India Post News Service
CHICAGO: In recognition of the contributions of Punjabi speaking residents in Illinois, Governor J.B. Pritzker proclaimed the month of February in 2023 as “PUNJABI LANGUAGE MONTH” in Illinois.
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.
Punjabi, the 9th most widely spoken language in the world, originated around the 7th century in the Punjab and is spoken by more than 113 million people worldwide mainly by the Hindus, Sikhs, Muslim, and Christians in India, Pakistan, United Kingdom, and Canada. Besides the above-mentioned countries there is a significant presence of Punjabis in Malaysia, East African countries, UKASE., New Zealand, and Australia.
There are more than 750,000 Punjabi speaking Americans and more than fifty thousand Punjabi speaking Illinoisans.
“Several activities and events to celebrate the Punjabi Language Month have been planned for the Metro Chicago area,” said Bhupinder Singh Dhaliwal, president of Punjabi Cultural Society of Chicago, “RANGLA PUNJAB” event on March 25, 2023 at College Of DuPage is one of them.
“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, Punjabi Cultural Society of Chicago, “Punjabis have received accolades for their valor in World Wars I & II.
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 MasterCard CEO Ajay Banga, and many other large farmers in Southern California who grow almonds, raisins, peaches and many other crops.
In addition there are several noteworthy Punjabis in Canada such as Harjit Singh Sajjan former Minister of National Defense of Canada, Anita Anand the current Minister of National Defense of Canada, Jagmeet Singh Leader of New Democratic Party in Canada and Ujjal Dosanjh the former Governor of British Columbia. The current Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Rishi Sunak is also of Punjabi Heritage.
P.C.S. is a non-profit all volunteer community service organization devoted to promoting Punjabi culture, performing arts, language, education, sports, and good citizenship in the Chicago Metropolitan area and beyond.