February 2024 declared Punjabi Language Month in Illinois

Governor J.B. Pritzker. PHOTO: gov.illinois.gov

In recognition of the contributions of Punjabi speaking residents to the communities of Illinois, Governor J.B. Pritzker proclaimed the month of February in 2024 as “PUNJABI LANGUAGE MONTH.”

This is in accordance with the United Nations International Mother Language Day which is a worldwide annual observance held on 21 February approved by U.N.E.S.C.O. to promote awareness of linguistic and cultural diversity and to promote preservation and protection of all languages, according to a press release from the non-profit organization Punjabi Cultural Society of Chicago.

Punjabi, the 9th most widely spoken language in the world, originated around the 7th century in the Punjab region of the undivided India and Pakistan in South Asia and is spoken by more than 113 million people worldwide mainly by the Hindus, Sikhs, Muslim, and Christians with roots from the region. It is recognized as one of the official languages in India, Pakistan, United Kingdom, and Canada. There is a significant presence of Punjabis in Malaysia, East African countries, U.A.E., New Zealand, and Australia as well, the press release noted.

There are more than 750,000 Punjabi speaking Americans and more than fifty thousand Punjabi speakers in Illinois, the PCS noted.

“Punjabis are proud, adventurous, hospitable people who are fun loving, take pride in their arts, music, poetry, culture, and giving to the world delicious Punjabi cuisine,” said PCS Chairman Dr. Vikramjeet Singh Gill.

“Several activities and events like Punjabi poetical symposium, Punjabi Play, Children’s performances to celebrate Punjabi Language and culture have been planned for the Metro Chicago area,” said PCS President Manjeet Singh Bhalla. The “RANGLA PUNJAB” event this year is scheduled for April 20, 2024 at Copernicus Center, 5216 W. Lawrence Ave., Chicago.

“Punjabi Cultural Society of Chicago and the Punjabi speaking Illinoisans are committed to preserving, protecting and sharing their Punjabi language, literature, arts, music, dance, culture, films, festivals and traditions with their fellow Americans,” said Rajinder Singh Mago, Board of Governors of Punjabi Cultural Society of Chicago.

Punjabis have received accolades for their valor in World Wars I & II, as a matter of fact the only non-British community to receive the highest number of top medals for their bravery in the battlefield fighting for the allies, the press release said.

The first Asian American U.S. Congressman from California named Dalip Singh Saund was a Punjabi. Other well-known Punjabi Americans include Nobel Prize winner in medicine Har Gobind Khorana, Former Governor of Louisiana Bobby Jindal, Former Governor of South Carolina Nicky Haley, U.S. Congressman Ro Khanna. NASA Astronaut Kalpana Chawla, Narinder Singh Kapani widely acknowledged as the father of fiber-optics, Vinod Dham ‘Inventor of the Pentium Chip,’  the former MasterCard CEO and now president of World Bank Ajay Banga, and many other large farmers in Southern California who grow almonds, raisins, peaches and many other crops.

Upcoming events being organized by PCS include:

– Asian American Coalition of Chicago Dinner Banquet – Saturday February 10, 5 pm to 9 pm, Drury Lane Theater, Oakbrook Terrace, IL. Practice is going on in full swing.

– P.C.S. “RANGLA PUNJAB” on April 20, 2024 at Copernicus Center, 5216 W. Lawrence Ave., Chicago. Last date to register to participate is February 18, 2024.







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