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Punjab Cultural Day, 14th March: A Quest for Punjabi Identity

Punjab Cultural Day is celebrated on 14th March: It can be attributed for a Quest for Punjabi Identity which is facing severe challenges.
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Tariq Mahmood Awan

Preserving Punjab Culture and the significance of the Punjab Cultural Day

Culture is the way of life of a community. Hence, it is the core identity. Culture is a living organism that evolves internally and externally. It is not a stagnant phenomenon. It is ever-evolving and comprises the core of social, religious, ethnic and political manifestations. Lately, science and technology have impacted it the most; however, the core values of a culture of a community have been critical, on which it evolves and develops simultaneously. Then, culture assimilates, absorbs and sponges multiple cultures and creates a harmonious culture if more than one community is involved.

Indian culture has been a mixture of internal and external factors. India has been a land of invaders. Thus, India absorbed them and derived several cultural, political and religious aspects from the invaders. The Dravidians had their way of life, and the influx of Aryans subsequently dominated it. Then, Arabs, Turks, Central Asians, and many more ruled India; thus, a unified culture evolved. Lastly, the British ruled the Indian land, and hence, the Britishers were the compact dominating force in influencing conservative Indian culture. The modern globalized and technological world has influenced Pakistan more than any other foreign influence. Technology has played a pivotal role in evolving the world’s contemporary cultures, including Pakistan. Globalization and globalized cultural power are also influencing all the cultures and sub-cultures of the world.

Pakistan is a federation and, thus, has an anthology of cultures. Punjab is the biggest province in Pakistan. As the name suggests, it is a land of five rivers; therefore, its culture is not dominated by ethnicity, religion or any other belief system. It is primarily the culture of language, land and people. Thus, the water and crops, the weather, the land, the language, the rituals and rites, and lastly, the way of life are almost the same. Way of life means the preferences for dress, food, music, literature, sports and all those recreational activities dependent upon the lifeforce of the land of Punjab. Therefore, despite the difference in religion, the culture of Punjabi Muslims, Sikhs, and Hindus is almost the same. Then talking specifically the Punjab part of Punjab, the culture is unified, although there are substantial variations in the Pothohar, Seraiki and Central Punjab parts.

Punjab is a unique place regarding collective life’s social, cultural, political and economic aspects. Then, Punjab always welcomes foreigners and thus evolves naturally. Therefore, cultural variations exist even though the core has been the same. However, the Punjab culture is facing severe challenges from the federation and the world simultaneously. Then, Language is the gateway of a culture. Punjabi has been the beloved of Punjabis over the years; however, it faces a severe internal and external threat. The newborn Punjabi kids are not learning the Punjabi language; instead, it has become a linguistic taboo to speak Punjabi now. Most parents prefer their children to speak Urdu, and then the elite Punjabis want their children to speak English. Unfortunately, Punjabi as a language is not a part of the syllabus in the schools in Punjab. How can the culture of Punjab be preserved when its mother language is a linguistic taboo and not a part of the syllabus in Schools?

If the Punjabi language perishes, it means Punjabi culture dies. The greats like those of Bhulle Shah, Waris Shah, Mian Bakhash and many more have disseminated their spiritual faculties through the exquisite language of Punjabi. Therefore, preserving the Punjabi language means preserving the culture of Punjab. Punjabi literature is also critical for the promotion of Punjabi culture. Alongside poetry, prose is also essential. Therefore, Punjabi youth must read and speak the Punjabi language and understand the multiple colours of Punjabi culture. They should also feel proud to associate with the culture of their forefathers. Identity is the most parament figure in the cultural development of a community.

Accordingly, Punjab Culture Day is celebrated on the 14th of March. Amid growing global cultural challenges, it is essential to hold commemoration days. It is crucial to develop resolutions to preserve and advance artistic growth. The Punjabi way of life is a sacred trust as it is inherited from the forefathers. The professions, rituals, patterns, conventions, social assemblages, and artistic manifestations are crucial to expressing the collective identity. Hence, it is critical all, and sundry of Punjabi origin become a part of Punjab celebrations with the commitment to promote further and adopt the Punjab cultural way of life. This commitment should translate into effective legislation and policy. Furthermore, the respective legislation and procedures should also be implemented in letter and spirit as a constitutional requirement.

Legislation is critical for the promotion of Punjabi Culture. The compulsion of the Punjabi language in schools and colleges is vital to preserving Punjabi Culture. The Information and Culture Department of Punjab should lead the rehabilitation of Punjabi Culture, which is lately dying in Punjab due to multiple social, cultural and economic reasons. It is also the mandate of the department, according to the rules of business, 2011 to make sure that Punjabi Culture is not only preserved but also promoted. Alongside legislative and administrative measures, it is also vital to create awareness about the cultural significance of Punjab. Therefore, the role of Punjabi cultural activists is significant. The artistic scene of Punjab needs promotion. One good aspect is the resurgence of Punjabi music which has allowed the evolutionary growth of the Punjabi language.

Punjabi nationalism is also critical for the cause of Punjabi culturalism. The partition of India separated Punjab between India and Pakistan. It was the severest blow the Punjabi nationalism, which was defeated by the religious divide. Nationalism may be positive or negative; however, it inherently belongs to the core of identity. Pakistan is a federation; thus, there are sensitivities around nationalism in Pakistan. However, it does not mean controlling the cultural patterns of a community or sub-nation. Instead, a federal nation needs to promote and develop all the colors of different cultures and socio-political aspects of collective life. Hence, it is healthy development to celebrate the diverse cultural colors of Pakistan under the umbrella of the federation of Pakistan.https://republicpolicy.com/declining-cultural-identity-of-pakistan/

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