A group of writers and activists have written to political parties and candidates running in the February 20 polls, requesting that all administrative work be done in Punjabi and that the provisions of the Punjab Official Languages Act, 1967 be notified.
MS Sekhon of Punjabi Bhasha Pasaar Bhaichara suggested that poll candidates should endeavour to find an appropriate solution to concerns relating to the Punjabi language. The outfit’s main demand is that the requirements of the Punjab Official Languages Act, 1967, be properly implemented.
“It should be ensured that all the work in the administrative offices is done in Punjabi, as per a provision mentioned in the Act, and any violation should be strictly prohibited,” reads the letter written to the political parties. It does say, though, that work can be done in both Punjabi and English if necessary.
“With effect from November 5, 2008, all district courts in Punjab must operate in Punjabi, including claims, counterclaims, orders, and verdicts, among other things.” Since then, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has hired 1500 new personnel to carry out this mandate. No government, however, has complied with this request. The state government should accept the High Court’s demand since it would not only provide job chances for Punjabi educated unemployed people, but it would also allow them the basic right to receive justice in their mother tongue,” it says.
“Parties should include a commitment in their manifestos to address the major challenges concerning the Punjabi language… “The 54-year injustice meted out to Punjab’s mother tongue will come to an end immediately, and the language will be given its rightful pride,” Sekhon stated.