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Top linguist decries doomsayers,asserts Punjabi is in the pink

For all those worried about the future of Punjabi language,here is some good news.

Written by Amrita Chaudhry | Ludhiana | Published: January 19, 2009 2:00:06 am

Dr Ranjit Singh Rangila puts at rest concerns about Punjabi language’s future

For all those worried about the future of Punjabi language,here is some good news.

Dr Ranjit Singh Rangila,a well-known linguist from Central Institute of Indian Languages,Mysore,has dismissed concerns over the language’s future as ‘baseless.’ “A language that developed and has grown over 1,000 years can not just die away. It was spoken by Bulle Shah when not many knew it as Punjabi and Guru Nanak composed his verses in God’s praise in this language. How many people spoke Punjabi at that time? And consider the present scenario now: This language at present is being spoken,studied,written,in so many countries. A language that was spoken by a few thousands not a long time ago — the census of 1931 showed 23 people were Punjabis in every 10,000 – is now being spoken by lakhs. Can this language ever die,” asks Dr Rangila.

He also sought to debunk the contention that more more and more Punjabis were speaking in Hindi and English rather than in Punjabi.

“This is false. When we say that more Punjabis are speaking Hindi we are looking at primary school children who have to compete with Hindi to be successful. Try and look at people in colleges or the ones who are earning,the people who have attained their actual social roles are speaking Punjabi,their mother tongue. I have seen girls working in multi-national IT firms who speak in Punjabi. So is the scene in Delhi. This fear is simply baseless,” said Dr Rangila while speaking on the sidelines of a two-day seminar on “Future of Indian languages” organised by the Bhartiya Sahitya Sakademi.

He adds,“More over we humans have the ability to learn more languages. If our children speak Hindi and English,it is expansion of their capabilities. And if we think that expansion is killing Punjabi then that is actually weird.”

On the efforts of the state government to implement Punjabi as the official language,Dr Rangila says,“This is a commendable job and all the efforts that the nation and the state are putting in this job are appreciable. See when I talk about Punjabi language,I am just not talking about the language from Punjab or the state’s point of view. I am talking about this language from Indian perspective and how different languages have contributed to the growth and development of Punjabi. But then the state government needs to see which Punjabi they are trying to implement.”

“We have 84 types of Punjabi languages spoken. While we may categorize certain spoken forms as sister languages like the Malwai Punjabi and so on but then what happens to the other sister languages. The government,linguists and the writers need to concentrate on this rather than harp about unfounded fear of Punjabi language dying away.”

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