The University of Sargodha will set up an International Center for Punjab Studies (ICPS), the university administration announced following a two-day international conference titled ‘Punjab: History, Literature and Civilization’.
The conference, led by Dr Pritam Singh, professor at Oxford School of Global and Area Studies, aimed at looking for ways to highlight and preserve the rich culture and language of Punjab.
The Center for Punjab Studies announced by University of Sargodha will focus on studies related to Punjab’s history and identity, tradition and civilization, the region of the Punjab, and the Punjabi communities settled in other parts of the world.
Sargodha University Vice Chancellor Dr Ishtiaq Ahmad announced the decision of setting up the centre after consultations with Dr Pritam Singh and the other eminent national and international literati, scholar, and writers that participated in the conference.
The two-day conference organized by Department of Urdu and Oriental Languages at Sargodha University aimed at highlighting the importance of Punjabi language, question of Punjabi identity, politics and the partition.
Both international and national speakers at the conference called for including Punjabi in early education curriculum. They said the youth of Punjab was unaware of the importance of its Punjabi identity as the subject’s popularity was slowly vanishing and being plundered due to a lack of awareness and the invasion of English culture.
Dr Pritam Singh said that cultural diversity of Punjab was in danger just like the biodiversity of the world was in danger due to climate change and global warming, over-exploitation of natural resources and environmental degradation. “Both are needed to be tackled by urgent joint efforts,” he had remarked.
During the conference Dr Pritam Singh presented a comprehensive analysis of Punjab while exploring various aspects such as language, culture, heritage and the changes it went through in various periods.
Discussing ‘Socio-economic and cultural transformation of Punjab: Colonial and post-colonial phases’ he said that political economy of nationalism in the post-colonial governance of Pakistan and India presented a new macro-economic environment in contrast with the colonial era in shaping of the economies of the two Punjab.
Dr Wali Aslam, associate professor at Department of Politics, Languages and International Studies at University of Bath, UK also shared his research titled ‘The Socio-Cultural Identity of Punjab and the Concept of ‘Misplaced Regions.’ He argued that Pakistani Punjab appeared to be misplaced in the subcontinent where those residing here did not consider themselves part of the Indian civilization. “Those observing it from the outside also cannot recognize Pakistani Punjab’s contemporary socio-cultural landscape that might be reminiscent of Punjab as it was,” Dr Aslam added.
In his keynote address, Nain Sukh, a renowned Punjabi fiction writer, said available history of Punjab was not true, as it was written by the rulers and colonizers and could not be considered genuine sources of history.