In most countries regardless of whether its Japan, China, Korea, France, Germany, Italy, Brazil, Argentina, Egypt, Sudan, UAE, etc., the speakers from each country are extremely proud to speak in their own language. None of the above-mentioned countries are English speaking countries rather they have very distinctly different languages from each other and English. The vast majority will make it a point to respond only in their own particular language, especially when they are dealing with the foreign media, even if they can speak the other party’s language.
It seems to be very common for some ignorant Sikhs to kowtow to the Hindi speaking media globally and respond in Hindi. All the Hindi speaking journalists from the electronic media are keenly aware that the language of the Sikhs is Punjabi and not Hindi. Yet, ignorant Sikhs invariably tend to respond to media queries or interviews by the Hindi media in Hindi.
The onus lies on the interviewer to either ask questions in the language of the interviewee or if the interviewee speaks a different language then be able to translate it for the proper audience. Still, the responsibility of the Sikh interviewee, is to respond in Punjabi with pride. If the queries or interview is by the media personnel and conducted in English, it is the choice of the interviewee to respond in Punjabi or English, since English is today an international language of communication. On the other hand, Hindi is being used by the north-central states of modern India as a political tool to suffocate other languages slowly by giving the ‘spoken dialect’ Hindustani or Hinduvee much credence as modern-day Hindi, by projecting it as the national language of India. That is an outright lie that is being perpetuated by the Hindi speaking media due to their outsize numbers with the help of the state apparatus.
Modern ‘Hindi’ which included a written script was invented by John Gilchrist in 1796. This was institutionalized and popularized after 1835, but is being propagated as some fantastic ancient language with great benefits for all, with full state support.
Punjabi on the other hand is over 5,000 years old and spoken by over 100 million speakers worldwide without state support. The written script is nearly as old and has created some of the most sublime poetry on the planet. Little wonder all the Sikh Gurus (Enlighteners) used the spoken Punjabi language and its written script to compile the revered Sri Guru Granth Sahib. The Sri Guru Granth Sahib contains over 27 languages which have a script and over 125 dialects of the South Asian sub-continent, yet the script is in ‘Gurmukhi’, called Punjabi nowadays. This is not by chance but actually the visionary penmanship of the ‘Guru’ to remind all the followers to respect and keep the Punjabi language alive by using it in their daily lives – everyday.
The Sikh organizations and their heads should make every effort to deliver the messages of the ‘Panth’ to the Hindi electronic media first and foremost in Punjabi and only if necessary, then use any other language.
In Punjab all business should be conducted in Punjabi along with road and street signs highlighted in the same language. Punjabi should be mandatory in schools from the 1st – 12th grade but especially in all private schools in Punjab.
The American Sikh Council (ASC) expects every Sikh to remember to be proud of their language and respond in Punjabi when spoken to, or interviewed by the Hindi speaking media.