On 7th Sept 2020, in Chandigarh, Sikh intellectuals and Punjabi literary organisations today condemned the introduction of Hindi language for the first time in Jammu and Kashmir while simultaneously excluding Punjabi and other widely spoken native languages, and emphasised that it has blatant manifestation of the Modi government’s design of imposing Hindi cultural hegemony on the non-Hindi areas to facilitate the building of Hindu Rashtra.
Declaration of Hindi as an ‘official language’ in the constitution in 1950 and extending lavish funds and official patronage for its steady promotion has de facto projected Hindi as a ‘National language’. Hindi and its culture has inundated and eaten away the erstwhile Punjabi speaking areas like that of Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan. The Central government is also out to decimate the living and spoken languages of minorities to be replaced by Hindu Brahamincal language Sanskrit which has never been a spoken language in Indian history.
Now, Jammu and Kashmir Official Language Bill 2020, passed by the Union Cabinet presided over by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 2nd September, has added three languages- Hindi, Dogri and Kashmiri- to already officially adopted languages of Urdu and English. The Bill is likely to taken up in the coming Monsoon Session of Parliament.
Dogri has been the dialect of Punjabi language like other different dialects of Punjabi clubbed as Pahari spoken language. Jammu adjoins Punjab and is only 15 km away of Sialkot city of Pakistan Punjab. Besides that, Jammu and Kashmir have been the part of Maharaja Ranjit Singh Khasla Raj who had promoted Punjabi language officially till 1850. There are about 5-6 percent Punjabi speaking people in Jammu and Kashmir with half of them Sikhs.
Describing the Central government move as “divisive and political stunt” the Sikh Vichar Manch said, with Akali governments aligning with the ultra nationalist BJP, Punjabi language has steadily been losing ground to Hindi in Punjab itself. The Badal regime failed to implement official status of Punjabi despite the fact that they got power in Punjab because of Punjabi Suba achieved by the Akali Dal after a struggle of two decades.
Signatories to the statement are: Prof. Sukhdev Singh Sirsa, General Secretary Kendri Punjabi Lekhak Sabha, Prof. Sarabjit Singh, Former President Kendri Punjabi Lekhak Sabha, Col. Jagtar Singh Multani, Secretary General, International Sikh Confederation, Gurtej Singh IAS, Ajaypal Singh Brar, An Author, Rajwinder Singh Bains, Senior Advocate Punjab and Haryana High Court, Dr. Kuldip Singh Patiala, Gurpreet Singh, Global Sikh Council, Gurbachan Singh, Editor Des Punjab, Prof Manjit Singh, Former Head of Dr. Ambedkar Chair Punjab University Chandigarh, Jaspal Singh Sidhu, Sukhdev Singh Sidhu Senior Journalists.
Khushhal Singh, general secretary Kendri Sri Guru Singh Sabha
The views and opinions expressed by the writer are personal and do not necessarily reflect the official position of VOM.
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