PLEA’s 15th An­nual Mother Lan­guage Day

The Miracle - - Local - By:Parvin­der Dhari­wal

Pun­jabi Lan­guage Ed­u­ca­tion As­so­ci­a­tion (PLEA) held its 15th an­nual Mother Lan­guage Day cel­e­bra­tion on Jan­uary 20th at the North Delta Recre­ation Cen­tre. The pro­gram con­sisted of im­por­tant dis­cus­sions about the im­ple­men­ta­tion of Pun­jabi lan­guage teach­ing in more pub­lic schools in Sur­rey. Along with var­i­ous speak­ers who dis­cussed the im­por­tant is­sues, a large num­ber of stu­dents par­tic­i­pated with their po­ems, songs and speeches. The pro­gram was mc’d by Parab­jot Singh. PLEA Pres­i­dent Bal­want Sanghera wel­comed the at­ten­dees and stated that this year’s main fo­cus is to en­cour­age the par­ents to en­roll their chil­dren in grade 5 Pun­jabi classes. He said that there are sev­eral el­e­men­tary schools in Sur­rey where it is pos­si­ble to have Pun­jabi classes due to the large num­ber of Pun­jabi stu­dents in those schools. This year’s key­note speaker Jag Khosa, a po­lice of­fi­cer and a prom­i­nent com­mu­nity ac­tivist spoke about the im­por­tance of teach­ing chil­dren Pun­jabi. He em­pha­sized how cru­cial it is to speak Pun­jabi with chil­dren at home from a young age. In de­tail, Khosa high­lighted just how much of an as­set Pun­jabi is to him in his pro­fes­sional life. He also stated that along with teach­ing chil­dren Pun­jabi, par­ents should take the op­por­tu­nity to learn English and have li­braries in their homes. Prom­i­nent Pun­jabi scholar Dr. Sadhu Singh stated that sec­tar­i­an­ism has caused the most harm to the Pun­jabi lan­guage. While speak­ing about the rich­ness of the Pun­jabi lan­guage he en­thralled the au­di­ence by read­ing a pas­sage about colours from his book called “Pun­jabi Boli Di Vi­rast (The Her­itage of the Pun­jabi Lan­guage).” UBC Pun­jabi In­struc­tor Sukhwant Hun­dal spoke in de­tail about sig­nif­i­cance of Pun­jabi Wikipedia. He re­quested that the Pun­jabi com­mu­nity should con­trib­ute to the site, as there is a need for con­tent. Hun­dal also spoke about a piece he has writ­ten about the site that can be ac­cessed here: https://sukhwan­thun­dal.word­ Sur­rey School Trus­tee Gary Thind, Sur­rey School Teacher Rabinder Boparai and a par­ent rep­re­sen­ta­tive Ke­wal Tag­ger par­tic­i­pated in panel mod­er­ated by Sukhwant Hun­dal. The main points high­lighted in this dis­cus­sion were how to en­cour­age par­ents to en­roll their chil­dren in Pun­jabi classes. Along with speak­ing about the con­cerns sur­round­ing the im­ple­men­ta­tion of Pun­jabi in the pub­lic school sys­tem, the pro­gram also fea­tured stu­dents read­ing Pun­jabi po­ems, songs and speeches about is­sues per­tain­ing to the Pun­jabi lan­guage and com­mu­nity. The stu­dent par­tic­i­pants were: Aman, Tanu, Manu, Sukhman Kaimbo, Man­jot Singh, Prabh­leen Kaur Gre­wal, Sha­ran Sandhu, Humki­rat Gill, Taran Poo­nia, Sunny, Sim­rat, Am­rit, Jas­noor, Sahib, Ravleen, Sm­riti, Ash­meen, Par­leen, Navreet, and Hardeep Virk. PLEA hon­oured Gian Singh Thind and Har­jin­der San­gra for their con­tri­bu­tion to the pro­gres­sion of the Pun­jabi lan­guage in Canada. While speak­ing about Gian Singh Thind, ra­dio host Pro­fes­sor Gurvin­der Singh Dhali­wal said that Thind ar­rived in Canada in 1953 and learned Pun­jabi. He then started a news­pa­per for the his­tor­i­cal Khalsa Di­wan So­ci­ety Van­cou­ver. While speak­ing about Har­jin­der San­gra, Sadhu Bin­ning stated that Cana­dian born San­gra learned Pun­jabi and par­tic­i­pated in plays pro­duced by Van­cou­ver Sath. She taught Pun­jabi at UBC’s con­tin­u­ing stud­ies for a num­ber of years and has been teach­ing Pun­jabi along with other sub­jects in Van­cou­ver for many years. The pro­gram con­cluded with Bal­want Sanghera thank­ing the au­di­ence, Pun­jabi me­dia, the stu­dents and the Sur­rey School Board. He also thanked PLEA mem­bers Parvin­der Dhari­wal, Parab­jot Singh, Ra­jin­der Pand­her, Har­man Pand­her, Ran­bir Jo­hal, Jas Bin­ning, Paul Bin­ning and Sadhu Bin­ning. Sanghera made a fi­nal ap­peal to par­ents to en­roll their chil­dren in Pun­jabi lan­guage classes and to en­cour­age oth­ers to do the same.

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