EducationPakistan Studies

Development and Promotion of Regional Languages in Pakistan

Post independence status of the regional languages

There are approximately 70 languages spoken in different regions in Pakistan.  Among these 70 languages, 66 are indigenous and spoken as the first language. The major regional languages of Pakistan include Punjabi, Saraiki, Sindhi, Barohi, Pashto, Hindko, Shina, Khowar, Kasmiri, Balti, etc.

This article discusses the steps taken for the development and promotion of regional languages of Pakistan after the independence. 

Regional languages and their areas

Language

Region/area

Punjabi Punjab
Sindhi Sindh
Pushto KPK
Balochi Balochistan
Saraiki Southern Punjab
Hindko Hazara Division in KPK
Khowar Chitral
Shina Gilgit-Baltistan
Kashmiri Kashmir

What steps have been taken for the promotion of regional languages in Pakistan? 

Although poetry, prose, novel writing, publication of books in many major regional languages started during British time. In many cases even before that. But, government and literary quarters have taken some serious steps to promote these regional languages in the post-independence era.

Some of the important steps concerning the promotion of regional languages are as follows: 

Development of Sindhi

A. Sindhi Adabi Board

Sindhi Adabi Board was set up in December 1951 aimed at promoting Sindhi literature. Since its establishment, the board has published a great number of books, magazines, and other literary works in Sindhi.

The board has published several quality books related to folk literature in Sindhi. Those contributing to this literature promotion activities include prominent Sindhi authors, e.g. Faqir Nabi Bux, G. Allana, Pir Ali Muhammad Rashdi. 

B. Bazm-e-Talib-ul-Muala

Another important step for the development of Sindhi literature is the establishment of Bazm-e-Talib-ul-Muala in 1954. This institution also has been playing an important role in the development of Sindhi prose and poetry. 

C. Sarmast Academy

Sindh government set up the ‘Sarmast Academy’ in memory of the Great Muslim Mystic Poet, Sachal Sarmast Qalandar. This has been an important step in the promotion of literature in the Sindhi language. Since its formation, the academy has undertaken many initiatives to develop promote language by publishing books and encouraging literary activities. 

D. Sindhiology Department

The institute of Sindhiology was established at the University of Sindh in 1962 with two objectives. Firstly, to provide an access to manuscripts, archive books, and research work related to Sindhi literature. Secondly, the institute. Secondly, it was meant to promote and publish research in The Sindhi language. Since its establishment, the institute has to do a great job to promote the scholarship Sindhi language.

Development of Pashto

Pashto is an ancient and one of the important four provincial languages of Pakistan mostly spoken in KyberPaktunkhwa. 

The steps taken aimed at the promotion of Pashto are as follows: 

A. Pashto Academy

Pashto Academy was established in 1954 under the headship of Maulana Abdul Qadir. It was aimed at standardization, promotion, and advancement of the Pashto language. The academy is part of Peshawar University.

B. Pashto Dictionary 

Another important leap forward that Pashto witnessed in its development is the preparation of the Pashto dictionary in 1955. The dictionary has been widely accepted in Pashto and used as a reference for researchers, literary people, and writers in Pashto. 

C. Degree programs

From 1954 post-graduate classes in Pashto literature have been established at the university level in KP. The university offers degree programs i.e. graduate and doctorate programs for students to pursue in Pashto. 

Development of Balochi

The steps that authorities have taken for the promotion of Balochi are as follows:

  • Radio Pakistan Karachi broadcasts news, informative, music, and cultural programs in Balochi.
  • The Balochi Literary Association was set up and there are now weekly and monthly magazines published in the language.
  • The Quetta Television Station broadcasts news, drama, entertainment, and cultural programs in Balochi.
  • Literary figures have developed modern Balochi literature. Prominent among them include  Atta Shad and Ishaq Shamim. Similarly, there are many other writers such as Gul Khan Nazir and Azad Jamal Din who are giving their zeal-filled services for the promotion of the Balochi language.

Development of Punjabi

  • Punjabi is a compulsory subject at the primary and secondary levels.
  • Radio Pakistan Lahore started broadcast in Punjabi.
  • PTV National, a channel of regional languages of Pakistan telecast Entertainment, Infotainment, and News in Punjabi along with other languages.
  • In the private sector, Punjab TV is a leading Punjabi Language television channel in Pakistan.

Noor Akber

I am a social activist and educationist. I write on politics, culture, education and economy.

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