A memorable day in Chicagoland celebrating the Punjabi language

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Consul General of India in Chicago Somnath Ghosh, awarding certificates and prizes to children at the Punjabi Language celebration event in Schaumburg, Illinois, March 4, 2023. Photo: courtesy Ginny Jolly

A collaborative effort between many individuals and organizations culminated in an evening of creating memories and celebrating Punjabi on Saturday, March 4, 2023, venturing into the use of the language in a range of ways.

Held at Al Larson Prairie Center in Schaumburg, IL, the occasion marked International Mother Language Day. The theater was filled to the max as many had traveled from far and near, according to information provided by Ginny Jolly, one of the participants in the event.

Discussants included Dr. Atamjit, a well-known playwright and award-winner, Gurmukh Sing Bhullar, founder of the “Five Rivers Theatre, Ranjit Singh, Dr. Khaira, and Raaj Lali Batala, the press release said.

A scene from the play Sahni Sach Kahinda Si, at the Punjabi Language celebrations held March 4, 2023 in Schaumburg, Illinois. Photo: courtesy Ginny Jolly
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At the event, the play “ Sahni Sach Kehnda Si” ਸਾਹਨੀ ਸੱਚ ਕਹਿੰਦਾ ਸੀ, written and directed by Dr. Atamjit specifically for this new organization, was staged with local artists who practiced for many months. The cast included seasoned artists like Kumar Pawandeep and Bhullar, and also Jasbir Mann, Jasmeet Singh, Sandeep Kaur, and Rajesh Pawar.

The message for the evening and the play was the importance of the Mother tongue as the first language. According to organizers, “Every human can benefit immensely from learning their Mother tongue as the first language. Most Nobel prize winners’ stories confirm this fundamental fact.” They also noted that “The Punjabi language is not limited to a religion or a National territory.”

India’s Consul General in Chicago Somnath Ghosh, addressing the crowd at the Punjabi language celebration March 4, 2023, in Schaumburg, Illinois. Photo: courtesy Ginny Jolly
India’s Consul for Press, Information, and Culture Ranjit Singh, speaking at the March 4, 2023, Punjabi language celebration in Schaumburg, Ill. Photo: courtesy Ginny Jolly.

India’s Consul General in Chicago Somnath Ghosh, the chief guest at the event, noted that United Nations had declared February 21 as International Mother Language Day, recognizing that multilingualism contributes to developing inclusive societies that allow multiple cultures, worldviews, and knowledge systems to coexist and cross-fertilize.

In Chicago, Consul for Press, Information, and Culture Ranjit Singh from the Indian Consulate has been Champion to organize such events since 2021. His vision is to create a platform that will ensure the next generation youth remains connected to Punjabi.

Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Illinois, shaksing hands with Darshan Dhaliwal, at the Punjabi language celebration event March 4, 2023, in Schaumburg, Ill. At right, looking on is Consul Ranjit Singh from the Indian Consulate. Photo: courtesy Ginny Jolly

Another highlight of the event was the contribution of kids who had submitted their poems, videos, and post on different topics via email. They were awarded Certificates and cash prizes.   Poets like Azim Sekhar and Rajinderjit had traveled from abroad  to participate in the celebration.

Children performing at the March 4, 2023, Punjabi language celebration in Schaumburg, Ill. Photo: courtesy Ginny Jolly

“As an advocate of Equality and Women’s rights, I was honored to see writers and poets like Professor Lakhwinder Kaur, Gurleen Kaur, and Rakind Kaur onstage. This creates a great role model for our daughters,” Jolly is quoted saying in the press release.

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