February is Punjabi Language Month in the State of Illinois
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Chicago IL: In recognition of the contributions of Punjabi speaking residents to the communities of the great state of Illinois, Governor J.B. Pritzker proclaimed the month of February as “Punjabi Language Month” in the great state of 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 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. Besides the above-mentioned countries there is a significant presence of Punjabis in Malaysia, East African countries, U.A.E., 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. Those will be low key events this year due to the ongoing pandemic,” said Parvinder Singh Nanua, president of Punjabi Cultural Society of 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, 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 Victoria Cross medals for their bravery in the battlefield fighting for the allies. Punjabis are proud, adventurous, hospitable people who are fun loving and take pride in giving to the world delicious Punjabi cuisine,” Mago added.
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.
Punjabi Cultural Society of Chicago 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.
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