ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Academy of Letters (PAL) Chairman Dr Muhammad Yousuf Khushk has urged academic linguists to connect data of our languages with Microsoft in this age of modern technology.
Addressing a dialogue on the role of languages in national harmony on the occasion of the International Mother Language Day, he said that the Academy of Letters will publish literature of Pakistani languages in their original form and it is working for the promotion and protection of national and local languages.
Dr Yousuf Khushk said that all speakers had a beautiful discussion on the topic and offered their valuable suggestions for promoting language and literature and inclusion in the national mainstream. He said that patronage of the government or institutions was important in promoting the literature of national languages.
“We all need to work on the development of languages in our respective areas,” he said, and pointed out a greater responsibility on scholars of particular cross-regional languages. Despite limited resources, he said that the Academy of Letters was trying to bring the literature of local languages into the national mainstream through promotion and translations.
On the occasion, Seraiki language expert Hafeez Khan, Punjabi experts Parveen Tahir, Dr Mushtaq Adil and Shazia Cheema, Pashto expert Dr Hanif Khalil, Hindko expert Syed Majid Shah, Sindhi expert Dr Hakim Ali Barro, Urdu expert Dr Shazia Akbar, Brahui expert Panah Baloch, Sheena expert Abdul Khaliq Taj and Balti expert Ehsan Danish also expressed their views on the topic.
“We should tolerate each other by showing broad-mindedness and brotherhood,” Seraiki expert Hafeez Khan said. He said that it was important to promote language and literature at the government level. He urged all sectors to play their role in the development of Pakistani languages and literature.
Punjabi expert Parveen Tahir said that Punjabi was the language of mystics, poets, heroes and warriors as well. “Punjabi is the language of peace and love,” she said. “We also need to speak, write and learn Punjabi on our own,” she said. “We should agree on one language for national harmony,” Dr Mushtaq Adil said. “Urdu is the roof for our state while our other languages are the pillars,” he explained.
Dr Hanif Khalil said that Pashto language and literature have played the biggest role in making Urdu language and literature strong and rich. He mentioned the influence of Pashto language on Urdu in terms of history and culture of the Indian subcontinent and creations of Pashto literary scholars in Urdu. He suggested effective measures for the development of all languages, including Pashto.
“We must remember that languages are the power of human beings,” Dr Hakim Barro said. By combining this power of languages, “we will be able to promote national harmony.” He said that development of languages was necessary for national unity, and talked about Sindhi language, literature and culture. Talking about Balochi language, literature and culture, Panah Baloch said that institutions should play their role in promoting languages.
Dr Ehsan Danish read an article regarding Balti language, literature and culture in Gilgit-Baltistan. He said there was a need to work at the university level for the promotion of Balti language. He suggested that Balti language should be included in the curriculum and awards should also be given for Balti language and literature.
“We have our own mistakes in not promoting Punjabi language. We do not teach our children Punjabi ourselves and prefer Urdu and English,” Shazia Cheema said. “We need to get out of this inferiority complex,” she said. Abdul Khaliq Taj said that there was a great reservoir of love for Pakistan in the literature of Shina and other languages of the region.
Shazia Akbar called Urdu as the ‘only language’ of communication. She said that Urdu language was the guarantor of national unity and stability. Zafar Hussain Zafar said that Kashmiri, Pahari, and Gojari languages were spoken in Azad Jammu Kashmir. He said that problems of Kashmiri language were different from other regions because there has been a series of divisions. “Yet we all should play a role in the promotion of Kashmiri and other languages,” he said.