Speakers at colourful Visakhi Mela have pledged to promote the language and culture of Pakistan’s most populous province, Punjab. The colorful Spring Festival was organised by Punjabi Parchar at Alhamra yesterday.
Provincial Education Minister Rana Mashhood Ali Khan was the chief guest of the occasion. “Like the cultures of other provinces are promoted through local dresses and other traditional items, we will continue our struggle to keep the Punjabi culture alive,” Mashhood told the gathering in a jam-packed hall. The Punjab government will also make special arrangements to include Punjabi language as a compulsory subject on school and college level, the minister said.
“For this purpose, the government will also move a motion in Punjab Assembly,” he added. Punjabi Parchar director Ahmad Raza, who stressed the need of making Punjabi a compulsory subject on secondary level, said the Punjabi language also needs to be promoted to help overcome extremism, as it is the language of Sufi saints.
“Punjab is a land of peaceful people who share a common language, and live in harmony despite being practicing separate faiths,” Mr Raza added. Highlighting the importance of Visakhi Mela which marks the harvesting season in Punjab, he said such festivals represent the biggest occupation of Punjab, which is agriculture.
“Such festivals are aimed at promoting the culture of peace and brotherhood, which is the soul of Sufi teachings,” the Punjabi Parachar director stated. During the Visakhi Mela, different literary sessions and traditional music and dances were presented by local artists. At the end of the ceremony, awards were distributed among cricketer Imran Nazir, Deep Syeda, Nadeem Abbas, Afzal Sehar, Baba Najmi, Iftikhar Thakur, Syed Noor, Shaukat Ali, Rashid Mehmood, Amjad Karim Randhawa, Dr Ishtiaq Ahmad and Surraya Khanum.