, discounting the living
case–study of Switzerland’s unity overcoming its four coexisting languages.
Now to the Punjabi role in the 1857 War of Independence, resistance to foreign incursion
started long before 1857. The Punjabis tackled Alexander the Macedonian’s invasion attempt
in two ways. Raja Ambhi capitulated and saved Taxila University, one of the world’s greatest
academic institutions that left Alexander’s soldier’s awestruck.
Around two thousand years later, Maréchal Pétain, too, saved Paris from Nazi depredations
by establishing the Vichy government. Porus resisted Alexander valiantly though, unallied,
he lost. Like him, but unlike Pétain, De Gaulle also fought the Germans, though he only won
with allied help. Centuries later, Maharajah Ranjit Singh kept the British at bay whereas
rulers east of the Sutlej had started becoming their willing pawns.
So much for precedent. Events closer to 1857, clarify the Punjabi attitude towards The War
of Independence. In 1758, Maratha General Raghunath Rao invaded Punjab, conquered
Lahore and Attock and for three months let his troops violate Lahore.
By 1857, the memory of this outrage was only in its third generation of granddad stories,
stoking bitterness. Then came the perfidy during the Anglo–Sikh Wars of 1845 – 1849 when
two-thirds of the regiments fighting Punjabis were composed of Avadhi warriors. In the
Battle of Gujrat on February 21, 1849, warriors remained loyal to their British masters to
snuff out the Punjabis. The stalwart Avadhi lathaas fought well and were lucratively
rewarded, inspiring Punjabis in their turn to flock to the British colours even before the
Annexation of the Punjab.
So, by 1857, this Anglo–Punjabi relationship was stronger than the parochialism, repulsion
or blandness of the revolt’s eastern leaders. The Maulvi of Faizabad only attracted his jihadi
co-religionists. Nana Sahib evoked memories of the Maratha invasion of the Punjab. Rani
Lakshmibai of Jhansi and Rai Ahmed Nawaz Khan Kharal of Sandal Bar raised single, local
and clan issues. Bahadur Shah Zafar the titular King of Delhi, was only a fine poet, not a
political or military leader.
No military rebel of the British Army was above the rank of Subedar/Jemadar. They had no
training or experience as such. They were unable to manoeuvre large bodies of infantry
and cavalry.
William Dalrymple, in The Last Mughal, on pp 170–71 informs us that at the beginning of
the revolt, after tethering their mounts in the royal private garden, rebellious Sipahis
(soldiers) had sacrilegiously burst through the Red Curtain into the Diwan-e-Khas (hall
of private audiences) with their shoes on and pressured the king to bless their venture.
Towards the end of the uprising they were addressing him as ‘Aré badshah/Aré Budha’
— pp 212-13.
In view of Raja Porus and Maharajah Ranjit Singh’s valor, Maratha aggression, Avadhi
collaboration, absent leadership and single issue agenda, in 1857 Punjabi warriors opted
for the 1845-49 Avadhi precedent. At the time of independence, Punjabi soldiers had
received rewards of hundreds of thousands of acres of prime farmland opened up by the
canal irrigation network.
The resulting change in social mobility also affected the power structure in Punjab and
beyond. The other provinces gritted their teeth, hissed and spat venom about Punjab
and Punjabis.
Yet, if truth be told, even Punjabis are not perfect. The fratricidal slaughter of 1947 is a
dark shadow of self-righteousness in sword-lock, but life has to go on. As Khalil Gibran
says in ‘The Visit of Wisdom’:
“… Advance and do not fear the thorns in the path, for they draw only corrupt blood.”

Curtsey:The Express Tribune: Published: January 12, 2017

Punjab Notes:Cenus:rejection of Punjabi as
mother tongue

Mushtaq Soofi
How state employees insist that Urdu is mother language of Punjabis and how well-to-do
Punjabis themselves hate their language is devastatingly illustrated by a text message
received from a dear friend who retired as a federal secretary.

He is a brilliant fiction writer, analyst, academic and above all an upright and thinking
individual, a dying breed in Punjab. A part of message is worth quoting: “—had to argue
with him [member of census team] on mother tongue. He ticked; you are Urdu [speaking].
On my asking he said I was the first person insisting on Punjabi-- I corrected mine and
wife’s column but failed when it came to sons who insisted on Urdu — I had to — explain
to him [the] implications [of such an exercise] at later stage. His reply was [that] during
the past four weeks I was the first inhabitant of Defence [who] insisted on mother tongue.
The whole Defence Housing Authority [is] Urdu speaking except servants”. This small episode,
insignificant for middle and upper class Punjabis, is a telling comment because it encapsulates
the essential nature of the cultural crisis we have been living with since 1849 when the
avaricious East India Company invaded and occupied sovereign Punjab with their Purbia
[men from the East i.e. UP wallahs, Gorkhas etc] troops. In the aftermath of annexation,
colonial masters opened schools in which Urdu was imposed, partly due to the influence
of their Urdu speaking clerical staff. Driving force though was political. How Urdu was looked
upon, let us hear it from J. Wilson, the deputy commissioner of district Shahpur [now part of
Sargodha]: “—it [system of primary education] fails to attract more than a small proportion
of the boys we wish to educate, and especially of those belonging to the agricultural classes,
in which I include not only landowners and tenants, but also artisans and village menials---it
(instruction) is conducted for the most part in a language foreign to the people. To the
ordinary Punjabi village boy Urdu is almost as foreign as French would be to an English rustic.
The Punjabi boy is not taught to read the language he speaks, but a language many of the
words in which he does not understand until they are translated for him into his own Punjabi.”

A sea change in lingo-cultural landscape just in about 150 years! Now what we see is quite
opposite of what Wilson witnessed: Punjabi as an alien language, a fallout of a social process
triggered by colonial and post-colonial state. Punjabi boys [girls more so] treat the language
of their forefathers as a language that seems to them not only a linguistic oddity from a
cultural dead zone but also a reflection of low status of its speakers. Fault is not theirs. It lies
somewhere else, thinly hidden in the entrails of colonial perception of Punjabi identity which
has been internalised by dominant indigenous classes. The conundrum has been exacerbated
by ideological fallacies the state, dominated by Punjabis and Urdu speaking Muhajirs from
Uttar Pradesh [India], propagated in the name of monolithic national unity which flies in the
face of historical reality of diverse entities that constitute the federation of Pakistan.The
fraught issue of language is usually presented by the movers and shakers as if Urdu is a
natural language of Balochistan, Sindh, Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and the existence
of Balochi, Brahvi, Sindhi, Punjabi, Pashto and a host of other dialects is some sort of
aberration. The malaise especially affects Punjabi middle and upper crusts which have
been brain-washed to the extent that they have internalised the notion of their identity
manufactured by colonial apparatus for its ulterior motives that made the acceptance of
exploitation of the people of Punjab unquestionable. Even in the mid-19th century when
teaching of Urdu was made compulsory in schools, the assumption that people needed it
was openly questioned by enlightened scholars and educationists including the great linguist
Dr.Leitner, Principal of Government College, Lahore, who wrote: “they [British colonialists]
found it more convenient to carry on official business in English and Urdu with their existing
skills. They shared the prejudice of Hindustanis”. Colonial bias coupled with the “prejudice
of Hindustanis” proved a lethal combination largely responsible for the cultural destruction
of Punjab resulting in the loss of its soul. Punjab became even more soulless when in the
independence movement in twentieth century, Punjabi Hindus and Punjabi Muslims, driven
by their communal motives, lied about their language without an iota of shame in the census
conducted by colonial administration. It was in fact the lie of the century as the former
declared Hindi their mother language and the latter ticked Urdu as their mother tongue
knowing fully well that it was a blatantly false statement. It was the Sikh community that
proudly owned Punjabi.

One has a strong sense of déjà vu. It’s census again. This time it’s state that insists that
Punjabis should declare Urdu as their mother language. Upper classes of Punjab, alienated
and rootless, are bending over backward to oblige. They in their blissful ignorance continue
to commit cultural vandalism for which they will be made to pay at some point in not a
distant future. Language is the most vital constituent of people’s identity. If you take away
from the people their language, they lose their sense of identity. Losing identity means loss
of the past and what it produced. There is no point in appealing to the state and its minions
not to be a party to the elimination of the language of the majority of Pakistanis because
instead of celebrating the rich linguistic diversity of the country, they take it as a threat to
their ill-conceived notion of mono-lingual national unity. But such a patently stupid practice
will have serious implications for Punjab as well as for other federating units.

Some “Bhai” from Karachi can now claim that high-end areas of Punjab that declared Urdu
as their mother language are his constituency. As to the Punjabi, one is sure that as long
as there are “servants” in the posh residential localities, Punjabi will not perish. As long as
the rich cannot dispense with the poor -- which is not going to happen in foreseeable future
-- the poor will continue to keep their language alive. The poor are the only hope of the
Punjab’s language and culture. It will be “easier for a camel to pass through the eye of the
needle than for the rich” Punjabis to enter the kingdom of culture if they continue to disown
what they may legitimately own; the rich language of their forefathers who laid the
foundation of sub continental civilisation.
Published in Dawn, April 14th, 2017

New Punjab,Old Punjab

DAWN: Editorial

IN some ways, Punjab’s budget for 2014-15 is different from the previous Shahbaz Sharif
budgets. It is for the first time that the provincial government has articulated its ‘growth
vision’ based on a medium-term development framework. The budget, for example,
promises to push the economic growth rate in the province from the present 4.8pc to 8pc,
and help the private sector create four million new jobs by increasing its development
investments through to June 2018 — the year of the next general election. The increased
growth and creation of jobs are expected to ‘significantly cut rampant poverty’. The
government has sought to tax owners of luxury houses and big cars, bring a few more
services into the net and discourage unproductive investment in property. Another
important area where the government is claiming focus is power generation. It has
allocated a handsome amount for power generation. If all this signals a change, it is here
that the difference between the past and future ends. The rest is how it has been in recent

The budget doesn’t take it upon itself to explain the government’s road map to the promised
economic growth and jobs. That would have been hazardous at a time when industry in the
province is on the brink because of energy shortages, and productivity in the agriculture
sector is declining. The additional taxation measures cannot go far in raising provincial tax
revenues. The spending choices of the government remain skewed in favour of its ‘signature’
projects such as the distribution of free laptops among students, subsidised yellow cabs, the
costly metro bus and train projects in major cities, establishment of select Daanish schools,
etc. Little effort has been made to accommodate the opposite view on such projects. The
government’s investment choices, it appears, continue to be dictated by its urge to counter
the political threat to its hold on power in the province. It has allocated 36pc of development
funds to poverty-stricken southern Punjab, but whether the whole amount will actually be
spent in those parts of the province is the question. In the past, resources have been diverted
from southern Punjab to pet projects elsewhere. Medium-term goals will remain elusive
unless the government feels secure enough to implement its promises of regional parity.
Published in Dawn, June 15th, 2014

Punjab:Disowning the owning and owning the

Muhammad Azeem
The Punjabi elites, when the question of distribution of national resources and
allotment of quota in the services (both civil and military) comes up, become
thoroughbred Punjabis albeit in a hushed manner to claim the largest chunk of
the national pie with the legal and constitutional claim; being the biggest entity
of the Federation they deserve all that jazz, while at the same time raising their
shrill voice in a loud chorus that they are nothing but Pakistanis.
And they do all
this in the ‘national interest’. Funny logic!

T.S. Eliot put it so well though in a different context; ‘a tedious argument of insidious
intent to lead you to an overwhelming question —.’ The overwhelming question is why
the Punjabi elites own and disown their Punjabi identity in the same breath? The owning
is in fact sham; it is a handy ploy to perpetuate their position of dominance in the
economic and political domains. The formula, if you scratch its surface, is weirdly
interesting; be Punjabis to extract the maximum from the Federation and be Pakistanis
to deny the maximum of what you get, to the people of Punjab.

It is vulgar opportunism of the Punjabi elites that makes its logic absurd; Pakistani
identity and Punjabi identity are mutually exclusive but wear any of these on the sleeves
as the occasion demands. The sole objective is to perpetuate their privileged position.
Let us have a brief look at the so-called mutual exclusivity of the two identities; Pakistani
and Punjabi.

Punjab is much older than Pakistan. So are Sindh, NWFP (now called Khyber Pakhtunkhwa)
and Balochistan; the other three federating units of Pakistan. It was not Pakistan that
created these historical entities. Rather it was the other way round. To be exact, East
Bengal (no longer part of Pakistan), Punjab, NWFP and Sindh created Pakistan through
vote or referendum in 1947. Balochistan became part of the federation later. All these
entities made the emergence of a new state called Pakistan possible with a view to
safeguarding the economic, religious and cultural rights of the Muslims inhabiting these
areas which were thought to be threatened by majoritarian rule in the independent
united India. But the moment Pakistan came into being, the common sense, logic,
reasoning and historical perspective were jettisoned as unbearable load in a revivalist
streak to shape up things in the name of national unity. The concept of national unity was
monolithic, born of distorted perspective of history of sub-continental Muslims i.e., their
origins and interconnection with the Middle East, Iran and Central Asia. The very obvious
fact was brushed under the carpet that the Muslims in the newly-created state despite
having the commonality of faith with the abovementioned entities, had distinct society,
culture, languages and at least five thousand years old glorious history of their own.
Islam, being a universal religion, flourished because it allowed the cultural diversity and
pluralism wherever it was accepted as faith.

Iran is a theocratic Muslim state ruled by Mullahs but celebrates Nauroz, the Zoroastrian
New Year, with great joy and fanfare just to quote an example.

The Punjabi elites in cahoots with the Urdu-speaking clique from UP India misled the
founding fathers regarding the linguistic issues facing the new state in its early years.
Declaring Urdu as the national language met with resistance from the Bengalis who
constituted a majority of the population and were proud of their language, literary heritage
and culture. It is worth noting that the first voice of dissent was raised not over the
economic or political issue but on the question of language and culture which was
confounded by Punjabi and Urdu elites with ulterior motive to level the rich diversity of the
country. They, in their warped thinking, insisted on having a single national language for
the sake of national unity that proved to be rather divisive. They read the history wrong or
perhaps never tried to read it. If common language was the sole guarantor of unity and
cohesiveness, the partition of India would not have taken place. Bengali Hindus and Bengali
Muslims had and still have the same language. And so was and still is the case with the
Punjabi Hindus, Punjabi Muslims and Punjabi Sikhs.

You can have a nation-state with multiple languages and you can also find people having a
common language living in different nation-states. A host of historical factors create a
nation-state. Language alone cannot do it. The Bengalis struggled for their linguistic and
cultural rights and finally forced the state to recognise the Bengali as a national language
along with Urdu. The Sindhi language was banned in the schools by undemocratic rulers
when so-called One Unit was created, causing a lot of resentment among the culturally
conscious Sindhis.

After the separation of East Bengal new constitution of Pakistan was adopted in 1973,
which for the first time recognised the language rights of the provinces and provided the
constitutional mechanism through which a province could choose language of its choice
as its official language. Soon after it, Sindh declared Sindhi its official language.

The KPK government last year introduced teaching of Pushto and other languages spoken
in its territory in the schools. But the Punjabi elites continue to be what they are; the
shadows of their colonial masters, mimicking the cultural practice that deserves the dustbin
of history. They are full of self-loathing which is expressed in the public display of their
disdain for their language and culture. And hence are little more than ‘stuffed men’. Their
disowning of the people’s history and language has reduced them into philistines.

Before the emergence of Great Russian classical literature, French was the court language.
Once a courtier had the guts to ask the Czar: “Your majesty, you are the sovereign of all
Russ, why don’t you speak Russian?” “Who says I don’t speak Russian,” shot back the Czar.
“I do speak Russian when I talk to my horses.”

The Punjabi elites treat their language the way this Czar treated his. They are rather worse.
The Czar had no literary heritage in the Russian language while the Punjabi elites deliberately
ignore the huge repertoire created during the last millennium. They suffer from the self-
induced amentia. Their contempt for the Punjabi language in fact insults the people they are
supposed to lead. They, without sense of past and present, are dangerous political animals,
wrecking the richly diverse cultural landscape of Punjab and Pakistan that can add to our
national pride. Unity in diversity is the natural principle. Nature is extremely diverse and its
diversity is sustained by perceptible uniting links. But the malady of the Punjabi elites has
rendered them incapable of learning even from the nature. — soofi01@hotmail.com

Curtsey:DAWN.COM, Published Apr 12, 2013

How did Pakistan,where Punjabi literature was
born,come to shun the language?

By Haroon Khalid

On October 12, as the world celebrated Global Dignity Day - which stresses on the right of
each individual to live a life dignity - so did students of the Beaconhouse School System,
the largest private school network in Pakistan.

Its social media pages were filled with pictures of celebrations at its several hundred
branches in the country as well as UK, Malaysia, UAE, The Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia,
Bangladesh and Oman.

Just a couple of days later, however, the school was in the midst of a controversy where it
displayed everything but dignity.

The incident began with a circular to students’ parents by a branch of the school located in
the city of Sahiwal in Pakistan’s Punjab, about 170 kilometres from Lahore. Titled “School
Discipline Policy”, the circular laid down the rules and regulations of the school. One of
these was that foul language was not allowed within its premises - a fairly standard rule
for an educational institution. However, it went on to elaborate that what constituted foul
language was: “Taunts, abuses, Punjabi and hate speech.”

The notice went viral on social media - perhaps put up there by a parent who highlighted
the choice use of words by a school considered elite.

Punjabi literary organisations and members of the civil society were up in arms against
Beaconhouse and on October 20, dozens of activists gathered outside the school chain’s
head office in Lahore to protest against its derision of the Punjabi language and culture.

The rise to fame

Ironically, Beaconhouse’s head office in located on Guru Mangat Road - named thus after
a historical village (that has now been absorbed by the ever-growing monster that is
Lahore) which draws its fame from Guru Hargobind, the sixth guru of Sikhism. Guru
Hargobind once stayed at here and his devotees later built a gurudwara in the village.

There is a peculiar symbolism here - on the one hand, the history of this village is
associated with the growth of Sikhism, a religion that elevated Punjabi to the status of a
divine language, and on the other, the area now hosts the head office of a school that
has deemed Punjabi to be a “foul language”. It is this contradiction that sums up the
history of Pakistan’s Punjab of over the past few centuries.

It was in undivided India’s western Punjab region, which went to Pakistan after Partition,
that the first known Punjabi poet lived and preached in the 12th and 13th centuries.
Known as Baba Farid Ganjshakar (treasure of sugar), a title bestowed upon him for his
sweet use of language, the Muslim saint rebelled against the literary establishment of
his era that was dominated by Persian and Arabic by chose to write his poetry in
vernacular Punjabi.

While several had written folk poetry in Punjabi before him, he was the first to use the
language for literary purposes, which paved the way for its development.

Almost two centuries later, Punjab gave birth to Guru Nanak (in present-day Nankana
Saheb in Pakistan), the founder of Sikhism. Following the literary footsteps of Farid,
Guru Nanak chose Punjabi as the language of his spiritual message. His message was
carried forward by the subsequent Sikh gurus.

About 200 years later, at the time of Guru Gobind Singh, the 10th guru, Punjabi had
become a sacred language and Baba Farid and Guru Nanak had become saints. Their
words were enshrined forever in the Guru Granth Sahib, Sikhism’s main religious text
that is considered by millions as the 11th and eternal guru for it contains the Shabad
(word), or essence of God - captured in Punjabi.

Somewhere around the time of the fifth guru, Arjan, came Shah Hussain of Lahore,
the mystic Sufi poet who was said to be in love with a Hindu boy, and wrote verses in
Punjabi for his beloved, his god.

Using the symbols of two characters of a tragic Punjabi love story, he expressed his
love for god, his Ranjha, as a true devotee - as Heer. Wearing red clothes, he danced and
sang on the roads of Lahore during Emperor Akbar’s reign in the 16th century. He angered
religious orthodoxy, defied societal norms but remained unscathed. He was accused of
many things, but never of using degraded language. His Punjabi poetry is still sung on the
streets where once he danced.

Then came Bulleh Shah, the mystic 18th-century poet from Kasur, whose very name
symbolises Punjabi literature. As he edged closer to his death, he reminded his devotees
that he would he would live on in through his poems. Even today in Kasur, Bulleh Shah
dances every Thursday when Qawwals from around the country come to his shrine and sing
his songs.

Fall from grace

But the sweet words of Farid, the sacred language of Nanak, Shah Hussain’s love and the
eternal poetry of Bulleh Shah have today been called a “foul language” in their home.

The school, on its part, eventually apologised and clarified that meant Punjabi curses, not
the language - but it was too little too late. It also claimed that it was being targeted unfairly.

Perhaps they are right. The civil society has targeted this particular school but not the social
phenomena that gave birth to this circular. For decades now, Punjabi has been ridiculed in its
home. It has been seen as the language of the uncouth, an uncivilised language not worthy
of sophisticated society. Perhaps no other school or university may have circulated such a
circular, but the sentiment is shared by many.

I too went to a school like Beaconhouse. While our school administration never categorically
asked us not to speak Punjabi, it was understood that this was not the language to be used
in a formal setting. Middle-class parents all across Punjab prefer teaching their children Urdu
and English as opposed to Punjabi, because of its perceived backwardness. There is no
Punjabi newspaper in the entire Punjab Province and Punjabi literature is almost non-existent.
Many Punjabi speakers can read and write in Urdu but find it hard to read the language. The
classical Punjabi of Nanak and Shah Hussain is lost those who speak the language today.

To some extent, a shift away from regional languages is not uncommon in countries that were
colonised. The British education system, which the Pakistani state subsequently inherited,
instilled this inferiority complex within the Punjabi speaker. While English was portrayed as
the language of the educated, Punjabi was regarded as that of the backward. This preference
for the English language and education is also seen in India.

But the story of Punjabi in Pakistan’s Punjab is peculiar. Other parts of the country were also
colonised and also imparted the British education system. But there is no such resentment
towards the language of Sindhis and Pathans. Regional newspaper and literature continue to
survive in Sindh and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

Punjabi is frequently used on national television as a comic interlude. A popular TV show
features Punjabi speakers being taught the correct pronunciation of Urdu, not very different
from the racism seen in the British show Mind Your Language of the 1970s and ‘80s.

There is a reason why the school did not feel the need to add the word “curses” to Punjabi.
Popularly, Punjabi is imagined to be a language of curses.

Price for prominence?

For years now, I have been trying to find the answer to why Punjabis have abandoned their
language. There are two hypotheses. One lays the blame on colonial policy of divide and rule.
In the Raj-era, Muslims identified with Urdu, Hindus with Hindi and Sikhs with Punjabi as their
mother-tongues. After Partition, with the exodus of the Sikhs and Hindus, the Punjabi Muslims
began identifying with Urdu instead of Punjabi, regarding Punjabi to be the language of Sikhs.

The other theory is rather intriguing. Punjab today enjoys a unique position in the political
landscape of Pakistan, dominating its political class, bureaucracy, and elite. All other provinces
in the country share resentment against Punjab, which is seen as a state that enjoys a certain

Interestingly, throughout history, the so-called nationalists of Pakistan’s Punjab have called all
the other provinces “anti-national” at some point - Bengal in the 1960s, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa
after Partition, Sindh during the 1980s and Balochistan today. It has always been Punjab that
has seemingly upheld the standard of nationalism and decides who is deviating from it.

And therein lies the tragedy of Punjabi. In order to become this symbol of Pakistani nationalism
- represented by Urdu, the national language - it has had to jettison its own culture and
language. There was no room for multiple regional identities alongside national identities. In
order to become more Pakistani, Punjab had to become less Punjabi.

Haroon Khalid is the author of the books In Search of Shiva: a study of folk religious
practices in Pakistan and A White Trail: a journey into the heart of Pakistan’s religious

Follow Haroon Khalid on Twitter: www.twitter.com/awhitetrail

THE BLOG:11/01/2016

Haroon Khalid Writer
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Thousand throng Punjab Peace and Cultural Festival


LAHORE - Over five thousand people participated in a two-day Punjab Peace and Cultural Festival at
Punjabi Complex, Qaddafi Stadium on Saturday.

On the first day, an assortment of people flocked to the cultural event organised by Punjabi Parchar,
an organisation working for the propagation of Punjabi language and culture.

The festival was inaugurated by provincial minister Mian Mujtaba Shuja-ur-Rehman, who said in his
address that such festivals promote peace, harmony and love among people. “Peace-oriented festivals
like this should be organised to resuscitate the enriched culture of Punjab, besides bringing the people
out of depression.

“There is need to revive our Punjabi culture so our next generation could inherit it,” he added.

Addressing the gathering, Punjabi Parchar Director Ahmad Raza Punjabi said, “We must be proud of
our mother tongue.” Parents must tend to speak in their mother language with their children when in
public whether they have a grip on it or not instead of giving importance to the mother tongue, he added.

At the cultural festival, the students of Punjab College presented a tableau on the main symbol of
Punjabi culture, “Charkha”, which was largely appreciated by the audience.

Folk singers enthralled the audience when they recited the Waris Shah’s “Heer” to leave them spellbound.
Melodious voices of Nadeem Abbas Lonay Wala, Jassi Lylpuria, Ali Baksh and others were not less than a
treat for the gathering of thousands.

Students of FC College and Lahore College University also played a Punjabi Theatre that highlighted the
culture of Punjab.

Dhamal, jhoomer and other folk dances of Punjabi culture were also presented on the first day of the event.

Also, the poetic symposium put a soul into the event.

A literary session on “Film te Culture” was also arranged in which speakers, including Pervaiz Kaleem,
Tahir Sarvar Mir, Pervaiz Rahi, drama and film writer, Amir Raza and Tahir Sarwar Mir expressed their views.

Speakers including Jamil Ahmad Paul, Fakhar Zaman, Sohail Warriach, Saeed Bhutta, Sugra Sadaf and
Ajmal Jami expressed their views on “Pakistani Zubanain”. PTI leader Mehmood ur Rasheed also attended
the meeting.

The participants were of the view that the Punjabi language had always given a message of peace and
several Punjabi saint-poets spread the culture of tolerance in their poetry.

In order to battle with terrorism and other issues, there is need to reinstate the link between people and
culture, they emphasised.

This news was published in The Nation newspaper of 12-Mar-2017

Teaching students about Ranjeet or Bhagat Sing would
not harm Pakistan’Rabbani

Rabbani blasts centrists, establishment for trying to undo devolution. PHOTO: EXPRESS/FILE

Teaching students about Ranjeet or Bhagat Singh would not harm Pakistan in any way. A distorted
version of history is no longer relevant in the post 18th amendment era.

This was said by Senator Raza Rabbani, the architect of the 18th constitutional amendment, on
Friday at the roundtable workshop titled “Education in Federally Organised Countries”. The workshop
was organised by the Centre for Civic Education Pakistan (CCEP) and the Forum of Federations in
collaboration with German Foreign Office.

He blamed the establishment and “some elements within the ruling elite” of trying to circumvent
the devolution process.

In an hour-long speech, the senator spoke out his heart, saying the implementation commission
faced a strong opposition from several quarters in the second phase of the devolution of ministries
to the provinces.

Senator Rabbani spoke of a “dangerous trend” that may rollback spirit of the 18th constitutional
amendment, which, he warned, would be detrimental to Pakistan.

Referring to a recently-held national conference on syllabi and curriculum, he said the federal
government or the Planning Commission had no constitutional or legal authority to organise such a
conference after the 18th amendment that empowered provinces to exclusively deal with the issue of
syllabi and curriculum.

“We must ensure the rollback is stopped. You have the political history of state suppression, state
disappearances, state murder and torture. You have the history where the provinces were denied the
rights to promote their languages,” Senator Rabbani said.

He deplored the fact that several people with centrist mindset strongly opposed the process of
devolution and provincial autonomy which is a blatant attempt to violate the constitution. “Don’t
forget there was a huge trust-deficit between the provinces and the centre which still persists.”

“Pakistan was created to become a welfare state, but the purpose was changed and the country
became a garrison and national security state,” he said.

Eminent educationalists, senior education officers, chairmen textbook boards, vice-chancellors of major
universities from the four federating units and Islamabad, and research scholars attended the conference.

In favour of a decentralised setup

Earlier on Thursday, Supreme Court Bar Association President Asma Jahangir, speaking at a CCEP
conference on world democracy day, said political parties are national assets. “I don’t say the political
parties are perfect. There are a lot of faults. [But] it doesn’t mean we eliminate them. We must raise our
voice for the reforms of political parties.”

Dr Jaffar Ahmed of Karachi University talked about the post 18th amendment scenario and rejected the
arguments that the decentralisation would undermine Pakistan’s sovereignty.

“Why do we think that provinces would act against the country? Why we consider the provinces are anti-
Pakistan? Pakistan was created by the provinces,” he argued.

Renowned journalist Iftikhar Ahmed said the military dictators always claimed to get rid of corrupt
politicians, but instead promoted moral and financial corruption.

Dr Khadim Hussain, Managing Director of Baacha Khan Trust Education Foundation, said the 1973
Constitution reflects the aspirations of the people and a “collective will” is required to uphold its supremacy.

Eminent analyst and journalist Raza Rumi said it was important to cultivate the relations between citizens
and the Constitution in order to progress as a democracy.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 17th, 2011.

Why our textbooks should include Ranjit Singh

By Farhan Ahmed Shah

The writer works on a USAID-funded economic project called FIRMS and holds a master’s degree from the University of Warwick, UK

Senator Raza Rabbani’s recent assertion that teaching students about Ranjit or Bhagat Singh would not
harm Pakistan should be warmly welcomed. Altering a country’s history to serve its interests is a common
practice in the world. But in our case, we have taken it to a whole new level. Our history books, which
are meant to shape the worldview and mindset of future generations, are currently only a tool to indoctrinate
the impressionable minds of the younger generation.
The history of Pakistan, as told in these textbooks, is nothing more than a history of Muslims in the Indian
subcontinent. The books exalt Muslim rulers of the subcontinent, depicting them to be epitome of
righteousness with the sole agenda to spread Islam, even though all of them were invaders with an
expansionist agenda. They vilify all local non-Muslim rulers as having an inherent hatred towards Islam,
even though they might have been simply fighting an oppressor or invader. The names of the non-Muslim
rulers are never mentioned. That’s why the books are replete with the names of the Ghaznavis, Tughlaqs
and Mughals, even though they were invaders, but the likes of Ranjit Singh fail to earn a mention even
though they were sons of the soil.

May I ask our writers of history that if Mehmud Ghaznavi was such a great preacher of religion, as most
textbooks portray him to be, why did he go on killing and destructive sprees against, for example, the
Muslim rulers of Multan? And what should one make of the fact that he killed his own brother to capture
the throne? Or that why did he have to attack the subcontinent 17 times? What was the motive for him
invading places like Mathura, Kannauj and Kalinjar, known primarily for the treasures found in their Hindu
temples? Was it not to ransack them and take away their riches?

The Ghaznavids were succeeded by Shahabuddin Ghauri. Ghauri is famous for challenging the Hindu king
Prithvi Raj Chauhan, at the start of the Battle of Tarain in 1192, to either convert to Islam or be crushed.
If spreading Islam was his agenda, one wonders what about the war he waged against the last Ghaznavid
king, Malik Khusro? Why are our history books silent on this?

Such textbooks have contributed to a skewed and prejudiced understanding of history, and created a
sense of fear in many of us of all that is non-Islamic. This fear then creates a mindset of the average
Pakistan, steeped in paranoia and a sharply anti-West worldview. This also creates a superiority complex
among many of us, in that we consider ourselves and our faith the best, and denigrate that of others.
We forget that our land has given birth to and helped nurture major world religions such as Hinduism,
Buddhism and Sikhism, so it’s about time we embrace our history in its entirety and learn from it. Maybe
that will help induce much required tolerance in us.

In the end, I would narrate a story that I have grown up hearing as a member of Lahore’s historical Fakir
family. The rulers of Afghanistan never reconciled with the fact that Peshawar had slipped out of their
hands and went to Ranjit Singh. When Dost Mohammed Khan attacked Peshawar in 1834 to regain it,
Ranjit Singh sent Fakir Azizuddin, his prime minister, for negotiations. When the Fakir reached his camp
and talks started, the courtiers gave it a religious bend and he was taunted severely for his allegiance to
a non-Muslim. Shrewd that the Fakir was, he asked all present that being a good Muslim, wasn’t it his
moral duty to loyally serve his king? The aggressors who were in no mood to let go, cleverly started
alluding to the massive bloodshed of Muslims on both sides if the war ensued. The Fakir took a pause
and asked Dost Khan that if he convinced Ranjit Singh to give Peshawar back to him, would he return
peacefully? The answer was a resounding ‘yes’. And then the Fakir retorted: “Don’t brand your campaign
Islamic, it’s a fight for a piece of land.”
Published in The Express Tribune, October 15th, 2011.

Remembering Ranjit Singh

By Shoaib Ahmed

SEVERAL artefacts from Sikh history including weapons, shields, furniture and books of Ranjit Singh’s reign in Punjab were on display
at the Lahore museum.—Photo by writer

WHEN one thinks of Sikh rule in Punjab — one that spanned at least half a century — who comes to mind
but their leader, the powerful Maharaja Ranjit Singh. The man who later became known as the ‘Lion King’
became the official ruler of Punjab in 1801 but Sikh rule had already begun in 1799. Even today, the man’s
formidable imprint cannot be shaken off. He constituted tough resistance for the British Raj — even at 22
years of age, he was a man to reckon with as he began consolidating his empire.

Sikh history in Punjab is replete with countless conquerors and while the Maharaja’s image is mostly that
of a man with a sword, it was not war mongering that the man promoted, but peace. And much of this
peace was promoted by art. At the Lahore Museum recently, a sampling of the arts he patronised were
on display.

At this British-built structure, which itself is an edifice of historical value, were displayed several artefacts
of the Sikh Empire, almost all of them reflecting the religion. Visitors marvelled at the fading but beautiful
paintings, the weapons — rusty now, but still wielding intrinsic power — coins and intricate woodwork,
symbols of a lost time. The exhibition was a world of its own, taking one back to the Sikh period when
their unmatchable glory exerted influence — an integral chapter in the history of Punjab. And this last
fact is fitting, for Sikhism is the only religion that rose from Punjab.

Globally, Sikhism is the fifth largest religion with 23 million followers, while Sikh history is more than 500
years old. That has been enough time for Sikhs to have developed unique expressions for art and culture,
influenced heavily by their faith but also by other traditions, including Hindu and Mughal styles of art and
architecture. Since Sikhism is an indigenous Punjabi faith, its art too is synonymous with that of the
Punjab region. It was under the Sikh Empire that a uniquely Sikh form of expression was created. For
his part, the Maharajah patronised the building of forts, palaces, bungalows and havelis (opulent
residences), and colleges. In these were fitted archetypes including jharokas with intricate woodwork;
domes featured often in their buildings and not one is without decoration such as inlay, carvings, and

The Lahore Museum has a rich collection of Sikh artefacts. There are gold, silver and copper coins, as
well as Ranjit Singh’s gold medals, miniatures including portraits of Sikh spiritual and political figures,
weapons, some clothing of the nobility, elegant furniture from the darbar (royal court), royal decrees
and Sikh holy books. Those associated with this exhibition are rightfully proud.

“This is the first time that the museum has displayed what points to a unique Sikh identity,” said Iffat
Azeem, research officer of the Lahore Museum. “Our most important relics are Ranjit’s gold medals
that were minted in France. There are also some original edicts by Ranjit.”

“At the time Ranjit Singh took over Punjab, there had been a lot of chaos and anarchy,” said historian
and writer Mushtaq Sufi, also one of the visitors. “In fact, it was the Lahoris themselves who invited
the leader to conquer Lahore and subsequently Punjab. When Ranjit’s army reached Lahore, all the
prominent citizens, including Mian Mohkam Din who personally opened the Lohari Gate for the army,
presented to him the keys of the city.” Today, this meeting place is marked by the Punjab Public

“In those days, miniature paintings depicted the apparel of the Central Asian states and that of the
Persians,” said Sufi. “But soon, local culture began seeping into such artwork. Some Sikh and
European artists also started visiting Ranjit’s darbar and so there was also a European influence.”

Since Ranjit Singh brought peace to Punjab through promoting art and culture, the king’s popularity

A former director of Lahore Museum, Dr Saif-ur-Rehman Dar, termed the exhibition a good effort.
Generally, it was felt that while the effort behind the exhibition was laudable, it was unfortunate that
Sikhs from other countries could not be part of it. Dr Dar said that it could have been even better if
the display had been put up during the Baisakhi festival when Sikhs make their way to Punjab for
pilgrimage. “There is great importance to such an exhibition, with its display of letters and documents
of the Sikh period,” he said, adding that visitors should have also had a copy of the list of relics on

For the museum’s additional director, Naushaba Anjum, this was not just an exhibition. “We are trying
to send the Sikh community a message of solidarity,” she said of her brainchild. “And at the same time,
it is not limited to being a message of love and peace. The exhibition raised a lot of awareness among
the public about Sikh culture and identity.”

After all, Sikh rule can never be forgotten by Punjab.
Published in Dawn, May 5th, 2017

The day Ahmad Kharal fell

Shafqat Tanvir Mirza

Rai Ahmed Khan Kharal was one of the greatest freedom fighters in the Punjab rebellion of 1857.

It was Sept 21, 1857, when a bard or a folk poet of dholas had said:

(With the fall of Ahmad (Khan Kharal), Britain has tried to lower the head of Punjab). On that day,
Ahmad Khan was shot dead in the battlefield of Noorey di Dall (Gishkori in Okara district) while he
was saying his afternoon prayers. And for the poet, Ahmad Khan was a martyr who had joined the
Imam (of Karbala). But that was not the end of unarmed struggle of the people on both sides of the
Ravi and on the right bank of the Sutlej where Wattoos had refused to pay taxes to the British
employees who had invaded Lakho and arrested many villagers. Their livestock were also driven
away. That happened in the first week of July, 1857. That was the actual beginning of the rebellion
of the local Muslims against the British authority, and that was led by Ahmad Khan Kharal, a chief
of Jhamara on the right bank of the Ravi.

Who was Ahmad Khan Kharal? A British compiler of the Montgomery Gazetteer says: “Ahmad was
the man above average – bold and crafty. It was the man who roused the tribes. All important tribes
of the Ravi rose. The first real precursor of the storm that was brewing occurred on the night of July
26 in the shape of an outbreak in Gogera District Jail. (Gogera, now in Okara district, was the
headquarter of Montgomery district which then comprised the areas of Okara, Pakpattan and
Sahiwal). This appears to have been, in all probability, the work of Ahmad Khan.

Reliable information was received with the effect that Ahmad with a large body of Wattoos had
retreated into a jungle near Gishkori, some six miles south of Gogera. Capt Black was sent to the
area with a detach ment of cavalry to destroy them. He was joined by Lt Chichester. A skirmish
took place in which the cavalry had to retreat. They were, however, rallied and Ahmad together
with Sarang, chief of the Begka Kharals, was killed.” But that was not the whole story which, if
started from July 26 ended on Sept 21. It continued even after the fall of Mughals in Delhi. Even
one of the important civil servants, Berkeley, was killed two days after the death of Ahmad Khan.
According to the poets of Dholas, it was Berkeley who invited Ahmad Khan, Sarang and other
tribal chiefs just after the outbreak in Meerut and asked them to provide recruits and horses to
be sent to troubled areas. A piece of a dhola:

Berkeley says: Provide me with horses and men, Rai Ahmad and I will secure a citation for you
from London.

Rai Ahmad says: No one in his life ever shares wives, land and mares with others.

Ahmad and Sarang refused pointblank and went back to their village Jhamar.

The deputy commissioner of Gogera writes to Maj Hamilton, commissioner (as I have already)
described the outbreak which had occurred during the previous night at the Gogera jail.
Considerable loss of life took place on the occasion among the prisoners, but the time was not
for hesitation.The prisoners were in a savage state of excitement, and I found that Ahmad
Khan had just fled from the station …… “Mr Berkeley was sent in the meantime with 20
horsemen to capture, if possible, Ahmad Khan before he had crossed the Ravi opposite to his
village Jhamara …. Then I received a note from Berkeley that he had not suc ceeded in
intercepting Ahmad Kharal … Ahmad Khan has become the king of the country. Then the chief
(Ahmad Khan Kharal) himself made the appearance, and in reply to Berkeley’s threats informed
him that he had pronounced his allegiance to the British government and considered himself a
subject of the king of Delhi, from whom he had received orders to raise the whole country. His
followers thereupon began a matchlock fire …” Dhola about this incident says:

(The British have burnt down tenements on both banks of the Ravi. Then came the dwelling of
a Faqir Mastana which was also set to fire. They say: “We have to burn down Jhamara and
bulldoze the town.” The deputy commissioner of Gogera reports to the Multan commissioner:

The first information of the intended insurrection was brought to me by Sarfraz Khan Kharal of
Kamaliya on the night of Sept 16. He insisted on seeing me at about 11pm stating that he had
something of great importance to communicate, and on being admitted, informed that all chiefs
of Ravi tribes, who were present at the Sadar on heavy muchalkas had fled with all their
followers, and that there could be no doubt that they intended to rise immediately.” Sarfraz
Khan Kharal’s spying mission was successful and he along with chiefs from Multan like Sadiq
Mohammad Khan Badozai, Murad Shah Gardezi, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Makhdooms of
Pakpattan, Machhia and Bahawal of Ningrrials (Langrrials), Jeevey Khan of Akbar, Murad
Shah of Dola Bala, Sardar Shah of Khanda and Gulab Ali Chishti of Tibbi Lal Beg were duly
compensated for their “meritorious services” to the British.

Source: DAWN

Punjabi Language in Danger, claims Kahut

F.P. Report

LAHORE: Punjabi National Conference Founder Chairman Chaudhry Nazeer Kahut and chairman
of the Punjabi Khoj Garh (Punjabi Research Centre), Iqbal Qaisar, on Sunday went on a hunger
strike against the discriminatory attitude meted out to the Punjabi language by the establishment.
The hunger strike was held in connection with the International Mother Language Day in front of
the Punjab Assembly. Addressing the Punjabi rights activists, students, poets, intellectuals who
gathered at the hunger strike camp, Chaudhry Nazeer Kahut said that the constitutional, moral,
legal, and democratic rights of the Punjabi people were being usurped by the establishment and
the integrity of Punjab was in grave danger. He said that situation had gone out of control and
the ruling elite now could no more deny the 10 crore people of the Punjab their rights.

Nazeer Kahut demanded the Punjab government to end discrimination against the Punjabi language
and adopt Punjabi language as the official medium of instruction in the province. He proposed that
a Punjabi university on the pattern of the Federal Urdu University, an Institute of Punjabiology like
the Institute of Sindhalogy and a Punjabi Language Authority should be established in the province.
Nazeer Kahut suggested that funds should be allocated for an institute to translate the science and
non-science literature of international level into the Punjabi language. Nazeer Kahut alleged that
some leaders from political parties in Punjab, rulers, feudal lords and bureaucracy supported status
quo and did not want the common people to prosper. "That is why they are hampering the
implementation of the Punjabi as the official, academic and legal language in the Punjab," he said.

Nazeer Kahut, who is also an award-winning Punjabi language novelist and well-known intellectual,
said that no language could survive without the official patronage and time has come for the rulers
to give Punjabi language and people their due rights. He said the politicians, religio-political parties,
and rulers, both dictators and elected ones, played no part to promote the Punjabi language. He
said that Punjabi is language of the Sufi saints like Baba Farid (RA) Sultan Bahu (RA) Khwaja Farid
(RA), Shah Hussain(RA), Bulleh Shah (RA) Waris Shah (RA) and Mian Muhammad Bakhsh(RA) who
spread the word of God in this beautiful language through their poetry. He asked the people to
make good use of the treasure trove of the Punjabi culture and language to enrich their souls.

He asked the people of the Punjab to rise to the occasion and speak and write Punjabi language
with a renewed vigour and pride, adding that the people of Punjab should stop listening to the BBC
unless it starts its service in the Punjabi language. "The BBC is averse to the Punjabi language
since the 100 years then why should we listen to it," Mr Kahut remarked. Nazeer Kahut added
that all the announcements at airlines including the Pakistan International Airlines coming to the
Punjab, bus stands, railway stations and other public places should be made in the Punjabi language.

The Frontier Post:Staff Report: Monday, February 22, 2010


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