CENTRAL OFFICES IN PUNJAB ARE VIOLATING LANGUAGE POLICY OF GOVT
To keep the Punjabis divided the Govt of India took a leaf from British colonial administration. Since Arya Samaj had opposed Punjabi even in pre-Independence days the Govt considered to keep them divided on language issue. Though Punjabi speaking Punjab was carved out by diving the state in 1966 the Punjabi language still remains deprived of its due place in its home state. Communalism promoted by divisive policies of the Govt gave rise to a secret anti-Punjabi campaign depriving this language of the masses of Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs became one of the most deprived, ignored and disowned languages of the world.
CENTRAL GOVERNMENT PUBLICITY (LANGUAGE) POLICY
The ministry of Home affairs has a well defined language policy as to give publicity through a particular language and for maintaining public relations. According to these provisions while carrying out the publicity, the government agencies “Will give preference to the regional language followed by the State language i e. Hindi and then English.”
Now mark whether Punjabi is being given any place in Central Govt offices in Punjab? What to talk of giving the first place the language is more often than not completely ignored. Thus in reality however exactly the opposite to the Govt policy is happening. For example the sign boards at various places and outside government offices giving information are almost always in English or in Hindi. In most cases none exists in the Punjabi language at all.
The only place of the Govt of India where Punjabi has been given place is the railway stations where surely the station boards are definitely in Punjabi but other than that there is no place for this language. However if you enter the offices at the railway stations then again Punjabi missing: no where on the name plates of the officers or sections. The language is also conspicuous by its absence at various counters giving directions about the train or ticket bookings.
A similar step-motherly treatment is given to the language of the Punjabi masses the announcement as to arrival or departure of the trains are seldom given in Punjabi. At some stations recorded announcement do give but the instant announcements are as a rule in Hindi. This is highly surprising since almost all other states use their regional language to impart such information.
Similarly the sign boards of the Army and the Air Force establishments in the Punjab do not give any place to Punjabi neither do BSF, CRPF and ITBP do for that matter.
The same is the case with the Revenue offices like the lncome Tax and the Central Excise and Customs. No sign board in the Punjabi language exists there nor any stationary, forms etc meant for, public usage are printed in Punjabi.
Unfortunately the Labour Ministry in the state too ignores the language and their respective departments do not have forms in Punjabi language although most of the applicants who come to them are conversant only with Punjabi and have no knowledge of either English or Hindi. This makes communication very difficult and leads to corruption and harassment thus the middlemen are born who liaison with office and the individual as in the case ESI and Provident fund etc. the Central Labour Commissioner's Office.
The telephone offices now of course run recorded computer tapes sometimes while attending customer calls. Thus it shows where monetary aspects are concerned the trading Govt office can give place to Punjabi language. But the offices take no notice of the Govt instructions on language policy.
The telephones never thought of bringing out directories in Punjabi, the way they exist in other states. The offices of the telecommunication department in the state too have no sign boards in Punjabi or, for that matter, neither has the post and telegraph department. The same is true of the Ministry of External Affairs offices in the Punjab which also neglects the language. An example is the passport application form which is either in English or in Hindi.
DOORDARSHAN AND FILMS
Jalandhar Doordarshan’s Punjabi programmes are a worst. Half hearted attempts of producing programmes in Punjabi language create a havoc rendering either the programme a mess. Most of their anchors and compares come from Hindi school background who speak Punjabi with Hindi accent. Mostly it re-casts programmes produced by other centres of Doordarshan thus promoting Hindi language among our village folks. As far as language aspect is concerned the news casting is satisfactory plus the Punjabi literary programmes.
A similar complaint, can be registered against the Punjabi film industry also. The pathetic condition of the Punjabi films makes one shameful. Copy cat stories of themes of Hindi films with poor and overstressed dialogues. One wonders while the Punjabi heroes can dominate the Bollywood how come their home movies are miserable? Surely incapable producers and directors. Also the Sikhs feel , that their image is more often than not tarnished in these movies since the roles have Sikh names but the actors are usually clean-shaven. Language wise also the performance is miserable.
The Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity under the Ministry of information and Broadcasting is doing no good either. One feels it has translators from Delhi who know very little of Punjabi and often transliterate rather than translating into Punjabi.
Only one or two advertisements are released to Punjabi news papers which is more in the nature of helping or winning the newspapers than any genuine effort of sincere publicity. Most of the advertisements of the respective departments and ministries are released to the papers without translation and are therefore carried by the news papers in verbatim i.e. in English or in Hindi.
For example all advertisements from the UPSC are carried by the Punjabi news papers in Hindi or in English. This is highly surprising since DAVP does have an army of translators and writers.
In any case the DAVP ads in Doordarshan are often laughed at. Advertisements related to Family planning are a real mess since the actors seem to be very uncomfortable in speaking Punjabi language. May be DAVP does not know dubbing. Almost always their Hindi accent especially some Punjabi sounds seem foreign to them like ghar (house) bhara (brother) etc.
It is unfortunate that the language we advocate is not even written properly by those who, wish to keep its banner high i.e, the regional newspapers. Language of the Punjabi news papers is often loaded with Sanskritised Hindi words as in vogue with Hindi papers. Daily Ajit does seem to be a bit cautious in this regard but going through Punjabi editions of the Tribune and Puniab Kesri it is often felt as if one is reading Hindi through Gurmukhi script. . The Centrat Goverurment' s advertisement policy to goes in the interest of Hindi or English papers. For: example a hoard of advertisements were released to Punjab Kesri while Ajit was deprived of them. The field reporters are often impressed by the TV news. They often tend to use the Hindi terms in their dispatches. It is the sub-editors job to check the language. We often see un-digestible Hindi words appearing in Punjabi newspapers. In matters of circulation it is the funds that carry weight and obviously the Punjabi news papers are fighting a losing battle against the Hindi papers.
The position of the Punjabi language is miserable in the schools even in the state itself. Although the most spoken language, rather the language of every household in the state, it has failed to enjoy any status as the other regional languages do in their respective regions. In every other state study of the regional language is compulsory while in the Punjab this is not so. There the medium of instruction is also the regional language. The same rules are applicable to the Punjab as well but here giving in to the pressure of the DAV ideology, Hindi has emerged as the favourite medium of instruction besides English which is more prevalent among the states. Since past four five decades the governmnent is relaxing this rule on a year to year basis and is evading implementation of the regional language. Besides Punjab Govt is very liberal in allowing permissions to schools to get them affiliated to central boards like the CBSE and ICSE. The result being Punjab has emerged the first state where largest percentage of schools have been affiliated to central boards. Virtually Punjab has become a bilinqual state and no politician has enough courage to come to the rescue of Puniabi language. The result is that Hindi has become the spoken language of the school going children. In fact the schools consider it below dignity to converse in their mother tongue Punjabi.
In DAV schools etc. the conversation is as a rule in Hindi. ln junior classes of the colleges the study of Punjabi as a subject is also being avoided. The students have option to study Punjabi culture as a subject against the study of Punjabi as a subject. Thus many go on to study the Punjabi culture in English rather than Study the language itself. In the end it can be remarked that Punjabis go to some other region, learn the language of that area but hesitate to speak their own language In contrast the migrant labourers from UP and the Hindi belt in Punjab maintain their Hindi instead of learning the local Punjabi. With time their numbers are increasing. This too is playing a role in making Punjabi a secondary language in its homeland as the Punjabi villager is seen conversing in Hindi with these migrants, though with difficulty, while the migrant workers make no effort to learn and speak Puniabi. As a result it can be envisaged that the third generation from today will be at home in Hindi even in the Punjabi heartland further pushing their own mother tongue to periphery.