LAHORE  - International Mother Language Day is being observed today under the theme of ‘Local languages for global citizenship: spotlight on science’.

Linguists will lead various activities including rallies and seminars to show affection with mother languages.

The language of Sufi saints and great poets, Punjabi has 118.6 million speakers across the world with a share of about 81 million in Pakistan.

Every year, the Punjabi savers raised the demand for at least including Punjabi as a compulsory subject in the syllabus from class one to graduation. But, the Punjab government has never taken this demand seriously.  It is time for the Punjabi intellectuals, teachers and poets as well as saveks to join heads for the uplift of the ‘Maa Boli’.

In connection with the day, the Pakistan Punjabi Literary Board (PPLB) and the civil society organisations including South Asia Partnership-Pakistan Chapter, Institute for Peace and Secular Studies and World Punjabi Journalists Association, Punjab Union of Journalists will hold a special rally in the name of ‘Maa Boli from Lahore Press Club to Punjab Assembly on Friday at 1:00 pm.

The participants of the rally would also present a memorandum to the Speaker Punjab Assembly Rana Iqbal demanding an immediate legislation for teaching Punjabi language at primary level as a compulsory subject as well as to appoint Punjabi language teachers there.

This was announced by the PPLB chairman Mushtaq Sofi and civil society organisations’ representatives including Amjad Saleem Minhas, Baba Najmi, Saeeda Deep, Yousuf Punjabi, Parveen Malik, Afzal Sahar and Yousuf Baloch in a joint press conference held here at the LPC on Thursday.   They told they would press the government to introduce legislation in the province for promotion of education in their own mother-tongue as it was already been adopted in other provinces of Pakistan. For the purpose, they said that they would also hold some demonstrations and sit-in time to time during all this year if their demands would not be entertained. They also demanded the government to make compulsory for every educational institute that it must taught Punjabi subject in schools and colleges as well as Punjabi newspapers must also be given public advertisements for promotion of the language.

Some organisations working for the promotion of Punjabi language in different districts like Wajdan of Nankana Sahab, Punjabi Adbi Sangat, Punjab Wichar, Anjuman Taraqi Pasand Musanafeen and others also plan to hold programs like rallies, and seminars on the day at their native areas. Punjab Institute of Language, Art and Culture—an institution for the promotion of the mother tongue—kicked off a three day ‘Maa Boli’ conference on Thursday attended by a good number of people.

Addressing the conference, Rana Mashhood Ahmed Khan said Punjabi was a means of communication of a vast majority of the country. He said that there was diversity in the languages of people living in Pakistan and instead of dividing the society on linguistic basis, there was a need to promote folk lore and folk wisdom as failure in this regard would result in depriving the people of their culture.