[lg policy] Punjabi etc.

aditi ghosh aditi.gh at GMAIL.COM
Wed Apr 13 14:19:08 UTC 2011


Dear Abbas Zaidi,
Even if census data is not manipulated, It may be worth while to look into
the overt and covert language policies in state level and below, that may
have encouraged this attitude in younger generation. Both Pakistan and  State
of *Brunei Darussalam* are Islamic republics. There may be a hidden urge to
identify with the dominant religion through proclamation of Urdu language,
which is perhaps seen as a representative of Islam, as opposed to Punjabi,
which is associated with Sikhism.
This is of course my general intuitive understanding based on your
observations and can only be confirmed by systematic research.
regards
aditi


On 13 April 2011 18:47, Zaidi <manoo at brunet.bn> wrote:

> Hello Professor Schiffman
> Once I wrote that in India Hindi was written in the Gurumukhi script. I got
> many angry emails from Indian Punjabi Hindus complaining that I had ignored
> them.
>
> The fact is that in Pakistan, Punjabi is written in the Persian script (Dr
> Tariq Rahman will refine my statement with his "nastaliq" comment). In
> India
> Punjabi is written in two scripts: Gurumukhi and Devanagari. The former is
> associated with the Sikhs (their Holy Garanth is written in Gurumukhi,
> though many sociolinguists will say that it is not exactly Gurumukhi, but
> Eastern Punjabi), and Devanagari is associated with the Hindus. I have read
> somewhere that Gurumukhi and Devanagari scripts symbolize language and
> religious identity for the Sikhs and Hindus, respectively. As far as
> Punjabi
> in Pakistan is concerned, this is not the case.
>
> In Pakistan, data are not manipulated in favor of Urdu. It is the Punjabis
> themselves (overwhelmingly the younger generations) who claim Urdu to be
> their mother tongue. Mansoor (1993) in her sociolinguistic study in Lahore
> found this situation. In my study of the Punjabis living in Brunei
> Darussalam, 98 percent of second generation Punjabis said that their mother
> tongue was Urdu as opposed to 2 percent first generation respondents who
> said Urdu was their mother tongue.
>
> You will be surprised to find out how Punjabis hate their language.
> Regards.
> Abbas Zaidi
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: lgpolicy-list-bounces at groups.sas.upenn.edu
> [mailto:lgpolicy-list-bounces at groups.sas.upenn.edu] On Behalf Of Harold
> Schiffman
> Sent: Wednesday, April 13, 2011 9:31 AM
> To: lp
> Subject: [lg policy] Punjabi etc.
>
> Dear Christina,
>
>  I  think that this raises an issue I've mentioned on occasion, that is,
> the
> manipulation of data by census authorities.
> My focus was on data manipulation in the Indian Census, which tries to
> inflate figures for Hindi and deflate others by ignoring small languages
> that might want to consider themselves as separate languages, and
> conflating
> them with Hindi to raise the percentages for Hindi.  The goal is to show
> that the percentage of speakers of Hindi is rising.  This means that all
> sorts of other small languages, e.g. the Todas and Kotas of the Nilgiris,
> don't get conflated with other majority languages like Kannada or Tamil,
> but
> just get ignored.
> Other census authorities in other countries do this, do--mostly by ignoring
> certain groups, or not asking questions about language.  In the US,
> questions about German popped up on a special census
> (non-decennial) in 1916, just before the US entered World War I.  Again in
> 1940, questions about language appeared, then disappeared for decades.
>
> I guess maybe that's going on in Pakistan to inflate the percentages for
> Urdu, which we all know are very low, and minimize figures for other
> languages.  Panjabi has always been low man on the totem pole in that
> region--I've just finished editing a volume of papers on lg. policy in
> Afghanistan and its neighbors, and one of the contributors shows how
> Panjabi
> was ignored and denigrated by the British, in favor of Urdu in the portion
> of India that is now Pakistan.
> So I think there's an "inferiority complex" among the Panjabis, which Zaidi
> mentions in the Gowanus article he attached to one of his messages.  He
> mentions that Panjabi in India is even written with nagari script; I
> thought
> it was written in Gurumukhi...
>
> HS
>
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-- 
Dr Aditi Ghosh
Assistant Professor
Department of Linguistics
Calcutta University
87/1 College Street
Kolkata -700073
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